We’re gonna need more floor boards!

Dan has finished the floor for the bathroom and the landing and it looks better than we could even imagine. He’s taken such care and attention laying the old floorboards, he knows how much they mean to us (and how many man hours have already gone into them already). This could be one of the most expensive floors ever known to man by the time we have all finished (we still have to sand it by hand, clean it and oil it), but it will be so worth it.

The landing floor is the last floor for Dan to do, trouble is we are running low on floorboards to use for the remaining floor. Many of the boards we have left are in a poor state.

Off-cuts we have left over that are too short to go into the floor. They will not go to waste though as we will use these for a variety of things.

The handful of good boards that we have remaining. We are going to be a bit short though and have over 6 square metres yet to fit.

There is a strip a metre wide at the end of Zanna’s bedroom running through the door and into the landing that is yet to be fitted. We are going to need more boards but they are not easy to find.

We have been looking for elm floorboards for 3 years without success, old elm is very sought after. We were very fortunate that Dave the soda blaster had some that he was looking to get rid of. He removed them from his house many years ago and they had been sitting in his garage ever since. It is near impossible to get new elm, Dutch elm disease wiped most of them out in the 1960’s and 1970’s and they haven’t been grown in the UK since, although I gather they are trying to reintroduce a new generation of elm trees that are resistant to the disease.

The only place we know that has old elm floorboards is Wells Reclamation in Somerset: https://www.wellsreclamation.com. Cat has been speaking on the phone with Harry who works there. He is a very jolly man, super helpful and a joy to do business with! Luckily our older sister, Lucy the Historical Oracle, lives in Wells, so we sent her over to take a look at them for us, saving us a 6/7 hour round trip. Apparently it’s an Aladdin’s cave, you could get lost in there for days.

Lucy spent a long time going through the piles of elm boards with Harry’s help, sorting out the best ones for us. We couldn’t have found a better person for the job, as an expert in conservation there isn’t much Lucy doesn’t know about what to look for in an old elm floorboard! Thank you sis, we owe you xxx

They have an impressive selection of elm and oak floorboards. We have to visit next time we are over that way.

The reverse of these boards have grooves cut into them for the joists.

We love the patches in this board.

Our lovely new old elm floorboards as selected by Lucy. They will be delivered to us early next week.

Apparently this horse goes to Glastonbury festival every year, for free! Lucky horse!

The yard’s pet cat, Mog, supervised the purchase.

Our cousin, Alison, popped by for a cuppa just at the right time. Our steel man, Doug, from Riteweld Engineering http://www.riteweldengineering.co.uk, arrived to discuss the design of the cantilevered steel bracket for the piece of granite that our bathroom sink will sit on. Alison was most helpful (she has her own Architect’s practice) as she knows exactly how this should function and how it should be designed. Thank you Alison! The bracket will also go through the wall and will be fixed on the other side for added strength. The granite is very heavy and we are a little worried about it pulling the wall down…

A very cheerful Tom and George tackling the repairs on the gable end wall. They are opening up the blocked up window at the top of the wall, repairing the massive crack at the bottom of this, and repairing the wall around it. The lintels will be reinstated once the wall has been repaired.

This is the top of the gable end wall, looking directly down at it as a cross section. You can see how badly this wall was built originally, the outside edges aren’t too great, the stone is very poor, and the middle is just rubble and dust. There isn’t much strength in this wall. It’s no f***ing surprise the walls have cracked and moved so much!

Dan has had a welcome change from floorboards to working on the roof structure. This is the fix for the walls that have moved away from the roof. Previously the tiles flattened out at the bottom of the roof/top of the walls, therefore not allowing the rain to run off terribly well. The fix involves adding extra timber rafters to the bottom of the existing rafters, spanning from the bottom purlin to the edge of the wall. This creates a ‘ski jump’ style roof, a good solution for a house with ‘roof spread’ (where the walls have moved outwards from the roof due to the weight of it, and due to not being tied in correctly).

This is such a tidy fix. It’s an ingenious solution and expertly crafted by Dan.

Tom has finished off the inside of the wall that was repaired underneath the window on the landing. This was a big hole the last time I looked. This will be plastered in lime so it doesn’t need to look pretty, it just needs to be strong.

The pointing on the rear of the house is busy drying (can take weeks to dry fully). It is utterly transformed and looks like a different house!

The rear wall of the dining room (where the old bathroom used to be). You can clearly see the really bad join between the two buildings here. It appears they took out the corner of the old building (on the left) when they added the newer building on the right, but they didn’t tie the buildings together, there is a clear vertical line of stone. What a mess. It is no surprise this corner was the worst in the house for cracks etc. This is now filled with Helibars, invisibly tying the two walls together, they are hidden under the pointing. Well done Tom!

Cat has moved onto the rear study window, stripping decades of paint with the heat gun. This window is oak and is in very good condition, so good that we will keep this as bare oak inside like the sitting room window. There is just a tiny bit of rot on the sill outside that will need repairing, but nothing like the repair work needed on the front windows.

We found this blue paint on the front windows, but this bright yellow is a colour we haven’t seen yet. Lordy. We won’t be using this colour in our colour schemes…

Poor George! Being used as a human bucket holder as Tom repairs some holes on the inner wall of the staircase. The curse of being a trainee!

Ripening vine tomatoes. These taste AMAZING.

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