Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Restoration - Week Nine

This week has seen the most visible signs of progress since the beginning of this project.

  • The inside of the new kitchen wall was insulated and fully prepared for lime plastering, including the electrics required for new sockets and wiring for the new boiler. 
  • The long awaited windows arrived and the first of these were fitted in the renovated, arched openings. 
  • The last unstable section of the big west stone wall was repaired and pointed.  
  • Stainless steel Spiro Ties were fixed into the stone wall to tie it together, further strengthening the repairs.
  • Grouting began on the stone wall with about 400kg of ready mixed grout being poured into the first section.
The new wall on the inside of the kitchen was battened out to straighten the curve on the inside, packed with mineral wool, then Celenit wood fibre boards were fixed onto the battens providing a nice breathable surface for the lime plaster which will be applied next week.

The kitchen wall ready for lime plastering.
A major part of our renovation are the new triple glazed timber windows which we've chosen to paint with linseed oil paint, since this is a natural material with a very long life and minimal maintenance compared to modern solvent based paints. 

The solid walls of our house are still of course a significant source of heat loss since not all external walls are insulated internally. However we hope the new argon filled, triple glazing with an inner pane of heat reflective Pilkington K glass will help keep the indoor climate more comfortable.

Because of the weight of these windows they were delivered unglazed and will be glazed once fitted.

They're here! Our windows arrive and we can start to fill the holes in our house!

Within an hour the first frame is being fitted into the new kitchen wall

Ben makes a check on the levels which are not easy to set in a curvy wall!
The timber infills in the brick arches will be fitted once the windows are in place and will of course be painted to match.

By the end of the week our living room window is also fitted and glazed. Finally it feels like things are improving and that we're making real progress.

After 9 weeks living with a plastic sheet, we have a window back in our living room.
This week there has been a huge amount of skilled work done onthe west wall. In particular, one small section between two brick buttresses has been the focus of a lot of attention. This part of the wall has had the render carefully removed, allowing repairs and infilling by John the mason, since this section was seriously bulging, hollow and full of holes requiring new stone.

There are some big holes and hollow areas in need of careful repair
John starts the job of filling the voids and replacing missing or damaged stone.
Render removed. Next step is to replace damaged and missing stone and then use a gun to squirt lime mortar in between the stones as deep as possible. 
Pointing the repaired sections in lime mortar.
By mid week the repairs and repointing are done.
Having now completed the rebuild and repointing of this big wall which is about 50m2, the next task is to insert Spiro Ties to connect the inner and outer skins before grouting. This will increase the strength of the wall enormously. The first step is to drill a hole through the wall to the inner skin, about 1 per m2.

Jack starts drilling holes through the wall for the Spiro Ties
These stainless steel rods will add lateral strength to this old wall
The Spiro Ties are inserted into the holes using a special tool to inject a resin to surround and seal the tie in the stonework.

Drilled stone ready for a Spiro Tie
Inserting a tie and resin
Spiro Tie and resin fixed into the stonework
So now that this wall has been repaired, repointed and tied together with steel rods, the grouting can begin. If you've read some other posts in this Blog you'll know that this involves pouring a lime mortar slurry into the wall. The aim is to fill remaining voids and bind the structure of the entire wall, resulting in a strong, solid and breathable wall. Grouting was started on what we knew was one of the more hollow sections, the bulge between the brick buttresses.

Stuart pours lime grout into the first section of wall
This first section was about 1 metre up the wall and around 400kg of grout (dry weight) was poured into this hole before any sign of it filling was seen. Hopefully this will prove to be one of the worst places as this grout is not cheap and the material costs are significant on such a large wall.

As well as all these major jobs this week, there have also been a number of other things going on. The crumbling brick work on the south west corner was rebuilt and repointing of some of the repaired arches was finished off.

Stuart has nicely rebuilt this corner with a stepped section at the top.
Repointing is finished off above one of the restored arches
So, it's been a massive week in the restoration of OLF and we hope that next week will see more big changes - more windows going in and our kitchen wall plastered. 

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