Slow going - my double storey extension build

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I read quite a lot of project posts across a wide variety of forums and very rarely post. Hats off to you on this one a monumental effort. Loving your range of skills and determination. Keep up the posts.

I'm almost at the end of the road with my current house project. I love the building side and infrastructure (electrics, plumbing etc) but find the last 5% of finishing painful.
 
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I read quite a lot of project posts across a wide variety of forums and very rarely post. Hats off to you on this one a monumental effort. Loving your range of skills and determination. Keep up the posts.

I'm almost at the end of the road with my current house project. I love the building side and infrastructure (electrics, plumbing etc) but find the last 5% of finishing painful.

Thanks for your kind words Billy.

Yes, I completely agree the fiddly finishing bits are no fun!
 
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Hey guys,

Long overdue for another retrospective update or this build.

So we’re still in the depths of last winter at this point, but we now had a tiled roof on two thirds of the house (the new extension and half the original roof). However the other half of the original house roof was still the old tiles. Given the conditions at this time of the year, I decided that it was more of a priority to get the first floor roofs on to make the extension fully watertight.

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So after I took the above picture I put some roofing membrane over the ridges and then left it like that for the next 3 months over winter…and it didn’t do a bad job of keeping the elements out!

So onto the first floor roofs, a small 2m one at the front over the garage and a wider 3.5m one at the back over the kitchen. My original plans were for a pitched roof, but I decided along the way that a flat roof would be a bit more modern looking and I thought it might save me a bit of money…in the long run I don’t think I actually saved anything!

Another mistake I’d made when fitting the RSJs was that I’d not taken the time to bolt any timber into the webs of the RSJs before installing, although they had been drilled for it. Once the beams were up (and each was 2 steels side by side) there was simply no way to get the bolts in and secured…so total rookie error there!

In the end, the only thing I could thing to do was to arc weld some nuts onto the RSJs, and the drill through the timbers with a suitable recess for the welded nut. It wasn’t pretty and a lot of faffing, but it has worked to all the timbers to be fixed.
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Hopefully someone learns from my mistakes!

Then fitting the flat roof was pretty easy. I found the right span tables, and then over spec’d for the distances I had meaning I had C24 6x2 timbers at the front and c24 8x3 timbers for the rear roof joints. The latter was especially over-spec’d as I wanted a roof light.

There’s a bit of fun and games trying to get the joists level with the wall plate, but once you’ve got one sorted it becomes a pretty quick process. My joist hangers are slightly hanging below the RSJ, but that’s not a bad thing as it will be easier to run wires, etc later in the void.

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Face fitting hangers were used, and the precision nail gun was again a real time saver here…it mean my glamours assistant was happy to do it.

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Below pic is the basic frame up, in the process of putting the second (doubled) joists up for the skylight. I found it easier to fit everything as singles and then put the second joists in after. You can’t see it well, but you can get heavy duty hangers which are left and right specific so you can double or triple your joists and then fit the hanger later. The 8x3s were chunky, but manageable. I was just taking my time as the opening for the skylight needed to be 1.01m by 2.01m exactly.

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Staring to feel like a real roof now. Furrings were added on top of the joists to get the right fall for the roof.

You might notice that the final joist spacing (against the original house) is a bit wide. That’s because I plan to have a flush ceiling extractor, so needed the with slightly wider. I put a couple of support noggins in later. I also had to cut some 110mm holes for the extractor ducting as the boiler will go in the same place, so I needed to ensure the extractor vent was far enough away from the boiler flue (once installed) to not be dangerous.

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(The furrings across the skylight were cut later…doing it this way just ensured the fall was the same across the roof).

I opted to go for a warm roof so next was a layer of 18mm OSB3 board.
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Then a vapour barrier and 100mm PIR board.

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Although some places suggest this is optional, I then went for another 18mm OSB deck as I knew the roof would be walked on loads when the house was rendered.

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Then it was just a game of hit the joist, driving 200mm screws through the roof and into the joists. I was very grateful for my impact driver here :)

Although I’ve been showing pictures of the rear roof, we did the front roof in the same weekend, here’s the finished product with upstairs and all (although I later removed the arris rail based on advice from the forum).

