Saturday, May 29, 2010
Back of House is Removed
Okay. Where did we leave off? Yes, the back extension demolition has begun. The plan is to knock out the entire wall between the two rooms to make one large kitchen and dining room (and music room). The back of the existing extension will be rebuilt in old yellow London stock brick to match the above (which is actually to building standards. You aren't allowed to build in new brick although some dodgy builders do.) Now the entire wall is removed between the two rooms minus the supporting post in the middle. The roof on the rebuilt extension will then slant up instead of being a flat roof. In it will be 3 velux windows (sky lights). The back door will be replaced with French doors and the window with a unit of 3 sash windows. The drawings above were what I sent to the window makers. The big dilemma is whether to make the windows out of plastic (easy to maintain and cheaper) or wood (beautiful, original looking and expensive, but can warp and need repainting). All the windows desperately need replacing in the house. They are of the 60's slat variety that when fully closed a breeze can still be felt. We were so frozen this last winter that we decided they were also a priority. We have opted for plastic windows but with an original sash design in the back of the house. It will be cheaper, but the fact that the sun faces the back of the house means that peeling paint and warped wooden doors is more inevitable. In the front, the design on the street is very ornate and it is shadier, we may get nice wooden ones in keeping with the look. Now the roof and back wall is gone. All this is done in a day by two New Zealand guys. The company that we have hired to do the extension is excellent (Scott McCabe and Associated). They come with a 14 year reputation for being meticulous about building regulations and building a structure safely and well (with a 10 year guarantee). You really do want reputable builders when your house is attached to two others on either side. For instance, this steel which runs across the back of the house was put in when the existing extension was build 20 years ago. If that back wall slips so do the neighbour's walls and their plaster cracks inside. The most nightmarish situation would be to have it fall and probably several houses on either side will also be effected if not condemned. Replacing this will be a box steel which is a square frame that will run across the top, down both side walls and under the floors. This will hold up the back of the house and allow the added weight of a future loft. The footings are exposed for the inspector to come and see (red bricks). The builders tell us they look pretty good and fingers crossed that they will pass inspection. The "brickie" as they call the brick layers here, has his supplies all stacked up. The breeze block bricks (large grey) build the inner wall, then a space for insulation and air, and then the old London stock (far right). The red bricks are structural and I am not sure where they are going. The old wall was just cut in half with a diamond cutter. Now we know why the last owner covered the whole thing in pebble dash. It was only breeze block underneath, not a nice brick to have exposed. So here we are. What next? Our brickie, Andy, is hard at work now. He is taking out the remainder of the wall down to the footings so that what is built up is all nice new brick. It was Andy's birthday the day I took this picture of him. Maybe that is a birthday cigarette hanging out of his mouth! Ha ha! He is a very nice guy. A better view of what he is chipping away.