the kitchen sink
I took two weeks off over Christmas and apart from the general sprinkling of good will I managed to get some work done, even the kitchen sink was sorted.
23rd December 2016
First day off and a storm was brewing, so not a good day to
work on the bay windows. Still what would be the bother, I was indoors and doing some secondary glazing so where’s the harm. I’m inside, storm is outside, simples.
My bay sash windows are fantastic, the two front bays were only a handful I decided to hang on to. I’d been told that they’d be £1700 each to renovate to single-glazed non-draftiness and also informed that I’d have to rip them out and replace them with a modern equivalent should I not opt for this option. There was the option too of secondary glazing but I wasn’t too keen on the awful alternatives available.
So what was I to do? Renovate them at a huge cost and still suffer single-glazed freezingness, rip then out, pay a fortune and lose the original carvings and glass of their Victorian wonderfulness. Or pack out the inside with metal and plastic framed units that looked rubbish.
Well none of these as after a bit of cunning planning I decided to renovate and secondary (and thirdly) glaze them myself. The plan was to insert double sealed units into the existing frame reveals, then frame them internally with decorative wood mouldings and seal the windows to an inch of their lives.
I’d already ordered the units and they’d been getting in my way for the past weeks and were well overdue fitting. So today of all stormy days was the day.
First job was to remove all the original window furniture, you may scoff but it was in bad shape and needed drilling out. I did put it away though, one day in my pensioner years I may restore it back to originality, yeah righto.
Next job was to remove all the beading and reseat the bottom sashes in their frames. The sashes had been out of kilter since I moved in, I expected they’d just jammed and been painted shut and all I needed to do was remove the beading, break the paint seal and reseat them. Well not so fast Tonto, on removing the beading the sashes were sitting firmly on the sills. It seemed to me that someone had restored the sills but not done such a great job and they were a little out of true and they’d just left it that way.
So what to do, the day before Christmas Eve (glaziers may be hard to get if I should crack a pane of the century old glass), it was blowing a gale outside, should I just ignore it and crack on…. Nah, I hadn’t come this far to do a bad job so I did a bit of measuring, i popped out the sashes and then I gingerly sawed or planed off the excess on the bottoms of each frames. All the while my front room was blowing up a gale. I’d earlier cleared out the bay of all tech’ with a trolley inserted under the TV stand but everything was still getting wet as it was just blowing in sideways.
Still I carefully sawed, tested, tweaked and within a couple of hours the three sashes were back in place, perfectly seated in their frames.
The plan was to seal up the windows, there was no need to open them anymore, I wanted to seal off all draughts and all noise, a sash is a very inefficient way of attempting a weather, noise and warmth tight seal, I was happy to have them closed. So once the sashes were in place I used some sealant to fill up gaps and then screwed them permanently into place. The results even at this stage were a 100% better than what I was used to.
Sealant choice was very important, I had three flavours of frame sealant picked out for certain jobs and one too to re-grout the glass.
Once this was done I filled any hole I could find with wood filler, I even scraped out some rotten bits and added wood treatments and filled that too. I then screwed some wood infills in the upper sections to allow the sealed units to rest against them and then I filled the screw holes and painted up the inner sections and anything else that needed a touch of white.
I then ventured outside into the maelstrom and filled and any frame joins I could find. I even sealed along the sills, generally anywhere there could be a draught into the bay.
Did a bit more painting, the new wood infills needed at least three coats so now was a good opportunity to get a bit of work done before going to see my little girl and have a fabbo Christmas.
28th December 2016
I’d had a great Christmas but now was the time to get a bit more work done.
Today I had one of those days were I just didn’t stop, fuelled on days of wine and food I was on overdrive and I just wanted to get the window finished.
Next was the inner framing, I needed to get this right before fitting the heavy units, I couldn’t adjust the frames once the units were in place so I needed to mock them up in place first and then remove them ready for the units.
The frames I was using were some decorative mouldings I’d bought in a B&Q closing down sale in Hartlepool, they had been really cheap, they’d however filled the car up and my Mum had had to suffer an uncomfortable trip one night.
As with the sealed units and infills they’d been planned with triple-measuring of the bay frames, they had to be just right.
Anyway it wasn’t a simple job, the mitre saw was used to get perfect corners but unfortunately the bay wasn’t perfectly square, still with a bit of modding it all went to plan. Once happy I removed the frames – after lots of pre-drilling – and took them upstairs for three coats of paint.
