The decision to remove the living room ceiling due to the weather being so mild was a bit premature. The long range forecast started showing we were in for a lot of snow and freezing temperatures. Usually the fire in the living room also warms our bedroom as well, but with having no ceiling in the living room we obviously weren’t using that fire. We had a couple of weeks of going to bed in freezing temperatures, in the dark because we’d stripped out all the old cables!
We do have the fire in the kitchen so at least we had somewhere to go that was nice and warm but with temperatures due to drop to -15C the race was on to get the ceiling back in. We both liked the look of the original mud and wood ceiling so we decided we wanted to put that back in. We didn’t want to reinstall the mud, mainly due to the amount the joists were bending under the weight of it, but we did need some sort of flooring up there for the loft space.
We decided to use OSB board for the floor, then reinstall the wood panels underneath it, these will be held in place by batons running down the sides of the joists. One of the problems that we came across would be that we wouldn’t have enough boards. Originally there was mud between them but with removing the mud and pushing then together would leave spaces at the ends. Fortunately some friends of our had recently taken down their ceiling and decided not to reuse their boards and they were all sitting in the barn, so that problem was solved quickly. While Joe spent his time laying the OSB down in the loft, I spend my time washing the mud off the old boards. I calculated I needed about 600 boards to be able to cover the ceiling, Quite a few of the boards were wood-wormy so they got discarded and some had been used as shuttering for concrete and I couldn’t get them cleaned but in the end we managed to have enough boards to cover the ceiling. Putting the boards up was like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle, finding the right length of board for each space, but after a week of fitting the boards the job was done, boards fitted and linseeded and Joe finished the boarding out.
It wouldn’t have taken so long if we had had electric, but with no lighting we had to finish working at around 5’o’clock. Just before the really cold weather struck a couple of friends came round to do the electrics so the timing couldn’t have been better. We now had a ceiling and working electrics so could move back into the living room and get some heat into the bedroom.
The living room still had gaps in the wall to the outside and the OSB boards hadn’t been taped up and the insulation put back, but it even with the cold air coming in and the warm air leaking out it still stayed relatively warm. We have now plastered all the holes up, the OSB boards have been taped up and the insulation has been replaced so normality has been restored.
Even though the main beam and joists aren’t sagging as much as they did we have decided to add another beam under one half of the ceiling to help support the main beam where it narrows, this is now in place but is currently held up with acro props, ( yes you guessed it, these are loaned from another neighbour ) until we get a cement base made for the upright. Before we install the base we need to do some further investigating on what is under the current cement floor.
We have got all the walls washed down and filled the gaps between the first and last joists with chicken mesh and clay. The wall between the kitchen and the living room is made up from the original mud brick wall with brickwork on top of it. Originally we were going to plaster over the brick work but we have now decided to leave it exposed, so this has been re-pointed with clay and cleaned up.
The end of February and the beginning of March have been very busy socially. We’ve had Trifon Den and because there are 2 clubs we are friendly with and they had celebrations on different days we ended up doing both parties. Then we recently had Liberation day with yet another party and we managed to fit in a three birthday parties as well. So our plans of detoxing after all the Xmas parties isn’t going too well 🙂
Hopefully we are now seeing the last of the really cold temperatures and the snow is melting, so everything should get a bit more comfortable!