Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The porch keeps on moving along...

After a couple of pretty intense days of activity the porch now 'feels like a room'. There still a long way to go but my cold and the rain has driven me inside today.

Next step is the roof... but what with Granddad needing an operation on this week as well as other social issues it now looks like roof time will be next week - weather permitting.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Bringing the porch up to date...

It is that time of year when frosts come.... we all know that but while the mortar in brick and block laying hardens it must not fall below 4 degrees centigrade - up to a couple of days or more - so naturally the walls have waited until the forecast gave us a few good (and reliable)  overnight temperatures. And rather than build all 4 layers of blocks in one go (a practice that would put a lot of pressure on the first layer) I set about building the walls in 2 visits. Those 28 blocks I was given turned out to be 31 and by buying just 4 more I managed to finish both the footings and the walls.

So far so good - now for the expensive bit - the woodwork. We always new this would be pricey abut when freecycle struck again I couldn't believe my luck! Somebody was offering old roofing joists - up to 200 of them. Sadly they were very oversubscribed but I managed to end up with 6 - each between 10 and 14 feet in length. There were six but this photo shows most of them cut into pieces and only the current offcuts left.

But after that has hit this
and you have taken away this

You end up with stuff ready to be cut into usable lengths.

Now I feel like real progress is being made!

A porch for all seasons...

Since Dylan came to stay we have been wanting a porch over the back door... somewhere to kick off muddy boots, hang up wet coats and towel down a muddy dog.  We got quotes from builders and what we found most disappointing was not the the cost but that they wanted to put up something they wanted, not something we wanted. Undaunted we moved with  the idea that we would "do it ourselves".

Hang on, that should be "The Mole" would do it himself. This would certainly work out cheaper but it would put the choice of materials, size and time scale into our own control... no waiting for builders to not turn up to do what they wanted.

Problem is that I have never even helped on a project like this, let alone done one! It was time for the internet.

I set out looking for helpful sites to show the process, methods and pitfalls and found some very excellent ones out there.

So we told Granddad and he suggested he had some windows and a door we could use. That would certainly save money, but starting in the middle of the walls didn't seem like anything I'd read about on the internet!

We looked anyway and started to agree on the actual floor size because of the windows and I suppose that was a logical start after all.

As keen 'freecyclers' we keep an eye out for anything that could really be helpful and were delighted when someone, less than a quarter of a mile away, had 28 concrete blocks going a begging. Not for long though because they were soon stacked neatly on the garden and "the game was afoot"!

Hiring a concrete mixer - for 1 day only - and having purchased the sand and ballast in several car journeys ahead of the day I set about constructing 'the slab' while my helper watched in frustration that I wouldn't allow him to help. However he does seem to approve now.