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Author Topic: That 'big project' I've been banging on about for a few years now....  (Read 48550 times)
James Harrison
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« Reply #675 on: October 16, 2020, 04:04:29 pm »



Boot scraper / back breaker has arrived.
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Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« Reply #676 on: October 16, 2020, 06:41:14 pm »

I had a look at those, and I'm sorely tempted to obtain one (even though at present I don't have a use for one).
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James Harrison
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« Reply #677 on: October 16, 2020, 06:48:56 pm »

I'm looking at mine and puzzling out how to bolt it down.  It needs 25mm diameter bolts, which need something a bit more than 50mm mass concrete to bite down into.  I can see this becoming a huge block of cement and some expensive fixings to secure it. 
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Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« Reply #678 on: October 16, 2020, 06:50:55 pm »

I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to get hold of a sleeper end (or similar sized large lump of wood) to bolt it to.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #679 on: October 16, 2020, 07:08:13 pm »

I could, but then that itself in turn needs to be set into the ground. Although actually what I could do, would be to mount it on a railway sleeper and then lose that alongside the garden path when I get around to ordering some gravel. 
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« Reply #680 on: October 23, 2020, 10:45:12 am »

I'm looking at mine and puzzling out how to bolt it down.  It needs 25mm diameter bolts, which need something a bit more than 50mm mass concrete to bite down into.  I can see this becoming a huge block of cement and some expensive fixings to secure it. 

What about 'faking it' use rawlplugs and standard screws into the concrete (with repair washers to fit the holes) then glue some thing like these https://www.orbitalfasteners.co.uk/products/m16-24mm-nut-bolt-cover-cap-black-plastic-polyethylene to the top to look like the oversized rail bolts (painted green to match).
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James Harrison
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« Reply #681 on: October 23, 2020, 06:28:56 pm »

Nice find!  I may well resort to it.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #682 on: October 23, 2020, 07:44:35 pm »

This week's task; planting a hedge. Some weedy-looking.... things.... arrived a few days ago.  I'll post a picture when they look a bit less dead. 
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James Harrison
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« Reply #683 on: November 21, 2020, 02:23:39 pm »

A month after work ceased for the year and I think I can give a bit of a summary of what worked, what didn't, what to do different next time and what might be done next year. 

- Garden: the hedge hasn't died, then again neither has it exactly grown yet. 
- Stuff dragged out the house / garden: this week will be the first time in.... four or five months.... that I'm not filtering bricks/ tiles/ rubble/ bits of dead tree through the various waste and recycling bins.  I had a bonfire early this month which pretty neatly got rid of 90% of the tree branches, twigs and stumps.  The remainder then went through the bins...
- Sitting room: there are still some bits to finish off in there.  Paintwork on the timber could do with another coat, one or two of the walls the blue is looking a bit patchy, I still need to build something for the bay window.  Next year I might buy some more bookshelves and take up the main back wall with these (probably only three in height rather than five though). 
- Hallway: the bottom end of the hall needs finishing off (mainly in the ceiling where the plasterer needs to come back and address the broken cornicing).  The floor tiles still need sealing in and the threshold needs cleaning up and painting.  At the top of the hallway I've found what I think is a studwork wall that possibly needs looking at, as the plaster flexes.  Worse case that would need entire renewal, best case I guess is replastering it on one side...
- Fenestration: the doors and windows are serviceable enough but hardly in the Edwardian fashion.  I've got a few avenues to pursue for replacements there. 

So the plan for next year is aready shaping up as dealing with more structural things than simply repainting;
1) That wall in the upper hallway
2) New windows and doors
3) New guttering and boarding around the front of the house
4) Lowering the level of the patio to the rear (to below the damp proof). 

Meanwhile the reference library continues to grow, with the acquisition of Trevor Yorke's The Edwardian House Explained and Stefan Muthesius' The English Terraced House.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #684 on: December 21, 2020, 04:51:34 pm »

With two weeks away from work and (it looks like) two weeks with precious little to do, I've had another look at the quarry tile floor. 

Quick recap:
I uncovered this in July / August, have managed to remove about 95% of the mortar, plaster, paint and woodstain that was on it and am planning to re-wax and re-seal it in the New Year. 

But before I do that, I want to try to remove as much of the remaining detritus as possible.  So far I've tried a few types of stain remover, something that dissolves mortar, steam cleaning and white vinegar... so today's experiment was a viciously sharp woodworking chisel.  Which, it would seem, has actually managed to remove quite a lot of the remaining muck in the areas I've tried it.  The drawback is that the chisel blunts within a few minutes...
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #685 on: December 21, 2020, 05:11:54 pm »

Now, as you no doubt know by now, I like my dangerous chemicals.

