It’s raining outside so I decided to demolish the bar. It’s a shame as a lot of effort and craftsmanship went into that, but it’s in the middle of my dance floor and the parquet arives next week.
The bar had split the room into two corridors leaving an awkward space for the living room. I missed the opportunity for a selfie in the photo. Too late now. You’ll have to imagine.
Removing the bar opened up and brightened the downstairs. I found some history too. On the right of the photo the brickwork at the end of the bar appears never to have been plastered, and the other walls have been replastered to the same level then just skimmed a little higher. I think the room must have been wood panelled when it was built in 1920.
The dark blotch on the wall to the left indicates the location of the original entrance vestibule. The wall also has outlines of the mouldings where they were painted around, so I have the shape of the original mouldings! Also the colour of the original paint – a dark purple. I had hoped to keep the current vestibule, but it is so tied in to the false ceiling I doubt it will survive the rest of the false ceiling removal. I want to move the vestibule door to the other side too but plan to reuse the door as I think it is cool.
I very quickly missed the bar as it had been really useful for putting things on. So I’ve built a new bar from solid oak bar using 52m2 of parquet flooring. It took 3 hours just to stack the 1500 pieces so I imagine laying them might take even longer. I was reluctant to use parquet after the 2 weeks it took to replace 6m2 in the snug, but it’s a ballroom now so it needs parquet. I refuse to be outdone by The Palace of Versailles!
When it stops being rainy I’ll update the window painting post below.
Who would have thought the parquet in the last post would ever look like this? – and it’s not even finished yet! Callum Finlay spent a day using an edge sander to get all the new blocks to the same height as the rest of the floor. The photo shows the subsequent rough sanding using a belt sander.
I’m amazed at how little material was removed and that the new bits match. The levelling will allow me to fit the skirting, then once I’ve finished decorating Callum will come back to do the fine sanding and finishing and make it look all posh.
For the rest of the year I’ll be… er… oops. Next year things should be more settled and I want to get back on the case with the restoration and make more things more beautiful.
The snug has a parquet floor in pitch pine about 30mm thick which is very rare these days. I guess it was laid when the new facade was built around 1920 and since covered with carpet. It is lovely but wasn’t laid all that well. The bitumen adhesive makes a good damp course under the blocks but they mortared it into the walls instead of leaving a gap and some damp came through, notably where they built a car park 12 inches above the inside ground level.
It will end up being be a good 2 or 3 weeks of work and a bunch of money to fix the floor, but it is charming and one of the few original features remaining inside from the 1920s so I want to have a crack at it!
The car park was fixed with a trench, and I have cut a gap below the plaster to allow an air gap between the parquet and the walls which will be covered by skirting.
Much of my parquet was rotten but I managed to find some close to the right size on eBay that I could cut down on a chop saw. My rate for cleaning bitumen off was about 2 square meters per day, sometimes with a Bacho 665 paint scraper and other times with a heat gun depending on the type of bitumen.
This project has been going since June in bits and pieces. Now all of the parquet has all been cleaned but remains of bitumen on the floor still need to be flattened with the paint scraper. There are modern glues that can stick to bitumen but modern glues will be difficult to remove in the future so I’m still taking advice.
Apart from all that I’m almost ready to lay a floor!
The low points in the floor were filled with Ardex 45 rapid, and I’m using Black Jack roofing adhesive to fix the parquet, buttering the blocks for good adhesion. Both were recommended by the floor sander. The roofing adhesive is nice to work with but takes weeks to set (heating the room helps).
The trick to laying parquet is to work to a string line. If the blocks all line up then the gaps will be OK on the next row. The wall edges take a long time as the blocks need to be cut to fit.
It takes a surprising amount of time to lay parquet – two weeks to be exact. I got fed up with it. It didn’t help that I ran out of blocks and had to cut the face off some thin worn blocks then glue ply to the rear to bring them back to the right thickness. I’ll try to get the room more finished before sanding and finishing.
Kae is in France this week, and in the absence of anyone sensible around I decided to do some decorating. Though one thing leads to another…..
The problem was rot. Initially the term dry rot was bandied around but it seems it was good old-fashioned wet rot. Under the carpet in the Snug there was some lovely 1920s parquet flooring. Unfortunately the ground level outside is about 12 inches above the floor level inside and the far end of the room has been damp for years. The parquet floor and the later wood panelling had crumbled away and needed to be brushed up.
The rot appeared to be confined to the area around the end wall and fireplace. I had intended to remove all of the parquet but moving further into the room the parquet floor appears to be in reasonable condition (apart from maybe the bay window area). I’m in two minds whether to restore the floor or recycle it on eBay.
Before I keep it I’ll need to find a solution for the damp problem. For now the rotten bits are on my skip pile and I’ll rest the carpet back on the good bits. The missing bits will leave the structure exposed to try to dry it out.
I ended up restoring the parquet.