shaun

Jun 282020
 

Today was a wet day so we decided to work on another task. Something that we could have done much later but we felt that we could make use of it right now, and that is a unit to filter and sterilise the rain water we have stored under our garage. It has been filling up ever since we finished doing the gutters and collecting the water coming off the slate covered roof.
We have a entrance into the tank in the back room of the garage, hidden under the floor and after opening the access, we could see that our tank is indeed filled up with clean looking water. The depth of the tank is 1200mm and the access tube was 800mm deep for a total of 2m. We had previously installed a level detector system down one side (it has 7 levels to give us some idea of how much water we got) as well as temperature probe. The capacity of this underground tank is about 15,000 litres (equivalent to about 75 water butts!!).
So we installed a submerged pump, connected a fat pipe to the pump and brought it up to join with a standard 22mm domestic water pipe. Then connected the mains electricity and did a quick test to make sure the pump was working. Yes Indeed It Was, it gushed out into our kitchen sink rather too quickly!

Rain Water Underground Tank Brought Into Operation

Pump-at-the-bottom-of-the-tank

Rain Water Underground Tank Brought Into Operation

Rainwater-tank-connections

Rain Water Underground Tank Brought Into Operation

Tank-access-cover



So that end of things was ok and set ready so shutting the man-hole up and putting back the false floor covering, we got on with making up the module that will filter the rain water through several different types of filters and then passes through a sterilising unit too. We fixed each unit to a sheet of OSB board, joined each unit together and then fitted the long stainless steel sterilising unit along the top of the board.
Rain Water Underground Tank Brought Into Operation

Rainwater-filter-and-sterilizer


So the water comes in on the left side, enters the particulates filter removing particles right down to 1micron in size, then passes through a flow measuring sensor then enters the second filter that has activated carbon to remove chemicals like chlorine, pesticides and other chemicals that have blown onto the roofs. The output of this unit is then fed up and enters into the long stainless steel and glass chamber that has very short wavelength Ultraviolet (UVC electromagnetic radiation) light shining into the flowing water, to deactivate viruses and kill bacteria, before exiting the module on the right side. There is a flow rate valve to make sure the water is flowing nice and slowly to give the filters but most especially the UV sterilisation process to work at maximum effect.
The whole panel was installed under the counter in the kitchen and plumbed in. We did a quick test of the pump and filters and they seem to be working. We just need to make a control box to turn the UV light and pump on when the header tank needs water.
Rain Water Underground Tank Brought Into Operation

Rain-water-filter-installed

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jun 272020
 

At last, we can actually see the Larch cladding timber going up on our walls this week! But first, we made a couple of templates; a lap joint cutting guide to produce a 50mm wide half lap joint for two pieces running on the same row, so we could screw both “ends” of the two planks into the single upright batten.

Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Lap-joint-jig


It uses our two battery powered circular saws; one to rip across the end at 50mm deep cut and just shy of half way through the thickness (10mm out of the overall 20mm thickness) and the other saw to cut across the face at 10mm deep to complete the removal of the piece. Then we flip around the second plank (end over end; rather than edge over edge) and repeat the process using the same template. This produced two mirror image cut away ends that merges together almost seamlessly.
Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Cutting-accross-the-end-

Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Cutting-across-the-face

Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Makes-two-half-laps

Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Which-come-together-neatly



The second template tool were three metal plates with guidance holes drilled into them. There are three versions; one for each plank width. These helpful guides will keep our placements for the mushroom headed stainless steel screws at a regular and consistent location when fixing all the cladding planks up on the walls and their battens.
Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Fixing-hole-drilling-jig


Skipping pass some external interruptions we had this week, we went to the far back left corner of the house, to the Great Room wall section, P1, to start there. The wall is 4800mm long with a large window in it so we can learn how to proceed, setup working platforms (two trestle tables joined together using two CLS 63mm planks and covered in plywood left-over pieces) and carefully see how we put up each plank in turn. The spacing between each row of cladding is achieved using a 9mm thick plywood for the bottom row against the slate ribbon and a 6mm piece of MDF to separate each row going up the wall.
Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Cutting-bench


