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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Wall of Damp Doom

As you can tell I'm enjoying coming up with the titles for these posts!

So we called in Heber Crawford the builder and he recommended pointing the outside of the wall, as we do have crumbling mortar between the bricks.  But the big thing was to keep the damp from coming through to the inside wall and stay on the outside so that it can evaporate that directions.  He wanted to take off the plaster from the wall a meter down to the floor all the way to the inside brick work.  Then he would clad it with a damp proof membrane and put back on a thick coat of plaster.

We also asked him to fill in a doorway we had that was redundant.  In a small house like ours, you just have to have as much wall space as possible.  We had furniture in front of that door for years now, and it just seemed stupid.  I'm sure that when the house was built in the 70s, you didn't want people walking into your kitchen but we don't mind now.  So the door is now gone!  That one took a bit of talking about with hubby.  He wasn't sure, but I told him that we can't put the book cases back on the outside wall as we need to watch the condensation this can cause.  So the book cases need to go on the wall with the door and it looks silly to have a door behind furniture.  I think he was just being his cautious self, which is another way we balance each other out.

We had a problem though.  Heber and George started to work on the walls and did a damp course just to make sure it was OK.  This was an injection method.  Heber called us in and told us he was worried about the old plaster.  The original builders had used something that turns into dust when you manipulate it.  We have been battling this for a while, as we have a hard time hanging heavy shelves and stuff due to the poor quality of the wall.  He was afraid that it would cause so much dust that it wouldn't be healthy for them but especially me.  So we decided that it would be better to put the damp proof membrane on the wall with out digging into it and he would then plaster over that.  They did a good job and left us with the painting and filling in of the last few holes etc on the other wall.  The outside didn't get done because we kept having rain.  So we will have to get him out again later in the year.

 Rich spent his time taking the wallpaper off and I took off the radiators.

This is where some of the fun stuff comes in.  I've picked new radiators as I wanted to have them on the walls with the windows and have tall thin ones.  Rich advised me on the BTU's we needed so that we have the right amount of heat still and I picked these beauties:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/172966441914465704/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/172966441914465700/

We had a bit of trouble with delivery as they used a company that hasn't come into the 21st century and can take the time to let you know when in the day they will be delivering.  But they are now in our garage waiting to be put on the wall.  I LOVE plumbing, so I'm looking forward to that!

Well, now back downstairs to do more spray painting.........

Sunday, February 08, 2015

DIY - The Living Room Years

Ok, so I hope it doesn't take a whole year....or years....

Rich and I have been married for 12 yrs and some now and all this time I've been sort of living in the house as it was when I moved in.  With me being sick we have only managed to really do up 3 rooms.  Our bedroom is the same, except I took down the curtains, from the people who lived here before.  The carpets are falling apart.....well I could go on.  I've felt a bit overwhelmed and my depression doesn't help this.  Plus, I know that Rich and I sometimes get on each others nerves when we have done the few projects we have done, and if you know me at all you know that last thing I want to do is fight with my husband.

But this year I've bitten the bullet and decided that we have been married long enough to withstand a full remodelling of the whole downstairs.  Rich is keen, especially as we found out we had mould on our living room wall caused by damp coming in for the outside wall  (we are an end-terrace house).  I've started having asthma problems for the last couple years and this was causing some of the problem.

I'm the project manager on this, as I'm the one that has both the practical bent in our relationship and the interior design ideas.  Rich is the patient one that can spend hours sanding down until totally smooth and paints so well I can't even try to compete.  So we are actually I pretty good team as long as we are patient with each other.  I started contacting companies to come and give us some advice on the wall.  After two came in and gave me conflicting ideas I was stressing.  I was sure the second one was fobbing me off a bit.  I just felt like he wasn't taking it seriously.  Then I remembered that I had  bought a book a few years ago called "The Damp House" by Jonathan Hetreed.  Yes, I bought a book about DIY......anyway.  I read this book cover to cover and learned so much about houses in the UK that I never thought about.  I learned the following important things:

  • Brick is not waterproof
  • Houses need to breath
  • Condensation (which is always on our windows and the mould that goes with it) is caused because we don't let our houses breath.
  • Cavity wall insulation isn't as great as you think....and causes a lot of the condensation and damp problems we have.
  • What a damp course is...and why ours was fine and not the problem as the first builder said.
  • Why our problem wasn't condensation on the particular wall, but penetrating damp where either builders rubble or holes in our insulation are causing the dampness.
  • Walls can hold damp for a long time and the damp problems we are having after a fairly dry summer were mostly likely caused by the wet spring.
Well, this meant that I needed to call in a different builder and this one took in that I knew what I was talking about and we came to an agreement on what needed to be done.  His team did a great job and he has helped us make decisions about other stuff we need to do, like problems with the floor etc.  

I'll stop this post now so it isn't too long and will post more about how things are going in a day or so.  

Here is a pic of me just to make you laugh.......The DIY QUEEN on her throne.