Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Restoration - Week Fourteen

This week has mostly been about repairs to the chimney on the east gable. After removing the render it was clear that this wall needed a lot of repairs and the chimney was in particularly poor condition.

Having removed damaged bricks and mortar, Stuart made a great job of restoring this section of the chimney.

There was another area of badly damaged brick further up just below the chimney stack. The stack will also require some rebuilding but that will be tackled over the coming weeks.

The bricks below the stack are transformed

When the render was removed form the east gable the ends of both purlins were revealed as they had only been covered in a thin layer of lime mortar under the render. We have decided to make a feature of these by repairing the brickwork around them and adding a flaunching of lime mortar around the timbers. After they are coated with limewash they should be adequately protected from the weather.

The brickwork and pointing around the purlins have been repaired and the exposed timber  will be a nice feature on the gable end.

There was also a lot of repointing and some brickwork repairs to be completed on the North gable this week. Below the eaves there had been a lot of gaps which had previously been filled with cement render and these have now been filled completely by cutting a lot of bricks to fit beautifully into the gaps.

Gareth has been busy on this gable end and made a great job of repairing the pointing and brickwork below the eaves

Another job going on quietly in the background this week and still to make a star appearance has been the making of the timber arches for above the windows. These are being made on site from oak and are at this moment in various stages of completion  in our temporary paint shop (our sitting room which has become a store for everything we have had to move from other parts of the house). As the Linseed oil paint takes forever to dry (at least 48 hours) and two coats are applied it will take some time before the first ones can be fitted. Each window and lintel placement is also a little different because of the variety of brickwork on the house, meaning that Ben the carpenter has made every one to a unique size and design to give the best fit and appearance once installed.

Ben had a very busy week making (and painting) bespoke oak arches for fourteen windows and doors.

One job which I decided to tackle was to remove the gypsum plaster from the chimney breast inside the kitchen. Having previously removed the tiles and cement from the fireplace we wanted to reveal the brickwork on the chimney breast to see if it could be restored and kept as an exposed brick feature in the kitchen. It will certainly need some repairs as there is no mortar left in places and there are a few old coats of paint in some places but we are hopeful it can be left as exposed brick once its cleaned up and repaired. 

One little piece of interest we found this week was some of the old lime mortar which fell out around the chimney breast. It had a lot of animal hair in it. This was commonly used to help bind together the mortar and the hair I found is still in amazing condition - very soft and flexible.

The chimney breast is revealed and in need of some TLC. 

So that was week 14, originally the estimated finish date for this project. However that was always only an estimate and various jobs have turned out to be more time consuming or complex than we originally thought. Its likely we have another month ahead of us before the building work is finished. We will certainly need to wait until spring before limewashing as the temperature will be far too low to apply this material by the time the building is ready for it.

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