Domed Lath Ceiling

I’ve been insulating again, this time in the crawl space in front of the attic.   I haven’t been enjoying it so it has taken a very long time while I have found lots of ways to avoid doing it.

The attic is supported by 8 inch joists below which hangs a domed ceiling with lath nailed on to wooden supports with a curve cut into them. It’s not often you see a domed ceiling from above so here is a photo..

domed-lath-ceiling

The attic and domed ceiling were constructed in 1910.  The room that was there before is still there in parts with a wide bricked up doorway and Victorian looking wall paper. I’m not sure what the layout was before 1910, but the extent of wallpaper suggests this area might once have been a corridor.

bricked-up-door

The ceiling underneath has been vandalised by plumbers and electricians over the years but is remarkably intact with it’s original wood mouldings.   A false ceiling was added below, probably in the 1950s or early 1960s.

void

I had been wondering why the false ceiling was added.  It would have been a pain to redecorate without a scaffold tower, but it turns out the thermal design was terrible with a huge area of lath and plaster forming the only thermal barrier between inside and outside.  It must have been a bit chilly in there.

I have a scaffold tower and have added insulation up to 1m thick in places which should hopefully sort out the thermal issues.  I think a domed double height ceiling would be nice.

PassivPub

It’s taken a week to insulate the attic and the main loft space (and sort out water tank mountings).  I’ve used 300mm Earthwool which almost meets the 0.1 U-value required for a passive house.   There should be a good payback time insulating to that standard in the loft, and the insulation is unlikely to cause condensation problems as the loft is ventilated.

The first layer was laid at 100mm thickness between the joists and the second 200mm above the joists.

loft-roll

The walls of the attic are only 100mm so not quite to passive house standard.  The crawl space above the attic was horrible to insulate.   Insulation is horrible generally, and even with a good dust mask a lot of it must get into your lungs.   If I had the money I would have used sheeps wool (which is 4 times the price).

attic-wall

The ceiling beside the loft hatch was built by Georgians from quartered bits of small tree and is not very strong.  I’ve added a new independent structure above the loft hatch and added a section of loft flooring to make it safe to climb into the loft.  The loft hatch only has 100mm of insulation but that makes it heavy enough.

loft-hatch

There is plenty more insulation to do around the house, but just a last section of eaves and the final attic wall remain in the roof space.

A proper passive house should have a heating energy usage of under 15kwh/m2 per year (measured). Before any insulation at all (apart from 100mm in part of the loft) this place was running at 110kwh/m2 (measured) and I should hopefully halve that.

Scaffolding Removed

The scaffolding was removed today.   It’s odd being able to see the whole thing (apart from the new bright white oak frame in the gable which will remain covered for the winter to protect the lime).  The ground floor isn’t finished as the scaffolding was in the way.

scaffolding-removed

I definitely need to do something about that flat roof extension.  It doesn’t look quite so bad with the magnolia paint removed from the gable.   Maybe I could clobber the render off and pretend it is a garden wall.

east

Though a bit more mock tudor wouldn’t go amiss.  (Photoshoping pictures is much easier than actually doing stuff.)  It would need good overhangs to work, and the gable would need to be angled in the middle as the wall below isn’t straight.

photoshop-flat-roof

Finished! (Almost)

I can only claim to have finished the exterior of the upper storeys of the main house and it only took 4 months longer than planned.  I’ve not really started on the building regs change of use stuff that I’m supposed to be doing.   A final coat of limewash on the north gable and some cleaning up are the only things left to do before the scaffolding comes down next Thursday.

I’m planning to keep the gable covered with hessian over winter to reduce the chance of frost damage to the new render, so this is a sneak preview of how it might look when it is revealed next spring.

limewash

The oak will darken over time and the frame will become black and white.

You can’t see a lot through the plastic sheeting, but from the road the timber frame in the gable looks like another part of the half timbering on the facade.  I think it will look interesting when it is finally uncovered.

view-through-sheeting

Snagging

The rear gutter wasn’t mounted well – some screws miss both the gutter brace and the the facia board and just manages to engage in the tip of the rafter. There is a long row of these.  I think I’ll have the gutter and facia board off and do it properly as it’s not a job that can be done later from a scaffold tower.

gutter-screw-rear

With the ends of the slates supported by the facia board there was a fair risk that we would break some.  We were lucky.  The new facia board is 2 inches taller than the old one.  The plastic eaves protector came out with the old facia board and needed to be nailed to the new one before fitting.

