October 19, 2012

I love it when a plan comes together

Filed under: General — tattiehouse @ 11:45

A few days last week brought with them a very welcome sunny spell which gave us a break from wind and rain and grey. Not only did it lift our spirits (at some points it was actually toasty warm) but gave us the perfect window in which to get the kitchen floor concreted. So we layed the membrane, topped with 100mm Celotex taped at the joins, lined around the edges with 25mm Celotex to minimise cold bridging and got the mixer on. Four strips of concrete later and the floor is done and looks amazing, we know all that has to be done to the floor now is to lay quarry tiles – the easy part! We occasionally look at a job we’ve done, give ourselves a pat on the back and say ‘we did that’; this was one of those jobs. We’ve not done anything like it before and we’re just working our way along with this in mind – how do we know what we can do unless we try? Having come this far I’m confident that we’ll manage the rest of the jobs that need doing, however daunting or difficult. It’s been such a long time in the making; our twenties were spent knuckling down, working hard and saving determinedly to make it happen. Seeing it progress is all the more satisfying because we have worked hard for it and by the time we complete it I think the word ‘ours’ will have developed a whole new meaning for us.

The new kitchen floor, not bad for a first flooring effort 🙂

My parents came over on Saturday for four days so work came to a halt for a little while whilst we took some time out to spend with them. We managed to fit in lots of fun things to do including a trip over to Harris bay, we were lucky to have picked a very fine autumn day so got to sit on the beach for a few hours and enjoy a picnic, glass of wine and bask in the beautiful sunshine…not something we’ve been able to do up here for a while. We had a great time with them, they loved seeing the changes that have been made to Tattie House and chatting with us about our plans for the future of the house and the future in general. Now they just can’t wait for us to hurry up and finish their holiday home off for them! Of course, the years of saving would have been a lot harder without both of our parents being understanding, supportive and cutting us a fair amount of slack in the name of us achieveing our dream so the finished product will (almost!!) be as much for them as us.

Harris on a very beautiful day

We packed them back off to the real world on Wednesday, so now we have less than two weeks left to focus on the house and getting as much done as possible before we leave for the winter. The hallway floor is underway, we hope to get the second outhouse footings in place (initially held up by the lack of movement of the HebNet gear from Tattie House to HebNet Hill…now complete and out of our way), then it’s flitch beams and whatever else we can squeeze in before we leave. We have lots of things to look forward to on our return to Wales, one being the collection of our piggies the weekend we get back. As we’ve found from keeping them at home they’re the most fantastic cultivators, good, fun animals to keep and make excellent eating so we look forward to next year when we’ll have some here on Rum to clear the garden off. Whilst we wouldn’t want to be living here in our cold damp caravan over winter, we’ll still miss the place so (I know it’s a bit soon to think of Christmas, but…) I’m really really excited that our dear friend Abby will be visiting us over Christmas and giving us a little reminder of this place whilst we’re gone.

As for right now…our friend Vikki has very kindly let us stay in her house in return for a spot of cat sitting whilst she’s away for a few days training as part of her Community Development Officer job. Turns out Lisa Cat likes a lot of the same things we do; a warm fire, cuddling up on the sofa and watching Strictly, eating. Ahh, houses are nice.


October 1, 2012

Installing a Flitch Beam – Part 1

Filed under: General, Structural — tattiehouse @ 20:43

So, I’ve been quiet of late with various things so it’s about time I did some blogging….

I’ve done several bits to the house and also with the various broadband installs I’m currently doing so things over the next few days may be a little out of order.

Given that things may be a little out of order, I’m currently listening to this…..which won’t help!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0 PSY – GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일) M/V

it’s the UKs current number 1 record – quality!

So, installing a flitch. A flitch beam has several benefits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flitch_beam as per Wikipedia. I’m using one as the structural engineer says I need to….

Step one, getting the timber and steel into the upstairs space to put it all together (it’s lighter doing it that way, 2 men can lift all this stuff up 1 item at a time no problem). Once up it looks like this…

I’m using a 12mm mild steel flitch with 47×222 C24 timbers either side. I’ve already marked the holes for the bolts.

To drill the steel and timber you need a decent drill and bit. Don’t mess around with cheap stuff…Use a combo like this….

DeWalt D25013N SDS+ Drill and DeWalt 12mm Extreme 2 HSS Drill Bit



It’s not the cheapest but it has German efficiency which is what you want!

Once done – it looks like this….

The next step is to put the steel on top of the timbers and drill the holes through the timber. This ensures everything lines up correctly. If the timber is twisted or not straight, you may need to plane it down. Depending on how much needs to come off, it could be done once install although it’s probably easier to do it before it gets bolted up.

Drill the holes in the timber then sandwich the steel and insert the bolts.

Tighten the bolts up so everything is well gripped and it’s ready to be put into position. As I’m putting the flitch into a space/area that I need to create, I’m putting the flitch above the existing timbers and using this to mark on them where they will be cut (so I can drop the new flitch into place). The flitch is needed as we are removing load bearning walls so something needs to take their place.

I can’t drop them into place (Part 2) until my Simpson Strong Tie – http://www.strongtie.co.uk/products/allproducts.php have arrived.

So for now, I’ll leave the flitch in place and get everything marked ready. I’ve got to do the same size flitch in the West wing of the house so will be doing the above tomorrow…..

I’ll leave you with a shot of the flitch waiting close to its final position…..

After Gangnam style, I switch to this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At8ihjnsJ0M – classic stuff…..

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