Saturday, 28 January 2012

The domino effect

The old beam in the living room, which was cracked and beyond repair, sagged in the middle, so was propped up be a post. Of course, this meant that the floor above must have sank, so at some stage, the previous occupants levelled it out. By inserting a new, straight beam, the domino effect was that we had a bulge in the middle of the floor above, in the region of 5 to 7cm high. Today was time to lift the floor to level it out.
Before all the big work started. Looks innocent, eh?

The "bulge" can be seen in profile. And the glass wool underneath...
Looking north into the room after the first steps
Originally, we'd thought to leave this floor as is, since the boards were relatively new and serviceable. However, removing well-nailed tongue and grooved boards wasn't so easy, so there were casualties to the grooves in some cases. Added to that what was under the boards, I think we'll get new floor boards.

The boards were resting on runners which had been jacked up by several centimetres of packing near the centre of the room. Between these was layers of old lime plaster and rubble, dumped on top of the oak beams and clay filling which formed the base layer. On top of all the crud was matted glass wool insulation and, well, actual crud, in the form of mouse and rat droppings. Lots of it! The critters had fashioned tunnels through the insulation, so it was like a little mouse town, with well defined public toilets.
Mouse runs. And that's shit in the lower left corner.
Glass wool removed, packing and rubble visible.
It was quite a bit of work to remove the boards, bag the glass wool, remove the runners (that part was much harder than I expected!), then shovel up the rubble and dispose of all of that till it was in a clean state. Well, it took a full day. Now we've a clean room, and we'll be able to gain a valuable few cm of head space in an otherwise low room. I think the other rooms will get the same treatment, although they are old and most likely the boards are lying directly on the beams.

Almost done. c. 9m-long oak beams exposed.
And from the other side.

The unsung hero in all this is my darling wife, who really did get the shit job this time. She's always cleaning up after me...

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