Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Restoration - Week Eleven

The main progress this week has been:
  • Four window openings have been repaired ready for their new windows, 3 with newly built brick arches.
  • Our bathroom window opening has also been restored to its original size using its original brick arch.
  • The new oil fired boiler installation was started.


The first of the smaller windows was fitted after minor repairs to the jambs.

I don't think I've posted shots showing the rebuild and reinstatement of a window arch so here are a few shots to show the process on one of the windows rebuilt by Stuart this week:

Having hacked out the modern outer skin of brick and removed the lintel, the brickwork above is supported by Acroprops while the jambs are repaired. 
With the lintel replaced and a wooden former in place, the arch is restored.
Finally, thin sections of brick are cut and laid over the arch to complete the job.
One part of the project we were looking forward to was restoring the bathroom window to its original size which was revealed when an old arch was discovered under the cement render. This will let a lot more light into the room which is on the darker north side of the house.

This was the old bathroom window and its original arch which had been hidden under the render.
Work starts on the removal of the brick infill, improving the view from the bathroom 
We found old soggy plasterboard on the left side of the reveal and a nice big oak beam over the top of the opening which, although it had been hidden beneath plasterboard for decades, seems to be sound and will be left in place to eventually be a feature in the room.

The new opening is much more in proportion with the other windows on this gable.
Other windows were fitted and glazed leaving only 4 more to go as well as our new door, all of which we hope will be fitted next week, although its looking like the weather may be turning wetter.

Another window goes into its newly repaired opening. 

Because of their weight, the windows were fitted without glass and the triple glazed units installed once the windows were in place.
The brick corbelling  on OLF has been painted red and we want to remove this so that these bricks can be limewashed. This week a paint stripper was tried with some success but it thinned and smeared, rather than removing the paint. Blasting is probably an option but we would rather not go to the expense of doing that and now that the new windows are fitted, sand blasting at this stage runs a high risk of damaging the glass. The plan is to try brick acid next but if that proves ineffective we may eventually have to use a masonry paint which will match the limewash on the rest of the brickwork. Before doing that however, we will test limewash on the stripped bricks to see if it will cover them and adhere to the treated surfaces.

Removing masonry paint from brick is proving difficult without blasting.
Finally on Thursday, we had the welcome sight of our oil boiler being installed. In an ideal world with no financial restrictions it would have been nice to install a wood pellet boiler but those installations would cost about £10k, excluding the cost of a building to house the boiler, fuel hopper and heat storage tank. While not the greenest choice, our new  condensing oil boiler is 95% efficient and so at least it will make better use of the oil than our old, thirsty range!

At last! By this time next week, we will be ready for winter.
The weather next week is not forecast to be too good - wet and windy. Nevertheless the hope is that we can continue to make progress on :
  • Fitting the last four windows
  • Installing the new door
  • Finish grouting the west wall
  • Start repointing brickwork in lime mortar and...
  • Start internal work on making good around the new windows

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