facia-removed

The north corner of the house is slightly lower than the south so there isn’t as much fall as there looks in the photo.   We placed a hosepipe at the end and adjusted the gutter height so there weren’t any puddles.  It was quite a fiddle to set accurately.

gutter-installed

This is probably the first time that water doesn’t puddle in the gutter – it had always followed the line of the roof which isn’t straight. The eaves protector has been trimmed at the gutter mounting points to avoid forcing the gutter down.

no-puddle

A few cracks had appeared in the verge caused by the cement being pushed past the battens.  Also the undercloak has separated from the cement.  I’m planning to seal the gaps with lime.

verge-cracks

I made up a 1:1 lime to soft sand mix with some black cement colour powder and worked it into the cracks.   Hopefully that will make it fail less quickly in the future.

filled-crack

The rest of the roof is OK – it doesn’t leak any more, there are no condensation problems inside, and nothing has fallen off.

Rendering the New Timber Frame

It is late October and it is madness to be considering lime rendering at this time of year.   Normally you would get your exterior lime work out of the way by the end of September.   The trouble is the lime will take a month to dry in cold weather and will be damaged by any frost before it is dry.  I’m gambling against a frost in November else I might have to do it all again next year.

The render will be applied onto woodwool boards which are fixed onto roofing battens screwed to the oak frame.

woodwool-frame

Both oak and lime require stainless screws.   The tannins in oak corrode normal screws and electroplating doesn’t like lime.  The holes need to be pre-drilled and a steel screw driven in and then removed to reduce the chance of the stainless screw breaking as it goes in.  There is no chance of removing the stainless screw from oak.

The bricks immediately above the oak frame were not supported and had come loose so needed to be removed and replaced again.   I have fitted a slate undercloak between the bricks and the frame.

slate-undercloak

Hessian is my plan to reduce the chance of frost damage.  It should prevent dew forming on the surface of the lime and freezing, and will hopefully insulate a little to retain heat from the wall.  It is supported on eye bolts drilled into the brickwork with a rope threaded through.   I’m hoping to come up with a plan which will allow the rope to be withdrawn from ground level after the scaffolding has come down.

hessian

More than half of the first coat went on in a day.  My current recipe for render is a bucket of rendering sharp sand, a bucket of soft sand, and a bucket of lime (NHL 3.5 to help avoid frost damage).  1:2 lime to sand is quite a strong mix, but tests with less lime proved crumbly.  The surface will be roughed and scratched when it becomes firmer tomorrow.   I had planned to whitewash the infill to match the front of the house, but the earthy colour of render looks nice.  I might try adding some pigment to the limewash.

first-coat-render

Late October turned out to be warm and the render is drying well.   It is still drying slower than it did in the summer but that is handy as it allows me to use lime late in the afternoon and finish it the next day.  It should be possible to apply the final coat around 5 days after the scratch coat (which has been scratched).   I brushed the remaining smooth bits after the photo to help the next coat stick.

scratched

The final coat of render seems to be taking about twice the time of the first coat.   I troweled on the lime trying to make it smooth and level, then after a few hours used a polyurethane float to flatten it, filling in low spots with more lime.   Next day I went over it with the polyurethane float again, then lightly wiped it with a damp sponge to fill in the imperfections.  This left a flat sandy finish which I will claim is traditional.

The finished render is recessed about 5mm behind the frame which will make it easier to lime wash.

final-coat-render

It’s about time the scaffolding came down.  The lime work is finished.  I used a mix of brick and tile to infill between the new and old frames and have fitted some steel to hold them together.

brace-and-infill

New Timber Frame

The new timber frame started going in on Saturday (the original was rotten).  My cousin John made it from air dried English oak.   It was nerve wracking removing the old frame – the inside of the house is full of acro props, the chimney extended to support a purlin, and various braces added to support the brickwork.  In the end it turned out the original frame had stopped being structural a long time ago.

timber-frame-started

The original wall plates are better than they look.  The ends were damaged by waterproof paint but the rest was able to dry into the bedroom wall so hasn’t been too badly damaged by beetles.  The wall plates stuck out from the wall to allow material to accommodate a fish tail joint in the tie beam.   Some lead hats were fitted before the frame was pegged together.

wall-plate

The current roofline is shallower than the original, and the oak timber ends behind the facia board before it meets the chimney and does nothing useful structurally.   We kept that feature because I wanted to indicate the original roof line, but annoyingly the new wood is curved and probably could have been extended all the way to the chimney.  I might stud and resin fix some new oak in place to complete the rafter.   The tie beam is extended past the wall plate (it was originally cut diagonally) so it can support the facade.

