Week 3 Round Up – Ceiling Joists and Under Floor Heating

6 Feb

Some serious progress has been made this week.  The first half of the week was spent making sure the ceiling was structurally sound and could be adapted to the new shape we want it to be by adding in some new ceiling joists. The image below shows the work in progress. The first step was to do a central beam repair as previously at some point someone had cut through the central supporting beam to install an extractor fan! We repaired that with some custom-made steel plates from a metalwork shop over in Richmond.

With the beam repaired we knew the ceiling was not going to fall in anytime soon so we could start to remove and replace the joists. Then David set to work changing the angle in the ceiling. We wanted the roof to gently slope and then offer a flat plane in all the rooms as you can see in the previous picture the angle of the ceiling was quite steep.

Unbelievably David did all this work himself and in a matter of days. Once this work was done we could also remove the supporting posts as the ceiling was holding itself up now making the space totally wide and open. The first thing I noticed is not the ceiling – tho it does look great now – but that having all this new wood in the upstairs has taken over from any lingering musty smells!  The house has a new smell to it now which is amazing!

Next up was laying down the under floor heating. We opted for this kind of open direct system heating upstairs as it’s a lot more pleasant to live with than the current forced air system we have – often times I wake up either too hot or too cold with the forced air and it’s not very clean as it pushes dust all around the house. Plus I love the idea of stepping out of bed in the morning onto a warm wooden floor rather than a cold one!

Installing underfloor heating is really only going to work if you are either building a new house or totally renovating an old one like we are as it’s quite an invasive and involved process. It uses the domestic hot water heater  to provide both underfloor heating and hot water from the same unit. When it’s in heating mode the hot water flows directly from the water heater, through the red heating tubes and back into the heater. It’s a very efficient system.

The first job is to cover the entire space in the reflective  barrier – this will reflect any heat  back into the space and insulate the upstairs. Then you lay down the wooden struts which have a double purpose   1) they space out the wiring that the hot water will pass through protecting it and spreading the heat proportionally and 2) the plywood & final floor will be resting on these so they have to be evenly spaced so we don’t have any gaps. Finally you weave and nail into place the piping which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Wrestling with over 100 ft of pipe was painstaking and it took a whole day  of working on your knees to do this step.

Once this was finished for the whole upstairs it was time to lay the plywood flooring so that next week we can crack on with the room framing. These pieces were massive and required a unique way to get them upstairs into the house!

This was our Sunday morning, we are hoping to take a half day off today and enjoy some of the amazing weather we’ve been having for Feb and rest a bit before the start of the next week in the Project Money Pit!

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