Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Restoration - Week Thirteen

A bit of a weird photograph to open this week's Blogpost. This is the view inside the top of the stone wall which has been filled with lime grout. Ignore the bluish green colours caused by the flash. This picture was taken through a hole about the size of a tennis ball and you can clearly see the level area of white lime grout at the top of the wall. All the voids have been filled with this stuff which has set solid and will increase in strength over the coming months as it dries out.

The lime grout has set solid inside the stone wall
This week work started on the west gable which until now was still rendered above the lean to below. This gable also has a chimney stack on it and we didn't know what kind of state this would be in when the render was removed. The news was not good.......

Work starts on removing the cement render from the east gable
Once the chimney stack was revealed it was obvious that it would need extensive repointing where the old lime mortar has been eroded by the layer of cement and the moisture which has been trapped in this wall for decades.

This old chimney is going to need a lot of repointing
In places the render came away easily on this gable whereas in others it was quite stubborn. Eventually after a couple of days work the whole gable and chimney is revealed.

All render removed form the east gable and the scaffold is extended to reach the chimney stack
Repointing began this week on the east gable where the wall and chimney will need quite a bit of work.
A lot of the remaining work on the house is repointing brickwork and roof verges. There are also a lot of bricks to be cut to fill in holes between the roof and the gable ends where cement had been packed into gaps. But before repointing the brickwork a lot of raking our has to be done to remove the remnants of old cement render and in places some failed lime mortar. Because of the softness of the old bricks powered grinders were out of the question for raking out and a hand chisel is the tool of choice. Of course this makes it a slow job but will avoid damage to the edges of the bricks.

Stuart chisels out old cement mortar in preparation for repointing
The first stage in repointing after the gaps are filled with lime mortar
The pointing is finished off after a day by consolidating it with a stiff brush and removing the excess mortar

One job started last week was the repair to the front door jambs and the reinstatement of a brick arch above the door. Early this week that was finished off although a new door frame is still to be fitted and the door will be sanded and repainted in linseed oil to match the windows.

Door jambs repaired and the new arch is built
The scaffolders were back this week to build a new lift on the north and south gables as well as raising the scaffold to the level of the chimney stack on the east gable. This allowed repointing to start on the higher parts of the gables and the fitting of cut bricks to fill gaps under the eaves.

Gareth starts preparations on the north gable to lay cut bricks below the eaves
Next week there is a lot more repointing to be done as well as the remaining brickwork repairs on the north side of the house. Hopefully we can also start to fit some of the timber arches above the windows. Apart form these things there are still a lot of smaller jobs to be finalised:

  • Raking out and pointing the stonework around the base of the walls.
  • Repairing the window reveals and soffits inside the house.
  • Rebuilding the top courses on both chimney stacks.
  • Relaying the ridge tiles.
  • Lifting and relaying the bottom rows of roof tiles on the west side to increase the overhang and fit new guttering.

..........and some other things I've no doubt forgotten!

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