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Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43219
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 17 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a few hours is a long time on a new site , carpets out , tat out. one room depapered.

the wood worm have only eaten the floorboard garnish and left the joist burger undamaged in the corner of the front bedroom floor. this means both sides are supported well and i only have the bit between the upstairs and downstairs windows to fret about. the brickwork there has dropped about 3/4" (see lintel mentioned above ) and the ends of 4 joists are sitting on it (or perhaps holding it up using the floorboards which span onto the two sound edges )

it will need acrows and scaff but hopefully as it is just the middle timbers that need support it should be fairly simple to fix the lintel, brickwork and reinstate the bedroom sill (rather nice terracotta bricks in a very clever sill shape )

in the yard i turned some odd and useless brickwork to rubble and removed a 5" diameter coppiced ash from between it and the wall of the yard . a couple of days work will sort out the original wall.

so far so good and about 20% of the contingency budget can stay in the pot

under half a big skip of muckaway so far, which is less than i thought we would have by this stage, depending how thick the plaster is and how many more things need removing we might manage the gut out with just one big skip which would be nice.

we found what looks like a rather nasty CSI style sarcostain , surely if you have to clean that sort of thing off the carpet you just chuck the carpet/underlay and get the bleach to the boards rather than scrape and wipe the carpet . im not the queasy type or over sensitive about such practicalities but there are limits.
as it is i will ask about bleach but i recon the demolition saw and half a dozen new short boards might be more acceptable.

next job is to further expose the stairs and make them and the landing timberwork safe and secure.
from what i can see so far there is no reason we cant secure the top end with timber and ironmongery using the walls as the supports and mending the bottom end is only a matter of fixing whatever has rotted, been eaten or slipped
it will require a bit of jacking back into it's proper position but it isnt a scarey job

this gives scope to not only fix the doorway under it but to move the doorway and do away with two structural verticals ( the missing timber and the half brick pillar between the kitchen door and original understairs cupboard door ) making the kitchen usefully ( if only by a bit in area terms. ) bigger and also giving a wedge shaped cubbyhole for shoes etc etc in the hallway as a bonus .

as much of the " rising " damp isn’t rising and the 1980's attempt to fix it involved browning plaster among a selection of other "choice" techniques and materials rather than addressing the multiple causes properly.
i have high hopes of making it dry at a reasonable cost , it needs a chemical DPC and tanking but sorting the ventilation and any bridges/holes, sorting the little gully with low level airbrick drains to the underfloor "sump"
the "waterproof spray coat " on the walls outside and the cost/benefits of removing it, if it will come off, has to go in the fix the damp list

on tuesday building control get a phone call call re the frontage and so long as they agree to the basic plan there is something for folk to quote for that needs fixing before various other jobs

having the temp leccy on will be handy asap but i need to fix the stairs and then somebody need to depaper the big wall before the can wires run along it unmolested until third fix is done.

the gas man cometh to check and mothball the boiler and convince me that everything house side of the meter is safe, once that is done the rads can come off and random pipes are a bit less worrying when rummaging about and separating plaster from walls and gaslamp pipes.

the original build quality was pretty good


Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4499
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 17 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(If I ever need a house reno, can I hire you dpack? )

Agree about build quality of older houses. My fireplace is four slabs of stone - that's not going anywhere anytime soon

wellington womble

Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15051
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 17 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you made a good start.

NorthernMonkeyGirl wrote:
Is it somewhere you see yourself being in 5, 10 years?
Is brexit going to bugger about with prices?

If you have the means and enough knowledge to get the right people in / DIY safely, then why not?

Five years for sure, ten probably. Possibly not much longer, though. In ten years J wil be heading out in the world, and presumably no longer needing me to fix sandwiches or accompany her to the toilet every five minutes, so I was thinking of bunking off travelling and then retiring by the sea somewhere. No idea what Brexit will do. People keep telling me it will lower house prices, but as usual with the Brexit Brigade nobody has the slightest idea how this will be achieved. I don't see how Brexit can possibly affect supply or demand of houses, and thus have any effect on prices.

