Monday, November 02, 2020

Benson Row - 18

Penrith, Cumbria. October-2020.

The month started off slowly and then went into a bit of a decline.

First up we removed a chimney. Although it was capped off with copious quantities of lead we were still seeing damp patches on the chimney breast in our bedroom. Obviously not watertight! We had no need of the chimney as there is no fireplace in the bedroom and we removed the chimney breast in the kitchen / diner below when we took out the wall. 

This chimney sat above the junction where the middle and back cottages meet and the disparate rooflines made it hard to seal the join. So the answer was to remove the chimney completely, batten the roof and tile over the hole. The lads did a good job of matching the two different (of course) styles of tiles. While they were up there I got them to remove the redundant Sky dish, bracket and cabling; always satisfying to tidy things up.

In other news we had a water leak from the flying freehold where the neighbour's bathroom intrudes into our building at the first floor level. We informed the owner and the tenants and it would seem that some remedial action has been taken as we have had no further leaks. Provided it stays that way we just have an investigatory hole in the ceiling to patch. 

The living room floor was a different matter. The timber man came to implement the structural engineers plan to treat and reinforce the joists. Once he started work he did a sudden body swerve and decided to replace the offending sections entirely. As part of this he removed some plasterboard from the cellar ceiling leaving us with a big hole in the living room floor.

He then coach-bolted new timbers to the main cellar beam and affixed new joists from there to concrete pads in the front wall of the house. The plan was then for the floor fitter to come and lay new top joists, hardboard and engineered oak floor.

We had a two-seater and a three-seater sofa in the living room which had to go to a friend's garage for the duration to make the work possible. The corridor is too narrow to move them to the back of the house so they had to go out the front door. It was a "Right Said Fred" moment "we ought to take off all the handles, and the things wot held the candles." Only by unscrewing the sofa's feet and removing the door were we able to squeeze the sofa out the building. We will worry about the scuffs later.

That done the floor fitter could lift the remaining chipboard revealing evidence of woodworm and a dead mouse. The timber man was called back in and, after some discussion, it was decided to treat the remaining old oak timbers, remove all the 1970's joists and go for a complete replacement; all new treated timber with cross braces to stiffen and spread the load.

Unfortunately the work is now on hold because two of the floor man's children have tested positive for Covid-19 and he has to self-isolate for two weeks. Work will recommence mid-November with him keeping to the front half of the ground floor and us in the back. 

We really hope it will all be over by Christmas!

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