roof-line

The studding is taking a long time because all the wood is a funny shape and each joint has compound angles.   The pattern of stud work matches the original apart from some slight modifications to avoid gaps of more 600mm between studs which is the width of the woodwool board infill.

studwork

The frame is starting to look nearly finished with most of the second floor studding in place.  I’ve still to finish off the barge board on the front of the roof which is tapered.  I tapered the wrong face and need to buy another bit of wood but the frame took a week and it is Saturday again today.  I’ll get on with the infill.

first-floor-studding

Gable Undercloak

The front gable has an 8 inch overhang.  Originally the roofing battens were exposed but now the roof has been felted. I wanted to add some sort of cover under the felt and hit upon the idea of ply secured by strips of wood about the same size as the original battens.

undercloak

I think it turned out quite nicely.

undercloak-painted

The plan was originally to sort out the timber frame in the other gable before completing the paint.  The new plan is to finish the paint, install the remaining leading, repair the paint, then ruin it all with dust when the timber frame goes in.

The leading was out of schedule partly because I didn’t notice a tiny crack in the original leading until I was just about ready to start painting.  It’s on now and just needs rendering in place and the paint touching up.

oriel-leading

Black and White

The first coat of linseed paint has been going on over the weekend.   I quite liked the natural wood but it will last a lot longer with UV protection and some oils.

Linseed paint doesn’t crack or peel (unlike the modern gloss paint that ruined the timber), and is breathable so the wood should remain well protected.   It should only need nourishing with boiled linseed oil every 15 years.

first-coat-linseed-paint

The window frame used to be white but I’ve gone for black for more of a Tudor effect.   I still haven’t finished the first coat – The edges take a long time so it will probably end up taking 2 full days per coat.  It’s starting to look nearly finished now.

front-linseed-paint-first-coat

Rotten Timber in Chimney

It turns out the new gable timber frame is due to arrive at the start of October (the old one was rotten) but before the frame arrives there is a lot of work to do.   There are two beams that pass right through the chimney, but beetle infested wood isn’t great structurally so needs to go.  Some unusual use of acro props with a strongboy at each end (I’m working higher than the longest acro so can’t use the ground for support) will hopefully dissuade the chimney from falling over while the beams are cut out.

acrow

It seems the timber frame is earlier than the chimney, and was much modified when the chimney was added.  The brick size and English bond pattern used in the chimney are characteristic of the 17th century.  The first records of a pub on the site are from 1646, but I don’t know whether the building had a previous use, or whether they decided shortly after building it that a brick chimney might be nice.  If I can find any wood that has survived the beetles I’ll hang on to it so I can have it dated at some stage.

beam-through-chimney

When the chimney was built 2 inch thick brick tiles were added to either side of the timber beam in order to support the chimney brickwork.  The tiles on the inside were still supporting the chimney so I left them in place and replaced the timber with bricks before putting the external tiles back in place. The mortar will look tidier and match the rest of the chimney after brushing.

bricked-up-chimney

Further up the chimney a 2 inch thick beam was removed and replaced with tiles so I could retain the tiles on the outside.   This section is near the top of the 9 inch part of the chimney so had a course of bricks behind.

chimney-top-beam

Limewashing the Facade

I am using Pozilime from Ingilby which is limewash with a few additives that allow it to stick to masonry paint, and will use normal limewash on the new lime render.  Limewash is weird stuff – it is transparent when applied thinly and then goes white a few hours later as it dries.

limewash-drying

It looks magnificent even after just the first coat. Later after 4 coats it looks much the same but has finally covered the old paint.

It is so nice to rid the front of the magnolia paint.

limewash

Preparing the Facade for Paint

I’ve spent a week on the front of the house getting it ready for paint.  So far I’ve finished stripping the modern gloss paint from the wood and mostly sanded it, applied the final coat of render to the oriel window, and made a small repair to the timber frame just above the middle of the window.  The old timber was chiselled out at an angle so water doesn’t run into the joint.

bay-before-roof

Gaps in the timber have been filled with linseed putty. The frame is far from perfect, but is generally sound. The wood will be finished in Linseed oil paint which doesn’t crack in the sun and is breathable unlike the modern gloss on the downstairs windows which needs stripping and repainting after only 2 years.

linseed-filler

After 4 months boarded up the windows are just about back in place in the oriel window.  I used linseed putty which turns out to be easier than modern stuff when you get the hang of it, but time consuming to apply.  The glass looks very much older than 105 years, but I suppose that was the original intention.

windows-fitted

There used to be a big hole in the sole plate of the timber frame.  I think the pegs rot out, water gets into the peg hole, then after further years of neglect the frame rots.  For that reason I’ve replaced all of the broken pegs.   A piece of Edwardian softwood recovered from the attic made a perfect repair.  Angling the bottom and knocking it into place should provide good support for the post.