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The upstands are a bit higher than the minimum, but for the sake of 50mm I thought it better to follow the mortar bed for channeling in the lead later…although little
did I realise how much lead cost!!!

All the timber/insulation/OSB for the roof cost £2k, the hangers, screws, etc were another couple of hundred quid. Total spend to this point £40.5k.

Thanks for following along :)
 
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Hey everyone,

Back for another update. Just in terms of timelines, I looked back at the dates of my photos and from the post above the tile roof went on the house in December 2020 and then the flat roof was done in March 21. Basically Jan and Feb months were just write offs with me being super busy at work as I was working 7 days a week. I was a bit frustrated with the slow progress, but also part of me was happy to have skipped out on the coldest bit of the year!

Anyway, back to the build and it was just a continuation from the flat roof work above. I’d thought long and hard about whether I should have EPDM roofs or go fibreglass. In the end I opted for EPDM for speed/ease of fitting, and the talk of fibreglass roof creaking put me off.

In hindsight, I would go fibreglass if/when I do the roof again. The reason being that my roof has ended up with some creases in it (you’ll see in the photos below) and I really don’t like the look of the kerb tape (for the edges) which is a different colour to the rest of the membrane.

I ordered from Rubber4Roofs and they had loads of helpful videos online. After starting with the edging strips (no photos sorry), Basically you lay the membrane out to let it settle for a while. While we waited a bit over the min time of 30 mins, in hindsight we should have waited longer to allow more of the creases to drop out as it was still a very cold day when we did the job.
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You then fold the membrane in half and roller on the contact adhesive.

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You’ll see above the ‘russ’ strip by the upstands, which are screwed into the deck and add extra hold to the membrane…not really needed on small roofs like ours, but as it wasn’t expensive I thought it was better to over engineer it.

Then you simply fold the EPDM back over and use a soft brush to flatten it down.

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Like I mentioned, it’s not great to look at with all the creases, but it’s watertight. At some point in the future I’ll redo it to a better standard.

Once the main roof is on, you use their primer to apply to the upstands and edge of the deck, making sure you leave it to tack-off before you stick the surfaces together (otherwise you end up with gas bubbles under the membrane).

Although I bought rubber4roofs metal flashings, I opted to go with lead for the edges. I failed to take pictures of this, but I really enjoyed working with the lead as a material…just a shame it’s so expensive…although I am partly to blame for that as I made the upstands so tall.

Final job was to then stick on the capping, before trimming the membrane.

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If you’re wondering why there’s a random timber sticking out on the right of the photo above, at this point we’d decided to stick a porch on the house as we had plenty of spare blocks…that will be another post later :)

And that was it, job done. I did the back roof as well, but just left an opening for the skylight as it hadn’t been delivered at this stage.

Feeling like we were now making some progress, the next thing was to get the windows and doors into the extension. This wasn’t just to make the place secure/water tight but also we had booked a rendering firm to come in May to render the whole property, so everything had to be ready for them to start (with covid and everyone doing home improvement we had to book them well in advance!).

I measured up and ordered my UPVC windows and a French door from local firm, who were great to deal with and delivered everything on time and as required. When measuring for window, be sure to take 10mm off each dimension to give you a little wiggle room when fitting.
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Above you can see the packers to make up those small gaps - and then you just use a 10mm drill bit and then 120mm concrete screws to fix the frames in (screw through the packers and then snap the surplus of later).

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Glazing in, it can be a little daunting fixing the beading in with a rubber mallet (use a white one) but the glass is stronger than you thing. Thankfully my measurements and brickwork were ok so I could get away with just anthracite silicone on the windows rather than needing any sort of ending strips.

The next job was the French doors, which was complicated as it was replacing an existing window with the door, but behind the window was our current kitchen and specifically the kitchen sink, which needed to stay in operation…so I decided to remove the outer skin of the brickwork only so the door could go I’m ready for the renderers.

Out came the evo disc cutter again
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and bosh, before you could say hey presto the new French doors were in

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Ok, there was a bit more swearing than that but fundamentally it’s the same process as fitting the windows. (I’d also say the expanding foam you see is actually from the previous window and is above the lintel…they couldn’t be bothered to repoint I guess, so banged some foam in and then but a trim on).

