So, yesterday was a super-productive day here at The Dingle. First thing, we utterly failed to go to parkrun. In our defence, it was raining…
But we did go to Kent’s in Hereford because Ronnie the builder from the pub told us it was the place to go for soffits.
So off we went.
Having no idea about these things, I figured we’d probably be shelling out a couple of hundred quid and it’d be a bit of a ballache fitting the things, because of drilling holes and putting vents in and that.
But on arrival, the helpful young man pointed out soffits with vents already within them – and we got 15 metres of the stuff, cut up small enough to fit in our car, plus a box of pins to fix them.
They’re not going to be visible at all, so we didn’t have to worry about what they looked like. And they’re not really true soffits anyway, they’re simply there to ensure no critters get into the cavity behind the rafters and set up shop there.
After a sustaining meal of boiled eggs and soldiers and a cuppa, we dragged everything up into the attic and got started.
There was a hazelnut in the middle of the floor. Like some kind of dire warning from the squirrel posse that this was their territory. Not to be deterred, though, we pressed on. Keeping a weather eye out for terrorist squirrels…
First job: removing all the bricks loosely fixed to the top of the dwarf wall. The previous owner had put them up there to make it less draughty – here’s what they looked like before we removed them:
And without. This is the front of the house:
And the back of the house. As you can see, there is no soffit here. We got a good view of the chickens bockling around in the courtyard…
Fitting the soffits was actually really simple, and only took us a couple of hours. We got a system going: Joe would measure all the distances between the rafters. I’d saw the soffit into the right lengths. Joe would nail them onto the timber.
Here’s the result – front of the house:
And the back of the house. Much less draughty:
A job well done. Not authentic, perhaps… but we’re beginning to realise that if we do everything exactly as it “should” be done, we’ll need a bottomless pit of money. So we’re concentrating on doing the best for the house – making sure it can breathe, making it as authentic as possible – but not bankrupting ourselves or driving ourselves crazy in the process.
We do have to chip out all the concrete that’s in contact with the timbers, though, because it rots the wood. Not breathable, see.
So that’ll be a fun job over the next few weekends.
We’re pleased with our progress today. Tomorrow (Sunday) we’ll be starting to fit the breathable, eco-friendly, insulated plasterboard.
Jobs still to do before the floor goes down:
- Fit the plasterboard
- Decide on lighting and wiring
- Decide on plumbing locations for the shower room
- Chip out concrete adjacent to timbers
- Plaster the ceiling and walls
- Paint the gable end wall for a textured look – or do we lime plaster it? Yet to be decided
- Probably a bunch of other stuff we’ll discover later on…
Perhaps the most difficult job today was cleaning up afterwards. Up until now, the attic had been strewn with rubble, piles of dust and sand, old nails and tacks, and tools scattered everywhere. Now, the tools are neatly packed away, all the crap is gone, and the place is swept and tidy. Still very dusty, but it’ll stay that way for weeks, I’m sure…