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Sunday, 30 October 2011


Not updated for a while now.

Maria's Father has levelled all the walls and plastered them, He's also fitted a new door frame to the room, the old one was about 65cm wide, new one is 80cm wide, door is on order but will take 4 weeks to arrive! (Stupid shop..)

I did the Ceiling studwork and with help the plasterboard is up as well now, the room was way to damp for the plaster to go off properly, probably something to do with granny keeping closing the windows and door to "keep the heat in" !!

2nd coat of filling the joints and screw holes I only got round to doing yesterday.

All the electric cables are in and connected to each-other, Just need to tie it into the electricity main at some point once the room has been painted.

I've temporarily tied in the light for now so we can see when we are working.

Upstairs 150mm glass wool is back down again, and all the planks are back on top (Again, Granny complaining about heat being wasted... )

Anyhow, some pics:

 Stud work, on one side it's laying on a metal bracket which has been bolted to the wall, the other side it's on top of the Ytong wall, with some quick brackets to hold it straight whilst I was working.

 Different angle showing the metal hanging off the wood with its own hanging system.

 And same again, you can see the wooden supports hanging off the big roof beams just for extra support (Granny said she won't sleep in the room unless I did that, for fear of it all falling on her head...)
 Plasterboard in..

 First plaster coat filling up gaps.
 All the electric cables pulled through the conduits and down to the room, then joined up, also joined the last 2 boxes near the new wall up to eachother, had to do it slightly different to what I had planned since *someone* completely blocked the exits of the junction boxes with plaster!!!!! Hence the flex stuff, and the pipe running ontop of the ceiling rather than along the wall.
 The "temporary" fix for lights in the box on the left, connected to dodgy aluminium electrics which are both roughly the same colour, but I needed to do something for now.

Box on the right is a top box for a socket down below, with the light switch also going down the same box (Will be on seperate circuit)

All the boxes have a loop right round, so Left side to next box, middle to socket below and right side to next box.

And oooooh, what's that.. Correct colour coding AND earth! Special stuff! And wait.. could it be? It's made of Copper, not Aluminium!
 2nd coat of plaster on the joints.
same again.

That's all for now folks :)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Wall's up!

After a fair bit of work, the wall is up. It's pretty fast, but for some reason I had to keep on planing the tops off the bricks to get them straight, and the purpose made tool for spreading the glue tends to leak it all down the sides of the bricks, perhaps I should have ordered a smaller one.

Maria's father has been busy straightening the other three walls in the room and plastering them.

Anyhow, pics:

One evening's work (And my staircase for stepping over the wall :-)

The dark bit is where the wall had a rather deep dip in it, and has been corrected by filling up with plaster.
 Wall up, and the Ytong tool used to recess the pipes into the wall for electric + network + Satellite TV.

The Ytong 70mm drillbit is useless for making recesses for electrical boxes, it just jumps all over the place, perhaps the drill is too fast. Luckily I had a SDS+ 63MM cutting drill for making recesses in concrete/stone/brickwork.

The other wall levelled with mesh fabric and plaster.

 Pipes in and plastered up with Gypsum plaster.
 And another little pipe on the right here, for the Alarm sensor to go eventually.

I've filled in the gap between the old wall and the new wall (the window side) with bricks and mortar.

I've also cut a groove in the top of the brick (picture above) and stuck a  3M long 10mm piece of Rebarb in it, drilled into the outside wall, hammered it home and concreted it into the top of the bricks to offer more support against individual bricks moving once the platform is in.

Still need to fill the gap between the two walls on the pic above.

That's all for now.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

End of destruction (for now..!)

Knocked down the rest of the wall and removed the door frame, and tried to tidy up the edges a bit but gave up soon enough realising it would be easier to tidy up the edges once the new wall is in.

Cut out all the recesses for new electrics, the outside wall was solid rock so it took a fair old while, and got a nice little wheel shaped piece of stone out of it :)
I've used 16mm smooth bore plastic ducting, it's held in place with ordinary gypsum plaster to make sure it will stay INSIDE the wall and not pop out.