The silicone sealant between the frame and the plinth didn’t do the frame any good.   I’ve scraped out the damp loose stuff and filled the gap with lime mortar which should allow it to dry out.

sole-plate-repair

All of the various gaps have been filled with lime on the infill panels and linseed putty on the frame.  The strategy is to use breathable materials to keep the frame dry, and use them to seal gaps to keep water out in the first place.  The first coat of limewash will go on soon.

Rendering the Oriel Window

I had the idea of rendering the exterior and plastering the interior of the oriel window at the same time because I was using the same lime mix for both.  This was a bad idea – making the exterior watertight before messing with the interior would have been more sensible.

The oak window sill (needed to go in before plastering) was made by Cardington Joinery and is marvellous.

oak-sill

The timber above the oriel window was originally in-filled with brick then roughcast rendered (in a very early use of portland cement – yuk).  I wanted to reduce the weight of the window because the lintel over the window below has a pronounced bend.  Woodwool board would have been an ideal infill but it isn’t widely available and delivery would have cost £100 for the £6 sheet I needed, so I went for lath.

In hindsight the span is slightly too long for lath and it bent when the wet lime render was applied.  Then it sprung back as it dried so I might end up with a feature bulge.

lath-oriel-window

It didn’t go well.  The lime failed to set and after a week was soft and crumbly.  I suspect I let it dry too quickly, or it is possible the mix or some component was wrong.  Whichever It needs to come off and be done again and I’ll experiment first to make sure I have sorted the problem,

Plan B is back to the original plan using wood wool board.  I only needed small sections and used offcuts pulled from Anna’s skip.  Thanks Anna.

woodwool-board

The lime failure turned out to be my fault.  The plastering sand is washed so is poorly graded and needed about 1:1.25 lime to sand compared to the 1:2.5 ratio I tend to use for mortar.

The new render was much stickier than the old, and the wood wool board turned out to be very much easier to render than lath to the point where I hardly dropped any plaster when doing the ceiling.   The first coat went on nice and flat and will dry (and be wetted) for a week before the finishing coat.

first-coat-render

Next job will be fitting the windows.  But I can’t do that yet as I need access to tend the lime plaster inside.   Next job might be getting ready for the limewash and paint on the front as that needs to be done in the summer but it is already Autumn.

Wood Store

We have about 10m3 of wood from the Willow trimming and Cypress felling last year.  It has been knocking about in log form to allow it to dry sufficiently for splitting.  The Willow (trimmed outside growing season) is already dry enough to burn but the Cypress will need to season for another year.

I bought an electric log splitter (Forest Master FM10) and it is brilliant.  It got through all the logs in a day and a half over the weekend.

wood-pile

The log store will need to be enormous to hold all of the wood.   This one is going to be 7m long.  The ends borrow some features from the house timber framed gable, and I’m aiming for exposed rafter ends.  The wood is the same price no matter how nutty you get with the design, the dimension are intended to result in near zero wastage.

frames-in-progress

It has been raining all day, otherwise the log store would have been up by now.  It was only supposed to be a weekend project.

It only rained for half the next day but I decided I like rain and got on with putting up the frame.   It didn’t end up quite zero wastage as I cut some of the rafters the wrong way around. Later on the middle parts of the frame got uprights to match the ends as they make it easier to stack the wood.

wood-store-frame

It took another day to nail the roof on and cut some pallets down to stand the wood on. It rained heavily before I finished the roof and the timber frame stayed dry with all of the overhangs and drip edges working as they should apart from a cock up where the feather edge board is joined which ought to have had a little gutter rather than a frame underneath.

Now I just need to finish off the trim at the bottom to prevent willow leaves from blowing in, then fill the store with wood.  It occurred to me it wouldn’t take much longer to make a car port when the tent needs to be replaced.

wood-store-2

It took a further couple of days (between rain storms) to stack the wood store with wood and tidy up.   The size turned out to be quite a good guess with space remaining for only a few more logs.  It is a much more efficient use of space than the pile of wood that originally sat there.

wood-stacked

If it ever stops railing I’ll get back to painting and rendering.

