I have to admit, it took a lot longer than expected. Getting the 4x6cm laths, onto which floorboards will eventually rest, perfectly level as they span over 6 or more totally uneven oak beams, meant a lot of planing of shims, checking levels, adjusting, ad nauseum. I've set them at 400mm centres, which should be fine for 20mm hardwood boards, and set them as low as I possibly could, to maximise the already low room height. As a result, we'll have a step at each end of the room, as the main beams rise at each end. One of these steps will be incorporated into a wardrobe, and the other end will be a small sub-level, only 5cm higher, within the room. This will probably be a recurring feature throughout the house, at least where unavoidable.
|The back step, later to be hidden in wardrobe.|
|Still have the other end to do...|
And while I've been doing all this easy work, my wife has been busy in the cellars, knocking off old clay and lime plaster off the limestone walls.
Instead of plastering these walls, the idea is to leave them natural, and re-point the blocks, after first giving them a good clean with a wire brush on an angle grinder.. They are really held together with clay, instead of mortar, and damp rises from the subsoil under the house pretty easily. The idea is that leaving them natural and open will allow them to breath better, and besides, plaster and paint would look pretty shoddy after a while in those damp conditions.
We know this, because in the entrance hall, where one wall was plastered and wallpapered, the wallpaper was clearly damp around the base of the wall. We decided to remove this plaster, which turned out to be about 50mm thick, and backed with a plastic damp-proof membrane. I reckon it is because of this, dampness climbed higher, contributing to the rotten beam in the living room, which rests directly on this wall.
She removed all of that this past week, revealing not just the fairly uneven stone wall, but another sandstone frame around the doorway leading to cellar one.
|Our "new" sandstone door frame|
|Not the prettiest, but it'll clean up.|