We decided to start at the bottom of each wall, with the widest Larch timber (burnt to a level 3) and then followed by the 2nd row of a medium plank (with a burn level of 4 – darker) and then finally the darkest (burn level 5) plank using a narrowest plank to meet up with the window sill. We arranged it so that the joint between this row and the fourth row is just hidden by the Oak sill itself so we had to remove s small area (the upward slope) of the Larch timber and it all fitted very well.

Then we got our spreadsheet and randomised the order of the 12 planks that go between the bottom and top of the windows, to mix up the three different widths, to make it more interesting and more variations around the house. We decided that we would mark on the batten on either side of the window, the exact placement of each row so we can be reasonably assured that our last plank will align to the top of the window in a consistent manner. This in fact exactly what happened and we now have both sides of the window populated with planks spaced apart by an average of 11.5mm over 15 planks.
As we got higher and higher, we realised that we needed a better means of working and reaching up that high so we took one of our three large platforms and chopped the legs down so it provided enough height to enable us to reach up inside the eves.
Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Lowered-working-platform


We finished off the main area above the window and stopped just short of the rafters. We left the gap between each rafter exposed to see if it really needed filling or not.
Also we noticed that we could see the “pink” battens plus also the gap between the Larch planks were much more obvious higher up because we are looking upwards and able to “see” up the slope between the rows of Larch.
Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

The-clad-P1-Wall

Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

You-can-see-the-Pink-batten-between-the-planks



So we spend a couple of hours painting the top 500mm of the pink batten along the front of the house, including all under the front door porch area with black paint we had left-over and we will also close up the gap of the upper rows to reduce the impact of the joints.
The final day Saturday, was a rain washed out day so we got on with another job, fitting the filter modules and sterilising unit together, along with a submerged pump to our rain water underground tank. See Rain Water Underground Tank Brought Into Operation.
Next week, weather permitting, we will resume putting up more cladding on the walls but if disrupted by bad weather, then we will do some preparation work to produce more Oak decorative coverings for the corners of the building.
Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

So-we-painted-the-top-of-the-battens-black

Templates Created and Larch Planks Starts Going up on Walls

Right-up-the-porch-wall-


 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jun 202020
 

This week, we finished waterproofing our dunking trough, with two layers of thin plastic sheeting we found in the shed and then covered over with a left-over length of our roofing membrane material to provide a scratch resistant surface as we dip each plank in and out.
Then we made five spikey drain support strips, spaced apart 1.2metres so we could do every length we had from 3mtres to 5.7metres. Each strip was 1.2metres long and we used forty 100mm standard nails, hammered through the batten via pre-drilled clearance holes, spaced apart by 25mm and this would allow us to handle 39 planks at a time.

Dunking-tank-ready-for-use

Dunking-tank-ready-for-use


The first job was to pour in our Flame Retardant treatment .. no actually, it was to pour in a large trug of water first, about 30 litres and leave it for an hour to make sure we don’t have a leak. We can afford to lose some tap water but not our Flame Retardant Liquid which costs £1000 for three 25litre bottles!! Link to the product
But we needn’t had feared .. we had No Leaks! Phew!
So we poured in two bottles of the fire stuff and started dipping. We measured the level in the trough at the beginning and it was 42mm high for 50 litres.
We began with the widest planks first, the 150mm width and all 4 metres long.
It was not too bad a process, dip one in, rotate in the liquid to ensure a full coating and then lift out to drain and repeat.
First-batch-of-planks-Fire-Treated

First-batch-of-planks-Fire-Treated


We had started in the afternoon as the morning was spent making the spikey draining prongs. But we wanted to get all 300 planks dipped so that they could and should dry overnight before they get their second and third dunk. It was a very, very long afternoon and we finished just gone 7pm ? Phew!
Fire-treatment-Day-1