I'm going hot and cold on the idea. I'm not at all sure I want to be so extended (I won't be overextended. Just unexpectedly further extended) it will reduce my disposable income markedly, and I was looking forward to experiencing the 'spare money' phenomenon. I was also planning to reduce debt, rather than increase it. It's only mortgages, at good LTV ratios, but it's still debt and interest rates will not stay down for ever, which is an uncomfortable thought. I'm thinking I could always sell on the house and convert the small barn, if need be. It's really small, though. And having lived rather in limbo for the last three years, I'd like to pick and house and settle down in it for the foreseeable.

Only it's THE perfect land, in THE perfect place. It's a small village of around a hundred houses, and I simply cannot see anything remotely similar coming up again. I'm so limited because of the school run (I'm not even considering moving schools. Settling into school took a year and was a nightmare. And it's a great school)


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43219
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 17 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

location and land seems good,

a refurb can be fairly simple ( try to avoid springs, landslides etc and especially low quality original build) and financially sensible to do and you get it how you want it ( done up you get generic or "quirky " ).
if needs be you could rebuild on the footprint ,etc etc .

is it affordable ? you will have to decide


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43219
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 17 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the panel is off the stairs which are now propped up temporarily until tomorrow when i will give them a proper temp support ready to fix them permanently and create the new door frame and understairs cupboard combo to form the new kitchen entranceway from the hall

a couple of boards up on the landing, as far as can be seen all is well with the original timber and build style.

the wonky scullery/understairs door frames are out along with the wormy mid column, above that the structure is such that it is easy to leave it as it is or remove some of it to give more options for that area.

it is a tribute to the original build quality that the bannisters have been performing a structural role in helping friction and the lowest inch of the newel post pressing against the hall tiles suspend the outer edge of the stairs

all the above are easily fixed with a few bits of kit, stuff, sticks and ironmongery

tis very handy when repairs and an improvement combine easily especially if the repairs are at the cheaper end of the estimate and the improvement is not expensive

sitting room depapered, more bits of carpet and stuff gone

downstairs toilet seems to work.

about half a big skip so far which is good .
for half days progress is good
no nasty surprises so far which is good

next to do includes:
proper prop for stairs.
need to check stopcock actually works
consider design options for stair repair and new door cupboard combo
talk to spark (s ) ( tails off company head ? )


Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 6363
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 17 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like as good a situation as one could hope for considering one knew it would be a rehab


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43219
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 17 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the stairs are now propped and prevented from sliding by a rather unusual but effective scrap heap challenge in the wood pile. the resultant triangles are fixed so as the thing cant slide down the hall.

built in cupboard out and woodlice partially evicted
more paper removed
the last carpet up.
spark 1 working on a price

to do :

order skip for monday ,try martin's . check if you or they apply for the licence to park it kerbside.
it is very nice to have a drop door to make loading rubble etc easy with a barrow but there is only a bit in this load so it isn't very important

ask building control re front windows area, ties to party wall and stairs/door refit re fireproofing and support style etc.
if got answers as to what is acceptable before quotes it helps but a decent builder should know which rules are applied locally.

get quotes for front scaff, brickwork and if needs be lintel fitting, get timings.
get prices and timings for front windows
it is best if these two aspects coordinate to avoid boarding up the front for too long

wellington womble

Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15051
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 17 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like it's all going well.

I have gone from buying, to not buying because it's more than I'm comfortable spending, to buying and applying for planning in the garden. I really want to build another house (it rather spoils you buying other people's once you've built to your own design!) rather than refurb. It should be simpler and I'll get a better house. The current one is a Victorian pile, and I don't like Victorian houses much, plus the insulation etc will be awful. I'd much rather build something more sustainable and efficient.

