The first stage of the repairs in the house wasn't quite in the "repair" category. Indeed, most of the work implied getting raw plaster on the walls and ceilings, removing carpet from the floor, and so on. This task kept us busy from July to October 2009. Since it would be boring to present that kind of activities everywhere in the house, I'll present a few emblematic spots.
The hall is a good example of what we had to face in most rooms on the ground floor.
The wallpaper is quite easy to get rid of, but there's something much, much worse : polystyrene tiles glued on all ceilings. Not only they are quite difficult to remove because of the position you have to be in in order to remove them, but you usually leave pieces of skin on the ceiling and end up bleeding after a few hours. Last but not least, it is impossible to remove the glue without removing pieces of plaster from the ceiling. In the end, we have ceilings which look like fields of round holes.
We ended up with:
- on the one hand somewhat "correct" walls and ceiling, if you ignore the holes which will have to be filled
- plenty of junk which we had to bring to the waste collection centre on a regular basis. We were going there so often that the employees were almost on a first name basis with us !
Another rather interesting place was the living and dining rooms. If you remember the pictures from the origins, these rooms not only had the wonderful polystyrene tiles on the ceiling but also panelling on the walls. Manu had great fun removing them and... the glue...The work in progress provides a wonderful idea of the extent of the issue.
In the end, this allowed us to reach that kind of stage:
Last but not least, the "situation" on the first floor... We had:
- The ever-present polystyrene tiles on the ceilings, of course, which were impossible to unglue without removing part of the paper of the drywalls,
- Moquette on the floors. These went off easily, even if part of them were hidden under a floating floor.
- Moquette on the walls. That was the real pain because some kind of paper layer remained glued on the drywalls and it was awful to unglue it.
For instance, we went through that kind of stage regarding the corridor on the first floor:
... or in one of the bedrooms:
And with much effort, we managed to reach these almost final conditions:
- In the corridor
- In the bedroom:
To be honest it was quite a depressing activity: indeed we were destroying what was somewhat decent in order to reach the raw skeleton of the house. However things would soon improve, which I will explain in a later post.
So far most posts which we have written and were related to our house were posts regarding the garden. Of course, it was way easier to write them: I had already written them for a gardening forum and all was required was simply copying them and translating them into English. At some point we had to start with the repairs inside the house. However, before getting into that, it is logical to present what we started with. So here are picture we took in Spring 2009 while the former owners still lived there. The idea is to introduce the extend of the work we have to do...
I expect I'll be able to post a few plans to accompany the pictures at some point. For now we only have paper versions and I'll have to scan them first...
Regarding the repairs we intended to do we chose to get some help from a general contractor to help us define exactly what we intended to do, choose the companies who would do the work and manage the day-to-day oversight of the project. In the end here is what was planned (roughly):
- install a rain water collection tank
- change the kitchen French window, which wasn't of the same model as the others on the ground floor of the house
- install insulated doors in the basement
- install new doors on the 1st floor
- plaster works:
- in the basement, insulate the ceiling and create a new room which would become the server room
- on the ground floor, remove the wall between the hall and the living room, add walls to create cupboards in the hall and the 3 rooms
- on the first floor, line the vertical parts of the walls to increase the insulation and add new walls to fit with the new plan
- replace completely the whole electric installation of the house
- add network cables to connect the whole house for either computer network, phone or TV
- install a network distribution rack in the future server room
- change completely the heating system (boiler, heaters and network)
- install a new bathroom on the first floor
- connect the house to the town gas network
- set up the rain water network
- replace the old water pumps in the basement
- replace the ugly tiles in the hall, living room, dining room, kitchen and ground floor corridor
- tiling of the toilets and bathroom on the first floor
- tiling of the new server room in the basement
- repair and painting of the walls and ceiling of both staircases
We asked for the estimates in July 2009, signed them in September 2009 and actual work by the various contractors started in October. So you can guess there are plenty of opportunities to describe how it went !