Fire-treatment-Day-1


But shock! Horror! We suddenly realised that our nails were corroding and leaving black lines on our nice Larch planks! Oh **** and double damn! The Fire Treatment liquid was water based and we found that the fire proofing chemical was speeding up the whole rusting process! So we needed to clean the nails, dry them off and spray them with black metal paint to protect them. That was done at 9pm! Oh Boy!
In the morning, Stephen found on the web a solution to remove rust marks from timber by using a solution of Oxalic acid to dissolve the iron oxide and he was all ready to order the necessary chemicals when mum said “look under on the shelf in the kitchen and you will find a fifty year old bottle” and apparently, it was a common laundry solution in getting rid of rust marks on clothing! So making up the required solution, we rubbed the rust marks on the timber .. and they disappeared .. to only leave a bright yellow smear over the spot!! Big Sigh!! What Now??! Roll eyes upwards!!
Black-Iron-marks-on-the-timber

Black-Iron-marks-on-the-timber

Treated-with-Oxalic-acid

Treated-with-Oxalic-acid

Marks-are-gone-but-

Marks-are-gone-but-

it-leaves-a-yellow-stain

it-leaves-a-yellow-stain



It must be the fire treatment chemicals doing it! Oh Boy! We took some scraps of Larch timber and dipped them into the treatment, wiped them with the rust remover to get the yellow smear and then left them outside in the sun to see if they will bleach away. We were also thinking about sanding the surface or wire brushing it or something to get rid of the rust marks etc. That would have to be done later on.

In the meantime, we resumed the dipping process, but in reverse, taking the planks from the drying pile (yes the planks were all dry!) and gave them their second dunk. By lunch time, we had done all the long narrow planks and to our frustrations, we saw that we were leaving black marks on the planks in addition to the rust marks and realised that the black paint we put on the previous night had not survived for some reason. We threw Our Hands Up In The Air!!! Arrgh! So after lunch, We replaced all the draining prongs with 90mm galvanised air-gun nails and made five replacement draining supports, but spaced apart by 30mm this time, affording us to handle 33 planks instead of the 39 before.
So, mid-afternoon, we resumed again, dipping all the remaining planks and finished nearly 7pm again!! Were We Whacked!!! Gee Wizz!

Fire-treatment-Day-2

Fire-treatment-Day-2


The third day of dipping, we had some good news to start off with, we saw that the yellow smear had disappeared completely! Hurray!! It seems that the yellow chemical was not very stable, at least, the test pieces we left outside in the sun had lost their yellow!! Yippee!
With a lighter heart, we got on with the final third dip, putting our third bottle of the treatment in the trough and got on with the dunking process.

We had been measuring the liquid level each day and we could see that we were using about 20mm of liquid for each dipping session and that was good. by the end of the third day, we had just a few millimetres of liquid left in the bottom of the trough, we had to wiggle the planks and flip them over several times to make sure they were fully coated.

Fire-treatment-Day-3

Fire-treatment-Day-3


We then vacuumed out the remaining liquid, using a fine cloth filter to remove as much of the brown particles that had come off the darker burnt timbers and we manage to rescue about 6 litres, still slightly brown colour but at least, we have some ready to coat on any timber piece we want to make sure it is fire treated.
That was the end of the third day on Thursday!

So on Friday, it was the turn of the second pile of Larch timber that is earmarked for the front of the building and didn’t require the fire treatment process and just the oil solution. We poured in two of our four bottles of decking oil into the trough and got on dipping another 300 planks (just shy of 300 actually). It was a bit more slippery! But all were dunked in oil and stacked up over near the front of the building, ready to go outside to be mounted up on the walls.

