I set my alarm to wake me at seven o’clock on Saturday morning (7th) but I woke up at six. Quite a normal thing for me, the alarm is set as a back-up. Why did I need to get up so early? Well a few days ago the end panel of glass in the main bathroom had shattered and a replacement would be delivered early in the morning. We still have no real idea why the panel broke but when the new one is fitted early in the following week it will be installed slightly differently. I am writing this on the afternoon of the seventh. When the guy delivered it he carried it under his arm and I learned later the package weighed 32 Kg. There was no way I would or even could carry it up the stairs to the bathroom. I would have to wait until one of my two sons paid a visit so that two of us could carry it. I wanted to carry on with the little project of refurbishing and decorating the cellar storage room. It may be a little project but there is plenty to do and it takes time. My jobs for the day would be to repair the holes in the ceiling and elsewhere and apply as much plaster as I could on the day. Following that I would be repairing the shelving in there and making it more secure and sturdy. I did most of that work before lunch then carried on with it after lunch. E came down and told me she had asked our youngest son who had paid us a short visit unbeknown to me to assist in carrying the glass panel upstairs. He then appeared in the cellar and told me he had already taken it upstairs. Must be great being that fit if you are a guy that is! Both my sons are extremely fit and strong as they work out at the gym. I stopped work around three o’clock as I didn’t want to work all day and nothing more could be done anyway. The plaster needed to dry out before I could touch it up and what other work needs doing would take too long to even begin. There is very little to show for the time I had spent working in the room but that is the way it goes with some tasks. So it would be late on Monday morning before I did any more work as I had an appointment to have a check-up at the doctor’s surgery and to order more medications first.
Progress on the cellar storage room is making headway but it is time-consuming. The main problem the room has is its location which is beneath the porch at the front door of the house. The rear wall backs onto the ground beneath the threshold and is prone to moisture ingress though it isn’t as bad as it could be. The only saving grace is the fact that the area outside the front door is covered with stone so the ground doesn’t get really wet.Now that the room is empty while work is ongoing the walls can be treated with silicon sealant which hopefully should solve any damp issues. Not all of the wall seems to be affected fortunately, just a few bricks. On Friday (6) after working in the room on and off for most of the day I gave the wall its first coat of sealant. I had started work in the morning concentrating on filling in some holes with bricks and later fixing timbers across the ceiling near the room entrance in order to strengthen it as it was necessary.
The holes in the following two pictures have yet to be filled and the wiring tidied up. They won’t be as easy as you might think for there is a void behind them being as they are between the ceiling joists. I was faced with similar problems when refurbishing the gym/boiler ceiling.
The next picture shows the storage cabinet that stood against the rear wall of the storage room. It is staying in its new position at the end of the workbench in the room we call the workshop as shown. This room could do with a face-lift too. At the very least it needs tidying up!
So there is plenty for me to do if I get bored but for now there is plenty to do on the storage room project.
I was so glad it was Monday for I could resume working on my latest small project which was to install the circuitry for the two 5 amp power outlets I wished to install in the main hallway. Taking days off make me restless but I know I must have days of rest and Sundays are those days I take. I would have started working as soon as I had eaten breakfast but breakfast was delayed, I was going to spend time on the gym equipment first. So later after breakfast I continued with the project first of all installing the cables and fitting the two power outlets for the lights. By the time I had done that part of the work it was time for lunch so I stopped work for an hour then began installing the photocell and its cabling. The picture below was taken just as it got dark enough outside to switch on the circuit to the lights.
Following that part of the installation which incidentally took longer than I thought it would, I was finally able to connect the time switch and the work was completed by five o’clock.
Yes, the walls need painting but there are plans afoot regarding the whole room anyway. A very old sink unit requires replacing and the room needs a general face-lift. It is the room we call the laundry but it also houses three chest freezers too. The time switch is on the left in the picture. We had to wait till almost eight o’clock before the lights came on.
The picture above was taken from a position just inside the ground floor wet room. The door to the cellar is just in the picture on the extreme right. The black and white ‘box’ on the right is in fact the ‘Smart Meter‘ interface unit which monitors both the electric and gas consumption. The time switch is set to be on between the hours of 4 pm and 2 am but the lights will only switch on if the photocell senses it is dark outside.
It was now Wednesday morning and I hadn’t anything special to look forward to in the way of work or anything else either but there was one thing I had to do nevertheless. I had to tidy up the gym/boiler room and collect and put tools, paint and paint brushes away as well as cleaning them beforehand. Thirty minutes should have been enough time but I ended up taking two and a half hours! Minor touching up of paintwork and giving the rear door which leads out into the garden a thorough cleaning both inside and out all added to the total time I had spent down in the room.
