Thursday, 17 July 2008

Another brick in the wall - day 3

The foundation for the new wall set overnight and this morning we were ready for Bernard to start building the wall. As I hadn't found enough of the original bricks to do the lozenge feature I wanted in the centre of the panel, I went back to Build Centre to get four bricks, remembering this time to take one of the Ibstock Ravenstone Gold bricks for a colour match. Applying my quilter's logic to the non-availability of the Ravenstone Gold bricks (nationwide - these went out of production in about 2001), we went for a colour and tone match primarily, rather than texture, so the new bricks in the lozenge will "read" as the same colour & tone as the house bricks. Being surrounded by the Staffordshire Blues will visually separate them from the house bricks anyway, adding to the illusion. You can see a pic of them in the wall at the end of this post, so see what you think.

A bit more cutting out with the stelsaw was needed for the damp proof membrane around the sides of the window.

That stelsaw is made by... Husquavarna. Seriously. So I have had a brand new Husquavarna working in my sewing room! It also makes a good job of cutting the super-hard Staffordshire Blues. Though I don't think it would be much good for stitching.

The bricks and internal blocks are held in place with metal ties, up the sides of the brick & block panels. These were cut to size with a hacksaw, before being screwed on either side of the existing wall cavity.
Takenoko doesn't know what to make of all this.
Bernard mixed all the dabo by hand (every time he says "dah-boh", I think of Japanese fabric company Daiwabo ). As the Staffordshire Blues are a very hard, non-absorbent brick (unlike normal building bricks), this has to be a stiffer mortar mix than usual.

These bricks just don't absorb water and they were once used as damp proof course bricks without adding any damp proof course membrane like we do today. This also means it takes longer for the mortar to dry out enough for pointing the bricks (tidying up the mortar joints between the bricks) - they haven't been pointed yet in the photo below, which is why the wall doesn't look very finished (also there's a gap for the four brick diamond pattern to go in).

I love the colour.

There's also insulation in the wall - 2in (5cm) thick polystyrene, which has to be cut into panels to fit between the brick ties that hold the inner blockwork wall to the outer brick wall. Enough was leftover to make a good design board, once I've cleaned it and covered it with calico.

We decided to follow tradition and embed some coins in the mortar mix. This means you will never be without money in the house. We added - 1 x 5p, 4 x 1p and 1 x 5 yen (with a hole in the middle). Two of the pennies were 2008 date. It reminded me of the Japanese tradition where roofers have a topping off ceremony when the roof tiling is finished and throw 5 yen coins into the street.

I laid the third brick from the right on the top row.
The brickwork finished - from outside and inside (you can see the wire brick ties to attach the brick wall to the blockwork inside).

The bricks are pointed - you can see here how the panel is set back about an inch, to make more of a feature but the foundation rows line up with the bricks at the base of the main house walls.
Top of the brick wall - you can see how the polystyrene goes into the cavity in the garage walls on either side of the new wall. The metal strips on the top are used to link the brick and block wall to the metal strips - they slide down the metal tie strips and are set in horizontally in the mortar layers. Once slid down the ties, they can't be pushed up again.

The polystyrene sheet is added as the inner wall is built, pushed back in the cavity so there is an air gap between the outer brick wall and the poly. It is a more expensive option than rockwool but it won't let moisture through like rockwool can. All the discussions about different kinds of insulation layers makes me think of different quilt waddings (batting) and the different warmth/wear/breathability with cotton, poly, wool, silk or blends. The thermal and moisture resistance properties of this wall should be excellent, as not only is is built from water resistant brick and has a water resistant insulation, it is 13in deep it is also 2ins deeper than a normal wall (to line up with the back of the garage pillars).
I made a "time capsule" to put in the wall. I put a selection of these pictures in it, plus some printouts from my website, sealed it up in two layers of plastic and wrapped it in tape. It isn't too buried in the wall - if anyone changes the window, they might spot it. Bernard wedged it in between the polystyrene batting and the outer We included photos of things like using the petrol stelsaw, as I'm sure in 100 years time, people won't be using gear like that!
The finished wall! The last pieces of polystyrene are used to close up the gap at the top.

We celebrated Bernard completing the wall with a trip to Weatherspoons The Golden Cape at Mold (again). Takenoko celebrated the wall by jumping over it...


Treacle51 said...

Hi Sue,

Like the blog. Interesting and good to see the wall coming along. Like the coins bit for always money in the house and the time capsule. Glad cats are lending a paw too.

Keep at it all,

Susan Briscoe said...

Hi Charlotte,

Thanks! It has been a fun week and great to see the results. It is still a long way off being usable as a workroom - lots of cleaning out and then the plastering and electrics.

I tried keeping the cats out of the way most of the time and they have been really good. But the look on Takenoko's face when the wall was built was priceless. Ok, cat's don't really have expressions but he looked so surprised - when he'd gone for his nap in the house, there was no wall, when he woke up, the outer brickwork was complete! He looked so puzzled - almost like he was thinking "no wall - wall? wall - no wall? I dunno - where's my garage door gone?"