The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.


Framing the New Roof

With the outer walls of the second storey complete, our contractors start building the new roof over the extension. This has three sloping elevations and will need to be cut in to the existing roof.

The first job is to set the wall plates. These are timbers on top of the new walls onto which the rafters will sit. A couple of slates are removed from the existing roof where the new walls abut so that the existing wall plate can be exposed. The new wall plates are then bedded in sand and cement mortar on top of the walls and are joined at the corners with halving joints.

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Installing Door and Window Sashes

The new French doors are trimmed before fitting with brass hinges and installing the double glazed units, mortise lock and handles. Vertical sliding sashes are fitted to the new window frames – one with fixed side lights and corded sash weights mounted in the sash box either side – the others have modern spiral sash balances fitted.  Fitch fasteners are installed to secure the windows, and rack bolts to secure the doors.

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Installing the Floor & Ceiling Joists

Taking measurements from the existing first floor level, the height of the new floor joists is worked out. The tops will be the same height as the existing first floor less the thickness of the flooring itself. The level is marked on the back wall and the centre line of each joist marked out along this line. Small slots are then cut in the brick work at this point with an angle grinder so that the joist hangers can be fitted. These are wedged tight and, where necessary packed with off cuts of slate.

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Installing the Granite Worktops

Granite worktops cut to size in the workshop complete with cut outs for the sink and hob have been delivered to site. The granite has rounded corners and hand polished edges. The tops are installed, the joints sealed and a hole cut out for the freestanding tap.

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Installing the Kitchen Cabinets

The base cabinets for the new kitchen have been custom made and arrive pre assembled, They are set out, aligned, adjusted using the screw up legs and fixed in position using metal brackets screwed to the wall. Cut outs in the back panels are made with a hole saw to accommodate the services – hot and cold water supplies as well as waste pipes for the sink, dishwasher and washing machine, and a gas supply for the hob. Templates for the granite worktops complete with cut out for the sink will be made and the granite delivered to site ready for installation.

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Installing the Soakaway

A new soakaway is built using modular attenuated cells covered in a permeable fabric and set in a hole beneath the lawn. Rainwater will flow to the soak away via a new plastic drain from the back of the house and will disperse gradually into the surrounding soil.

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Installing the Steel Work

The custom steel work has been fabricated and delivered to site so the installation of the beams to support the second storey of the extension can start. The footprint of the second storey is smaller than the ground floor part of the extension so the steel work has been designed to accommodate this. A steel beam will be fitted at first floor level in the original back wall of the house.

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Installing the Window and Door Frames

New window and door frames are installed. Cavity closers with an inbuilt dpc are fitted to the cavity wall openings in the new brick work. New openings are knocked through the solid brick side wall of the original house. The frames are lifted into position, aligned and secured with frame fixings before beign sealed with expanding foam.

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Laying the Concrete Slab

The central area of the site has previously been filled with broken brick hardcore from the old flank wall that was taken down, and this has been well compacted. This hardcore forms the sub base to our new concrete slab which is the next job on the list. With the outer brick walls up to damp, we’re now ready to build up the rest of the layers and cast the slab.

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Off With the Roof

With the old kitchen safely stored out of the way so that it cannot get damaged, work starts on demolishing the existing extension. But, it’s nothing like as chaotic and messy as you’d imagine.
The first job to get done is stripping out all the old dry lining from the walls and the plasterboard ceiling. You’d probably imagine a huge pile of rubbish in no time at all. But, on the contrary, the plasterboard and battens are taken down quite methodically and rubbish from the site is cleared to the skip on the drive as work progresses.

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Plastering the Bedrooms

The plasterboard ceilings and stud walls are skimmed with two coats of finish plaster. The brick and block walls are sealed with pva before applying two coats of hardwall plaster which is left scratched up before skimming with two coats of finish plaster and polishing up with a steel trowel to leave a perfect smooth surface.

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Preparing for the Second Storey

With the first lift of the external walls pretty much complete, the builders are ready to start work on constructing the next. A specialist scaffolding contractor has erected a scaffold around the new work ready for this. There is a lot more to scaffolding than meets the eye

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G L Smith and Sons