Have you tried Brick Acid?

A qoute from google......

Hydrochloric acid based cleaner. Removes stubborn stains, limescale, ingrained dirt, heavy cement and mortar stains from brick, concrete, paving and patios, scaffolding and tools. Apply by brush. Use protective goggles, gloves and clothing to cover face, eyes and skin.

Great stuff, will clean your toilet too.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #686 on: December 21, 2020, 05:26:36 pm »

I've had a go with some methanesulphonic acid on it, which did a good job of removing a lot of the muck and grime, but required leaving windows and doors open (unless you want to breathe in all that acid-y goodness).  Which is a bit of a problem when it's hovering around freezing outside. 

I've no problem with using chemicals if it comes to it, it's the caveats that go with using them (you know, needing to leave windows and doors open, get draughts going, storage and ultimate disposal and cleaning it all down afterward so my it's safe should my 6-month-old niece come visit and decide to lick the floor etc) that put me off somewhat. 
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #687 on: December 21, 2020, 05:59:43 pm »

Ok, yeah I get that, I once got my dad a couple of gallons of 100% Hydrochloric acid, after he died and I cleared the shed found some, unwound the lid and after 30 years...... HOLY NASAL IRRITATION the thing was wafting visible vapours.

These days I think it could be watered down a bit, it can be found in most toilet cleaners, but whether in strong enough concentration for what you need, I'm not sure.

Once Brick Acid is used, it does need repeated good dousing with water to dilute and become innocuous.

After industrial paint stripper, Hydrochloric acid is my personal no1 fave for everything............

Just an idea, back to scraping with that there chisel, I suppose Cry
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« Reply #688 on: December 22, 2020, 06:11:52 am »

Acid is nasty stuff. You have to clean it afterwards, preferably by neutralising it first with baking soda. Messy cleanup anyhow.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #689 on: December 23, 2020, 04:46:04 pm »

Well, as brick acid isn't too expensive, I decided I'd have a go.







The worst areas, for me, were the edges where the tiles go under the skirtings.  These had gotten caked in mortar, plaster, paint, woodstain and also harboured the majority of the stuff I couldn't get off in the Summer... I have to say after a few hours of work they look a lot better now.
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #690 on: December 23, 2020, 05:05:14 pm »

Wowser, looks like that cleaned up rather well, I know I spout some random rubbish, but sometimes, just sometimes, I might actually know something.........  Grin

Just got to stop your niece licking the tiles over Christmas now, not that she is allowed in the house under the plague restrictions.
 Grin
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James Harrison
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« Reply #691 on: December 23, 2020, 05:18:59 pm »

She's not coming here over Christmas so by the time we are allowed to meet up again the floor will have been cleaned down and made safe.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #692 on: December 23, 2020, 05:59:31 pm »

Well, all told I'm quite pleased with that result today, so between Christmas and New Year I'm going to have another go at the floor with the acid (today I just concentrated on the edges rather than the middle), and then I'm going to get it all sealed. 

The plan for next year broadly is to concentrate on the facade. 
I want new front and back doors (the existing ones, the front door has a couple of splits down it and the back one has a cat flap.  I don't have a cat.)
I want new windows throughout.  I've seen some rather nice conservation-area approved sash windows, which are basically reproductions of Georgian / Victorian / Edwardian designs in modern materials. 
I want to have the new guttering and bargeboards brought around the front of the house, which I know will mean needing some scaffolding put up, and whilst that scaffold is up I want the bay window roof tiling addressed. 

Then coming indoors there's a couple of jobs left over from this year that need doing, there's a wall that possibly needs rebuilding and- if I get through all of that- there's the top end of the hall that needs redecorating...   
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James Harrison
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« Reply #693 on: December 28, 2020, 05:14:12 pm »

I've used acid on the remainder of the floor now and it's brought up a lot of muck and gunk (a lot of it seems to be grout...) but I think I've about reached the point where more effort won't necessarily produce a better result.  I think I'm going to call it there...

