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Sunday, 6 July 2008

Bringing the House down

We are in full-on renovation mode at weekends right now, and during the week we also have a huge number of tasks related to our renovation in the race to 29 September. 29 September is important because my college starts on that date. We now recognize that given the scale of the task at hand, we will not be moved into the pile by then, but we need to be substantially along the road, because from 29 September, I will be competing in the first year of my degree course.

The scale of the task is enormous. Take the exterior walls for example. British house have mainly had their interior walls finished with plaster for a couple of hundred years. Unfortunately, insulation is absent entirely from a lot of these walls. This problem has been corrected in many British houses by inserting insulation between the cavity that exists between the two layers of brick that make up the outer skin of the house (called an inner and outer leaf). In the case of Large Villas, the house was built before bricklayers started building cavity walls, so all that exists between inside and outside is two layers of brick, cheek by jowl - effectively a double layer of brick making one solid wall. Structurally, this is very sound construction. Insulationarily, this is terrible.

We bought this house deciding to fix this problem, and already knew the solution before we decided to purchase. There is though, as Yoda might intone, a vast gulf between saying and doing. For example, it only takes minute to say "We're going to tear all the plaster off the exterior walls, take all the ceilings down, apply a laminated drywall to the exposed brick, and Hey Presto, insulated walls at a higher than specified R-value!" but the doing is different.

This is the upper most front bedroom floor after Nickson has brought down the plaster on the walls and ceiling. And most of the soot from a hundred years of burning coal:
And this is the exterior wall of the front bedroom on the second floor after the plaster has been all torn off:And this is yours truly, yesterday after completing the task:

On completion of this task after lugging all 35 bags of soot, plaster, lathes and general dirt down the stairs to the garden, (where as far as I'm concerned they can stay) I pondered, and it probably will not be the first time during this project, on why we decided to buy a house with three floors, and not a bungalow. Then I remembered that we decided that having three flights of stairs to negotiate would give the cats lots of exercise.

NOTA BENE: There are four bones on the above photograph that have been previously broken. A small prize, consisting of one, miniscule calico cat, will be awarded to the first person who identifies which bones these might be. Answers do not necessarily have to be correct to be awarded the 'prize', in fact anyone who inadvertently types wiity comment and then deletes it can expect the moggie via post. Prizes cannot be refunded.


Grasshopper said...

Looks like terrific fun. Wish we were there!!

Bill Hall said...

I want to know what you are sitting on!

MJN said...

And the prizewinner is....................Bill HALL who will shortly be receiving one small calico cat (gift wrapping extra) by special mail. If you wish to unsubscribe from this offer, please send £10000000000 pounds to :

Nickson's Holiday Fund
Nickson Towers
Near Down South