Building Work – Part 1

There was a change of order to the building works.

Back to brick & floor dug up

Last weekend the non load bearing wall was taken down and the lobby and shower room floor was dug out. Toilet removed. Most of my back garden is piled high with rubble now. The plaster was also removed from all of the shower room and lobby and 2/3rds of the kitchen.

Kitchen – back to brick

  • Wed – my builder removed plaster up to 1m on the party wall, for damp proofing. He also set up the electric shower upstairs as a temporary measure, but my pressure is too low, it wasn’t getting water quick enough to get hot. Moving the header tank to the loft will help, but I may still need a pump. Damn.
  • Thurs night – builder’s removing plaster up to 1m in two sections of the lounge, for damp proofing. (10 min job).
  • Friday I’m having the damp specialist injecting the walls
  • Sat & Sun – builder will be digging out the rest of the floor.
  • The RSJ will go in and with a bit of luck the roof should be going on.
  • Skip is booked to be delivered and later collected on Sat.

It’ll then be time for the stud wall going in for the shower room, which is now going to be a swanky wet room. And as the builder will tank the floor after he’s laid the new floor, the price will be approx the same. I was going to tile the floor anyway. Save £160 on shower tray and enclosure, spend £80 on wall tiles and a few hours tiling labour costs. Sounds good to me.

The only bad thing is that the builder recommended fitting the new windows to the kitchen now, as the frames are wet and rotten and there are no lintels above the windows. I was going to wait until next year to do these windows to give me time to save up some more money. But he’s said I should do them now, even if it means not paying him right away. I need to choose an exterior door too.

I’ve ceized work on the lounge for now (filling, priming). I’m waiting until the damp work has been done and the wall replastered.

I’ve started work on Bedroom 3 instead. Mainly so I can do that room and then have somewhere to set up my drumkit!!

Bed 3 – Stripped & Filled

I’ve stripped the paper off Bedroom 3 and the plaster is ok, except for around the windows, where new plaster has been put on badly. I thought I’d need to have this wall re-skimmed, but my builders given me some good advice and I’ll use some joining compound and joining tape and it will be sorted.

By the end of the weekend I plan on having all but the window wall nice and smooth, ready for painting.


Tackling the Rising Damp

I’ve started hacking off the plaster in the kitchen. I did this little section in 10 mins 11.30pm last night and 10 mins before work this morn. It should fall off quicker when I can make a noise.

Removing Plaster

My builder recommended getting prices from the damp specialist company to do the work minus replastering in the kitchen, as the whole kitchen will be replastered. He thought it could save me a couple of hundred pounds.

The damp specialist company break down their work into two parts.

  • Part one – installation of chemical damp proof course – £446.40
  • Part two – removing and reinstating plaster – £489.60

I’ll use them for part one.

I’ll hack off as most of the plaster myself – i.e. all the loose damp stuff. I’ll leave the solid plaster for my builder.

I’m guessing even after the cost for his extra labour, I’ll be in for a saving of £200-300.

Week 5 Update, better late than never.

Ok, so bedroom 2 is finished, except the skirtings, which are staying as they are for now – my lodger has now moved his belongings in.

Finished except skirting

The lounge has been filled and primed once (excluding chimney breast). It shouldn’t need skimming, apart from around 1 or 2 of the door frames. The chimney’s the worst, but I’ll paste up textured wallpaper here. The walls need filling and priming a couple of times more. And I need the rising damp rectified along one corner of the room.

The edge connecting the walls and ceiling is pretty bad, but I’ll be putting up coving and this will disguise it. There coving in the first reception room hasn’t been ripped out and that’s staying.

Lounge Montage

I have my sofa in now, makes it harder to work in there, but gives me somewhere to sit. Yes, I have a bit of time for relaxing now (until builders have been and gone).

Camping out – the lounge

My temporary kitchen means I’ve had some decent meals this week. It’s only really washing up that is an inconvenience (but isn’t it always… bring on dishwasher instalation!)

