The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.


Preparing the Site and Removing the Old Kitchen

Having major building work out carried can be quite an upheaval at the best of times so over the next few weeks we will show you what really goes on and how, if you choose a good builder, it needn’t be the nightmare scenario you sometimes hear about.

The project is basically a two storey extension on the rear of a Victorian semi. However, there is an existing single storey extension for the kitchen at the rear of the property. Not only is this not particularly well designed, but it lacks insulation and is a very cold part of the house.

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Reclaiming Bricks

Some of the bricks on the old extension are in quite reasonable shape so it should be possible to reclaim a good number. Demolishing the walls is not as you might imagine – two guys with sledge hammers going for it … No, on the contrary, it is all very organised. The flank wall comes down first but, at least to start with, a course at a time.
A club hammer and bolster are used to split the mortar beds and, on the oldest part, the bricks come away quite easily. A few good blows between each brick is all that’s needed and they can be lifted out. The bricks get cleaned up as they go along and the good ones are stacked neatly to the side of the job.

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Second Floor Walls

With all the steel work in place, construction of the second floor cavity walls can now start. The bricklayers get stuck in with laying the inner block work skin first. This sits straight on the steel on a bed of mortar and progresses very quickly. You can now start to see the shape of the new upstairs room and how the different size footprint of each storey works. Next, work starts on the outer skin. The first part of this, as the bricklayer explains, will be hidden by the small sections of sloping roof between the two storeys so it is built in block work.

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Slating the Roof

Well the weather looks set to change, but at least the main roof structure is in place over the new extension and it’s time to get the covering on. It can’t be easy planning this sort of work never knowing quite what the weather is going to do, but these guys get stuck in and, as you’ll see, the new section is watertight in next to no time.

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G L Smith and Sons