With the weather too wet and windy to be working on the roof, we are racing to get all the internal walls constructed by December 7th. The gas engineer and the electrician are booked to come and do ‘first fix’ that week.
One big advantage of the Wikihouse construction method is that the internal walls are individual units and none are weight-bearing. They can be positioned wherever you want them and even moved at a later date to suit lifestyle changes. It’s just a matter of finding the right framework pieces, screwing them to the floor, ceiling and external walls, and then popping on the corresponding panels. This last part usually takes just a few minutes, but the wet room walls have had other ideas and we have resorted to using levers, heavy clouts with a mallet, clamps and finally a little bit of sanding. But we’ve won in the end!
We have also fitted the walls around and under the stairwell. We were disappointed to have to cover over the signatures of everyone who has helped on the house so far, but we have photographed them all and will put a print-out in the ‘time capsule’ which we shall hide elsewhere in the house. We have also had to reposition the false floor which currently fills the void above the hallway so that we can reach the upstairs bedroom walls and bannister from that side.
The first of 4 panels
Wet room wall frame
Built by ….
Kitchen walls beside the stairs
We have windows! This weekend’s task for us and our Wikihouse friends was to prepare 6 window openings (Martin had already done 3 earlier in the week) and to install 9 windows, including the fabulous patio doors. And we did it!
Common sense, bad light and the catering manager’s timetable all suggested that we should give up after window number 8, which would have left us just a tiny bathroom window to do between the 2 of us. However, a competitive nature, some temporary lighting and a temperamental Aga enabled 2 stalwarts to fix and wrap the battens in the opening, followed by a timed sprint by another yellow-helmeted pair to align the window and screw it in place.
In theory all of this work could be done from inside the building, but we found that it was easier to check the correct positioning of the window from outside. Luckily, in a previous weekend our son had cleared the ground at the back of the house and smoothed it with road-planings so that the scaffold towers can now be moved and levelled much more easily.
Other recent achievements include installing one of the gutters and beginning to build the first of the internal walls across the width of the house. We have also made a temporary back door to stop the South Westerly wind from relentlessly driving rain through the opening and onto the unprotected plywood floor.
The window crew – mission accomplished.
‘Snug’ wall and skylight opening
Preparing the opening for the patio doors.
A replica of the bathroom window opening was used for a practice.
Cutting reinforcing strips of weatherproofing.
Hole in one. And a window in the other.
Rain on the windows facing West
Timing the installation of the last window.
Molly approves the new surface.
Frantic, floodlit, final fitting!