|Ross and Kerryn's home after alterations|
Since this was a family funded project I was going to have to do the alterations myself with only two inexperienced assistants to do the heavy lifting where required. That meant all the cutting, planning and actual finishing work. Houses in this country are built from brick and not timber as they are in the U.S.A. Very dusty work indeed.
I started by dividing the garage down the middle and then installing the dry wall. This was important because of the dust that would be generated once cutting the walls began, I didn't want the dust getting into all the stuff that was now stored in the remaining half of the garage.
|Studs, tracks and boards installed|
Cutting the window out had shown me just how dusty this doorway cutting was going to be. There was no ventilation in their old room and by using a stand fan I was able to move the air just enough to once again cut for about a meter at a time. I would cut with and angle grinder fitted with a masonry cutting disk and when I could no longer see what I was doing would rush outside, strip off my safety gear, breathe and wait for the dust to clear. Back again for the next meter of cutting. This doorway entailed about 10 meters of cutting before I could temporarily put the grinder aside and clean up the rubble. The cutting of the walls took about two days in total but there was still the plastering to happen.
|Window installed with double lintels above|
|Doorway cut with lintels installed|
Plastering, I must tell you, is an art not just a skill. To get everything lined up and straight both inside and outside the window took quite a bit of patience and frustration. I'm not a wet work builder, I do carpentry so this took quite a while and lots of redoing where things went wrong, before the plaster set of course. The doorway was considerably easier to accomplish. What I did was to clamp a straight edge on either side of the remaining bricks, plumb and align them correctly and then fill in the space between the straight edges. Once the plaster had set to the point where it could be scraped off with another straight edge I could use a wooden float to smooth off the resulting plaster work. After this I removed the straight edges and scraped off the excess plaster to get it to be flush with the walls. By this time it was now dark outside and about eight thirty in the evening. Advice, with plaster work start early and don't let things go on for too long. The following morning is too late to be able to do any alterations, it would have set by then. Still to come was the ceiling, lighting and fitting the glass to the window. There was of course the skimming of the dry wall, skimming of the new plaster work, fixing up the step where the levels of the floors were not the same and then the painting which wasn't my problem, Ross and Kerryn were keen to try their hands at paint work using a technique they had decided on.
|Ready to fit the ceiling and finish off.|
God bless all the handy men in the world, you are valued.