Next I went to town cleaning the glass, I had to have it clean as a whistle on the inside as I’d not be able to open it and re-clean at a later date. This took forever, the interior was constantly steaming and dewing up so in the end I had to get the inside really frosty to stop the condensation. Lots and lots of cleaning….
I also took time to refill holes and resand the frames and then apply some more paint, again some areas were to be sealed in and this was one of the last opportunities to get everything spanking before sealing it all in.
I then had a shopping visit, I went to Homebase for some mouldings (to finish everything off neatly), some nails and frame seal that I didn’t use (that’s all the items, what an idiot). I then visited Screwfix for more sealants and finished with a KFC and a visit to see my daughter.
Got back later and did more painting, the frames second coat and more on the main bay woodwork.
Once dry I fitted some draught seals to where the glass was to sit and I also fitted some contemporary brass locks. I know that the windows would no longer need locking but this helped with the aesthetic of the design.
After a couple of days over my Mum’s with my little girl for a sleepover I returned to the project.
I only had an afternoon before the New Year celebrations but everything was now painted, sanded and prepped. A quick polish of the glass and vacuum and I struggled single-handedly with the sealed units into place, the largest one I had to pop out again after I noticed a face print on the inside from my struggle to get it into place.
Once secured with simple wooden spinny locks I then cracked on with fitting them permanently with my pre-done frames.
Everything just dropped into place, I had decided to expose the screw heads so I could remove them easily in future, it didn’t look brilliant but I used some decorative screw head thingummies to make them look a bit better.
The results are excellent, the front bay in the family room is now effectively triple glazed. I like to think that from the inside you’re looking through a modern glass screen onto the historical original frames in their glass case – if you like.
Noise is reduced significantly, warmth is up, heating is noticeably less and they look brilliant. What’s really good is that they don’t suffer from that secondary double glazing fakeness, they look pretty much part of the original frame. What’s doubly good is that I haven’t had to sacrifice the wonderful Victorian glass or wooden frame, it all looks authentic inside (well mostly) and out (definitely).
Happy New Year….
1st of January
Took a little time today to work on the house.
I have a hankering for double curtain rails, a net and a curtain, that’s what I consider classy, which says something about me. Anyway the bays need an angled rod and as the glass is pretty high in the frames I cannot fit rails and it has to be ceiling mounted. So I need to install a double track with ceiling mounts…. The dreaded curtain track…. I like rods for my classy curtains.
Anyway a couple of months ago I bought all the track I’d need to cover me for the two bays and the French window, which again suffered from needing ceiling mounts. This wasn’t expensive and took loads of researching but I eventually settled on Fineline curtain tracks from http://www.terrysfabrics.co.uk/ they offered a double rail option that could be angled for bays, seemed good and was relatively inexpensive. I did manage to order far too many gliders but apart from that it went to plan.
The job of putting them up was going to be a bit of a pest though. There is no simple way of just putting a long length of curtain track into a narrow half-octagonal bay window and bending it to suit, this needed planning, also the double parallel track made it doubly difficult.
What I came up with was meticulously measuring the bay with a tape rule and an adjustable bevel and then transferring these dimensions onto a large piece of cardboard on the floor of one of larger rooms. Then with a rule I would measure the point where the bend was to be made on the track, I would then use a large circular pillar I had to bend the track and I would use the bevel to check the bend. Once the track was bent into shape I checked it in the bay and then cut it to size. I then fitted the double hangers along its length and repeated the process for the parallel rail, I then checked it in the bay, fitted it to the hangers and cut it to size.
This really takes a bit of cunning, time and skill but it worked out.
I think if I had a large sheet of wood it would have been even better to temporarily fix the hangers to the wood and actually fit it to the wood before putting it into the bay.
Anyway all done and a bit of balancing on a ladder and it was all in place ready for curtains and nets.
Once this was all done I tidied the bay, cleaned the glass and trundled my AV system back neatly into the bay giving it a good polish on its way.
Back on the job after a break at my folks’ house with my little girl.
Back to the bathroom and doing my least favourite job in the world chasing out channel to fit the pipework into the shower. Before doing this I pegged out a large curtain over the shower entrance, despite this the dust settled liberally over the rest of the bathroom.
Once the air had cleared I fitted the pipework and sealed it into the wall with a spot of bonding plaster.
