The bedroom is finally done

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Taking out the chimney breastThe bedroom is finally done – and it was by the skin of my teeth.

My first Open House (blog to follow) was coming up at the weekend. It was part of Sustainable St Albans Sustfest in conjunction with the Big Green Week and I wanted to show people what a retrofitted house looked and felt like. Demystifying can sometimes  help and be a real spur to action.

But on Friday the bedroom was still not finished.

Of course, I never do just one thing at a time. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that we were retrofitting our bedroom – the final piece of the puzzle. And all because we had a leak in the loo. I know – it’s a big jump.

First the wardrobe had to come out 

The wardrobe was covering the east facing gable wall so taking it out was the only way to insulate for a good U value.

Once there was space to move, Pete the builder removed the side wall of the shower room and put in a small steel to hold the structure up.

Taking out the chimney breast

All the plaster had to come off the walls for the insulation to be put up, so taking out the chimney was an obvious move – when discussing it in comfort over a cup of coffee. Dust sheets in place and hammer in hand it no longer seemed so obvious but our six year old grandson was thrilled. Permission to smash at a wall – perfect!

John and Emmett started the work off. Brute force and ignorance held sway and they were soon covered in dust and grime. Before beginning day two, John spent a long time teeing up the chimney breast, so Emmett could shift it all with a few easy swings. Then the James the labourer took over and did the real work.  

Insulation and lime plaster

I’ve moaned on in previous blogs about the challenge of finding a lime plasterer. This time my long winded search finally bore fruit. I found a small local company who are extremely knowledgeable about the process of insulating. I called asking for the plastering, only to discover they would do the whole job for us – amazing!

  • Applying a 10 – 15mm skim of Diathonite (a thermal plaster) to provide a smooth surface) sealed off around the edges with Contega tape for airtightness.
  • Using a thermal adhesive, put on 80mm batts of Gutex Thermoroom wood fibre insulation – with tongue and groove to improve airtightness.
  • Lime green solo plaster applied in two coats – one thin skim, dry in a couple of hours, then a mesh and a second coat for the final finish.

What a win that was! I expected to need a different tradesperson to put up the insulation or that we’d have to do it ourselves. Not to mention that Harry and Jack were great to have around. It was great to chat over a cuppa about breathability and airtightness and that they loved my home baked biscuits was just a bonus.

The final stage was the carpenter rebuilding the side wall of the shower room, including an open louvre door to increase air flow, then replacing the wardrobe. Electrician to put back all the lighting and Warren to decorate.

The final piece was finished at 2 pm on Friday before the first Open House session at 9.30am on Saturday. I’ll leave you to imagine what that evening was like!

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