Temporary Kitchen

One Month Later…

Well, it’s a month today since I picked up the keys. The house looks totally different but still lots to do. This is what has been done so far:

  • stripped wallpaper from lounge, kitchen, hallway and bedroom 2
  • removed ceiling tiles from lounge, kitchen and hallway
  • scraped, chipped and steamed tile glue from lounge and hallway ceiling
  • sanded lounge & hallway ceilings
  • knocked off plaster from kitchen ceiling
  • taken down all sliding doors downstairs
  • washed hallway
  • washed, prepared and painted bedroom 2 walls (except chimney breast and window surround)
  • painted bedroom 2 ceiling
  • filled bedroom 2 door and painted it
  • sanded, primed and painted wardrobe
  • started washing lounge
  • plus moved 1/4 of belongings over from rented house

Not bad, considering I’ve only had evenings and weekends to work on the house and some evenings I’ve worked late and had other commitments.

Week 4 Update

Well bedroom 2 had my attention this week and it’s almost finished. It’s all painted apart from the chimney and window surround, these will be done Tues. Then it’s time to give the lounge carpet a thorough steam clean and lay this in the bedroom.

black satin door

Black Wardrobe

Progress in pictures…

Bedroom 2 progress

There’s now one week before I need to be fully moved in. I have a couple of days booked off work. As well as finishing off bedroom 2 I’ll wash the living room walls this week too. Then it’s waiting for the rising damp to be sorted before painting the walls.

I’m also seriously thinking about skimming the hall walls. I spent hours washing the walls, but there are some four parts of the wall where two doors used to be that will never look good unless skimmed and the walls are pretty bad generally… so realistically it makes sense re-skimming. So stopped work on the hall for now.

Week 3 Update (What a week!)

A long hard week. I’m ill too, so had a bit of an easier work, so had to work hard this weekend. I worked around 32 hours from Fri eve til Sun. Bed time after this is published! zzzzzzzzzz

Me and Dad

Me and Dad got the old plaster off the kitchen ceiling, it needs boarding and skimming, and the plaster was lose so was best to knock it off, rather than have excess weight on the boards – especially because my drum kit will be on the floor above and that causes a lot of floor vibrations! (even though its only an electric one)

Kitchen – back to laths

The plaster came away pretty easily… half of the ceiling was boarded though, so that took a bit longer (Dad did that – he did most of the ceiling to be fair). When the new kitchen goes in, the hob will be on the party wall, but we’ll feed a pipe along the ceiling before its boarded, so the fan can extract properly, rather than just circulate.

Ceiling plaster, rubble… and a dirty dog!

Finlay loves to be where the action is, hence dust, plaster and paint on him!

Kitchen Progress – updated

Dad fitted the door to the 2nd bedroom. Needs sanding down and filling in, painting and a handle adding etc. There was a sliding door here 2 weeks ago. This nice Victorian door was the sliding door on the bottom of the stairs, but with an ugly panel stuck onto the front of it.

Bedroom 2 – has a door

I was going to leave the wallpaper on this room for now, as my lodger is moving in 2 weeks today. Hence why I had painted the ceiling and then put a coat of grey onto the walls. The grey came out bad – a real blue tinge to it when it had dried. I’m going to take the paint back to the shop.

I suddenly thought, sod it – I’m going to repaint anyway, so I’m stripping the paper… I knew I’d have to work hard and fast… in one (long late evening) and this weekend I’ve stripped the wall paper, filled the walls, sanded the walls, filled again, sanded again and then washed and primed virtually all of the room. Thanks to Le (sister in-law) for helping with the washing and Matt (bro) for priming. Dad filled in the big holes. Need to fill and sand again, then prime and see if I need to fill and sand yet again.

Bedroom 2 Progress

Eventually, I will be painting the walls Magnolia and the chimney breast English Fire red (Paul’s request for a bit of red). The walls will be finished in here within 2 weeks, as I say my lodger will be moving in, so I’m on a deadline. All’s good, in love and war. My right wrist and elbow silently disagree.

English Fire Paint

Throughout the week I washed the hallway. It took around 10 hours to get the walls washed. The paint was so patchy I had to take it back to the plaster.