Wood Burner and Lath

I’ve been a bit quiet over the last couple of weeks.  I ran out of things to do so spent a whole week getting organised and ordering things.

One of those things was a bit of a luxury – a Clearview 500 wood burning stove.  The installer did a neat job and the stove is fabulous.

stove-1000

Other things included oak lath for the oriel window and, after half a day trying to nail it in place, a nailer.  The nailer is fantastic and the rest of the lath went on in less than an hour.

nailer

More on the window later – A new oak window sill is on it’s way from a local carpenter.  Once that is in place I can finish the plastering, then after the linseed oil paint arrives I can install the windows and finally remove the boarding.   The lime paint should arrive at the same time so I can finish off the front of the house in a colour other than magnolia.

New Bay Window

The original upstairs bay window was rotten and couldn’t be saved.  (It turns out it is an oriel window as it doesn’t touch the ground.)   The new window frame was made by my cousin John and was installed today.

The profiles were recreated using spindle cutting tools modified to exactly match the original, and further mouldings were guesswork based on old photos of the originals.

new=bay-top-detail

But the frame isn’t an exact copy of the old one.  It looked nice but It would be mad to copy something that only lasted for 100 years.  We’re having another go at it.

The original wood (a slow grown redwood) is resilient and would have been fine but it isn’t easily available these days so we used Douglas Fir.   The window will seal only to the inside face of the frame, and if (when) that seal cracks water will be directed into channels and some holes to a ventilated space below the window cill.  There are no horizontal surfaces – everything sheds water, and there are drip features and overhangs all over the place.

bay-detail

I like old stuff and conservation, but mostly that is because I like quality of workmanship and materials.  I think this is the best bit of the house.

There is still some work to do.  I’ll need to fit the crittall openers and leaded glass, then fill the remaining bits in lime to keep everything breathable.  Then secondary glazing to keep building regs happy.

new-bay

While measuring up for infill panels later I found I couldn’t measure as accurately as the window frame has been made.  It must be to 0.1mm tolerance.

Cavity Stud Wall

On the other side of the rotten timber frame is the main bedroom.   It’s a bit dingy in there as the window has been boarded up for the last few weeks.

To avoid too much more inconvenience I’m building new stud walls on the inside before removing the outside wall.   There will be a 25mm ventilated gap between the stud wall and timber frame on the outside wall which will help keep the timber frame dry.  The studwork is 3 by 2 with 75mm Celotex infill.

stud-wall

Exposed beams in the bedroom were plastered fairly recently, presumably mostly in the 1970s when old looking things weren’t fashionable.  The beam on the outside wall was plastered much earlier in lime, and it was this plaster that was holding the wattle and daub infill in place.

hole-in-wall

I don’t like plasterboard but it seemed cheap and convenient and would be at the back of the wardrobe so hardly mattered.  But It’s messy to cut, fiddly to match to oddly shaped walls, there is huge wastage, and the filler sinks and needs doing twice.   Next time I’m going to splash out on lath and plaster.

plasterboard

Installing the stud wall lost 4 to 5 inches of space from the alcoves.  The pole supporting the curtain that hides the wardrobe now has an industrial looking extension to bring it forward of the chimney.

curtain-rail-hanger

Finally, 6 days into a 3 day job, it’s all finished.   The plastic sheet covering the room was very effective at containing the mess.  The room will be decorated properly at some point when we get around to decorating, but I need to remember to rebuild the outside half of the wall first.

completed-wall

Well that was all very boring.   It’s the other side of the wall where the action is going to happen.

wal-rubble

Attic Insulation

The exterior has been progressing well.  Another week of pointing should get it to the point where it can be finished without scaffolding.  The new bay window should arrive soon so I can get on with the front of the house.

It’s raining today which reminded me this is not a restoration project but a building regs change of use project involving insulation throughout the house.   The walls of the attic need to be 100mm Celotex, the pitched roof 140mm Celotex, and the loft space 300mm Earthwool.  Previously the space wasn’t insulated at all so it’s gone from one extreme to the other.

loft-insulation

The Celotex is so thick it can be used as a structural material.   I’ve added a large cupboard on the side of the attic with the walls built with Celotex with the occasional bit of 2×2 where it needed extra stiffening.

roof-cupboard

I don’t believe the insulation spec required by building regs will pay for itself in fuel savings before it is replaced again, but it is forced by legislation.   A lesser insulation spec using natural materials might have been better, but we do not live in environmentally friendly times.

