Last week it looked like not much happened. In fact, an awful lot did, but as seems to be the theme with this project, it’s all background preparation that won’t be on display when the house is the finished.
Pete and his team moved onto the front of the roof and hit some issues. Apparently most roofers will start with the back of the house, because it gives you a good idea of what to expect, there are generally fewer features to deal with, and it gives you a chance to get a feel for the roof and get into the swing of how it slates so when you come round to the front there should be no nasty surprises. That’s how Pete’s always done it and it’s served him very well. My roof, however, decided to be difficult. So since Pete had very sweetly bought me my own hard hat (apparently I have to write BOSS on it in permanent marker!) I got my brave pants on (I don’t do heights) and went up for a look.
The roof, as is traditional round here, has cement skews (the vertical slabs you can see at each end of the roof on pictures of it). Now, if you’re a sensible roofer, you slate under the skew a little bit so there’s no gap that water can get into. Remember when we took off all the panelling in the bedrooms and found that the gable ends were running wet and thought it was the chimneys? It wasn’t…
Yes, those sarking boards are absolutely rotten. To add to that, it seems that no-one had ever bothered to take the previous liners off – they had to remove eight layers of tar paper and some of the old asbestos cement tiles (which would have been the cause of the diamond pattern you can see in this layer).
And then they got to the dormers. Now, you’d think that it might be sensible to use the same width of skew on the top of the dormer as the sides, right? Apparently not.
This is causing Pete all types of headache, because that tiny little triangle of wood behind the vertical skew needs making watertight somehow. It was previously slated, but the slates bulged out where they met the cement and it had just been packed with mortar to try and keep the rain out, which hadn’t worked (we did wonder why we pulled out a few old towels from behind the panelling in one of the bedrooms!). He’s currently thinking he might just do some fancy leadwork there instead, but was considering his options over the weekend, so may have a clearer idea tomorrow.
As the sarking boards were tinder-dry, Pete asked me if I could take a wander down about 9pm and just check that the house wasn’t on fire, because they’d been using diamond-tipped blades on the skews (they wore out two doing the back of the house!) and although they’d soaked everything in water before starting, sparks had been flying and he wanted to make sure one hadn’t smouldered. No smoke and no flames, but a rather beautiful evening.
Over the weekend, Mick got up on the scaffolding and started cleaning the old paint off the dormers in preparation for painting them.
He found a green layer, which might have been a primer or they might once have been green, which makes me happy, because I’ve gone for a green front door and will have green gates 🙂 Rain stopped play before he could do much on the second one, so here’s the comparison shot:
Good view from up there, but no whales today, sadly.
The really great news is that we have David the joiner tomorrow! I’m not sure how many days we’ve got him for, but quite frankly I’ll take what he can give me and be grateful at the moment. He asked us if we’d got timber already, which we hadn’t, but obviously getting it ourselves would save on his time and we have an account at the same place he would have got it from, so Mick was dispatched into town with the truck to buy what David needed. Turns out you can’t get 24 lengths of 3×2 on top of a Mitsubishi L200… 12 left it bouncing in a rather spectacular manner, even on its toughened suspension, so Mick had two rather careful drives home and now as well as all the insulation and floor packed into the living room, we have 24 lengths of wood in the hall.
The plan was that David would start upstairs with the front Velux for Pete, then do the framing for Dougie to run cables into. Mick and I would fit insulation in the evenings, thus gradually emptying out the living room for David to work in. Which would have worked beautifully if it wasn’t for the fact that Mick is away from Tuesday to Friday! I think what we’ll do is just move the insulation panels into the rooms they’ll be installed in as David finishes each one, which will hopefully free up enough space for him to work round.
In theory, we should have five on site tomorrow – do you think we’ve catered enough?? It’s getting like the Great British Bake-Off in our kitchen at weekends!