Oiled-planks

Oiled-planks


That was easy! Sigh!
The last day was spent doing a major tidy up job in the workshop, taking out the ill-fated nails, putting tools away and sweeping the whole place. We then install the Sun Shield on the corridor and lastly inspected our water tank we got on top of our garage roof. It hadn’t been inspected for several years so while we were up there, we took a look and it was all fine.
So that concludes our rather adventurous week!! Phew!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jun 132020
 

The last two weeks saw the completion of scorching all the Larch cladding timber. A total of 596 planks of varying lengths from 3metres, right up to 5.7metres and different widths of 75mm, 100mm and 125mm. They all had a position in a list that describes how much scorching each had, from level zero (not touched by any flames) to a deep burn at level 5. We eventually, after having to do running repairs and improvements to the Scorching Machine (a new Motor driver heatsink amd replacement snadpaper on the drive rollers), processed all 441 Planks that needed scorching. Our canister of Butane gas, had 19kg of gas at the start. This went down to just 2kg at the end so how about that then?!

Replaced-sandpaper-on-drive-drums

Replaced-sandpaper-on-drive-drums

New-Heatsink-for-motor-drive

New-Heatsink-for-motor-drive

All-the-scorched-planks

All-the-scorched-planks


The next task was to do a grand tidy up of the whole area, moving the scorching machine over to be stored away in a corner for emergencies, sweep up the brown “charcoal” dust that was produced by the scrubbing process, probably about good bucket load and a general sweep right across the middle of the building, another 2 buckets of mostly sand.

Pile-of-removed-burnt-wood-dust

Pile-of-removed-burnt-wood-dust

Then, we sorted out all the scorched planks into two main piles, one for fire treatment; these planks are destined for the back of the building nearest to the boundary and the side next to the garage too. The other main pile is earmarked for the front of the building and only going to have the single treatment of being oiled. The two piles are quite similar in size.

The last day on Saturday was spent building the basic structure of our dunking trough to apply the necessary treatments. It is a long trough nearly 6metres, 160mm wide at the bottom and the two sides gently fans outwards to a height of 100mm. Then a 4foot wide draining board was constructed all the way along one side so we can position the freshly dunked planks up on the slope and reclaim the dripping liquid and recycle it for the next planks.

Dunking-tank-on-Saturday-13th

Dunking-tank-on-Saturday-13th

Dunking-tank-on-Saturday-13th

Dunking-tank-on-Saturday-13th


Next week, we will seal the trough with plastic layers to retain the liquid and then start treating the Larch timber.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
May 132020
 

The task of rebuilding the Berm continued over Monday, Tuesday and finally Wednesday. We wanted the Berm to be high enough to stop the majority of the rain water that comes down our Loke so we decided that we would lay down a complete line of bricks again, just like we had before, but this time, using double the number of them. we broadened out the pattern, to three and a half bricks wide at one end near the raised flower bed and narrows down to two bricks wide at the other end. Then scooping all the extracted driveway “hardcore” material back all over the bricks (to fill all the gaps between the bricks with plenty of sharp bits and sand) but most of it went to form a gentle slope up up to and down away the bricks on both sides.
The whole thing was compacted down using our heavy petrol powered vibrator.

Driveway-berm-finished

Driveway-berm-finished


It is flatter and wider but not perhaps taller than the old one, so hopefully that will allow our visitors and their cars not to run the risk of damaging the bodywork underneath. It will do the primary job of holding back the rain water most of the time and only during the 100-year events that seems to be occurring every 5 or 6 years where it is likely to overflow again. We have other plans in place to increase soak-away capacity at the bottom of the Loke and also let the water into the school field too!
So that 2 week job is finished At Last! We can get the car out again! We were running out of food!! Grin!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
May 092020
 

In a very disrupted couple of weeks .. we had steady rain all last week from Tuesday to Friday and some on Saturday afternoon too (a total of about 25mm of rain) .. Whilst Stephen worked on the Larch Burner Shaun got on with a task that we have been meaning to do for a while plus also take an opportunity to eliminate the ton of wasted slate bits and pieces.
Yes the Berm across our driveway that has been protecting us from flood water that comes down our Loke. It is currently constructed using a line of 2inch by 6inch planks held vertically and a line of house bricks on either sides to form a sharp hump. Unfortunately, it proves to be too sharp and some vehicles suffer scraping damage to their metal and plastic underbelly. Also during the heaviest rain falls, the water still gets over and floods our driveway.

