Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Progress is being made but not real visible progress. The small pieces of wood called dwangs that go between the joists are now fitted, the insulation is inside the walls and the stairwell has been cut out. So lots of work and now it's ready for the plumbing and wiring to start. Although the insulation needs to be put into the roof first fix is more important at the moment. The builders have been back to finish the blockwork round the front windows. So outside is finished for the moment and work continues inside.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Front Window

We've been away for nearly 3 weeks in the last month, we went to a conference and from there went across to Scarborough for Dad's 80th birthday party :-)

This photo is from 5th October.
Iain has been working really hard finishing the roof, it doesn't look any different apart from the slate on the sides of the Dormer windows but he's done all the lead flashing.

This photo is before they put the window in.
Our plasterboard was delivered and left in our neighbours barn so we moved that up to the house before the weekend and on Monday this week Iain and Paul put the front window and door in.

Chris the builder will be coming to finish off the blockwork round the window and that's the outside finished for the winter and we will be getting started on the plumbing and wiring soon.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Underfloor heating

The roof isn't completely finished but enough that Iain can leave it and start on the underfloor heating.
All the tools had to be put upstairs, which doesn't have a floor yet but enough boards to make it a useful storage area. Then the floors swept so Iain could start laying the insulation.
The joints were taped up, then a plastic cover put on before Iain started with the strips that gripped the pipes.

Then the pipes could be laid and stapled.

When all the pipes were laid and connected Iain filled the system with water and pressure tested it.

After all this was done it was time for the nice people at Screedflo to come and fill the rooms with self leveling liquid screed.

When the roof is completely finished and the floors are fully dry it will be time to start on the inside, plumbing, wiring, bathrooms, stairs, kitchen!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

More slates

Iain is making good progress putting the slates up. The back is nearly finished and so is the porch, and the front is well under way.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


When the slates arrived we were busy with the soakaway so slight delay in getting started then the digger conked out again so while the battery charged Iain started marking out for the slates.
Iain put a half slate on first then a full slate over the top for the first row and to help me put them on he made a jig but holding the jig, the slate and the nail wasn't really too good for me.
The jig has a lip at the bottom to line up on that slate and you place the next slate at the top!

As you can see I'm not good with a hammer.
Anyway at this point, I'd only put 8 slates on I decided they weren't straight.

Iain checked the row I'd done and agreed not straight, so we took off the 8 slates and put them back on, then took them off again. After some measuring and checking it was decided none of it was right and we took them all off.
Then using a chalk line Iain set off putting the first double row back on but it still wasn't right. The place Iain was measuring from was the fascia but it's not straight!
So we then measured from the ridge line down and found we were 10 mil adrift because of the fascia, off came the slates and now we are sure it's straight.

Iain is doing the slating now we've moved to the boards on the roof, not so sure I'm as good at balancing.

Friday, 5 August 2011


So the slates for the roof have finally arrived today.  Major buying decison - Welsh, Spanish, Brazilian, Chinese, or Canadian. We have eventually decided on Spanish but ours are called Caledonian Heavies as they are 2-3mm thicker than normal slates, the extra weight helping in our exposed location.
So 5000 slates, 10,000 nails - someone is going to busy next week!

Friday, 29 July 2011

septic tank

When Iain wasn't running round trying to keep the builders happy he has been concreting the septic tank in with a little help from me.

blockwork finished

It was amazing how fast 2 professional builders can work what would have taken us weeks has been done in less than 3 weeks.

The slates for the roof have been ordered and we are fitting those ourselves so might take a while.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


We finally decided that we needed help on the blockwork. We want the outside to be finished before winter and Iain with the little help I can give him just physically can't do it all so we went looking for a builder.
We asked a couple of neighbours for recommendations and got 1 name from them both with a back up if he was too busy. We had already rung one builder who was going to call in sometime, we rang the 2 we got from neighbours, Chris turned up when he said he would (big plus) and got a quote to us within a week. 6 weeks later we are still waiting for either of the other 2 builders to turn up just to look at the job and give us a quote.
Chris started on Monday, Iain is running round trying to keep one step in front of them. David did a lot yesterday as we were in Aberdeen at our niece's graduation. Today I've been mixing concrete and tonight I'm going to help move blocks again.
The progress made is quite amazing to us as none professionals :-)
This is Chris' helper and this was Monday.
And this is today!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

septic tank

Still not deep enough yet but nearly there now.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Drains & bedrock

Iain has been digging the trench for the drains and the large hole for the septic tank. Things were going quite well until he hit bedrock, so a trip to Inverness to hire a jack hammer. He broke through it but then hit another seam further down and the digger broke (seems to be when it is needed it gives up). All is okay for now the trench and soakaway are dug, the large hole is getting there although bedrock has been reached in there too.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

2nd stage reached

That's second stage reached, wind and watertight. No front window/door though as we need to get things in and out so that will be a while.