Also cut out the hole for the central heating (left) with 53cm distance between the two to fit onto a 60x140cm radiator.
 Same again, other wall, I had lots of fun soldering the copper pipe together with all the fittings, it's great fun!
All ready and insulated to go into the wall.
 Here the pipes are in the wall, and all the little holes have been filled up ready for the wall to be re-plastered.
 Different view, there was a slight issue with the electricity ducting on the right, needed to chisel out some more brick to make it sit futher back, it's a 25mm tube on that section, because it will house both electricity for a socket as well as the light switch.

Annndddd the start of a wall, I did the two corner blocks yesterday and got them levelled out on a mortar bed, and did the rest today, also on a bed of mortar, took a fair old while to get them pretty level and in line with a string, but should be easy going from now on! (With a bit of help of the planer to get started.)

Should really get a bottle of champagne out and celebrate the first straight wall in the house, as well as the first perfect (90 deg) angle wall in the house!

Saturday, 8 October 2011


The new floor is in, took an afternoon of mixing and lots of overcomplicated pipes and bits of styrofoam wedges to get it level, I let Maria's father do the spreading etc, and didn't want to get in his way, so it was done his way.

Personally I would never have done it that way but ho-hum!

The reinforcing was way to low to the ground, as otherwise his pipes would be too high to level it at 8cm height.  But it's all done and dusted now...

The damp proof coursing, and the polystyrene bits to prop up the reinforcing (which subsequently got squashed due to people walking on the mesh, and the wheelbarrow rolling up and down the planks ontop of the mesh.....

Concrete in:

that was two days ago, we started moving bricks from the stack about 300M down the road to another property where he wants to use them for constructing a new garage, a painstaking chore involving a 2 wheel tractor and a little trailer capable of holding 400KG... must have been over 30 trips, luckily I only did 10 or so of them, Maria's parents did the rest, whilst I worked away today.

I needed to remove the old wall in order to tie into the new wall, with the beam above the new opening going to the kitchen.

First, I had to find all the electrics and figure out where in earth they went to...

So painstakingly tapping away at the wall with a hammer to reveal the pipes inside the wall.
Then, figuring out what does what, and disconnecting everything not required, the 3phase is in the top with 4 wires, the 230V is below it, then all the light switches going everywhere, and the new temporary connection I put together to re-connect the kitchen going through the wall to the other side.

Open up a junction box to find this:
It's 4 cables coming into one box, all tangled together, bits of tape separating the terminals which are twisted together and thrown in there...

So, made a hole going up, fed a new cable through, snipped everything in half and removed the pipes from the wall that's coming down, removed all excess light cables and switches, and connected the 3phase and 230V kitchen run back up.

Then, acro-prop time, holding the roof truss beams up and started dismantling the wall.

Need to continue with that tomorrow!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Another days work..

Today I've disconnected the electricity and re-connected the rest of the house as a temporary fix...

Talk about Spaghetti junction!!

There were 2 light switches, about 6 junction boxes, 1 socket.. all disappearing into the wall...

Managed to disconnect the light switches and sockets one by one and remove them from the junction boxes, disconnected the kitchen end and front room end, and ended up with a cable disappearing into the wall.. (In the brickwork on the right)

I started tapping away on the plaster with my finger and got a couple of hollow sounds, and discovered two boxes under each-other.. but none with the correct amount of wires, there were 4 wires going through the wall for some reason.. 3 in brown/red and one in black..

made the assumption that the top box was 3 phase feed through to the workshop.. so left it alone..
the box below it had 3 cables coming in, 4 going through the wall and 2 disappearing to the right... I thought ah, up to the light... but the light disappears down to the switches, and the switches go back up to the left... utterly confusing!

Snipped the ones going to the right off, ripped all 4 cables through, one of the four went to the right so that was good... 3 wires left now.. with 3 coming in!

Now, which is Live, and Neutral and Protective Earth? 2 red/browns and 1 black, surely the black will be ground... nope.. black turned out to be live... as did one of the red brown ones! and the other red brown wasn't live...

