Do Up Diary #45 Leak begone! Let’s have a New Year and a New House!

Christmas on the scaffolding So….. did you all have a lovely Christmas? Can you guess where we spent it?! Yep, that’s right, even during the holibobs I was up on the scaffolding with my nieces and nephew in our paper cracker hats 🙂 It was a big shock to them and my sister, who hadn’t been to site since last summer. Things have changed quite a bit, the last time they stood round about there everything was just a big pile of rubble and now it’s a whole new building!

However over Christmas it’s been a problematic building. Not the no heating in minus temperatures, nope, not the no kitchen for cooking a turkey or no bathroom for New Year pampering, nope, we’re well used to those little omissions from normal life by now. It was the water, suddenly pouring in and soaking the new West Wing, the Daddy Dormer and the main house where it joins the new extension – and we couldn’t work out at first where it was coming from!

The obvious place to look was the new join between extension/new West Wing and the old house as we’d never noticed a leak prior to last summer’s work starting. Slates were stripped back, the new valley checked and resealed, I stripped out all the pointing and re-did it with added lead mate behind. And GRRRR, still the leak. So we went higher, looking at the original box guttering underneath the outside of the new Daddy Dormer, which hadn’t leaked previously. It looked ok, said everyone, but you know when you just get a bee in your bonnet about something, a feeling in your bones? He went off for a shower at dad’s one night and I took a hammer to the internal leaf of brick work in the top floor dormer, right behind where the box guttering was. Omg, did I find the leak or what. Hidden behind the inner course of bricks the water was pouring in through a damaged flashing repair and a ropey down pipe hopper. This was how Mr M found me when he got back from his shower, filthy, wet, cold and pissed off, hence the vodka 😉

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You can see from the pictures above, one inside with sodden rubble and mortar and the one outside where the box gutter had been stripped off a few days later with it’s rotten rafter ends and disintegrated wall plate that things were pretty bad.  It was clear that the leak was historic and had been poorly fixed, before I bought the house back in 2003, leaving rotten timbers in situ. Basically all our work on the Daddy Dormer and roof area, as people climbed on and off the original box gutter had dislodged the half arsed repair and water was flooding in again. There was nothing else for it but to strip off all the old lead, removed the rotten timbers and start again, repointing the old chimney whilst we were at it. We deliberated using new style guttering instead but it was (a) going to be hard to connect through to the neighbours side (in the below picture that’s the bit beyond the velux window behind the dormer, up to and past their visible chimney) and also (b) it didn’t feel right not to replace like with like. I’ve used authentic materials such as reclaimed slate and bricks, thus to re-make an original style box gutter like the one removed felt more in keeping with what we’re trying to achieve somehow.

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The guys have done a fantastic job, forming a new super wide timber box, making it watertight, renewing slates, creating a proper fall for the rainwater and and new hopper / rainwater vertical pipe in front of the new extension instead of half way back and above it like before, which was just asking for trouble in the future. A sheet of Kingspan protected the slates on the bathroom dormer, not quite it’s intended use but super helpful all the same. It was VERY cold in between Christmas and New Year, whilst you lot were snuggled up eating chocolates and scoffing turkey curry, we were beavering away, but I’m so pleased it’s done and have watched with relief as the walls have dried out over the past few days.

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2015-01-05_0001This all means that we can now get on with insulating the build, then the next stages of putting Moregeous Mansions back together. It’s going to be a hard working but great 2015 for us here and Team Moregeous wish all of you a very Happy New Year too xx

Special thanks to the A Team for all their 2014 help and to the Drunken Butcher and Heli for welcoming us into their home on Christmas Day for food, festivities and Frozen – massively appreciated guys, it would have been a cold and miserable one here!! xx

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