Loke-Driveway-Berm-1

Loke-Driveway-Berm-1

So we surveyed the Berm and discovered that the line of planks dips down in the middle by three or four inches but otherwise it is pretty level. We have marked the fence post and the brick wall of the raised flower bed to the height of the existing Berm and we will use a string pulled taut to build the hump to the required height and level.
After removing the old planks and about 140 bricks and sweeping aside the sand to one side, we are left with the original driveway material (made from recycled motorway tarmac and granite chippings).

We then cut down through this layer to the sand underneath and pulled apart the driveway skin to form a trench a few feet wide and 4inches deep. We calculated that this trench will be spacious enough to take all the slate waste, crushing each slate into tiny pieces to avoid forming slippery layers.
But first, before we get to that part of the job, we dug out all the weeds in and around the flower bed end of the Berm, removed two paving slabs which were relocated to the middle of our yard to provide a new incinerator venue so we can get on top of getting rid of the wooden rubbish we have been collecting for the last few months.

Driveway-berm-excavated

Driveway-berm-excavated


Shaun then got smashing! (We welded some bits of metal to the base of the metal thumper to help break the slates) Over a last few days all the waste slates were placed in the trench and smashed.
Driveway-Berm-All-the-scrap-slates-smashed-up-in-the-trench

Driveway-Berm-All-the-scrap-slates-smashed-up-in-the-trench


We now just have to add some more material to make the ‘hump’ of the berm and replace the driveway material over the top.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Apr 252020
 

Continuing from Wednesday, with the guttering job done, we got on with installing our oak window frames. Over the next three days, we took each frame, test fitted it (making any slight adjustments to the wall when necessary but not often), sanding down all the surfaces (of the hole in the wall) to make sure the glue will stick with maximum strength. Then the next step was to charge the cleaned surface with our grey PU sealant glue all over the area being covered by the window frame (about 70mm wide) pressing the glue into the grain and any gaps holes etc. and then lifting and inserting the oak frame in. We had our 60mm spacers to put at the outside top to ensure that the frame didn’t go too far inwards and then it was wedged in place from the inside. Finally, more sealant was applied around the perimeter, filling in our small triangle chamfer and any gap around the outside to ensure strength to resist any rain water that may get blown in and then finished off inside with more sealant for maximum grip and protection. Sometimes if the gap was over few millimetres we inserted a foam strip into the gap to give the sealant something to fill against.

Larger-gaps-are-backed-with-a-foam-strip

Larger-gaps-are-backed-with-a-foam-strip


This task took almost 40 tubes of sealant (Stephen’s hand was tired of squeezing the sealant gun)

For the last window task, we bought some thick heavy duty clear (well not very clear actually – about 60% transmission) polythene builders plastic and used double sided tape to attach pieces into all twelve windows to keep the wind out which keeps bringing in sand and dust into the house. Oh Yes, to stop the rain too of course!

The-P1-window-installed-and-glazed

The-P1-window-installed-and-glazed

The-glazing-is-Translucent

The-glazing-is-Translucent



It is only temporary while we wait for the COVID-19 lock down to be lifted and we can get extra people in to help us install the nine large windows which will weigh a ton .. well actually 115kg or about 17 stones (or for our Americans cousins, 253lbs!). It might be quite a while hence the reason for putting in these plastic windows.

