Week 68

Five weeks since the flood, and the optimistic expectation of drying out early has itself dried up, withered and died. The environmental guys come in to test and monitor once a week as promised, and each time they take readings, rearrange the fans and set up boxes in new areas on the floor. It’s the floor that’s taking most of the time to dry, and it needs to be achieve a specific reading as they’re not keen that we lay wood on top for it only to bend and warp in a couple of months.

This feels like it’s taking a lifetime to dry this house out, but baby steps are occurring because the green light’s been given for the first floor walls, and Mike’s been wandering around with a paint brush for a week putting stain block up and doing a bit of redecorating. The Plan, or programme of remedial works, has finally been issued so we have an idea of what to expect, and more importantly, when we’re likely to move in. It’s looking like end of September.

After five weeks of fans and heaters running continuously, the house is getting crispy dry in the areas that were damaged, but it’s starting to affect other parts. Plasterboard is shrinking and the woodwork is suffering. It’s more than a year’s worth of rectification issues occurring in a single month.

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cracks have developed in door frames

The Plan says that some of the carpentry work will be carried out next week, with ceilings taken down and replaced and the plumbing reinstalled and double-checked. So if I can sit on my hands and be patient for another week, we should see real some action in the week that follows.

It’s frustrating to know that so much needs to be done and nothing is happening. The entire electrical distribution board needs removing from the damaged MDF housing and replacing. The boiler isn’t wired up completely, and the plumbing system needs checking. We’re all waiting on the insurers for the starting gun, but we’re endlessly milling about behind the gate.

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the boiler is waiting too

This down time gave us a chance to get to grips with the fireplace after last week’s foiled attempt at lighting it. The cavity of the appliance is so enormous and it requires such a draw that apparently you have to heat up the flue itself separately first. Steve kindly drove up from Horsham to show me. You can buy a Flue Heater which is essentially an electric heat gun to do this, or you can simply light a bit of newspaper with the door mostly-closed to get a slight differential in temperature which prompts a bit of convection. We had two cozy fires this week, and I tested the temperature around the unit with design of the surround in mind. It’s great to sit in the room and have the fire running; it will be a super room later, and it’s especially relaxing when you’re watching the fire while waiting on hold for the electricity supplier for 45 minutes at a time (thank you EOn). At least I’m multitasking.

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ta da!

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We’ve hired a separate contractor to carry out works to the bridges and the drive, and they start Monday. Much of this week has been spent closing out some of the final levels, building control details, and warranty constraints for the drive to pass along to them. I’ve set up the camera in anticipation. Hope it has a good view of proceedings!

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