Sunday, 24 February 2013

The pipes, the pipes are calling

Pretty hectic week last week. The Bakan Brothers, Sace and Enver, popped in last weekend to look at what needed to be done for the sanitation and heating installation, then announced they'd start on Monday. Well, no time like the present! I had wanted to be at hand to do the dirty work, in an attempt to keep down costs, so thanks to a very understanding boss, I took a half day every day and worked on the house from lunch till pretty late in the night. But brilliant progress from Enver and Edgar in a week.

(note: quality of photos may not be the best, as our camera has completely died from dust inhalation)

Cellar 4 has been transformed into a wonder of waterworks, and this is just the start. The mains water pipe has been directed from the other side of the house, and from here everything will be controlled. The core installation is now finished, including the pump for the rainwater cistern so we can pump out for the garden.

The main waste pipe is in, running from the top of the house to he bottom, so I had to put the skates on and finally build part of the shaft, which was till now an open hole through three floors. This also has the side effect of closing off the remaining "shortcut" from the kitchen to the bedroom, making the kitchen feel more like a proper room. Makes for a nice, neat installation too!

Bottom of the shaft.
One level up, with two sides built.
The other side of the shaft, in the corner of the kitchen.
They got the guts of the first floor bathroom plumbing in already, so the position of the shower, WC and sink are now fixed. We've plenty of play in floor height to make the shower a walk-in one, so that should make the small room feel a bit more open than having something you have to step into. A quick underconstruction build the other night to set the levels for the shower mixer battery.

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We've planned where all the heating distribution manifolds are going (basically ranks of valves to control the wall heating system), so some dirty angle-grinding was done to cut channels in the kitchen sub-floor, under walls etc, so there's plenty of room to accommodate them. Three manifolds per floor should be enough.

The 2nd floor (main) bathroom is a bit problematic pip-wise. We've very little clearance in the floor for burying pipes, and there are oddly-constructed parts of the floor that I'd like to change to accommodate the pipes, but can't figure out a decent way to do it. Hiding them behind dry construction walls might not be an option, as we'd lose too much space, and no wall runs at 90 degrees to another, so gaps quickly narrow over the length of a wall. But at least the pipe is in for the shower drainage, dropping straight into the kitchen below and behind the wall framework there, which is great, as long as I don't put a screw through it later. And, of course, the main waste pipe is up at that level, so we know where the WC is going (because somebody wrote it on the wall).

So, a good week, with lots of pressure to keep the pace going. And as a bonus, Sace brought his chainsaw over and cut out the last beam that was blocking the new hallway to the bedroom. Now we no longer have to duck

This was the blocker
Now a clear run through (from the other side)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Been a relatively slow couple of weeks, but progress is being made on the walls that will be clad with wood and/or plasterboard. The reason it's slow going might be apparent from the photos below, as the existing walls, made of oak posts, beams and filled with wattle and daub, are fairly crooked and uneven. This means planeing lots of shims to get a vertical and even plane

First, the kitchen. This needs to be well supported, as kitchen units will hang here. Using two of the posts as "null", new wood was set in to make a frame between them, extending across the door. There's a 6-8cm difference in depth in some cases, and the existing door frame was tilted quite a bit more than it looked. We'll put 22mm thick OSB sheets on this wall, which will then be covered with plasterboard. The OSB will be more secure for hanging units, and give the walls a more solid feel than just plasterboard, which I hate!
This will not fall down! Ready for wiring.
New wood is vertical, old posts not!

On the other side of the same wall, I've gone for laths that are not so thick to save some space. It's a bit of a problem, as there's not a lot to secure the laths on, but it won't have to support to much weight. The hole through the wall, visible in the middle of the photo, will become a cubby hole to house the distributor for the wall heating system on this level. The post running into the wall will be chainsawed off to make this into a doorway going from the hall to give access to a bedroom and the small bathroom on this level.

In the same area, I've put laths in to level the floor, and bring the joists up to the same level as those in the hall. This is our benchmark level for this floor, so whatever we choose for flooring, the lebvel ill be the same throughout.

And looking up from the floor in this new hallway, the frame for the bathroom wall is complete.

There's always room for a bit of plastering when you run out of material, so part of what i like to refer to as the TV wall got a base coat. I've left space on the left for an idea for a decorative feature. The wall dips in by a few cm here, so I was considering sticking fake bricks onto the lower part, then partially plastering over them to make it look like the wall is made of brick, with parts of plaster cut out to show them. On the right, I'd like to stick in an oak post to break the wall up, and break up an otherwise boring stretch of flat wall. We'll see.

Next tasks: more under-construction on the small bathroom walls, bricking up the old doorway and levelling the joists in the living room.