If I can pull it off, the sale of the house (as is) will fund the build, more or less, and I'll still get a great house with six and half acres, no mortgage and no school run. What could possibly go wrong?


Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 6363
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 17 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WW, that's quite a lot of life packed up into a short little posting.

Best of luck to you! Perhaps it's time to create another thread so that we might all live vicariously through you by throwing out our personal wants for a dream house? I'm pushing for greenhouse with attached sauna for winter heating....


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43219
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 17 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

another afternoon and lots more paper gone along with assorted carpet gripper , rotten skirting, the worm's leftovers and sundry bits of carp.

in rear downstairs room stain gone and wet wormy floor boards gone from alcove and the floor is open in places allowing access to see underneath, this is a mixed blessing.

the boards are ok modernish t and g , lifting them is a bit tricky as they were put down with 3 " nailgun nails ( rather than the more usual floor brads ,hey ho ),

they are layed on a set of joists which have multiple issues, not fixed, wonky pattern, centres random and at times too far apart.

the visqueen under the sole plates and over the entire sub floor isnt helping the damp
as they partially blinded the subfloor with sand it looks like the muppet's abandoned an attempt at prepping for a concrete floor .

the options should be get that up and either do a proper job of a wood floor including ventilation etc etc or do a proper job of a concrete floor.

they both need costing but might be quite close in cost

sorting the height of the yard seems sensible as it is far too high and throws water towards walls rather than to the surface drains
either bash it out until low enough and give it a new base and surface or cut and line gully drains along the walls if there is enough depth to join the gullies into the sewerage drainage
more examination and costings which consider the rear room floor and damp options in relation to any yard work would be wise

iirc 3 window blokes have become one (based on both price and trading style ie this one talks builder rather than at a mark and has a decent price)

building control booked for initial site visit next tuesday (ace to get one that quick but i explained the scale of things in the right words while smiling pleasantly down the phone so all went well. always good to make a nice impression from the off , happy building control are really useful in avoiding delays etc etc etc . )

first spark has sent a quote , i need to have a quiet look at it .
it is a bit lower than i was expecting
my estimate spec might be a bit higher than theirs cos i tend to spend a bit more on top quality materials i might have estimated for more points and circuits as well
plenty of good materials should = a good job
enough ok materials will never be better than an ok job .

the bits of plasterboard offcuts are no longer "fastened" to the friction fitted frame in the return of the rear bedroom ceiling.
they held their panel pins well enough to rip my arm Jurassic park style when they fell at the first exploratory poke. my oops.

no nasty surprises today and the bad stuff was much as expected so overall things are progressing nicely


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 45031
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 17 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd go concrete with some insulation underneath

wellington womble

Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15051
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 17 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slim wrote:
WW, that's quite a lot of life packed up into a short little posting.

I haven't actually done anything, just dithering about a decision. (Regular readers will know that my practical ability ranges from 'absolutely hopeless' to 'independent light bulb changing'. Rest assured that there will be a proper builder to do the actual building. I will limit myself to design, chivvying, filling in forms, fetching and carrying and making bacon sandwiches. And probably painting. Ime, there's always something that needs painting)


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43219
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 17 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a week is a long time on a new site, so far things seem mostly much as expected and better than expected in a few aspects
today went well

gas off and capped and handle locked.gas man ace.

damp and woodworm chap seems ok and his price is about right, i will think on it overnight

skip from second choice firm is a lot cheaper but has all paperwork etc

the front room fireplace reveal is opened up and considerable amount of wet bricks/old fireback, soot and rubble removed
that has improved the ground floor ventilation a lot
rear room fire can come out now which should help even more with ventilation and any end any wicking damp should it be as messy as the front one

another glass secondary glazing panel out. 2 more still to be done

2 leads for brickwork builders to follow up.

