Thursday, 19 July 2012

My house!

For those not in the building knowhow: this picture is a good example of how to do it wrong.

Yes, we've just discovered the upstairs of the house we just bought is being held up by a three inch wide, rotting wood joist. The bricks are four inch wide.

Fortunately, my builder is a good bloke. He's happy to rush in a rolled steel joist (I-beam) in there to support the weight. He was already in to look at the damp problem, so it was no trouble to him to ask his boys to sort that out.

We knew about three patches of damp already, but when I oiked out a cabinet, I found a huge patch of bulging plaster on the short section towards the kitchen door. A quick poke brought the whole sheet tumbling off and revealed it to be crammed full, cotton candy style, with brick salt.

To see how bad it was going to be on the other side, I pulled out one of the kitchen cabinets (on the other side of the wall)... and discovered it goes ALLLLLL the way along the kitchen. Apparently the entire kitchen was built without any damp-proofing. Which my lovely builders have taken in their stride and given us a good price for fixing - they're cracking on with the job.

Luckily we were already intending to rip out the kitchen, so the level of destruction required isn't too much of a problem - and our landlord has given us an extra month to get sorted.

I pulled in a few other tradesmen and have since found that the electrics are on too high an amperage, there aren't enough circuits and some of the plugs that SHOULD be aren't on the protected circuits. Oh, and they're series, not ring circuited. And the pipe from the gas mains is too thin, and some of the water pipes are lead (luckily, internal ones. Those can be replaced pretty easily.) and the waste pipe is 3" not 4" and so will need replacing too. Which will require a whole new sewage trap dug in.

My grandparents have been wonderful in helping out and I can't thank them enough. Here's my grandad dropping chunks of tile in a bucket; trying to clear up after me as I go on a destructive rampage with a bolster chisel and three pound lump hammer. There are NO tiles left in the kitchen at all now. Not a bad afternoon's work.

And this is my living-room currently. Note the top left - that's part of the hole sampled in the first picture. And the bottom right is where half the wall has been removed to fit damp proof membrane.

The boxes under the window are all full of my new stranded bamboo flooring which should actually go nicely with the woodwork already in the room!

Oh, and if you look closely, you can see my new RSJ (rolled steel joist) just left of centre at the bottom of the picture. Woot - that's structural integrity right there... It does give me the frighteners though - this was the nicest house by far of the many we'd looked at. If it's in this state, just imagine what a mess some of those others must have been in!

I'm just hoping the boiler service comes back ok. Ooh, and I mustn't forget to get the chimney stack capped... 

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