Sunday, 12 February 2012

Wednesday Drama

This new floors job is not without its dramas as you can see from these pictures. When the joists were being pulled out of the spare bedroom floor (dining room ceiling) it quickly became apparent that the masonry in which they were sitting was not up to much. Look at the second picture down. You can see that the blocks of in-fill (generally stones and old cement) between joists are not held up by much and the lintel across the top of the window is just a lump of rotten old wood. When anyone stands looking out at the front garden, there was only this dodgy structure between them and a rocky head-ache, or worse.

Dad and Sparks were very worried that the whole lot would cave in, leaving one big hole where top and bottom windows and the bit between used to be, the lovely new windows smashed to bits in the collapse. Luckily these walls are 50 cms thick and have both an inner and an outside lintel and the outside ones were, at least, proper long beams of blue-stone, solid as the proverbial rock.

The boys had to move fast but carefully to ease out the remaining joists and lift out any stone which had already come free and was no longer holding anything up.New joists were then measured and cut to length and slotted carefully in to the solid wall either side of the dodgy bit and even more carefully across the top of the questionable lintel. A pit-prop arrangement was then made out of good timber to hold the ones across the window up into their pockets with bits of slate used to take up any slack. This was cemented in as best they could to stop movement.

Then the old dodgy lintel could be cut through and lifted out. It turned out to be made up of 2 very weak looking bits of former window-frame wood. With that gone the boys could bridge the gap with 2, 4-inch wide, 4 foot, reinforced concrete lintels. Sparks built a wooden shuttering around these so that concrete could be poured in all around and under the joists and through the loose inner side of the wall, all the way 'forwards' till it slopped around the inner surface of the good outer wall binding the whole thickness of the wall together. Now nothing was going to go anywhere. 2 days later the shuttering was prized off to reveal the solid, no-messing, structure and the joists could be finished and the floor boards laid without the risk of hammering and moving about setting off an avalanche. Today's first picture is of the window fixed.

The front door was simpler. No concrete pour was needed. The pit-prop arrangment was holding up the new joists here, too. The old soft baulk of timber was lifted out and a 6 inch wide, 5 foot concrete lintel slotted in, on top of which cement and blocks were built brick-layer style up to the level of the between-joist masonry. This is shown in the final picture.

We feel a lot safer now!


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