Crittall Frame Restoration

Following on from the last bay window post.  It seems a bit mad to be restoring Crittal windows in a building that isn’t listed and I don’t have to.   The reason is I like the faceted effect of the leaded glass and don’t want to replace it with double glazing.   I am under building regs instruction to improve thermal performance so will have to fit secondary glazing however I mount the leaded glass.

I’ve had the Crittall frames sandblasted.   BBS of Bedford did a super job.  Anyone planning to do this should first remove the handle first as it turns out to have brass fittings under the caked on paint.  The hinges are also brass.

shotblasted

The windows have a fascinating construction.  The frames themselves are brazed together, then the brass hinges are screwed on, then the bars to the right of the photo which create a flat external mounting face screwed from the inside of the frame.

The frames weren’t that bad – only the bottom rails were starting to get a bit thin in places.

rust

The frames from 1910 are mild steel so can be welded.  I built up the edges with MIG then ground down to create the original profile. I think the edges need to be welded as they will be sensitive to knocks, but everything else can be done in car bodyfiller.

I’m using Bilt Hamber Electrox primer which is 90% zinc by weight.  I keep nearly dropping the pot as it is unreasonably heavy.  It offers some cold galvanising protection which I have found to be very effective on previous car projects, but it does need the shot blasted surface to stick well.

welded

The screws holding the windows together are 1/4 inch Whitworth.I bought some old stock screws from eBay still sealed in 1945 packaging.   Some had become a little rusty but there were enough good ones for what I needed.

screws

The leaded glass was rebuilt by Fraser of Tempsford Stained Glass who did a fantastic job.  Most of the edging needed to be replaced, a couple of glass panes were changed, and he soldered in some new wire ties to attach to the glazing bars.

glass

The frames and glass are going up to Sheffield and a replica wooden frame and bay window timbers will be built around them. (Because I liked the original frame profile too.)

The handles and catches are nice too, but I was missing one of each.  Rather than do any lime on the hottest July day on record I’ve started to make up some new ones. The handle isn’t finished yet but I’ve done the tricky bit.

window-hardware

Later here is the (nearly) finished handle.   I’m quite pleased with it.

new-handle

Timber Frame Rot

The Salutation has the impression of a smaller building in the north gable.   There are probably parts of the original timber framed building probably dating from around 1650, though it turns out very little of the current frame is in the same place as it was first assembled.

It has been hidden by render since before cameras were invented so we don’t have any photos to show what it was like.

north-wall-render

I had been tidying up the edges but tidied a bit too much and knocked some of the render off.   Underneath a lot of brown dust came out revealing wood in very poor condition.   A little more knocking and some of the original frame was exposed complete with wattle and daub infill panels on the first floor. (The frame has brick infill above and has been completely replaced with bricks on the ground floor).

Thee timber frame passes right through the chimney.  I think the frame was modified to accept a chimney which was added later.  Structurally it seems a poor idea to hold the chimney up with beetle infested wood.

initial-explore-timber-frame

In for a penny, in for a pound.   It isn’t the neatest frame in the world and would probably never have been exposed.   The wattle and daub infill is flush with the frame and there is no sign of whitewash so it was probably rendered from new.

The earliest layer of render we found was lime on lath, but the Edwardians appear to have added a layer of cement render which prevented the wood from drying, then more recent muppets added waterproof paint.

timber-frame

I haven’t uncovered the whole of the top of the frame yet as the render appears to be performing a structural role.  The other side of the frame can be seen in the attic photos.

top-frame-stripped

The whole frame is completely rotten (apart from a single post and the beam above the first floor which are merely half rotten).   The frame has been soaking wet for a very long time and a screwdriver can easily be poked all the way through any of the timbers.  The wattle has rotten away completely and the infill panels are loose.  There is very little that can be saved.

rot

The frame has little structural importance as the rest of the house seems to have already learned not to rely upon it.   This is going to be one of those tricky decisions, and possibly an opportunity to tidy up the north wall which has long been very ugly.

Further examination of the frame reveals there is nothing left.  Even the solid looking timbers bend remarkably easily and can be poked away with a screwdriver.  Concrete block and render would be the quickest way to sort it, but I’m toying with the idea of dramatic reconstruction with the timber exposed.

failed-joint