Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Restoration - Week Fifteen

Almost 4 months since the start of building work, all major brickwork repairs to the walls have been completed. This leaves only repointing of poorer areas to be completed and that work was continued by the bricklayers Gareth and Stuart throughout the whole of week 15.

Other work started this week was the preparation of window and door reveals ahead of the plasterer who will be with us again in a few weeks. We also saw some clearing up inside the house where lime grout had leaked through the west wall (in significant amounts) into the living areas and cellar.

The oak arch infills, each of which is a unique size, handmade on site by Ben the carpenter, all received their second coat of linseed oil paint and these should hopefully be installed next week.

Another job completed this week was the upgrading of the electrics to bring OLF up to modern standard. Whilst rewiring wasn't needed since all cables are in good condition, the ring main had to be split into smaller sections, some junction boxes were upgraded to more waterproof versions in the cellar, earth cables were connected to incoming water and oil supplies, a new larger earth cable and ground spike was fitted and a new consumer unit installed.

Apart from all of the above, attention switched to the chimneys as a new "lift" was added to the scaffold to reach the big chimney in the centre of the house.
The scaffold heads skyward to reach the big central chimney
Once we had access to this chimney it was quickly apparent that it would need major attention - more so than originally thought. The mortar was extremely damaged and looks like a very weak mixture had been used in previous repairs. This leaves only one sensible option - a complete rebuild of this chimney which will start next week. The chimney stack will be taken down to roof level and completely rebuilt using a suitable lime mortar and repaired with reclaimed bricks to match the present style. We think there may be a total of 4 flues, with 2 currently hidden beneath the flaunching. If thats the case, we will probably install 4 pots to restore the original look of this big stack.

The poor state of the big chimney stack was very clear once we were able to take a close look.

There was better news from the other chimney stack which, apart from needing some repointing and a few bricks replaced is otherwise in good condition. So we will have less work to do on this one since we had budgeted to rebuild the top six courses. The leadwork will also be repaired.

The second chimney stack is raked out to be repointed and will have the lead work repaired.

So, the scaffold not only gave us a better view of the chimney stacks, it also provides a great vantage point for a unique view of the garden and surrounding Shropshire countryside - a reminder of why we are liucky to live in such a beautiful spot.

Next week we hope to see visible changes outside with repairs starting on the big chimney and the timber arches fitted over the windows.

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