So Protective Earth/Neutral is the same wire..  and there must have been 2 different phases going throughout the house... but at the kitchen end there were only 2 wires.... neutral and live..
Connected a big 6mm2 cable that was kicking around up to it, connected the neutral to neutral and live to live and left the 2nd live terminated on a block, and stuck all the cables up in the loft and out of the room... ripped the remainder of wires out of the wall inside the room and got started with help of maria's dad.

Sand was levelled on the ground to go under the insulation, and you can see (It's a very blurry picture I'm afraid!) a pipe on the right to power the water pump in the basement which starts roughly under the door, and another pipe going off at an angle towards it, to get the water feed from the water pump up into what will be the new bathroom and upstairs to the boiler platform.
Reason for the spotty effect, it's to aid grip, the walls are getting re-plastered someone decided (Not me!)

We cut out the wall chases for sockets straight away, I'm making a ring circuit in conduits above the ceiling level right around the room.

The outside wall (On left here) is made of rubble/stone... so Mr Diamond blade disc had to come out on the angle grinder and try to get a bit more depth into the wall for conduit.

 And the start of insulation being laid down, it's 10cm thick XPS polystyrene.
We are using the same stuff as perimeter insulation, but still need to cut it to size.
Let's hope that the concrete slab will be nice and cosy!
School tomorrow so no more 9-6 workdays until Friday!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Chimney.....

I was worried last night, thinking about how rubbish the "mortar" was between the bricks, how the stack went off at an angle rather than straight up, how a roof beam was somehow incorporated into the structure and how this huuuge stack of bricks was now unsupported by the walls we removed.. just standing there, whilst not needed or required at all..
I started to research scaffolding etc, and other bonkers ideas involving a Tele Handler with a bucket... and then more or less settled on encasing the old chimney with new Ytong bricks and shoving rebar down the side of it and throwing concrete behind it to create a solid stack.

Maria woke up and discussed it with her parents, upon which her dad said, oh no problem, I'll take it down!!!!

Leaning on the roof under 45 degrees with ladders, a couple of bits of rope tying the ladders together, he took it down brick by brick, with the whole chimney stack wobbling away during it..

He took it right down to roof level, where I continued (The whole stack was super wobbly by now) until I hit the top of the ceiling in the room, Noticing how the stack acted like jelly, I grabbed a 6ft steel tube, shoved it between the big roof beam and the chimney stack and levered the whole thing down (3M!!) with a light push!

So now, chimney is no more :)

Anyhow, pics!

Greeted by this this morning, i think it actually started to lean over slightly overnight, probably due to the roof beam being incorporated in the stack just in the top right of the pic above the ceiling.

 2 hours later... it's gone!
The hole left in the roof, I ended up making a nice lid for it using bits of wood from the crate the cement mixer came in, and bitumen roofing felt which was bought as Damp Proof Coursing between the founds and new walls.
A bit of a different sight now!!
Walls continuing to be taken down.
Ceiling is coming out, cut all the way around the edges with the SDS+ drill to ensure it will part company with the walls properly.
Note the construction of the roof, it's planks nailed to the bottom of the big roof beams, straw matting with bits of wire and then render flicked up at it.
The wall has vanished right down to the foundations.

And, the ceiling GONE!

Different angle
That's all for today... tomorrow leveling out all the rubble, filling it up with sand and then sticking the insulation in, DPM (Damp Proof Membrane), rebar mesh and then concrete!

The walls!

Right, onto the walls now... tearing down the walls so we can rebuild them with proper materials so they can support the load of the boiler platform on top.

Taking down the wall between the kitchen to be and the bathroom, to gain access to granny's livingroom wall.

 All the render of the wall spread over the bottom of the hole in the floor, and vermiculite re-materialising to fill the void left by removing all the soil.
 The chimney poking through in the middle, and the wall coming down either side of it.
 A different view, this was grannies door going into what will be the new kitchen. Notice the cool ramp!
 A bit further down, turns out they used mud/clay mixed with cement instead of sand, as a result one whack with the SDS+ drill about 4 courses down and everything comes loose... starting to freak me out a bit as the chimney appears to be of the same construction.
 continuing down around the doors.
 And we call it a night, a different view..
 Stack of bricks outside :) (Apparently Maria's father wants to keep them to build a new shed somewhere..