And just for a bit of comedy value, here’s the view from the inside (which is still like that as I type now :) )

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In terms of the running total, the EPDM stuff for front and back roofs was £1.6k, the lead for the flashing was another £300. 5 double glazed windows and the French door were £1.6k. I bought a second hand aluminium door for the new kitchen as well for £400, and although I struggle to keep track I spent a bit on fixings, etc which I’d not kept track of.

Therefore total spend to this point let’s round up to £45k.


I thought I’d sign off this post with a full house shot, as sometimes when focusing on all the steps along the way you need to step back and appreciate the bigger picture of the progress made.

At this point we were about a year in from when the first blocks were laid (albeit I’d had a 2 month break in the depths of winter). It’s not bad what an office worker and a primary school teacher can do with their weekends…with a bit of help here and there from friends, family and the good folk on DIYnot.

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Also, to put this into context we’re now at the point where our builders would have stopped - as we were getting quotes for a watertight shell (those quotes were £80k, £120k and £125k).

Of course, there was still a lot of work to do from this point onwards…
 
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Hi all,

Time for another update. I realised that I'd omitted to cover the recovering of the right hand side of my original house roof before the final picture in my last post was taken.

This was actually done in April 21 as the weather was starting to look up by this point. The house had stayed surprisingly dry given that it had only had a layer of roofing felt covering the exposed ridge between the old and new roofs on each side, which had been help in place with some roof tiles laid on top...for 5 months over winter!

Peeling back the temporary felt and starting to lift the tiles on that side and you can see just how bad the old roof was - there were sections, like the bottom right of this photo below where the felt had simply fallen inwards (without me having touched it at all)

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At this stage I also started to remove the loose chimney pot which took some of the concrete capping with it. Amazing this blackberry bush was actually growing inside the chimney!

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One of the other jobs that I'd not done in the right order on the other half of the roof was to fix the soffits and fascias before putting the new felt on, so I did it first on this side. You can see on the below how I've used bits of batten to create a frame to fit my soffit boards to. In some places you might get away with just having the fascia and fixings against the wall, but my soffits are 450mm wide, so I needed to build these small frames to have somewhere to nail the soffit into.

If you do it this way, remember to leave a suitable gap between the batten and the top of your brickwork to allow the soffit board to rest on the brickwork.

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Additional layer of 200mm insulation that had been laid in the first half of the roof could now be fully rolled out across the width of the roof.

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Getting to be old hands at this now :D .. the roof felt went on and the battens carefully put on this time to with the first batten VERY carefully measured to ensure it was even across the whole length.

You can also see the battens on the ridge that are held in place with some brackets (I forget the name) which come with the dry verge kits. You bend these to the angle of your roof and then nail them to the trusses. Just be care to bend them all at the same points to ensure they all hold the batten at the same height.

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The priority was first to get the felt on to ensure the house was watertight. However, the state of the chimney as bothering me. There were quite a few blown and other loose bricks. As I wanted the chimney rendered, I wanted to ensure there was a sound base for the render. I started chipping way at the loose bricks at the top and the blown ones at the side, but each time I removed a brick it revealed another loose one... in the end it looked like this (and the other side, not in the photo wasn't much better) :eek:

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I failed to take a full shot picture of the rebuilt chimney, but you can see some of it in the shots below. Although I left a couple of chipped bricks in, I figured the render would take care of those small bits and as those particular bricks seemed fairly solid I didn't want to end up taking more and more bricks out and end up taking the whole chimney down! My pointing wasn't the greatest here, but I knew it was getting rendered :)

I took the pictures below because they show the made-to-measure lead chimney aprons I got from Leadworx. They were good value to prevent me needing to faff a lot with the lead around the chimney, which I thought was worthwhile doing as it's quite a wide area where the chimney blocks the natural path of the rainwater running down the roof.

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Then it was just a case of banging the tiles on as before. You can see I'd laid/cut some above to work out the distances for the laying where the chimney was in the middle of the roof, but above row three the roof was continuous tiles, so it needed to be laid out carefully to start with.

