Ground floor over; first floor calls us now

To recap: we have returned to the timberwork, building the accessible suites. In the picture below you can see lots of vertical studs (about a third of which we will shortly remove) and, centre top, a couple of horizontal noggins, of which we need more. Some of the vertical studs supported rather mis-placed joist hangers: when we removed the ones in the wrong places, many of the studs became superfluous. The horizontal noggins will, in time, support fixings supporting the veranda roof. I thought you might want to know…

… because, if you look carefully at the photo below, you can see the shadow of where we originally placed the joist hangers (roughly half way between the new ones). We are not entirely sure what gremlin appeared to cause us to fix these in the wrong places (being mis-aligned with the hangers on the facing wall), but I can assure you that it was really difficult to remove them, so clearly the special nails used to fix these in place have excellent staying power!

Once we are placed new hangers in the correct places, we drilled a gap into the blocks below and used epoxy resin to fix the masonry joist hangers in place. Once these were in, we were able to fit the cut and fit joists in this last area and then we retreated to behind the building to see…

…the full expanse of what we are building, with all the first floor joists in place. It’s tricky to see now as the trees are in leaf, but hopefully this gives you a sense of the extent of what we are building, and of the satisfaction we felt, knowing we are now ready to start work on the first floor.

In order to put the first floor ceiling joists in place, we first need to be able to walk around on top of the first floor floor joists. To that end, we ordered some shuttering plywood which Mike is here cutting in half lengthways (as I can manage to pick up a half sheet on my own, but a whole one is too much!) so that we can fit a temporary floor. Just in case this is not holding you in raptures, I will show what excited us recently:

… a hornet that popped in to visit us in the breakfast room. We watched it carefully until it settled and then removed it using the old glass+card trick, and took it out to the bin store which is quite a distance from the house. I can confirm that Mike’s finger is just there for scale: he didn’t dream of prodding it…

As Friday finished, we were a little weary. We had been busy building for two weeks, with a little break for last weekend’s Fathers’ Day when some of the kids came to visit Mike, and we are beginning to notice we are not as young as we were.

Below you can see the front wall of the suites, with slightly fewer vertical studs and a double line of horizontal noggins ready to support the veranda roof. Above that is a double row of timber at the correct height to support the front of the roof – the wall plate.

Behind all this you can see two scaffolding towers, and above that a steel to which we have attached a double thickness of timber on top, with an overhang to the left to support the roof eaves. We have also started packing the web of the steel at the front (and back), ready to fit more joist hangers. As I believe I may have said before, oh joy, oh rapture, we are making progress!

We we hope to be able to construct a third scaffolding tower soon, which will be very helpful as we can then access all of each steel in one ‘go’. We now have a very busy hospitality weekend with guests, so I hope to share further pictures next week on the assumption we have been able to fit in some building work!!

As one task ends, so another begins…

We are happy to report that we did manage to lay the final block on this building last Friday, 31st May, to complete the twelve courses of blocks required before we start building the roof. We are ‘resting’ this now, partly so the mortar can harden, and partly so we can return to building the suites as we need to roof them as soon as possible. We are happy, though, that the ‘barn’ now looks substantial…

…rather than something only part built (even if that is the truth of the matter) and we are comfortable to leave it at this stage for a few months. The picture below shows the building as on 31st May, whilst the picture below that…

…was taken on 31st March- so no wonder we are feeling a little weary, given the weight of blocks we have moved in the last 60 days! We now return our attention to the suites (as we now have revised drawings, all ready for us to use). You can see below that left hand suite had no timber front wall in March, because an inspection in December informed us we needed to insert a fire stop….

between the new block wall and the timber wall that would adjoin it. Now that we finally have plans that show this detail, we have put it in place…

…shortly followed by timbers butted up to the fire stop; timbers to support the lintel; plywood to stiffen the whole structure; and just as we were starting to measure up for adding the joist hangers, our guests for tonight started arriving, so we have packed in the building work for another day whilst we become hoteliers again!

It is so lovely to be back working on the timber structure, as we are both seriously looking forward to getting to the roof level – and – if you are too, just watch this space!!

Another brick in the wall!

We continue to add blocks to the walls of our storage area / external toilets and showers / boiler room, because we have come this far and so we might as well continue…until 1st June anyway!

The tarpaulin gives a hint to the weather we have been having, After work, if rain is forecast, we use the tarp to protect our work from the ravages of the rain. As you look at the photo above, the wall nearest the road is now at its full height…

…whilst we have only just started bricking over the lintel nearest Siabod. Whisper it quietly, but we had to do this twice on one face, as we forgot to include the trickle vents first time round!

Here you are looking at the end nearest Siabod, where we are still one course of blocks short generally, and two short over the lintel.

Above is the view into the storage area, now at full height, and below you find us putting the final block on the interior leaf, having almost completed the internal wall that will separate the shower room from the boiler room.

We will be busy next week with guests, and when we move into June we have decided we will return to working on the timber-framed suites (as we need to have the roof on before winter) – and, for me, next month cannot come a day too soon!!