house – day 272 – 275 – floored plan

We’ve booked the removals company for next week. However, we still have to lay the flooring in the three main downstairs rooms and we need to get this out of the way before our things arrive. We’ve given ourselves six days to do this (and a few other things) before our house is once again filled with our accoutrements.

Saturday

Yesterday, I was working in town and, usually, I would have driven back to the house (more or less) straight after work. However, Fiona had a social event organised in London for yesterday evening, so we’d arranged to drive back together on Saturday morning (I had suggested I could drive back late Friday evening, but Fiona say “no!”). It turned out to be a providential arrangement, as I had all the symptoms of gastric flu on Friday and dare not too stray to far from the comforts of home.

I had a number of tasks to complete in the flat before setting off (the ones I didn’t feel capable undertaking last night), which meant we didn’t leave for the house until close to lunch time. We stopped to get groceries on the way, which meant it was mid-afternoon before we arrived at the house. After lunch it was time for F1 quali from Sao Paulo, so we really didn’t get going until early evening. Obviously, it was too late by then to begin the flooring, but there are plenty of other jobs to do. I got to work on the understairs cupboard door panel and Fiona did some painting and clearing up.

Sunday

Fiona had the walls and chimney breast to repaint (the low-tack masking tape had pulled paint off the walls) and some clearing and cleaning to do in the study to finish before I could start on the floor. Whilst she got on with that work, I set up our instant gazebo in the garden outside the study, to create a temporary workshop. This enables me to work in all weathers without filling the house with sawdust. It also gives me plenty of room to work and reduces the risk of damage to new paintwork, although it does mean I have to go outside every time I need to cut a piece of wood. I set up power, moved my tools into the gazebo and strung it with lights.

The flooring process is pretty straightforward. The solid planks of oak are machined to lock together on four sides, without glue, creating a solid, floating floor. The pieces are 120mm wide and vary from 300 to 1500mm long. Each has to clicked and tapped into place, once they have had any necessary shaping to make them fit. This turns out to be a longer process than I thought, as there are so many pieces of wood to lay – it takes 34 rows of planks to cover the room. It’s also quite physical work, there’s a lot of bending, stretching and lifting (and swearing). Even unpacking and sorting the pieces, prior to laying them, takes time.

By Sunday evening I had about one third of the study floor complete. In deference to the neighbours, I stopped work earlier than I would have liked because the chop saw is quite noisy and I’m using it outside.

Monday

Monday morning, up bright and early and straight back into the study to finish the floor. We removed the masking tape from the fireplace, to see if we had any final decorating issues to fix. Thankfully, this time the tape came off cleanly and apart from a few missed spots, which we quickly fixed. The new fireplace and chiney breast were looking good.

I got going with the flooring and, anxious to get this room finished, I worked hard and fast, getting pretty breathless at times.  It took until late afternoon to complete the job – things weren’t quite going to plan. Yesterday, we had effectively lost a day getting back so late, that’s why I usually return to the house on Friday night. Inspecting the new flooring in the study, Fiona and I discussed timings and we decided we should change the removals booking and put it back a week. A quick phone call later and with no extra charge (apart from another week’s storage), we’re set for the following week. That gives us four additional days to complete the flooring and as much else of other tasks that we can. I feel pretty relieved, it takes a lot of pressure off me – there’s still a lot of snagging to do, which is best done, without having to move stuff around. It gives us enough time to do a decent job without rushing things and cutting corners.

Tuesday

I have to move everything out of the front reception room, so it can be floored. This room has been used as a temporary repository since decorating was completed a few months ago. It’s where all the flooring has been stored since it was delivered. Fiona had scrubbed most of the floor clean yesterday, but we still had to clean where the boxes of wood had stood for a while. I wanted to minimise the amount of box shifting I had to do, so I moved ten boxes out of the room and the rest to the other side of it. Fiona cleaned the floor, whilst I carried on with some work under the stairs and I moved things we didn’t need any more back to the workshop. I also got the door furniture mounted on the study door. Just one door (the understairs cupboard) to do now. The bloody doors saga is nearly over.

I removed the old threshold between reception and hall, to find it was actually part of the floor. There was a piece of rotten floorboard screwed to the underside of the threshold which had been mounted in the gap between the floors of the two rooms. thankfully, nothing around it was rotten, just that one piece of wood, so all I had to do was cut and fit a new piece of floorboard into the space. Another unforeseen task and another delay. The final job, prior to starting work on the floor was to cut and fit some oak strips around the hearth and under the door. These strips wil carry another strip that covers the expansion gap.

We had lunch and, afterwards, the front reception floor still had some damp spots, so I took the MX-5 out for a run (to warm it up and to clear condensation) and to get groceries to take back to the flat tonight. It was a lovel day and it was good to see a bit of sun, even if it was only through a car windscreen

By the time I got back, the floor was dry and I set to work on floor number two. I’ve got into a rhythm now and it took about two hours to complete one third of the room, this bodes well for finshing the flooring next weekend. I cleared up, cleaned up, brought the tools back indoors and drove back to London. I wish I could stay and finish the floor, but we need the money, so I have to work.