The next conundrum I had was how to keep the ridge tidy, and more importantly watertight, where the new ridge and the old ridge met at the dry verge. There seemed to be plenty of products where the valley met below the roofline, but not anything (or even much information) about dealing with a dry ridge where the two ridges were at the same height.

In the end, I used some off-cuts of the dry verge I had left over to get the dry verges too meet very tightly at the top. My original cutting had left a bit of a gap between the two sides, so I cut the off-cuts to meet nicely and then fixed them on top of the original verge. I then bought a role of Wakaflex Lead free Roof Flashing which was very sticky, but was recommended to me by my roofing supplier to cover the joint. The result wasn't pretty, but you can see it below.

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I did then start to cement the ridge tiles in on the roof, but that was providing to be really hard work and wasn't looking nice...so after doing about 1m in mortar, I abandoned that plan - you can see the remnants of it on the right hand ridge - and decided to go with a dry verge. I'd already bout the dry verge anyway, so it wasn't a biggie to switch. I figured that if the dry verge wasn't any good, I could always go back to using the mortar when I had more time.

However, the dry verge was super easy, proving the tiles were clean to stick the undercloak down. My better half even got in on the action...

I deliberately went with the Manthorpe Dry Verge as these have stainless steel fixings to hold the ridge tiles in place. Others have plastic fixings, which I felt may not hold up over longer periods of time to weathering.

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I'd already bought all the roof tiles/felt/battens/etc with the original roofing order. The new lead cost me £600 and I spent a bit extra on additional fixings, and the wakaflex, etc... so I'll round up to another £1k spent at this stage. Therefore total spend £46k...although all this post was about re-roofing the original house so it's not truly a costs of the extension.
 
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I ran out of pictures on the last post (only allowed 10) but here's the finished roof, and where the ridges meet. It's a bit dusty as there were several goes at the ridge tiles to nip just enough off them to allow them to sit right :)

Oh, you can also see my new capped chimney with some engineering bricks as a top layer. It is the original chimney pot, we just got some grey paint for it.

TBH I was annoyed that I was left with a really small bit of ridge tile, but the thought of taking more of them off and cutting some shorted to get them to meet a bit better, wasn't something I could be bothered doing at the time. Plus to the rear of the house is a dead-end road, so I never really go down there to see that bit of the roof :D

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So 50% of this post isn’t about DIY, as we drafted in some tradesmen but it’s part of the build so I’ve documented it here.

The plan was always to render the house, and while I have rendered before I was very conscious that the render had to be 100% right on the property. Having seen a number of houses when the render was patchy or bumpy I knew what I didn’t want.

Baumit silicone render was recommended to me by my friend who’s a builder down south, after doing a bit of research it seems that silicone render is better than k rend, etc as it has more flexibility and can be repaired if needed. The top coat of the silicone render is only a few millimetres this and very flexible, unlike k rend and sand & cement.

After sending Baumit an email they gave me details of some local approved installers. We got a few quotes, and went with the guys we liked best - a company called Eco Construction Systems.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we booked them about 4 months in advance and then it was a race to get the whole exterior finished to a point that allowed the guys to do the render. It was a bit of a rush, and a few stressful days trying to get stuff sorted towards the end, but we made it.

Lukasz and his guys worked like absolutely machines, one chap mixing almost continuously and then the other two troweling it on.

Here’s a couple of shots as the base coat was going on. Into this based coat a plastic mesh was inserted for strength.

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Even with only the base coat on, the house was transformed already (in my view). Over the space of 2 weeks it was all done…

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The final plan had always been cedar cladding over the yellow stonework, but we had also slighted changed our plans in that we had a number of spare blocks left over, so we decided to add a porch to the house. This is why there’s a bit of flashing over the door and some un-rendered bits around it. That was a job to be done ones the scaffold was out of the way.

The render is a pure white finish, and as you can see from the up-close shot, there’s no way I could have got it that smooth, especially with the areas of walls involved and the need for speedy application.

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If you’re wondering what the pipe in the soffit is doing, it’s connected to a vent tile in the roof, but with the rendering being done it was easier to leave the soil pipe like that to give the guys a clear rendering run.

