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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.


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