it needs a new boiler which is a lump of expense but long term the gas saving and the 7 yr gnt will help offset that as do best value alternatives elsewhere

we can patch the rear room floor rather than replace it in wood or use concrete and cut gullies and use snorkel vents rather than relay the whole yard which together cover the cost of a boiler
i will consider the best ways to stabilise the rear floor with sticks and ironmongery and explore gully options.

the spraycote does not have to go for the damp gnt ( but it is a good idea if we can get rid of at least some of it at a reasonable cost )


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43219
Location: yes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 17 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

although these reports are specific to a particular property the basic principles should be applied whenever a wreck needs fixing.
the details will change but the standard operating procedure is very adaptable

today went well,
gas fire out , it was criminally installed on 3 grounds i can think of as a non expert .
no gas fire , no problem.
"hearth" slab of composite "marble" saved as a potential garden table

with that out and the upstairs middle bedroom fireplace opened up and the soot , rubble , 1974 daily mirror and original fireplace's rubble infill removed the ventilation is greatly improved.
i needed a proper roman style bath after that.

the last large sheet of glass from the secondary glazing is awaiting the skip, dangeroos kit considering the elderly plastic hinge pins were rather fragile.

my sparks are up for the temp supply and quote for the new wires etc, they will have finished the school job by the middle of next week so a cunning plan of roughly what you definitely need would be useful.

next to do is a tidy up, gather a few more choice bits of skip bait from where they are and fill a skip on monday

decide on some end game things that can be decided upon

hopefully the input from building control will be useful for briefing potential contractors and to help clarify the design issues re the stairs, new kitchen door, cupboard area regarding both structure and fire integrity.
drains and the gully will be another topic but primary job needs to be the front elevation between the windows and it's bond to the party wall brickwork
to that end try to "pencil" the two leads on brick happy remedial builders to come and have a look from wednesday onwards

as mentioned the old front windows could go back in as a temp or we sitex it with a couple of hired panels if needs be between brickwork and window fitting .

getting the new windows after the damp render, and most of first and second fix makes sense. there is a delay between order and delivery but at the mo there is no rush based on best first guesses of how the messy stuff will progress

as mentioned a breaker of a suitable size for ragging off render and perhaps assisting in making a gully would be well handy, a week is more than enough time
best not ordered til we know more about the potential for vibration issues at the front and have a drainage plan for the yard .

note to self , take bubble and a few masonry nails to go with tape , hammer and snapline to establish yard datum level

note to others, having a datum level at the rear inside and outside will allow for calculation and design of surface and domestic drainage.
i am hoping that all the domestic wastes can be directed to the existing soil stack position freeing the surface drain for yard surface and gully use therefore only needing minor drainage alterations below the existing yard level
i hate drains even if they are rather useful.

tidy up, take stock of what we know so far, identify the priorities and plan and initiate the order and execution of the next actions seems to be about right for this stage .


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43219
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 17 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

parking place for monday's skip secured

2 replacement batteries for the demolition saw ordered

we need a rough idea of layout of plugs, points and lights etc for a sensible chat with sparks ( no rush but before we get the temp supply fitted would help )

do we need to consider moving the boiler ?, as a new one is required for the price of a few pipes and a 5" core drilled hole it could go in several other locations.

once we can get to the kitchen again i will explore the tank in the chimney (ditto sizes re pantry ,door/window positions and understairs options) and find out how much useful space can be found at minimal cost.

removing the chimney and fireplace is fairly easy but labour intensive and would require roof, ceiling, floor/ceiling and wall repairs and a skip of its own .
guestimate removing it would be 2 to 3 grand above using whatever hole is between the sides of the chimney breast and leaving the structure intact.
adding steel and taking out the bottom section is possible but a bad idea on several grounds not least that if done properly it would cost as much or more than removing the whole thing from top down.
done badly or on the cheap is not an option with chimneys

pantry wall exploration might give useful data re gaining more space but might present structural issues against removing it especially as the steel for the door to the existing shower room is very close by and there might be a bathtub over it fairly soon.

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