house – day 115 – blue Monday

The working week started off well enough, I had a few errands to run, before driving to the house. I took 160 kg of tile adhesive back for refund (the tiler prefers to use stuff he’s worked with before – understandable). I got the money back and bought a couple more tile trims, we’ll be needing them for the step up to the bifold doors. I also picked up the second vanity unit, which completes the order for bathroom furniture. The only significant outstanding items are the two shower mixers/heads and the replacement door panel. These errands were dealt with pretty quickly (traffic was light) and I arrived at the house in a pretty reasonable time. Andy helped me carry the new vanity unit upstairs (it’s quite bulky in the box) and he helped me get three undercoated doors downstairs, ready for re-hanging. It’s easier with two people and saves damaging the doors on the narrow stairs.

I went off to Canterbury to look for door knobs and latches. I returned having ordered £650 of brass (and that’s with a significant discount). That’s the trouble with a complete renovation – the multiplication factor. When you’re restoring a dozen doors, the costs quickly mount. However, when you divide the total cost by 12, you find the cost per door isn’t so bad. I could have gone for cheaper fittings, but having spent so much time and effort on the doors, to get them looking good, I feel it would be wasted work if I finished them with lower-quality door furniture. The money we were refunded for the adhesive went someway to ameliorating the bill.

When I got back, the guys were working on the soil pipes. Now Chris finally has the right bits, the upstairs toilets could be connected and the pipes, inspection chamber etc could be concreted in. Simon did a pretty good job with the concreting and the inspection chamber doesn’t stand as proud as we originally thought it might. I need to box in the hopper to protect it, I’ll probably cut down a concrete slab to fit around it.

As the soil pipe is complete, I connected the old pan to the new pipe with a flexible connector and tested it with a bucket of water down the pan. It worked fine. I couldn’t connect the old cistern to the pan as the feed pipe was too short with the long flexible connector attached. I’ll go to B&Q and get a short connector so we have a working toilet again.

I put more primer undercoat on the remaining doors and went off for lunch, via B&Q to get the pan connector. When I got back there was water all over the place – someone had filled and flushed the cistern whilst it was still unconnected. Great. Shortly after this, the guys left for the day, as they had to wait for the concrete outside to set and I got to work fixing the toilet. It didn’t take long to get it re-connected, but the contents of the un-flushed pan made it a pretty unpleasant job. Ironically, I had to cut the feed pipe down as the new pan connector was quite short. I attempted to dry the toilet floor with the hot air gun – at least I removed the surface water, but most of the water had gone straight down into the shower room below, staining the walls and washing out plaster dust. I just had to leave the shower room to dry. I opened all the windows I could to speed things up.

With one mini-catastrophe dealt with, I decided to trim the under-stairs door to fit the frame I built weeks ago. I carried the door downstairs and tried it in the aperture I created – It won’t fit. I checked the measurements of both frame and door, I knew the door would need shortening, but that should have been all. So I checked the measurements of the door frame again and found that the fucking wood is warped. Bleeding B&Q – again. Aside – Viz once did an excellent item, a fake news article entitled “Man finds straight piece of wood in B&Q”, written as if he’d won the lottery “…found himself surrounded by well-wishers…” etc. Viz had to publish a apology in the following issue. Unfortunately in my experience, winning the lottery is still more likely than getting a straight and stable piece of timber from said DIY shed. I don’t think I have ever bought a piece of wood from B&Q that stayed straight. Usually, once I got a piece of timber home, even if I’d checked it in the store, I find it bends as it dries out more. Yet despite this, I still bought another piece of timber, spent hours fitting it, only for it to bend out of true again. Not only is it now twisted, it bows inwards. This is a 2400mm piece of 45mm x 95mm timber not a flimsy bit of stick. It should be straight, it was straight when I bought it – I checked quite a few pieces before I found a straight one. I measure the frame again, the top and bottom of the frame are precise to 0.5mm, but the centre bows in by 7mm, a waste of effort. I need to go somewhere else and get timber I know won’t bend.

Needless to say, I went home very pissed off. A day that had started off well ended with a lot more work to re-do.