Thursday, 13 November 2008

17 - The Catch Up

Alright time for a catch up. I have been awfully slack with updating this blog. There are a few reasons for this the main one is of course that I have been up to my eyes in house related activities for the last few months. Every weekend is filled up by filling the gaps left by dwindling finances and busy trades people on other jobs. We have been doing all sorts of things we would have previously preferred other more seemingly skilled people to tackle. Here is an update post or two or three that will hopefully and adequately bring my very patient, yet no doubt dwindling, audience up to speed with the goings on of the last 2 months or so.

The Roof and Tie-Downs

Following close behind the verandah work was that done with the roof. We finally found someone local who said they would do the elusive ‘tie downs’. These two words had done their best at keeping any excitement on our parts over the whole ‘we have just moved a nice house onto a nice property’ well under control. For months this concept of tie downs and exactly what they meant for us and our house consumed our thoughts and made for confusing and awkward conversations with a collection of carpenters, handymen, relatives and friends. We finally found someone who first knew what needed to be done to improve the wind rating of the roof, second could fit in such a job over a few weekends and third was a really nice person. He and his colleague started work. They discovered that the roof needed more then they first thought. It was old and required more batons and other supporting bits and pieces. Then they discovered that the house movers had not done the best of jobs in placing the roofing iron back on. It was all crooked and the ridge capping did not fit well. The end result was that they stayed for a week and fixed everything roof wise up. They strengthened and straightened the roof, replaced the ridge capping, and patched up the gutters. We were happy with the result and noticed a big difference. The cost was $4400 -hefty but necessary.

Vermin Proofing

Following the roof work the house was left with a number of gaps between the top of the external walls and the roof. There was about a 2 inch gap running along the north side of the house. The rest of the gaps here and there were due to missing or damaged weatherboards from the rough and ready house move. Some of these I located around the house and nailed them back into place. With others I found that I had to buy some replacement weather boards whose profile was similar to those on the house already. Anyway when this job was finally done we could begin on replacing the ceiling and insulating.

The Ceiling and Insulation

Well it looks like we finally found a use for plasterboard – the ceiling. I know, I know, what about my strong feelings? Well a few factors worked in together to enhance plasterboard’s election campaign. Firstly, when painted, it looks like the fibro sheeting that was removed from the ceiling in the first place. I kept all the cover strips that covered the joins in the fibro and we wanted to recreate the exact look. Secondly the plasterboard it is so cheap it hurts not to consider it, considering the diminishing pile of funds we have. We got enough for the entire house, delivered on site, for just under $800. And thirdly it will be quick to put up. Time has become an increasingly important element in this whole house business. The longer it seems to take the less we feel we have to spare.

It is a lot easier to install ceiling insulation as the ceiling goes in. Because of this we had to up our decision making speed on what to use. This was quite a process. We were just going to go with fiberglass bats because of the cost and light weight etc. Then we were turned off fiberglass as we were suspicious of its long term health affects and it’s itchy. Then we thought we’d get wool. Then we noticed that the wool was expensive. Then we also noticed that it had to have a large amount of polyester in it to keep its spring. Then we thought why not cut out the wool and just go with the polyester. Then we did just that. The product we chose was Green Stuf .

Alright back to the ceiling. I employed the services of a local handyman and hired a wind up lifty thing from a building hire place and went to work one weekend. Between the three of us we got the lot up. I’m glad we hired the plasterboard lift we would not have been able to do it otherwise considering the height of the ceilings, the size of the rooms, and the limited number of our limbs. The thing that burnt up the time was that we wanted to cover the joins in the cover strips we kept in the same patterns that were there before. To do this we had to cut every piece of plasterboard that went up, length ways. Now we are left with very little plastering work so I guess it evens out. As this goes to two finger type, we have not yet attempted to attach the recycled cornices or cover strips. More on that as it happens.

Moving and Separating the Toilet and the Bathroom

Before this though, we decided to move the bathroom to where the laundry was on the back deck. We were going to do this in a few years time but with the news of another baby on the way we thought we’d do it now. This will free up a room inside the house for activities such as sewing, office work and things like that. In about 8 years that room will probably become a child’s bedroom.

The laundry was large enough to split into a separate toilet and bathroom. We prefer that in a house. One need not poo where one bathes. Jan built an internal wall and we cut a hole out of the external wall with a circular saw to match a nice narrow secondhand door we purchased for $40. So now we have a bathroom and a toilet opening out onto the deck. It seems rather nice to leave the house momentarily, cross a small part of the deck and enter the bathroom or toilet room. The laundry had been lined in asbestos sheeting that was removed before the move. This made things easier as far as building walls and cutting into other walls goes.

The wall builder

The wall

We decided to line the walls of the bathroom and toilet with VJ paneling. It is about 9mm thick and 1200mm by 2400mm and cost about 55 clams each. We needed nine. The walls were insulated before the paneling went on and the whole thing is being done at the moment on free weekends along with tens of other projects. For these few walls we used fibreglass batts.

Meanwhile I removed all the floor and wall tiles in the old bathroom, which, turns out, was always a bathroom. This was an awful, awful job. With a demolition mallet in one hand, a crowbar in the other, and asbestos proof mask and suit on, in case the sheeting under the tiles warranted such armoury, I methodically bashed and bashed and peeled and broke my way through. I could hardly move my arms for the next week and, for the first time in my 32 years, felt I was getting old.

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