We finished mid-afternoon on Saturday and for the remainder of the day, we started a complete and thorough “spring” clean of the house! At long last, we won’t get any more sand and dust (and foxes) coming into the house and dumping their loads!! Over the last couple of years, we probably had swept up a good dozen builder’s buckets worth of sand and now, with all the holes, all fifteen of them, blocked off, we can do a thorough job and it will keep relatively clean for longer .. until we come along and mess it up of course!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Apr 212020
 

We started the week with the continuing task of cleaning the gutters and fascia. After being exposed to the sun and weather for at least 5 months and in some areas, well over a year they are rather discoloured. We ground off the affected surface using our angle grinder with a 40 grit abrasive wheel and then the orbital sander to smooth it off somewhat. We then oiled the wood to give it the initial coating and we will then come along with our back pack tank with a battery to spray on additional coats every week or so, just a thin layer at a time.

Gutter-refurb-finfished

Gutter-refurb-finfished


We did the sanding and oiling using three of our original platform modules that had been cut down so the guttering were at chest height. Occasionally, we had to spread out the platforms to reach both ends of a straight run of guttering in one go and this meant that we had to step over small gaps (about a foot) but fortunately, we had screwed edging strips on all the modules to give us tactile feedback when shuffling along, concentrating on the task, and would know that we had reached an edge.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Apr 182020
 

We started our week on a Tuesday after having a day off for Easter. We finished off applying the black yukky mastic stuff to the top edge of the Slate Skirt and it is now done right around the whole house. We also have been moving the excess Slates from the long time storage location beside the Loke to our swimming lane, to get them out of the way and tidied up under cover. The crate of slate was slowly sinking into the ground soil and an army of nature’s creatures have been living in between the layers of slates!

Then we decided to get on with the inspection of the guttering and finish off checking the sealing of the rubber membrane at their ends. We also sealed the metal mesh edge to the front vertical part of the gutters. They are clamped down using a thin oak strip so we applied some clear silicone sealant inside the joint and screwed it all tight again.
This will stop the rain water from leaking through this joint and dripping down on to the ground. The water has a habit to cling to the metal mesh and rolling down towards the clamped joint and work its way through. Also, there is a strong possibility that the same water would catch any holes or the edge of the rubber membrane and travel backwards under the rubber and back into the gutters. We found one or two sections having rain water underneath the rubber membrane so we had to lift it up and suck out the water. The worse example of this was the “M” section and we found that the rubber edge was barely on the top of the oak vertical timber piece.

Working-on-gutters

Working-on-gutters

Sealed-gutter-cap

Sealed-gutter-cap



On Wednesday afternoon, we went around the complete circuit of the house and painted behind the fascia board, making sure it was nice and neat down to the bottom of the fascia. Most of it was done when we sprayed several weeks ago but we had a mobile barrier to protect our guttering against accidental splatters.
Black-inside-of-the-fascia

Black-inside-of-the-fascia


We finished off the day with the excess slate moving task, finally having got all 2600 of them into our swimming lane for long-term storage.
Spare-Slates-stored-in-swimming-lane-1

Spare-Slates-stored-in-swimming-lane-1

Spare-Slates-stored-in-swimming-lane-2

Spare-Slates-stored-in-swimming-lane-2



So on Friday, we started vigorously sanding the oak gutters, first trying our belt sander but found it too heavy to hold upside down and it wasn’t quite getting into the corners plus also the flat bed design couldn’t cope with the uneven timber. So we switched over to our angle grinder with a very course 40 grit sanding disc. This was very much better at removing the grey colouring in the wood caused by exposure to sun and the weather. Our orbital sander then came along to smooth off the surfaces, with occasional hand sanding.
Gutters-after-a-year-of-weather

Gutters-after-a-year-of-weather

Sanding-the-gutters

Sanding-the-gutters



Then we applied the timber oil treatment to the naked oak surfaces using a 4inch wide fluffy woolly roller and left it to soak in and dry.
and-after-sanding-and-oiling-1

and-after-sanding-and-oiling-1

and-after-sanding-and-oiling-2

and-after-sanding-and-oiling-2

and-after-sanding-and-oiling-3

and-after-sanding-and-oiling-3



We also oiled our first window frame too to see how it fares, see how often we will have to oil it and see how it rubs down.
H-window-oiled-1

