An unexpected turn…

There is no doubt that the big unanswered question on this project was going to be about the roof. How much work and what was it going to cost? What would show up when the tiles came off? Would it make me weep openly or simply be the cause of even larger quantities of alcohol to be consumed? Or both?

Once the tiles, old batten and felt were off we realised that one side of the roof had to be fitted with new rafters all the way along due to a massive dip about one third up. We knew (sort of) that something was amiss. I am pretty sure I saw a load of squirrels using the roof as a ski jump one night – or that might be another one of my dreams!

We sorted the dip. I was not expecting the same problems on the other side of the roof. I don’t know what I was thinking! Just a 9inch dip from one end to the other again at about 1/3 of the way down.

Oh well. It is what it is I say to myself each night as I empty another piggy bank.

But the roof has thrown another little surprise at us. Actually, not the roof but the felt that we used or to use its proper term – ‘breathable membrane’. With the new rafters sorted, the felt went down and new batten was nailed into place. First side done and so we gleefully moved onto the second side.

But no. This felt stuff is supposed to be waterproof. Even during the first few nights it started showing leakage. Drips inside the property. Rob the roofer spoke to the supplier. Then we had a night of frost and the inside of the felt froze…and when it defrosted the resultant water rained into the property – literally. Puddles and all.

A word with the product rep resulted in an immediate ‘not our products fault’. Very helpful. Thanks for listening.

Thankfully, our building materials supplier is a little more reactive. We swapped out 3 rolls for another batch of the same product and some of it has already been installed on the other side of the roof. So far it is bone dry. The original is still soaking wet. We think the first lot was a dodgy batch. The product rep – yes the one who is so helpful – says its impossible…! Didn’t expect that response…!

So…now we wait. The product rep is coming to site on Tuesday along with the building materials man. We probably need to rip out what we have done which not only means additional labour and material costs but extending the scaffolding hire – and I don’t intend to pay for it.

Rob the roofer has never seen this before. Neil has never seen this before. Andy has never seen this before and I have never seen this before. But to be fair, I have never seen breathable membrane up close and personal before so I don’t think I count in this regard.

In the meantime, a skip arrived which means only one thing.

My ongoing relationship with a wheelbarrow and spade continues.

There is no rest…

Reaching for the sky…

This building project has many challenges. I have done what I can to plan in advance and I constantly update my budget and timeline but I still get surprised either by things I hadn’t even considered or by the actual cost.

We joke about how much timber we have put into this house. Anyone would think I am developing a timber frame building…but alas, no. The old timber has either been eaten, has rotted from damp or has warped because it wasn’t installed properly the first time. New roof purlins and rafters, new ceiling and floor joists – all of it properly measured, cut and installed to Building Regs requirements. If I feel I need a walk in the woods I just pop into the building! All I am missing are the squirrels!

The external roof work started on 8 January and we have managed 5 days of active work in 2 weeks. That’s the problem of doing this in January. The weather plays a big part in how much progress can be made. The entire roof is receiving a new membrane and battens. We are retaining the tiles for one side of the roof, but installing new tiles for the other side. A bit of repointing around the chimneys and the addition of a new chimney pot should mean that the eventual new owners won’t have to touch the roof for 20 plus years.

On the rainy and/or windy days, we continue to work inside. Stud walls are going up and brickwork is being finalised. The power supply to the building has been moved and I have chosen a woodburner for the main lounge. This means the liner can be installed into the chimney whilst the scaffolding is in place.

The coming week looks good for cold sunshine so the roof should get some loving attention all week. My job…as always..is to keep the site tidy. My relationship with the wheelbarrow is steady.

I am not going onto the roof…that is one job too high for me. But I am slowly cleaning up the outside of the building in readiness for rendering and will be introduced to a high powered pressure washer this week.

Western Power have been in to move the mains electricity cable into the building. BT Openreach are popping by to remove some of their 1950’s wiring still attached to the building and I am having lengthy communication with the local authority about a street light positioned directly in line with 2 of the bedrooms. Watch this space!

Mr. Clooney (aka the caravan) has been treating me well. Cabin fever does strike occasionally. I have been pretty lucky so far. A few gales but no lightning yet. Lots of rain but no noticeable leaks and only one week of consistently freezing weather.

Have I spoken too soon…!

Quick, quick, slow…

Happy New Year.

I certainly hope it will be. We are back at it in South Somerset. Two weeks off for Xmas and I so enjoyed the comfort, central heating, showers and more in my little flat in Bristol. But I did miss not working on this project. That is typical of me…never happy unless I am pushed and challenged.

So the challenge continues. We will call this week 17, even if it is technically week 19.

I left my home comforts in Bristol at 6am on Monday morning to avoid the traffic and to ensure I was on site for the start of the work day. Andy and Neil returned at 8.15am, smiling as ever. Patrick the scaffolder turned up as promised before 8:30am, shortly after which a large order of tiles, roofing battens and felt arrived. Back to it then.

If you have been reading this blog regularly you will know that we have installed new purlins and made some significant changes to the roof from the inside. Once the scaffolding is in place, the roof will be stripped and one quarter of it will require new rafters. The whole roof requires new felt and then one half will have new tiles. Many say don’t do the roof in January and February. But we cannot proceed with internal works until the roof is done and I cannot delay the project until the weather turns. So I am just hoping we don’t get hit by any seriously adverse weather conditions. I expect the work will be quick, quick, slow…stop! Then start again.

My role during this work will be limited. I have no wish to climb onto the roof, nor will it help if I do. I will be removing all the accoutrements currently nailed or screwed to the side of the building from light fittings, sign brackets, pipework, etc. I will also be preparing the walls in readiness for the render – to be completed towards the end of the roofing project. This should keep me occupied for a week at least.

We also have a couple of jobs to finish prior to the rendering. This includes removal of the old walkway to the outside toilets along with bricking up a doorway and fitting three new windows. I can assist with all of this.

Happy to see Mr. Clooney

I am back in the caravan. I decided the caravan should have a name so it’s now called Mr. Clooney. I gave Mr. Clooney a thorough going over when I returned having left him in the cold for two weeks!

I even got a bit of a sweat on and he has warmed up wonderfully!

Er…