Floorboards and Carpets
Floorboards and carpets seem to have occupied a major part of my last couple of weeks, couple this to a bit of painting and sanding and that’s my fortnight summed up.
This flooring malarkey does tend to go on somewhat, I reckon that any future flooring will be done with a vigour and a pace that will astound me. My past performances will seem a dowdy trudge in comparison, my lifting, my insulating, my fixing, etc. will be a force of nature and floors will seem to lay themselves.
Or maybe not, maybe it’ll be as endless as it seems now.
Heh, never mind, apart from the lack of cash and time I still love the whole process and things are beginning to take shape.
The floorboards still seemed a bit thin in number, I’d probably been a little premature in my last post proclaiming as I had an eight tiered wall of wood I was now ready to finish the room. Taking a closer look there were still some issues, the chief one namely being that some of the wood was not brilliant, I’d discovered this when I was de-nailing and squaring off the boards, some had the lower portions of the grooves missing and some were a bit gnarly, I had to find more boards.
You may remember that in my past ventures to find wood I’d taken up the entire floor of the big front bedroom, a similar expanse in the small front bedroom and a 2/3 of a floor pilfer from the bedroom I was currently residing in. Where on Earth was I to get the shortfall of boards from, well the bedroom I was living in had plenty left but that would have meant moving Heaven and Earth to get to them and quite simply I wasn’t in any mood to do that.
The answer came in the shape of my next project… the kitchen diner.
The kitchen diner was to be the long room I’d knocked into one, made up from the old living and breakfast room, there were oodles of boards in there and as I planned to re-floor the entire room there would be plenty to choose from. The bay section could be utilised too and it would mean that there would be little disruption to my life as the bay was the part of the room little ventured into and off the main drag. This bay was in need of inspection too, it had once had a leak (fixed by my top builders) and the floorboards were looking a bit worse for wear, however there were still plenty up to scratch ones worth salvaging.
By the way I do know I could just polish up the floor in this kitchen diner and have a wonderful room. But you must appreciate that the floor will need lifting (teeny crawl space underneath) in order to insulate it from above. The floor in patches has already been ruined by electricians, plumbers… whoever… sawing them up in spots and there would be collateral damage in the subsequent lifting of the boards. What might seem like a no-brainer and big saver would turn into another quest for floorboards to make up the shortfall of broken, cracked and woodwormy boards. If I can make it work I will though, the answer will be in how well my big bedroom floor turns out in the end. If it’s good then I’ll make and extra special effort to lift these boards as delicately as I possibly can and then hopefully I’ll have enough from the remaining rooms to make a full and fabbo job of the kitchen diner, saving oodles of cash and keeping it original… man.
Anyway the floorboard pilfer plan was afoot. A nasty day was spent doing one of my least favourite jobs of trying to lift boards without breaking them. In the salvage process I did manage to refine my technique a bit, I will write it up one day but basically I found that sacrificing an inch or so from either end of a board can make a big difference in the percentage of board salvaged without damage.
Anyway the results were good, I now definitely had enough boards, these boards though were a little different to the ones I already had though, I couldn’t be certain but they might even be oak, still I think they’ll make an excellent addition to the higgledy piggledy mix of boards I already had in place.
The results of the bay window weren’t so good, I lifted the rotten boards and was met by more rot in the main timbers. The good news though was that only one main stretcher beam seemed to be affected at its tip, the other rotten timbers were edge ones that were simply resting on columns of bricks to cater for the angles of the bay window. They were in a real state but were only a few feet long and would be a doddle to replace. Considering though how old the house was and that this was the only area where there’d been a major leak then I think I was getting away lightly with this little bit of rot.
The beams that had been touched by the rot were in a dismal state though and were snapped by hand and burned on the living room scrap wood funeral pyre.
I patched up the holes in the floor with some spare plywood and boards and the good wood was removed upstairs for de-nailing, grading, sawing and measuring. Because of my new patented removal techniques there was much less in the way of wastage and the boards were measured (still a couple of different widths but tolerances were much tighter downstairs than the upstairs floor boarding) labelled and stacked ready for use.
Next I sealed down the access panels insulated the joist gaps and lagged the pipework. Knowing that I surely had enough in the way of spare boards I made light work of boarding up to the radiators, I saved the new bay front room boards for the edges as they might be a little different in shade and would make a nice feature (if different) in a line under the radiators. Once I’d finished boarding up to the radiators they were now bled and removed to allow access for further boarding and subsequent sanding. The radiator removal was comparatively easy as the manifold system came into play and allowed both radiators to be isolated at the manifold without any fuss. I know this could be done at the actual valves but it was satisfying to be able to employ both methods of isolation, belt and braces.