H-window-oiled-1

H-window-oiled-2

H-window-oiled-2



Our last day, Saturday, was a rather wet day with a steady rain falling all day but we did take that opportunity and go and check the guttering to see if we had any water dripping over the gutters. The conclusion was .. much better! It was difficult to tell to which drip was rain just landing on the gutter itself or coming from water running down the mesh but we carefully watched these drips and it seems that our sealant is working! Hurray!
Also the freshly oiled surface of the gutters was resisting the water and making it bead up and run off more efficiently. Another Hurray!
So we worked indoors on the gas flame burning mechanism, a couple of electric motors to drive the rollers that will guide each larch timber plank through the charring machine. We want to establish a uniform speed so the pattern of charring is smoother and more consistent. We will experiment with deliberately changing the motor speeds and see what unusual patterns we might get.

Next week, we carry on cleaning the gutters and oiling them and then we carry on installing the other eleven windows.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Apr 112020
 

By Tuesday lunch time, we had finished gluing up all the Slates that forms the Skirt on the wall running right around the house. Some 300 slates were stuck onto the polystyrene padding layer so two thirds are above ground and the remainder is in the dirt.

Slate Skirt Complete

Slated-along-O-and-around-the-corner-to-P1


Over the remaining days of the week, we were grouting the slates in sections using a anthracite coloured (dark grey) cement based grout, which we used up 17.5kg of grout. We had to order another 10 kg because we had not realised to how much more grout these slates took to fill the joints (the bevelled edges were facing backwards so had a hollow to fill up). The new supply arrived very quickly on Thursday morning. After each section was grouted we went along and removed any excess grout with a wet sponge, then as each section matured and hardened overnight, that section was scrubbed with a rough ‘scotchbrite’ pad and washed using our garden hose connected to a brush to provide a constantly running clean water.
Slate Skirt Complete

Slates-before-final-scrub

Slate Skirt Complete

Grouted-corner



We had a side issue to deal with on Thursday with the repair of the garden shed’s roof, see Garden Shed Repair
But in the afternoon, we managed to fill in all the way along the front of the building, pushing the sandy soil back into the trench and level off the area in front of the slates
So by Saturday mid-afternoon, the whole Slate Skirt was all grouted, all washed and the soil pushed in and levelled. Also half of it had the non-drying black mastic applied to the top of the skirt to seal it off against any chance of rain water getting inside behind and perhaps freezing during a bad winter and causing damage.
Slate Skirt Complete

The-finished-skirt-1

Slate Skirt Complete

The-finished-skirt-2

Slate Skirt Complete

The-finished-skirt-3-

Slate Skirt Complete

The-finished-skirt-4

Slate Skirt Complete

The-finished-skirt-5



The last few hours of work for this week was to install one of our window frames with our newly arrived grey PU sealant. We made wedges to help jam the frame into the house holes when they are in the correct position and a couple of spacers to make sure the top edge, the header, is held at the right distance away from the wall.
We first charged all the surfaces (after brushing off all the dust first) with a thin layer of the sealant and then slid the framework into the hole. Then all the outside exposed joints were thoroughly filled in with more sealant and scraped smooth at a slight angle to improve the bulk strength and make it long-lasting. We had allocated three tubes (standard 300ml size) to each of our twelve windows. We had about a quarter of a tube left so instead of using more of the grey stuff, we decided to use some older white PU sealant to put a thin bead around the inside joint.
Slate Skirt Complete

First-window-framed-installed

Slate Skirt Complete

Detail-of-frame-sealant



That concludes our work for this week! The last of the mastic application will be put on the next week (we couldn’t do it immediately because the washing operation left the slates and walls still wet) and we will carry on installing more oak windows frames as well.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm