Monday, 13 October 2014

Filling holes with lime and installing a windowsill

We're having a wood-fired range installed to run the central heating and hot water at the end of November. But before it can be put in, we needed to get the walls on to which radiators will be mounted plastered.

Particularly in need of some plastering and repair is the Sitting Room, where the most obvious evidence that this was never a rich-man's house is still currently visible.

The original walls are a wonderful hotch-potch of stones, bricks, tiles, mud, lime and muck. They're flung together by hands that had other things to spend money on, and whilst they're solid, they're not the type of wall that you really leave on show.

So we set about mixing a sloppy blend of NHL5 (because we had some spare), builders sand, and a little sharp sand, and shoved it (literally) in to any hole that was deep enough to present a problem for the plasterer.

The place now looks like a much flatter, but still wonderfully bodgy mix of materials.

We also had to get a window sill in place so that the plasterer could work up to it, so I cut a large piece of green oak and layed it on a bed of lime.

Lime mortar on flagstone floor

I spent a couple of days laying the mortar between the flagstones in the Lounge.
We ordered pre-coloured NHL5 mix (just add water) so we could get a specific and consistent colour throughout. The room used two 20Kg bags.

It mixed super easily - much easier than creating limecrete with sand and NHL - and a mix which started off as the consistency of humous lasted around 4 hours before it became too dry to be properly workable. The floor, and in particular the gaps which were being filled, were constantly wetted down - we used an extra 7 litres of water just keeping things damp to prevent too much suction on the lime mix.


We had to spend a couple of weeks playing don't step on the crack, which was fun.

It was a bit dark when it first went down, and for the subsequent couple of week, and I had resigned myself to the fact that we'd made a horrible mistake with the colouring. It seemed to be much more blue than we'd anticipated, and much darker.

Thankfully, it has dried to something much nearer the colour that we'd hoped for, and it blends in with only a minimal colour contrast to the flagstones. The effect is very reminiscent of an old church now that it's dry - 3 weeks later.

Stud wall for upstairs shower room

We've started putting in the structure for the upstairs shower room which, when complete, will mean we can rip out the current WC downstairs and crack on with renovating what was the Sun Room. The current WC sits in an extension which shares a (rotten) roof with the Sun Room.

We're introducing a lot of moisture and heat to an area of the house that has always been dry, so we've looked carefully at how best to manage that and do the least harm possible to the fabric of the building.

It's quite odd, but we've had to turn the breathability thing on its head - we don't want the walls to soak up moisture at all in this room, and instead we're installing an intelligent moisture extracting fan and cladding the walls in an insulated non-breathable board, to minimise the internal/external temperature difference and therefore condensation.

I put in a floating batten set on the external wall. Floating so we can run central heating pipes underneath it and butt the shower up to the stud wall. It's insulated using earthwool recycled bottles,

The wall has then been clad in moisture-proof board (a single sheet on the end wall), with a small gap at the right-hand side so we can run the piping for a mascerator at a later date.

Since this photo was taken, we've purchased a period-style bathroom suite and measured everything up for fitting.