All quiet on the Western front? Hardly!

Sorry for the lack of posts, it has got to that stage of the project where I’m working until stupidly late every night trying to get things ready for the tradies, or for the most part, painting… so getting stuff up onto the site has had to fall off a bit.

Not to fear though, there are videos and photos galore to share, they just need to be put up here with adequate explanations 🙂

What has happened since the last post? Glad you asked…

In Episode 3 you would have seen what the house looked like sans arches and sans posts, well as I write now it has nicely finished plaster over all areas, including the area with the two new beams, and has actual, honest to goodness floorboards in the living and loungerooms! Yup, the floor is in already in those room (not sanded/polished yet mind you) and it looks… Su-fricken-purb! That area has gone from two separate rooms with dated fixtures and colours and ridiculous outdoor doors, to a really modern, swanky looking open space, with a high ceilinged main area leading to a lower ceilinged (actually… ahem, slightly less than regulation height actually… *cough*) living room with wonderful views to the garden. I am so looking forward to living in this house!

Allow me to mention some of the steps that have occurred to get here (I imagine some will get their own posts at a later date):

  • Our electrician has done a lot of point moving and hole cutting ready for lights etc. One area he didn’t quite get right was preparing a site for the lightswitch to go next to the new door into Eibhlin’s room, he placed it within the space of where the door ended up going, and the wires went through a bottom plate (piece of wood that frames the bottom of a wall… except this bottom plate actually went below floor level down to the joists) that ran across the door opening protruding above floor height… so… one night while I was there to paint I had to saw off this piece of wood, and then discovered that I could not get the wires out of the door area or from the hole in the wood without having to disconnect them… and seeing as they were live 240v (Actually, we’re 230V since 2000 apparently) lines I had to turn off the power at the fuse box to do so… Did I mention it was night? And I have no torch… so by the light of my mobile phone I untangled, separated and re insulation taped the whole setup. (Always have a few rolls of insulation tape in your toolbox 🙂 ). That switch has since been properly installed and is all A OK.
  • We got a delivery of 15mm structural plywood for going under the floorboards throughout the house. We got them via our flooring guy’s cousin, and apparently the price we got them for was below wholesale for anywhere else that Belinda rang… so yeay for our flooring guy! They got delivered on the day of our kid’s first school play, so I had to go and move all 144sqm of them into the house that night after watching the play! (Because it was a wet night and the plywood can not get wet… no sirree)
  • Our flooring team (I didn’t know that there would be a team, thought it was just going to be the guy we’ve used in the past on his own, but he came with a team of 2 more this time around)
    Secured subfloor

    Glue required to secure subfloor and stop movement. Eibhlin as scale model

    proceeded to lay the plywood a few days later and early in the day called me to say that the timber subfloor that our builders had installed was ‘shit’ and that they had had to use packing and flooring glue to secure it to the concrete as there was movement in it. And then on top of that the area where the subfloor negotiates the ramping up concrete was not level and easily came away from the concrete. It just wouldn’t be good enough as it was.

    I sent off a detailed email to our builder explaining that we needed it rectified, and soon after that I got a call from our flooring guy saying he’d do it properly for us (the sloping portion) for a couple of hundred. Belinda called our builder to see if he would be able to come and fix it as he should have done it correctly the first time and discovered his wife had just had a baby… so with him out, the flooring guys repaired that piece of work. (Does not instil great confidence in the builders unfortunately)

  • Painting the house has been going at full speed (With another awesome effort by Belinda’s Dad and Helen on the painting front, while Belinda’s Mum looked after the most disruptive member of the family again for the day… and cooked dinner for us that night!) because we really need to get the ceilings and walls all done quickly. We want them done before I put on the skirting boards, which have to be done before the floors are sanded and polished… and we do NOT want to be painting the walls after the skirting boards are in. So far we’ve managed things such that we’ve used NO masking tape, and we’d like to keep it that way (dangit as I spent $30 on the good ‘blue’ stuff too)!
  • As the new floor is higher by the amount of 15mm for the height of the plywood + 19mm for the floorboards + some amount for woodglue, all doors need to be raised up that amount. Otherwise the doors either would not be able to open at all, or would jam on the floor when they did as below.
    Back door before cutting

    Showing how back door would have hit floor if not cut

    I have just removed all internal doors for now (mostly by knocking out the pins in the hinges, but a couple of cases these would not budge so the hinges have been unscrewed) but the front and back doors all needed cutting to size. The front door was pretty straight forward, it’s a solid wood door and bloody hefty, so was just a straight circular saw cut along the bottom.

    Front door a bit shorter

    Front door with new clearance for floorboards

    The backdoors were just as easy to cut… however they are hollow core internal doors (tisk, tisk should never be installed as external) and have apparently been cut down to size once before, as on cutting one of them I ended up cutting straight into the hollow interior (all hollow core doors have a fairly wide section of solid wood at top and bottom that gives you quite a bit of room for adjusting the height)… just as well we plan on replacing every door in the house really. And yes, that’s a very rough cut at the bottom of the rear door. If I actually cared about the door I would have run a strip of masking tape along the line to cut, as this stops such tearing of the wood… but I didn’t care about the finish as it is very much a temporary door… so there… ner 😛

    Back door after cutting

    Back door after cutting

  • As mentioned, the actual floorboards are now in through the lounge and living room, and they a) look awesome, and b) feel rock solid underfoot… I hope my skirting board job will be of good enough quality to match the floors!

So, yeah, that’s where things are now, we have the master bedroom entirely painted (ceilings, walls and window frame all double coated), ceilings in boys and Eibhlin’s rooms are double coated, bathroom ceiling and walls are single coated (thanks Belinda’s Dad), Eibhlin’s walls are single coated, the window frames in the living/lounge rooms are double (and in some cases triple due to dark wood stain colour beneath still being visible through primer and 2 coats of gloss) coated (thanks Helen!) . The amount of time it takes to prepare and paint those windows should not be underestimated, they are huge and plentiful! Oh, and last night Belinda and I also primer coated all the new plasterwork. Still lots more to paint, and STILL the skirting boards to go on BEFORE the floors can be sanded and polished… but the end is almost in sight… which is just as bloody well as we move in in a little over a week!