Before fitting the Hardie Board to the shower area I decided to waterproof the existing walls with some SBR and I painted a liberal pair of coats to the walls, later that evening I did the ceiling too.
I then got up a ladder and took on another hateful job of fitting the external waste for the bathroom sink and shower. This involved…. Well I hated it so much I decided to delay the inevitable and do some food and Screwfix shopping.
Anyway back on the job and I was now armed with a better hacksaw, some pipe clips and some nice grub.
A bit of tinkering and I had the pipe fixed in the right position, I then elbowed off it to the drain and fitted another elbow on the end where it would drain away. I then rather neatly fitted a pipe clip, I chopped off redundant pipework back to the stonework with a multi-tool and pulled out a redundant drain pipe. A bit of Cementone to tidy up holes and some dressing with bits of stone to hide the filler. Good job.
A nasty job…. Again? The back drain had blocked and I had to get flat to the floor and my am past the elbow into it to clear the rather gunked up blockage. It was terrible niffy and for the rest of the afternoon despite all my soapy efforts I could not get rid of the pong.
A bit of light relief now and I was onto the railway sleepers I’d bought to make the bathroom unit to rest the sink on. I’d bought these ages ago too, solid untreated oak, an absolute bargain but they would need some smartening up.
Out with the trusty belt sander and I couldn’t find the sawdust collection bag so I just carried on despite this… mistake as the bedroom I was using as a workshop is now covered in sawdust and will take hours to clear down, it is everywhere.
So 40 grit all sides of all four oak beams and then some 80 grit and they’re not looking bad.
A bit of work filling the drain hole with expanding foam and that’d be it for a day, just my little girl to put in the bath and get to bed.
A second coat of SBR on the shower ceiling.
Sanded the railway sleepers with 120grit
Removed the rubble from the bottom of the shower
Tidied the bathroom
Lagged all of the shower and overflow pipework
Fitted some beams to the shower floor to allow me to infill a lower sub-floor for the shower tray.
SBR’d this floor.
Screwfix, Homebase and B&Q visits.
Decided this subfloor needed additional waterproofing so I returned to it, removed the screws, lifted it and siliconed around all the joints before refitting it.
I then mocked up the sink stand and with a liberal bashing of a chisel and lots of grunting I inserted two large holes in two of the sleepers for the plughole waste and the tap pipes.
I then did a bit of sleeper oiling with my can of Ruskins, now this is a nice job.
I then realised that the plinth would be completely in the wrong place to accommodate these holes so I had to spend some time dismantling the plinth, inserting more spacers and refitting it.
I then put together a shopping list for the all the tap and waste fittings I would need to fit the sinks and headed to Screwfix for a bit more shopping.
Headed over to see my little girl, got back to the house later and did a bit more oiling.
Ok I know I’ve been moaning about nasty jobs but this is one of the nastiest ever.
I needed to sink a hole through my new kitchen wall to put in a waste pipe for the kitchen sink and dishwasher. Not normally too bad a job but my walls are about a metre thick.
I had tried to bung a builder a few quid to do this a couple of months back but he’d done a runner and never got back in touch – I wonder why. So I invested in a core drill, a rather long extension and along with my SDS drill I was now packing for bear.
OK so a huge drill and a diamond tipped core drill, even a metre of wall shouldn’t prove too difficult. Wrong… it took ages, first of all it just turned and scratched the wall a bit, next I resorted to ignoring the YouTube instructions of “you don’t need to switch the hammer action on” and I switched the hammer action on. An hour of more grunting, sweat, a little blood and lots and lots of vibrating and I reached the limits of my extension, it just hadn’t the length to get through the wall.
I then resorted to an even longer but very slender drill bit, I sunk it through the wall and where it arose on the other side I drilled back with the core drill. Anyone who has ever done this knows this is a bad idea as they never meet perfectly but it worked, well it worked after I’d wobbled and dunked the drill dozens of times to smooth out the meeting point imperfections.
Next I popped (yeah right) through a drain pipe, fitted an angle pipe and another angle to the drain, I neatly pegged it to the wall with a clip and then back inside to the warmth of my house.
My Screwfix shop from the previous day had proved bang on and I had all the correct adapters, wastes and bits to plumb in my sink and dishwasher. I’m not saying it was easy as there were a couple of wet leaky moments but it eventually all fell into place.