Monday, 13 February 2012

Throwing Light on the Subject

The plaster was drying out very nicely and my wife was champing at the bit wanting to get some paint on the walls so I had to let her have her head. After one of our regular visits to B&Q and Wickes we had sufficient paint and materials to get a primer coat on the walls. Let there be light !! its amazing what one coat of primer can do to the light values in an otherwise dark interior. However I think we got the cart before the horse here as a coat of primer prevents any regular building adhesive from sticking to the wall so all skirting and architraves had to be mechanically fixed rather than using the modern way of sticking them.
White walls but no light fittings.

Without electric light indoors at any time of the year it can be too dark to work long hours so the lights were next on the agenda, however the mains were not connected to the consumer unit. Yet!  All the wiring had been provided by yours truly during the first fix and now it was time to fix sockets and switches, lights and controls. At the earliest stage of design we decided to opt for chrome hardware through out the house so all our switches and sockets are of the chrome variety all courtesy of Screwfix. Screwfix opened a business account at the early stages of our build, as did B&Q trade and our friendly local builders merchant. Anyway I digress, having fixed all the electrical fittings we had to dig up the driveway ?? That's right, the electric supplier will only excavate in the public highway so as we were the builders it was up to us to lay a pipe(a genuine article supplied by a builders merchant) to provide a connection to the consumer unit.
Me doing some basic testing whilst connecting sockets in the loft.

Hand digging through road stone to lay a pipe for the electricity supply

Not great pictures but you can see a couple of the sockets I fitted. I am not qualified to certify a mains installation so my friendly local electrician did that for me. He quipped that he had tested a grand total of 54 double socket outlets. I know I said ' I fitted them! '
Anyway after he had completed his testing and the mains had been provided and connected to the consumer unit, Eureka! we had light.

Kitchen Lights On

Temporary Lights in the Living Room pending some nice fittings.

The house was coming together now and with each stage the prospect of moving in permanently was becoming closer and more exciting. That was a relief because not surprisingly we had spent three years getting to this point!! However there was much left to be done, not the least of which would be the plumbing. Water is a prerequisite of  a modern home, baths and all that. So that is the next topic for 'TheRealSelfBuildBlog'

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Getting Plastered

The big day arrives and this is where the shell of our build begins to look like something resembling a house, 'THE PLASTERERS ARE IN'
Six big young lads turn up, trowels at the ready and are straight in, sheets of plaster board everywhere, mixing buckets and baths in every room, materials in every corner. These guys mean business!! The first day sees all of the top floor boarded out ready for the skim coat. The second day the boss takes over fixing plaster board with the dot and dab method whilst several of the others start the skimming on the top floor. A sight to behold, the way these guys handle the plaster, rapidly mixing, skimming the plaster evenly onto the plaster board and after a ten minute break for drying, polishing off to a fine finish. A wondrous sight!

Two days work and the second floor is boarded and plastered

 Preparation is everything. Boarding out the landing on the first floor and covering up the banister. Notice the pink fireproof plasterboard for the ceilings, part of building regs for three floored buildings

 Master bedroom boarded out ready for skim. Boy do these guys work quick.

 Another room skimmed.

Of course the downside to this onslaught is the mess. What was once pristine chipboard flooring was now a patchwork of plaster stains. Next time (if there is such a thing) a proprietary protective floor covering will be applied. Lesson learnt?
Meanwhile whilst all this pandemonium was going on my wife and myself were demoted to tea boy and assistant as there was little else to get on with, however we were already planning the next phase, 'second fix'. 

Ground floor preparation

A week later and all the plastering was done, every room in pink, well not quite! the plaster is very dark and has to dry thoroughly which may take days if not weeks, meanwhile my wife was dying to put on a first coat of paint.

The finished product. Very neat.

This part of our build was the largest item which we did not do ourselves (for good reason) however it was also the most expensive single item in the build amounting to approx £12000. So to all you would be self builders out there, be aware!

Anyway that was a major milestone in our build and as I said the next phase would be second fix, however that's for the next time on 'The Real Self Build Blog'

If you have any questions about my blog or self build in general please email me. You can find my email address in my profile (top right of page). You can also become a follower of my blog by pressing the follower button or click on 'Comments' below to leave a message.  

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