Note the washing had been cleared from the line by E the night before so the room appears as it does for the majority of the time. Even if all three washing lines are full of washing none of it would interfere with the use of any of the equipment in the room but look at the open space now that we have cleared out the clutter that once occupied it. The project is for all intents and purposes now complete but as I mentioned in yesterday’s post I have yet to treat the floor. Already I have the next project in my thoughts but I will tell you about that when I tackle it.
I write this mid-afternoon on Tuesday 27 th. The day feels cool and uninviting because of the wind and overcast sky. Not a day for sitting out in but earlier I had been out for a walk which was pleasant enough though the wind took the edge off things. I was having a day off work, no intentions of continuing with the project in the cellar, I just wanted to take a break. As it happens I had been working the previous day and had completed most of the basic work anyway. One very minor thing needs to be done, a sticking door. One of the doors on the cupboard needs a little shaving off near the bottom as it is sticking to the other door when closed. That will take all of two minutes to do at the most! So apart from filling in a few cracks in the floor and then sealing the whole floor the project is complete. Maybe it will have been the last Monday of the project if you disregard the floor. The room as it stands this afternoon simply requires tidying up but as you can see from the pictures it is in use as a laundry drying room which it always was anyway.
Clothes don’t hang in the room too often and in the warmer months seldom at all for we hang them on the washing line in the garden. It is very handy having a drying room for when the weather is bad. It appears at the moment that the floor inside the cupboard is slowly drying out now but it is a very slow process. The walls have dried out at least which only leaves the floor to do the same. Had we been aware of the problem months ago I am sure it wouldn’t have gotten so damp. I am at that stage now where I am looking for another project to tackle.
So Saturday (24) came along and I was up early once again. During the last few days we had discovered that the dampness in the bottom of the cupboard in the gym we have been decorating wasn’t drying up. It had to be caused by an ingress of water from outside the building. I had given it a few days to dry but it stayed wet. Two things are at work here. Firstly, the house walls were not constructed with a damp-proof course or membrane and secondly, the boiler room floor is below the ground level outside. I have no real idea why when it was laid the builders made it so. The house was built in 1877 but a quarter of the boiler room being part of an extension built we think at the turn of the century, that is 1900, was added to the already low floor. It is the only room below ground level at the rear of the house though at the front the rooms there are below ground only because earth was piled-up in front of the house…
There are vestiges of former windows below the soil level which have been bricked in. I suppose the thinking was because the ground the house stands upon is sandy there was enough drainage as not to become a problem. Anyhow on Friday I got to thinking about what I could do about the ingress of water and from where it was coming. When I took measurements I discovered that the floor inside the cupboard was nine bricks down from the window in the room but outside only seven courses are visible above the path and eight just where the wall ends at the grid. Now the grid is below the path so it puts it at the same level as where the dampness appears inside. On checking the brickwork I found gaps in the mortar at ground level and especially around the grid. I decided to mix some fine cement and use it to seal off the gaps both along the base of the wall and around the grid earthenware.
I used a small amount of what was left to patch up the plinth beneath the boiler
and then I set about painting the shelves and insides of the doors of the cupboard which now will only need touching up here and there,
Saturday and Sunday were forecast as dry and sunny and as I write this on Saturday lunchtime it is indeed sunny. It needed to be dry at least so the cement can set.
……or bit by bit. It wasn’t that I wanted to get up early but I had a really good night’s sleep and woke up just after six o’clock. I was downstairs and ready for breakfast by seven but as I usually do if up first I unlocked the porch and front doors. It was then I noticed the free newspaper in the letter box. It must have been delivered very early for if it had been delivered late in the evening E would have seen it when she locks up the front doors way after midnight or even after one o’clock as she most often stays up that late. I took it into the lounge and sat to read it for a half-hour before going into the kitchen for breakfast. That meant I had finished eating around eight so I thought I would get some painting done downstairs. E had an appointment at the hospital and had asked me to accompany her for she was expecting to receive a steroid injection as part of the treatment for her foot. Evidently she was told it could cause her to be unstable on her feet hence I would be there for transport and support. I wanted therefore to get at least some work done in the day knowing it might be impossible later. The appointment was at eleven-thirty and after that it would be lunch time. I managed to paint the interior walls of the cupboard with the white emulsion we have been using in the room by which time it was approaching eleven o’clock. I drove E to the hospital and we were there for nearly an hour. As it happened the injection had been put off til another day allowing other treatment to be tried instead. After we had paid a visit to the Post Office Sorting Depot E asked if we could visit Dobbies for a coffee. So after all that we didn’t get to eat lunch until two o’clock and then we relaxed for an hour watching catch-up tv. At three-thirty I decided to put on my overalls again and do some more painting.
The cupboard decoration would hopefully be finished the next day, Saturday though I may have to leave the floor untreated for a few more days whilst it thoroughly dries out. The only other decorating tasks in the room would be touching up the paintwork here and there. As yet we haven’t decided on what we will do with the floor but I think it will be simply patching up and sealing it.