Once the radiators were removed I boarded underneath where the rad’s were to be placed and boarded up to the wall with the new boarding I’d acquired from the front room bay. The boarding at this point was a bit uneven, the line of the room at the outside wall isn’t truly square at all and this meant I had to do lots of sawing of boards from end to end with a jigsaw. Normally I would have sawn them with a handsaw but the lines I had to follow were quite wandering and a jigsaw was ideal and quick, the uneven finish of the cut would be hidden under the skirting anyway.
Next I moved to the other side of the room and filled in some gaps with more boarding, this was again to compensate for walls that weren’t strictly square. Earlier I’d thought I could get away with these gaps and that they’d be hidden by the skirting, however with my new edge cutting techniques I now knew I could easily fit in whippet thin slivers of board and the skirting wouldn’t have to stretch out to cover these gaps. A really nice job too.
So now this was all done I moved onto the other smaller front bedroom I’d been working on, I’d decided to make a commitment to move everything out of it and work to a finish. This room had been effectively finished some weeks back but it had been adopted as a work room for the prep work in the room next door. My lovely finish had now taken a bashing and the super clean walls were now a bit scratched a marked, so having moved everything out of the room it was out with the filler and paint. The skirting did still need a bit of work to fill in some dinks too and the radiator needed a total valve overhaul as it was leaking, so there was still some work to do.
First I worked on some sanding and got down with my palm sander on the skirting, a quick once over to flatten the filler I’d applied a month or so back and it was onto filing in some gaps between the skirting and the wall with some Easi-fill. A bit more filler on the woodwork and while this was all going off and setting I could get on with some more jobs.
The radiator was tricky, it needed new chrome legs as the ones I’d fitted to the faulty TRV and valves were now firmly affixed with limpet like olives. I had already bought a new TRV (always get the good ones, the best being the Drayton TRV4 which I should have bought in the first place) but I had subsequently take a trip to Screwfix to buy some new chrome legs and some other bits and bobs.
While I was on my travels I made a whistle stop visit to Franks Factory Flooring and picked out a nice bit of carpet for the room. Normally I would have researched and researched before I made a decision but this time the salesman did a good job in convincing me on my excellent taste and after an incredibly quick visit I was the proud owner of a new carpet to be fitted the following Friday – serving as a good incentive to get the room done too..
I’d marched into the store and quickly shortlisted a couple of carpets, however the one I brought to Tony the salesman’s attention he announced as being the best-seller in the store… “no word of a lie, as I’m standing here by this carpet roll it’s by far our best seller, you just has the taste and acumen to march straight into the store ignoring the other 700 or so rugs and pick this one out” well the last bit is a bit made up but the rest is the truth, or rather Tony’s version of the truth. I was informed that my initial preferred choice of a 80:20 wool twist was a bit old fashioned and with the new polymers the new carpets were much more hard wearing and remained scrupulously clean due to their ability to shake off stains, armed with this I bought a stone white one, Tony’s words “they’re very fashionable now”.
I wish I’d done a bit of research on the underlays and insisted on a Cloud Nine one or a Tredaire (I may have got one but I left that choice to Tony and I didn’t check). I’m now reliably informed the mark-ups in most carpet stores are on the underlays and these two lofty brands do tend to make a difference in carpet bounce and they can prove expensive if bought without thought by impulse carpet buying newbies.
Anyway I got me a carpet.
Getting back home with my Screwfix fixings I made shortish work of the radiator, the new chrome legs applied, the lockshield figured out and opened, the TRV in place and the radiator filled and working, all nice and lovely and warm. Short work but still most of the afternoon gone, it was never going to be a simple job, anyway though once finished it was down with the insulation, pipes lagged and inspection hatches closed up ready for carpeting.
I then moved back to some sanding and finished off the skirting to an even finish with my palm sander.
Once I was satisfied with this work I broke out the roller and the paint tray and worked around the room applying a light coat of paint and used a brush to cover some of the more persistent marks on the walls. Having done this I opened a can of satinwood and using some cheap brushes (oil based paints ruin brushes, it’s best to get sacrificial brushes and just bin them once they’ve served their purpose, I have tried saving them in the past but at best you’ll get a couple of goes out of one) I’d bought in Screwfix that morning I set about the skirting, the dado rail and the coving. A bit of work later and the room was looking fabulous.
Later the next day I was struck by a bit of a pedantic moment, the room I once considered fabulous now had enormous gaps under the coving…. well they were about a millimetre. So out with the Easi-fill again, up a ladder and filling, I still have to paint it, put the second coat on the satinwood and it’ll be ship-shape and carpet ready. The neighbours must be wondering how many coats of paint their mad neighbour thinks a room needs.
Anyway all that done I’ve now booked a sander for next weekend and a 5KG can of Lecol 7500 resin filler (a highly recommended filler one uses with scrap sawdust to fill gaps in floorboards when sanding) It’s not cheap and I know I already had a 800g tin but I only have the sander for effectively 1 ½ days and if I run out of filler while sanding then there’s nowhere local where one can simply pop in to buy a tin off the shelf.
It might come in useful later anyway.