It was a bit strange having others on the site, but I did keep myself busy (and tried to keep out of the way). I started with laying the egger floor that had been supplied with my pozi joists, and had lived in my garden for several months under a tarp…they survived very well considering!

Some noggins went down first to support where the stud wall would be going, the then I started to lay the boards.

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I failed to take any photos of the process of laying the floor, but basically the flooring goes together with a rubber mallet for a bit of a wack. There’s special glue that comes with the boards which you put on the joists and also in the joints for the egger board. The glue does expand after a couple of minutes, so not loads of time to adjust it once laid. You then screw the boards down.

I left the protective coating on the flooring so when I plastered later on there would be no mess left on the boards.

I then proceeded with the studwork for the partition wall between the master bedroom and the hallway and the en-suite.

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I had also been sensible (I think) and lifted all the plasterboard for the upstairs through the gaps in the joists once half the floor was laid. This saved me lugging best part of 40 PB through the house, up the stairs, and through a few doorways!

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Sorry for the mess, but in this photo you can see the floor and studs, and also where I’ve fitted some OSB off cuts which will be where the radiator and tv screen will be hung, to give something solid to screw into behind the plasterboard.

If you’ve got a keen eye, you may have noticed some wiring in the above picture. I’d also had an electrician round, and after consulting with him I started to run all the wiring for the first fix electrics at this stage. I need to get that all sorted prior to getting any plasterboard stuck to the walls.

I didn’t take too many pictures of the wiring to be honest, but it look a couple of days to do all the runs and work out how to route everything. In addition to the lighting and plug circuits for both floors, I also ran a 10mm cable for the new en-suite shower, 3 x 6mm cables (oven, hob and electric charge point for future car). The posi joists made life easier for sure in terms of running cables!

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As there were so many new circuits the electrician recommended a second consumer unit (fuse box) be installed. I ran all the wires up to this point, and then he did the rest. If you’re doing a first fix electrics yourself, I’d just remind anyone to check out all the min/max height requirements for sockets, switches, etc and also to the sure to clearly label all your wires!!

The final activity, was something that I’d been dreading…shifting the skylight onto the roof of the kitchen. It’s 2 x 1m in size, triple glazed with an aluminium frame…weighing just over 200kg!

The rendering chaps very kindly offered to help me do this, which was a god send. Thankfully the skylight came in a wooden frame which offers some protection.

We screwed 2 bits of 5 x 2 timber together and then strapped the skylight to the bottom. We then moved it on our shoulder around the house…which was probably the hardest, as even with 4 people it was very heavy!

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Then we used my longest scaffold staging board as a reverse slide, laying the skylight on it and with two people pulling from above and two people pushing below, it slid up quite nicely as the staging board was taking the weight.

Thankfully my measurements for the upstanding were good, and the skylight popped straight on.

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It was an expensive few weeks at that time for the project. The rendering all in was £12k, but I am very pleased with the finish so I feel it was worth it. Plasterboard and adhesive was £850, timber for studwalls and flooring had been paid for with the posi joists, wiring and other electrical ancillaries £600, and lists of other little odd bits and pieces, I’m just going to round to £14k. Therefore now up to £60k total spend.
 
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Update.

Into the summer of 2021, in addition to a bit of downtime for a break, the time was consumed with a lot of little jobs that seem to sap the time away…making you feel like you’re not making much progress. However, those little jobs are just as important all the other bigger jobs!

Fitting noggins, running wires, running pipes was a real time sap…I lost whole days to tasks I thought would only take an hour or two! I'm not complaining, but just commenting that if any readers have/will undertake a similar job, that it seems that all your timelines go out of the window when you move onto the first/second fix as the things you do are not as visible when completed as each course of bricks/blocks may be.

As I mentioned in my last post, we had a spark come out to fit the consumer unit and test all the circuits prior to fixing the plasterboard on the walls - which would bury all the wires and make any fixes much harder. I was pleased that it went without any major hitches - he was very happy with how I'd labelled up all the wires, etc.

Additionally I needed to run all the pipework for new radiators, the hot & cold water for the new kitchen and en suite, as well as the waste pipes. The new boiler was to be sited in the new kitchen and my gas safe plumber was happy enough for me to run all the pipework (except the new gas pipe) up to the boiler, so he could just fit those bits.