Saturday (17 th) ended up being a busy day for me though it wasn’t all about the decorating down in the cellar. I wanted to complete the construction of the cupboard surround for the boiler but I didn’t get to work on that until after lunch. I surprised myself by getting up very early for after the previous day’s work I had been very tired going to bed and a sleep-in could have been a possibility. However, I didn’t rush into the work I promised I would do before continuing with the cellar job. For some time E had been hoping I would replace the fluorescent light in her workshop with a new LED unit and at the same time move it nearer to where she does most of her intricate work. I had purchased the new light a couple of days previously so I was obliged now to install it. That work took me less than an hour but most of that time was spent in preparation. Whilst I was doing that work I had put the robot floor cleaner to work in my bedroom. My next job was to vacuum the tops of the fitted furniture. I do this every few months for fluff and dust accumulates up there and if left can end up on the floor. It proves one thing, there must be a lot of dust floating about in the air. That work led to my cleaning the vacuum cleaner itself as I do that every few months too. I am not talking about just emptying the dirt but washing component parts and allowing them to dry before reinstalling them. I also replaced the 24 door and drawer knobs on my bedroom furniture.
After lunch I was finally able to continue with the work on the cellar. I completed the construction by cutting the plywood and fitting it to the sides of the boiler cupboard.……and then painting the whole unit with primer
I think I did enough for one day. It was five o’clock when I stopped work. After painting the unit with a couple of top coats it will be finished. I will then move on to the final construction work or rather I should say refurbishment of the room’s only storage cupboard. The only other task will be touching up on the paint work in various places and that will mark the end of the project unless we either seal the floor or paint it.
Just when things are beginning to look good something bad happens. Don’t you ever get that in life? E and I but mostly I have been plodding along getting the gym/boiler room in shape over the past few weeks and by today, that is as I write on the 12 th, everything is coming along fine. There is still some way to go yet and part of the reason for that is that I am finding extra things I can do and have decided to do in the room. As for the decoration the ceiling isn’t quite fully painted yet as are some of the heating pipes. There are still some holes to be filled and this cupboard to sort out…
..and I have also decided to build a cupboard around the boiler, not to cover the boiler itself but the surrounding pipes and fittings.
I plan to fit a door over the switch gear and removable panels where necessary to make maintenance easier. all that will remain visible is the boiler itself for there is no need to hide it. You cannot see the base of the boiler in this picture (above) but it is standing on a square paving slab which is supported by bricks on top of another paving slab. The space between the slabs is open so I plan to fill it in. It was done that way by the heating engineers many years ago when the boiler was replaced. On the right-hand-side of the boiler is the drain cock and I plan to fit a small outlet pipe through the brick wall with a valve on the inside which can be connected to using a flexible pipe to drain down the system if required. The flexible pipe will only be connected when it is needed. The pipe will therefore remain dry at all times. Aside from being able to shut off the water when draining the pipes the valve will also prevent insects from crawling through the pipe when it isn’t being used. You just have to think of everything! Anyway it all sounds intricate and complex but in reality it is all simple to do. The bad thing had nothing to do with the room we are working in but the garage where my van is housed. The roof has been leaking or rather letting rain water seep in. I wouldn’t mind but it is the area we had reconstructed late last year to accommodate the new garage door. Although the sealant is the best so I am told, it looks as though part of the timber it is protecting has bent and has consequently forced a tear in the sealant. As I write a temporary cover is in place until it stops raining to allow a repair. Just when things were going right!
I have been writing a lot about my projects at home and the current one, the gym decoration being no exception. This post is twelve ahead from that which you were reading on the day I wrote it, 7th March. This project is taking a lot of time to do because it doesn’t involve just painting but other things too for instance replacing pipe insulation. There has been much wiring to secure and many holes to be filled both on the ceiling and the walls and much of the ceiling has required more than just the one coat of paint. In fact one part of the ceiling has never received a coat of paint the whole time we’ve lived here! On Wednesday (7th) I spent four hours in the room and was determined not to spend any longer in there after Tuesday’s eight-hour stint. I concentrated my efforts painting more of the ceiling and walls and had to paint the areas a couple of times before it was as white as the previously painted areas. When I was clearing out the room and moving equipment to enable access to the work I discovered the old floor tiles had dropped in a couple of places by the walls so after I had finished painting for the day I decided to mix some concrete screed and fill them in.The largest ones are shown in the pictures above, the top one is situated alongside the treadmill (when it is lowered to the floor) and the lower is alongside the steps leading out to the garden. It won’t be long before I will need to move this lot either…..….before I can decorate that area, which will be the final area to decorate. Most of it is garden furniture. After lunch I spent a little time in the garden sitting on the patio in the warm sunshine. However that didn’t last too long for the clouds rolled-in, though it did get brighter later. I discovered some more bluebells and spent twenty minutes digging them out before relaxing for the rest of the day.