Situation update

It’s been over 5 weeks since I last posted, and I thought everyone might enjoy a little update on the situation.

We moved into our new house on Saturday, 17/12/2017, with only the things we had in our temporary accommodation in the cottage in Kinver. On Monday the removal company arrived with all rest of our stuff, which was in storage until then. We decided to only have a few items of furniture dotted around the house and leave most of the boxes unpacked. After all, we will be making some fairly major changes to the house AND have all the rooms redecorated AND have new bathrooms AND have a new kitchen, so there’s little point in unpacking only to have to move it around again.

So for now we are essentially camping in our house. My plan always was to do as much work as possible on the workshop over the Christmas holidays (and I had 3 weeks of leave that needed taking anyway). I found out quite quickly that this was going to be slightly hampered by the fact that most suppliers I needed close down over Christmas. Luckily, Screwfix and Jewsons were open most of the time.

I already knew that I would need to rewire the workshop. Initially it only had 2 plug points and a single light switch, controlling 4 really old fluorescent tubes. So the first job was to hire a skip and rip out the entire old ceiling. Well, actually the first job that did get done was to have the roof recovered, as I though it was leaking and this was the source of the mold on the ceiling.

I hired a local company, who came around on 23/12, completed the job there and then, and that’s when the fun started. He wanted payment right away. No problem, I said, give me an invoice and I’ll pay you. “Oh, I don’t do invoices, and besides you signed the order, which serves as an invoice” he said. I said to him “that’s not an invoice or a sales order, it’s a quote and it even says that clearly on the front”. After some wrangling he sent me an email,  thinly disguised as an invoice (and a long way short of a proper invoice) and I paid him.
Over Christmas we had a bit of wind, nothing too serious and certainly not a full blown storm, and some of the new stuff promptly came off. Ever since then I’ve been battling to get the guys back to fix their handiwork. It’s now booked for Friday, and we’ll see how that goes.
Funnily enough, the roofing guy confirmed that the plywood in the roof was solid, and the mold was caused by rising damp in the walls. More on that later.

So, I ripped out the entire ceiling and used some tape to hold the insulation in place. Then I proceeded to rewire the workshop so that I would have 8 double sockets all around, and separate lighting circuits for the main room and the painting room, with all the wiring terminating at the opposite end of the workshop where the new mains supply was going to come in. Forgot to say that initially the workshop was fed from a cable that ultimately plugged into a socket in the garage, with a single 13A fuse on it. That was never going to fly, never mind the gerry rigging going on the garage.

Then new plasterboard went up onto the ceiling, this time the 12mm aluminium coated stuff. Quite a job and impossible without a second person. Made a few mistakes, which the plasterer did laugh about, but heyho, we got the job done.

Round about the same time, and whenever the temperature allowed (needed to be 5 degr Celsius or above), I started to level the floor. In the end I put about 300kg of levelling compound in, and now it is more or less flat, but not level. One end of the floor is about 2″ higher than the other, and that was just too much to fix. The levelling work OK, but probably down to my lack of experience it didn’t end up as good as it could have been, and I had to spend several hours on my knees with a belt sander to knock off the high spots.

I’ve now also found a source for new windows and doors. The original ones had wooden frames, but had not seen any maintenance over several years, and consequently the wood had rotted to the point where I could just put my finger into it without any problem. Not fixable. So now I am waiting to hear from these guys when they can install the new ones. I managed to find some windows that are left overs from another job and a halfways decent fit, but the door needed a new one made, due to its size. At the moment there’s a double door, about 1.1m wide, but it’s useless as you always have to open both sides to get in (at least when you’re my size).

I did manage to find a plasterer early on in the new year, and he skimmed the ceiling for me, and a good job he did despite my failings as a putter-upper of plasterboard. We also managed to find an electrician willing to take on the jobs in the house and the new power supply to the workshop (6mm squared with a 32A fuse on it, armoured cable straight out of the brand new distribution board in the house), and that was done on Monday this week.

Over the weekend I hired myself and airless sprayer and spraypainted the ceiling and walls with plain white masonry paint. What fun that was! It does actually work very well, but you definitely want a disposable onesie, and DO take your glasses off. Takes a bit of practice and the paint needs to be watered down about half and half. It does waste quite some paint, especially on comparable small surfaces, but the actual spraying part was extremely quick and even.

Last night I managed to install all the wall boxes for the sockets and light switches. I had to to wait for my new Makita drill to arrive. Over the previous week I’d left my old power drill in the workshop (which has no security at all), and some louts climbed over several neighbourhood fences, broke into several sheds, and nicked my drill. Idiots! The thing was nigh on 10 years old, knackered, no charger, no carry box, they even left the second battery behind.
I used the opportunity to buy a Makita drill, suitable for LXT batteries, the sames as fit onto my circular saw (and I will carry on with Makita tools, as I have had excellent experience with them so far). I may even put a board up in the neighbourhood asking the idiots to come back and collect the charger, battery and box for the old drill, saves me driving to the recycling site.

So what’s left? Tonight I will fit all the sockets and switches and ( if there’s time left) the new LED light panels. I already have in my garage two boxes with epoxy damp tolerant sealer and epoxy floor paint, which should go on over the weekend. Did I mention the dampness in the workshop? At some point it got so bad that I decided to leave a little electric fan heater running all the time, and that seems to have done the trick. Dampness on the floor has all but disappeared, and even the walls already feel drier (and that is after all the skimming and painting!).

Once the floor is painted and the new door and windows are in, I can start with the actual fitting out of the shop. But that’s for another story.

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