Another thing I've found- one of the tiles in the sitting room doorway loosened and I was able to pry it out- another thing I've found is that I've got a suspended floor in the sitting room.  There's about an 18" gap between the underside of the floor and (what feels like) sand or soil below.  Most odd, as the rest of the ground floor is a concrete slab.
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #694 on: December 28, 2020, 05:34:47 pm »

With the unglazed tiles I salvaged from my mums garden, I used a flap wheel in an angle grinder to remove years of encrusted cement and concrete, very dusty and possibly a bit brutal for your hallway, but a finer sand paper type stuff, dunno........  Undecided
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« Reply #695 on: December 28, 2020, 05:41:35 pm »

Another thing I've found- one of the tiles in the sitting room doorway loosened and I was able to pry it out- another thing I've found is that I've got a suspended floor in the sitting room.  There's about an 18" gap between the underside of the floor and (what feels like) sand or soil below.  Most odd, as the rest of the ground floor is a concrete slab.
Time to bring in the corpse dogs? Huh
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James Harrison
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« Reply #696 on: December 28, 2020, 05:55:03 pm »

Another thing I've found- one of the tiles in the sitting room doorway loosened and I was able to pry it out- another thing I've found is that I've got a suspended floor in the sitting room.  There's about an 18" gap between the underside of the floor and (what feels like) sand or soil below.  Most odd, as the rest of the ground floor is a concrete slab.
Time to bring in the corpse dogs? Huh

It's the resting place of the last person who took this money pit on. 
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James Harrison
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« Reply #697 on: December 28, 2020, 06:01:13 pm »

With the unglazed tiles I salvaged from my mums garden, I used a flap wheel in an angle grinder to remove years of encrusted cement and concrete, very dusty and possibly a bit brutal for your hallway, but a finer sand paper type stuff, dunno........  Undecided


All of the cement and concrete is off, what is left is like an ingrained dusty sandy stuff.  It's actually in the pores of the material- run a blade or anything in that line over the tiles and they're smooth.  I think the only way to get rid of that would be to sand down the tiles to remove the top millimetre or so of the surface, at which point Ruskin's rant about restoring worn-down surfaces comes to mind.  What I almost want to do is get a big ball of blutack and roll it around on top of each tile to see if I can get more off....

~Addendum~



I don't think there's much more to remove at all.  What is left is the sort of residue you might reasonably to expect to see as a result of a century and more of ue and abuse....
« Last Edit: December 28, 2020, 06:10:36 pm by James Harrison » Logged
SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #698 on: December 28, 2020, 06:20:34 pm »

With the unglazed tiles I salvaged from my mums garden, I used a flap wheel in an angle grinder to remove years of encrusted cement and concrete, very dusty and possibly a bit brutal for your hallway, but a finer sand paper type stuff, dunno........  Undecided


All of the cement and concrete is off, what is left is like an ingrained dusty sandy stuff.  It's actually in the pores of the material- run a blade or anything in that line over the tiles and they're smooth.  I think the only way to get rid of that would be to sand down the tiles to remove the top millimetre or so of the surface, at which point Ruskin's rant about restoring worn-down surfaces comes to mind.  What I almost want to do is get a big ball of blutack and roll it around on top of each tile to see if I can get more off....

~Addendum~



I don't think there's much more to remove at all.  What is left is the sort of residue you might reasonably to expect to see as a result of a century and more of ue and abuse....


I would say that if all the paint and grout is removed give it a darn good hoover then seal it with resin or wax, they are antique tiles after all so slight blemishes and natural flaws are to be expected, alot of the stain glass I have fitted here, I left some of the original paint on before encapsulating between 2 glass sheets, all part of the objects history.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #699 on: December 28, 2020, 06:43:09 pm »

With the unglazed tiles I salvaged from my mums garden, I used a flap wheel in an angle grinder to remove years of encrusted cement and concrete, very dusty and possibly a bit brutal for your hallway, but a finer sand paper type stuff, dunno........  Undecided


All of the cement and concrete is off, what is left is like an ingrained dusty sandy stuff.  It's actually in the pores of the material- run a blade or anything in that line over the tiles and they're smooth.  I think the only way to get rid of that would be to sand down the tiles to remove the top millimetre or so of the surface, at which point Ruskin's rant about restoring worn-down surfaces comes to mind.  What I almost want to do is get a big ball of blutack and roll it around on top of each tile to see if I can get more off....

~Addendum~



I don't think there's much more to remove at all.  What is left is the sort of residue you might reasonably to expect to see as a result of a century and more of ue and abuse....


I would say that if all the paint and grout is removed give it a darn good hoover then seal it with resin or wax, they are antique tiles after all so slight blemishes and natural flaws are to be expected, alot of the stain glass I have fitted here, I left some of the original paint on before encapsulating between 2 glass sheets, all part of the objects history.


I think that's a good point about the patina- and one that I generally try to follow.  There is such a thing as over-restoring something like this.  I've ordered the sealant and I'm expecting to be summonsed to the store tomorrow to collect it- so that I think will be the next (and last) thing to do to the floor.  Except for the door threshold, which I'm still working on (a lot of the paint flecked away to reveal- I can't make my mind up quite what it is.  Either stone, or slate, or concrete.)
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