What's behind this wall?

17 Dec 2015
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First off, apologies if this post is a bit sketchy, this is my first post on the forum!!

I've recently purchased a terraced house in Spain, it's an old fashioned small typical Andalusian house circa 1915...

The previous house owner didn't really care much about how the house looked so now we're in we're wanting to do a bit of renovation/restoration. I won't claim to be the best builder/tradesman, after all I am an accountant, however me and the Mrs are very keen to do as much on the house as possible, as opposed to paying a Spanish builder....Obviously we wouldn't undertake any tasks which are out of our skillset/dangerous, however as this is a DIY forum, I hope I'm in the right place for a bit of advice!

Basically the house is an old wood timber framed house, which timber beams running throughout the house. The old owner didn't care much for these and plastered over all of them.

Now when restoring each room we've decided where possible we'd like to expose the wood/treat/show as a feature of the house.

Now I've painted the picture this brings me to my first query (of I'm sure many!)

In the bedroom there's plaster everywhere, including over some wooden beams. We've chipped back the plaster and noticed the beams, however are a bit unsure what's beyond the beams. Basically above the beams are the stairs to the next level, which I've also shown on the picture. These look to be concrete stairs. I presume should I keep chipping back, what I'll find are the back of some concrete stairs/more timber framing?

Basically, I'm a bit worried chipping all this plaster off (if that's what it is??) will damage the house at all structurally?? So I'm after someone to look at the pics, hopefully tell me what I can/can't, or would/wouldn't chip away before I carry on..

As we're doing 1 room at a time we've decided to do it as we like, so ideally we'd like to expose the wood/back of stair case and make look lovely, if possible!!

Also, another question. If you can see on picture 2 there is a white beam running down the middle of the room, what would you suggest was under this beam, this beam has cracked less than others which made me think that a wooden beam wasn't hiding under there, however, I'm not sure what else could be?? Again, do you recommend having a sneaky chisel at this and seeing what I find? Further to this, on the floor above, directly above the beam in question there is a wooden beam.....so does this indicate hidden under the plaster will also be the same on the floor below?

Hopefully this is in the correct topic!

Thanks again!
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Given the age of the property and the Spanish property influence, I would suggest tat most of the main structure is likely to constructed from timber beams. Mosts of the timber will have been locally sourced, so don't expect it will have been squared off and shaped to suit modern day timber sizes. Between the timbers you will likely find it will be constructed of hand made earth compacted blocks or similar.

Be careful with plastering, by the way, as most of these properties "breath" through the walls, so lime based plasters are preferred.

Good luck with the renovation work

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