Saturday, 23 April 2011


The house doesn't look much different since the last photo although a lot of work has been going on.
All the veluxes are in, the membrane is on and now the soffits and fascias are going up. The front is done and the back is nearly there, the dormers have to be completed too.
Once that is done we leave the house to dry out while we wait for the next inspection as 'wind and watertight' for the second stage of the mortgage.
We have a lot of planning to do for the next stages and we will need to get quotes for the electrical work and the blockwork. We also need to order the slate for the roof. The plan being that the blockwork and slates get done while the weather is reasonable.
Inbetween all this Iain has a job to do and is away for 4 days again at the beginning of May and we have a wedding to attend.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Foundations and soffits

After the membrane was put on the back of the roof Iain had to go away to a couple of meetings and while he was away he left me with the task of painting the soffits & fascias. We decided on a colour with preservation primer to be put on first. I put 2 coats of primer on the soffits (with a 3 hour gap between coats), then the next day went to sand them down but they were still wet (supposed to dry in 16 to 24 hours)
Anyway they were still wet when Iain got home, we think the temperature was too cold (below 10 C).

We had 2 friends coming to visit for a week (staying in the village) and they said they would help, so it was decided that the most difficult task we had for just 2 of us was the concrete foundation.
Concrete cannot be poured if the temperature/weather is under 4C, we made the decision with this in mind to go ahead and put the kit up with just hardcore foundations and we would do the concrete when the weather improved.
When Dave & Jill arrived we said we would like to do the concreting if that was okay and they agreed (none of us knew what we were letting ourselves in for).
Sunday was spent clearing the house out, all the soffits (now dry), fascias, tools, various planks of wood was all put upstairs.
Monday we started with the utility room, which gave us an idea of the scale of the job (not really, but we were kinda hopeful).
Tuesday we started the kitchen/dining room and realised how long it was going to take (already guessed at 10 hours) Iain went and borrowed the neighbours cement mixer, so we now had 2 cement mixers, it took 88 loads of concrete to do the room and we started at about 11am, took a break waiting for the rest of the cement to arrive and finished at 7pm.
Wednesday we had a day off and went into Inverness for lunch, shopping and tea.
Thursday we did the study and bathroom (all one room at the moment) which took 84 loads and not as long timewise. Then Iain, Dave and Jill prepared the living room for the ready mix which was coming on Friday morning, while I cooked tea. Each room had to have sand laid, wacked, damp proof membrane then rebar.
Friday the ready mix arrived and as it couldn't be put directly in the room from the concrete wagon, Iain had to transport it load by load in the digger bucket while the 3 of us tried to spread it across the room. 3.7 cube of concrete in 55 minutes!!!

Amazingly Dave and Jill are still our friends and our house now has concrete foundations :-)

Monday, 21 March 2011


Back of the house with the company colours on the roof :-)
The soffits and fascias have to be painted before they can go up, although they are on the porch already.

Front of house. We are not putting the door in until we've been in and out with everything that needs a wide space. The velux windows have to be put in yet, and the green mat to go on.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


As the weather has been blowing a hoolie Iain and Paul decided to start putting windows in. We also have a back door and when the weather improves a picture of the back may be taken! In the meantime I can take pictures from the path of the front.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Snow again!!

Well I hoped that the next blog would be that the sarking was completed but the weather has halted Iain and Paul yet again. We've had strong winds and yesterday we had snow, today it's windy and snowing.
The sarking on the roof is nearly to the top on both sides so a good weather day should see it finished then the membrane can go on.

The wire going in on the side of the porch is the electric cable, there is now electric in the house.

Saturday, 26 February 2011


Both dormers are up the sarking has been started, velux window spacing is nearly complete. So roof well on it's way to being finished.
Slates will come later, probably a lot later.

Friday, 18 February 2011


The rafters are up, the gable ends are both on and now our first dormer window frame is up. Iain and Paul have been working all the time they can spare to complete the roof. Iain has been taking time out to do his day job and Paul has a boat to build.
As you can see it now looks like a house. There is another dormer to go up and then the insulation and sarking so it will look like the porch roof does.
Of course there is a lot more to do but it's looking good!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Beginning of the roof

Now the trusses are up on the roof, Iain and Paul can begin fixing them into place.
In this picture you can see we have internal walls.

Friday, 4 February 2011


Not much has been happening because we have been away for a few days. Iain has been working on the digger, not with the digger. The starter (the bit the key goes in) has given up so we have a new one on order.
He hasn't been able to work on the roof as the winds have been too strong. Last night part of the gable end came part way down, so Iain and Paul have been up and removed it properly and the nails.
One of the large packs of insulation came out of the croft and hit the caravan so Iain had to go take that to the barn. We have a spare portaloo in case they can't get here to empty ours, and it blew over in the wind.
The caravan is fine and so are we.
Hopefully tomorrow will be fine so the roof building can proceed as scheduled. Sam is due to come down with his telescopic forklift and our scaffold tower arrived yesterday so fingers crossed the weather will be okay.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Porch roof

One gable end is up now, with internal walls and support beams a lot of progress has been made.

The porch roof is progressing well.