Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Restoration - Week Nineteen

Even after almost 5 months this old house can still surprise us and this week it produced a big (unpleasant) one! Within about two hours of arriving on site on Wednesday, Tim the roofer revealed the latest secret. Tim was stripping about 6 rows of tiles above the guttering on the west wall, which we already knew were not overhanging the gutter meaning that in some places rainwater was running down the wall. What we didn't know was quite how much damage this water had done over the decades.

What Tim found was an oak wall plate rotted to a stick and numerous rotted ends to the rafters.

"Come up and have a look at this but keep your eyes shut" said Tim. -
I knew this meant trouble!
As I stood not quite sure how terminal this decline was, Tim and Ben the carpenter chatted casually about ordering a piece of oak and tanalised softwood for delivery the next day. At times like this I'm very grateful to have experienced people working on this project who have been there and done it all before.

What were also revealed by the removal of the tiles were the enormous curves in this old wall. This had a big impact on replacing the wall plate to follow the curve. Having collected the timber the same afternoon, the guys were able to have everything looking shipshape by lunchtime the following day!

Within 24 hours the new section of curvy oak wall plate is fitted and tied to the stonework with stainless steel pins and the new ends are spliced onto the rafters having removed the rotted ends.
By Friday afternoon the roof was battened and ready to be re-tiled. 

The repaired section is ready for re-tiling

Removing the tiles at the top of this big stone wall had also given us a nice view of the lime grout (all 4.8 tons) which had been poured into strengthen the wall several weeks ago. The grout was level on top where it had settled and set so Ben decided to add to the history of OLF with his own record of the latest restoration.

Hopefully a future builder will find Ben's mark in the lime grout in another 400 years!
Another important job done this week was the fitting of air bricks into all three gables, bringing some much needed ventilation to the loft spaces. This will be a big help in keeping the roof timbers dry in future.

Two of the airbricks fitted in the gables to provide air movement in the roofspaces

So its been a busy week with some serious restoration on the roof timbers successfully completed. Next week should be the last week of building work before the team leave us after 5 months hard work. There are still a lot of tile repairs to be done, ridge tiles to be replaced and quite a lot of plastering to be completed inside. After all that the scaffold will be coming down, the site cleaned up and some new stone spread in the drive and yard to prepare OLF for a very Merry Christmas! 

Some of the scaffold was removed already this week around the big west chimney stack, allowing us the first clear view of this newly restored stack with its new pots.

The newly restored west stack complete with new pots.

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