Rebuilding the chimney – it’s hard work!

And as 2017 sets it, it means that this is the year we’ll actually move into out forever home! The last couple of weeks of 2016 saw more progress both inside and out: the main addition is that we’ve had the new boiler and central heating pipework fitted, removing the old gas fire, back boiler and hot water tank in the process, and our lovely radiators have been delivered and are just waiting in their boxes until the walls are plastered and painted ready for them to be fitted.

Other than clearing up the last bits of plaster and debris, work inside has come to a halt while we’ve sorted out one of the main issues outside; the chimneys. After discovering that the chimney walls in the two bedrooms upstairs and two living rooms downstairs were completely damp – remember that chunk of wallpaper I pulled off which brought down a whole load of plaster? – it was evident that there were some problems with the chimneys which were allowing water to get in. So we had to get two scaffold towers put up to the two chimney stacks and Paul and his dad, who’s a builder, went up to investigate. Sure enough, while one chimney which had been rebuilt fairly recently was mainly ok and in need of a bit of repointing, the other was completely unsound and needed replacing.

Luckily, Paul’s dad was happy to get cracking on with the job, and the two of them spent a couple of days in between Christmas and New Year knocking the old chimney down and rebuilding. It wasn’t an enviable task, let me tell you, especially as they were working up at a great height in temperatures which didn’t get above freezing!

A frosty view of the garden from the top of the scaffold.

I don’t think it would’ve been Paul’s first choice to be working outside during his Christmas break – and I’ll be the first to admit that I was in no rush to volunteer to help them! Firstly, I’m not brilliant at heights and those chimneys are high, plus I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to the cold so I’m sure my moaning would have been more of a help than a hindrance! Still, I’ve been on toddler duty all Christmas, meaning no lie-ins whatsoever and endless repeats of Toy Story, which is our two-year-old Ted’s latest obsession! Although we have been up to visit Daddy and Grandad  on site to make sure Ted’s happy with their work! But I digress…

Foreman Ted checks on things on site!

Anyway, back to the task at hand – the lead work on both chimneys was also in a bit of a bad way so today we’ve finally managed to get someone in to redo that too, which means that once the flue liners for the fires go in and the chimney pots go on at the weekend, we’ll have two fully-functioning chimney stacks.

It’s been a bit of an unforeseen expense – and an expensive one at that, scaffolding and lead doesn’t come cheap! – but now the chimneys are sorted it means we can carry on with the work inside, which hopefully means plastering fairly soon! And then we’ll start to see the house take shape – exciting times!