Personally I don't like the thought of plastic pipes except for waste, so my preference was to do everything in copper. As I'm not a pro, I always uses Yorkshire solder ring fittings which are mostly idiot proof when doing soldering. From experience I would always recommend two things when soldering, firstly cut dry fit your whole run before soldering anything, secondly mark up the depth of all the joints to ensure that when you refit you get the pipe fully into the fitting.

I think the photo below is a good indicator of how many wires, pipes, etc were knocking around in the floors.

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There were a couple of poor planning things by me, firstly I didn't consider the shower waste pipe until after the central heating pipes were put in. They were close to touching the waste pipe, which may have been fine, but for the costs of a couple of cross over fittings, it wasn't worth taking the chance. (Blue line on drawing shows where the waste will be going - it wasn't fitted in the picture)

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Also, I'd not considered how to get a hot water feed from the cylinder in the original house to feed the en suite and the new kitchen. I could have run it around the RSJ in the kitchen (an extra 7m run for the en suite) which would have meant it took a while to get hot water to that tap. The other option was to drill through the RSJ to make the shortest run possible.

I tried cutting a 20mm hole with a specialist cutting bit and my drill, but after 10 minutes of slow cutting (with cutting agent and cursing) and I was getting no where at all with it. So I bit the bullet and bought an mag drill from eBay, which came with a 16mm cutter. It would have been much, much easier to have drilled before the RSJ was in the wall, but once the mag drill was set up and in position, it was very quick to drill through. In the end, I added two more holes to run the central heating pipes through in this way as well.

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Once all the pipes were in, I then needed to pressure test the pipes. As we didn't have a boiler, I bought a cheap pressure tester from amazon. The reviews said the gauge on it was rubbish, so I bought a second gauge - and I was glad I did as the reading was way off!

With a hose run up the stairs to assist with the filling on the system, here was my temporary rig connected to what would be the radiator pipes in the en suite. You just pump away and very gradually the water pressure increases so you can test the connections are all sound. Thankfully all was well with the pipework, which gave me the confidence to start plaster boarding ahead of the plumber coming to fit the boiler.

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Once all those bits were sorted, it was time to start getting the plasterboard on the ceilings and walls. As well as the stack of plasterboard we'd put upstairs, there was also a considerable amount required for the downstairs too! As you can see, the cat enjoyed this as a vantage point! Thankfully when I'd moved all the PB inside I had organised it so the PB that was needed first (the pink fire PB) for the ceilings was on top.

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In addition to acoustic insulation inside and in-between the pozi joists, BC determined that we also needed PIR insulation between the joists and the plasterboard, which wasn't something I was anticipating (and cost another £400!). We used duck tape to hold the acoustic insulation in place...
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Then put the PIR board up and held it in place with a few screws temporarily, before lifting the plasterboard into place with the lifter and then fixing with 100mm screws through the PIR and into the joists.

I'd never used a plasterboard lifter before, but they are literally the same price to buy as to hire so I bought myself one. For the fire resistant PB it was a blessing as they weigh 34kg each! However, you do need a clear floorspace to be able to fully use the lift...something we didn't have, so sometimes it was just lifting and using ceiling support poles to hold while you fixed them in.

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Once the ceilings were done, it was onto plaster boarding the walls. I'd never used plasterboard adhesive before, but after watching a few you tube videos it looked like a doddle. It wasn't.

Getting the mix consistent seemed tough, even following the instructions. Getting the dabs up on the walls in a consistent manner was tough, and then getting the PB to go on in a nice level way was tricky, even using my 1.8m level to tap it home. And the final insult - the plasterboard adhesive ruined every tool I used with it. In the future I would use the foam stuff, or consider battening the walls.

Here's an example of my rubbish dot/dabbing:
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However, in the end we managed to get there and it was at this point the extension actually started to feel like rooms! (The left over PB was for the en suite that I'd not completed at the time of the picture).

