After a fairly dry January (meteorologically and alcoholically speaking) where we waited for the second team of builders to come back on site, work has been carrying on this month in earnest. There was great excitement in This Auld House at the start of February as the roof was removed in preparation for the roof space conversion and much needed insulation.
Head for Heights
It is pretty terrifying watching the builders scamper along the roof trusses flinging large pieces of ridge work and tiles to each other. I’m not afraid of heights but conversing with the builders as they teeter on the top of the second floor of the house is a bit of a dizzying experience. In the current sunshine it’s hard to remember back to the rain and gales at the start of the month. Safe to say, as soon as the roof came off, the rain started in earnest. The water damage to the inside of the house is now pretty serious. The original ceilings with their beautiful plaster covings are starting to sag.
Talking of Ceilings
We have already had one ceiling come down. The electrician and I had a lucky escape as we went through the downstairs marking out where all the plugs and sockets will go. We were merrily marking the walls with spray paint in what will be the drawing room when we heard an almighty crash next door. I poked my head through the living room door to discover that half of the ceiling was now on the floor. With no roof, I’m thankful that the weather has been so unseasonably good as it has allowed us to preserve what little there is left of the interior.
To Tile or Not to Tile
When it comes to sourcing materials, I’ve learned to shop around for myself although my efforts at savvy procurement have not all been successful. All along I have been determined to reuse as many of our original Bangor Blue slate tiles as possible. The builders have dutifully eased each salvagable tile off the roof and whilst there has been some wastage, it seems as though we’ll have enough to do the main part of the house. We will need more for the garage roof and the extension though and when the builders merchant suggested a cost of £5 per tile and a wait of 26 weeks, I had to find an alternative.
I’ve had some interesting experiences sourcing reclaimed slates from characters I encountered on gumtree. I spent a memorable morning going from one motorway turn off to the next on the North Antrim Coast with a gentleman who couldn’t remember his precise address and kept insisting I was “just down the road” from him when actually he was many, many miles away. I eventually found him and my epic journey ended with me knee-deep in mud in what Northern Irish folk call “a shuck” in a field. My efforts resulted in the purchase of a grand total of 33 slates- a waste of time and money. I’ve since found a supplier of reclaimed slates that will deliver for half the price, so progress has been made.
A Major Snag
Whilst the builders have been cracking on with rebuilding the roof, they have unfortunately come up against a discrepancy in the plans for the new dormers. We have asked for advice from the structural engineer and I’m praying that it is something simple (and inexpensive) to sort out. I’m also fervently hoping that this is not an issue we will have to return to building control with. We had a delay of almost a year due to building control before we could begin the project and with the roof open and the house at the mercy of the elements, we really can’t afford any further delays.
On the Bright Side
As we wait for the engineers report I’m trying to look on the bright side. Once the roof is sorted, we’ll have an amazing space on the second floor. The two rooms we will have here are essentially spare bedrooms but all along they have been key to what I want to achieve with This Auld House. I want to have friends and family to stay with us. I want to have people who I may not know yet but who will become friends. Essentially, I want to bless people so those rooms are very important. Let’s hope next month’s blog post will feature pictures of a fully tiled roof with completed dormers!
What renovation snags have you hit and how did you resolve them? Have you had any unusual encounters with sellers or suppliers? I’d love to hear your stories. Why not comment below and follow the blog by clicking on the link. You can also check out This_Auld_House on Instagram or see my interior ideas for This Auld House at Sheelagh|Home Interiors Blogger|Property Development on Pinterest.