Hallway washed

Over the weekend, whilst waiting for filler to dry in Bedroom 2 and waiting for the takeaway Pizza I filled some holes in the hall. Mum filled some more Sunday and did some sanding. Still has some more to fill. Due to the bad walls it will be another sand, fill, sand, prime / sand again, fill again, sand, prime / sand again, fill again, sand, prime job! Will then be painting the walls Magnolia.

Hall partly filled

We turned the front reception room into a proper little temporary kitchen. The only thing missing from the table is the Toaster Oven (blue Argos box), which we tested cooking some pizzas, garlic bread and chicken slices. It’s pretty small, but fits in a small pizza etc and cooks pretty quick. The only pain is not having a sink, but got fridge-freezer, mini oven, grill, toaster and kettle, and will move my microwave in – so got everything we need.

Temporary kitchen for the next 7 weeks or so

Prob the dirtiest I’ve been yet…

To Do List for Week 4:

  1. Submit Building Regs forms & sort start date for builder
  2. Structural Engineer booked in to calculate size of RSJ
  3. Band practice, didn’t manage to make it last week (need to rest arms a bit night before!)
  4. Finish washing & priming bedroom 2 walls (prob only 1/8th left)
  5. Fill, sand and prime all bedroom 2 walls again (x 2)
  6. Move a 1/2 my bedroom stuff from rented house across
  7. Patch up bedroom door
  8. Undercoat to bedroom door (bedroom side)
  9. Fill, sand and prime hall

Bedtime now, night x

Week 2 Update – Busy, Busy

It’s been a busy week.

  • Filming in Leatherhead Tues (6.5 hours of driving, yay… mileage money nearly paid for my ladder though).
  • Wed afternoon off work, spending 4 hours sanding lounge ceiling further and a couple hours steaming and scraping tile glue from the hall.
  • Band practice Thursday (no rest for my arms – I’m the drummer!)
  • Friday, put testers of paint onto wall (more info in colours post). Then a night out with friends… bed 4.30am, up again 8.30am. At Homebase 10am.
  • I’ve had three trips to Homebase and two trips to B&Q this weekend!

Saturday morning I washed off the dust from the sanding off the lounge ceiling. Ceiling doesn’t need proper washing, a damp cloth did the trick – still took over an hour.

Doesn’t look that great, but very smooth to touch

Sunday I also sanded the hall ceiling and later washed away the dust. There’s still some blobs of glue down the left hand side on the old plaster that wouldn’t budge. These need steaming and scraping again, my arms couldn’t take any more tonight!

Hall – nearly ready to wash

Sanding the bleeding ceiling…

Ok, so you know how I said I had to get the tile glue off the ceiling. This is not a fun job! It takes ages and you’re working against gravity so it REALLY hurts!

I bought a sander, I’ve spent around 6 hours working half upside down this weekend and my wrists and neck is complaining. Couldn’t finish the lounge ceiling off today, hands couldn’t hack it. Gave them a rest and went to scraping the hallway instead.

Keep Smiling…

After struggling on one patch of ceiling for around 2 hours yesterday, I seriously thought about paying to get the whole ceiling re-skimmed. After a bit of pondering and laying on the floor staring upwards, I realised the ceiling had a different finish over 4/5s of it, so I had a go at this area, luckily the glue was coming off a lot easier. I got the knack to it – slice under the edge with the scraper and then peel the glue blob off by hand.

The sander’s not heavy until you’re working against gravity

I then sanded most of that patch of the ceiling, a slow painful job, but it looks so much better. I still need to tackle the nasty, horrible patch… that is going to be a complete pain!! But, on the plus side I’ve saved myself £100+ that the skimming would have cost (I need the sander for other jobs).

Nice hair! (I bought a face mask soon after this!!)

It’s a ceiling, so it doesn’t need to be perfect, but I need to go over some of it with the sander again. It feels pretty smooth though, so it’ll look a lot better when painted.

I’ll then be ready to ‘wash’ this room. Preparing this room for painting will take a while as there’s lots of rawl plugs, holes etc! (Bleeding Victorians lol).