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The only other exciting thing that happened during this period was that we finally got a garage door fitted. There is a side story about a beautiful second hand oak garage door that I bought, which ultimately didn't fit because of the runnings and the gas meter! So I took the plunge and paid for a company to fit a sectional door... wasn't cheap but I'm happy as it looks great (I think).

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It wasn't a cheap period again, but now we were getting to the part where it was ok to spend a bit more on things given the savings we'd made by DIY'ing to date. Tools (mag drill, PB lifter, and consumables (screws, etc) £600. Copper pipes, connections, radiators (x6), etc £800. Additional PIR for garage roof £400. Acoustic Insulation £200. Garage door £3.1k. Therefore total spend to date £65k.

Thanks for looking :)
 
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Wow, really good progress. Dot and dabbing is a pain!
Did they want the PIR as the garage is below?
 
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Wow, really good progress. Dot and dabbing is a pain!
Did they want the PIR as the garage is below?
Yeah, unfortunately BC wanted to improve the the insulation more…I thought heat rises…however, BC have been pretty good so far so I should count my blessings :)
 
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Hey folks,

Back for another update. This build is now into autumn of 2021 and as per my previous post, there’s a lot of niggly little jobs which sap your time up but need to get done before you can get plaster on the walls!

After living a whole year without a boiler, surviving on the immersion heater and electric rads, we finally had a working boiler again in the house. We went for a system boiler with an unvented cylinder in the airing cupboard upstairs. I had thought a combi would be the way to go, but with house going to have 2 bathrooms and 5 bedrooms the plumber recommended having the hot water cylinder so we (or future owners) wouldn’t struggle if everyone was needing hot water at once. The plumber was right - I was amazed how good the water pressure is for the hot water now with this set up, only a few seconds to run the tap to get piping hot water anywhere.

Here’s an example of a niggly job - the extractor fan was planned to be adjacent to the boiler, but I’d just not considered that the vent opening for the extractor couldn’t go straight out of the wall, because it would be immediately above the boiler flue! Therefore the extractor ducting needed to be routed through the roof joists.

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As we had some nice weather in October, we were back outside doing some more ‘real’ building work. With the scaffold now removed from the house, work on the porch could start. This wasn’t something that was on the original plans, but in keeping it under 3m square we could proceed without planning or building control being interested in it.

I’ve taken a bit of a gamble with the porch doing my own strip foundation (the rest of the extension is on piles due to the sand the house is built on), but the cost of ever piles was prohibitive. Quite a few other houses around have add-on porches which haven’t sunk too far, so hopefully it should be ok!

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Getting back to a bit of bricklaying after nearly a year of other diying activities, so took a little while to get my eye back in. As
I had pre-ordered the window and door for the outside walls, I used some bits of wood cut to length to ensure I maintained the correct spacing for the opening.

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The rest of the walls went up pretty quick as they’re wasn’t much too it. I’d already fitted the ledger plate for the joists along with the rest of the roof at the front, as this gave me the right height measurement to have fitted the upstand and lead flashing before the roof was built (I needed to do that so the rendered could do their work…as you can see below)

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We then tore out the old front door and door frame…which was literally held in with 2 nails on each side so was nice a quick to remove.
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I’d ordered a composite front door that matched the garage door (anthracite with 4 small windows) with a sidelight to mimic the one we’d removed. To the exterior of the porch, a simple inward opening glass porch door and sidelight, with another fixed full height window to the side.

After fitting the DG windows and the French doors in the house, fitting these things no longer were tricky…although getting the composite door hinges to align properly was quite fiddly.

Id not quite finished the guttering when the picture was taken below, but you can see roof and fascia’s on, with the exterior door open showing the composite door on the inside (you can just about see).
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All the bricks, blocks, insulation, cement, roof timbers, etc were leftovers from the original extension, same with the fascia board and gutters, so the cost of the porch was £100 in ballast (for the foundation concrete), £150 in lintels, £350 for edpm roof stuff. The composite door was £1650, and the exterior door and window was another £950.

Also we had the cost of the boiler, cylinder, new nest thermostat and a new shower unit (as we had to replace the previous power shower that didn’t work with the new system) all of which was the best part of £4K including the fitting costs. Therefore total spend to this point jumped up quite a bit again, now at £72k.
 

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