Finishing the Fireplace and Floor: Hidden Mistakes

The plaster is finished and drying, the new lintel is on over the fireplace and Andrew has just about calmed down about the hearth that was laid down by the guys who fitted the stove. It seems, judging from Andrew's four lettered words, red face and general surliness around wasted money, that they dotted and dabbed the hearth stone in, they didn't even use PVA to bond it to the old concrete below. The short version, with less swear words, means the hearth could have easily cracked. Andrew's complaint is that the whole job took him two hours and cost less than £30. Andrew is proud that he has half a bag of cement left over for post holes in the garden for the new shed roof, which is going to be green and less sweary. At least the new hearth is well bedded on concrete, larger and means we can have wooden floors, which we need to get done before the skirting goes on.

Sometimes you can't trust a workman

The problem with plastering is the sheer amount of dust it creates, plus the old carpet has been down so long that the underlay seems to have disintegrated into the very wood itself. So, crack out the mop. Only to find another hidden mistake by the kitchen door.

Solution to two tone floorboards

We have boards here that are bouncy, and we assumed they needed nailing down. They were loose, the reason? They weren't nailed to any joists. They were floating. Some electrician in the past had cut them to get wires to the old plugs, and hadn't bothered to cut the board on the joist. Then they put them back simply floating like a see saw of comedy doom. You know the joke, man walks on the end of a loose plank, plank zips up, smacks him in face. This happened to Andrew but not in the face, the board was cut too short and hit him elsewhere, yes that place, the place most men are now crossing their legs to. After more swearing and whimpering, we pulled up these boards to find the joists bedded onto soil. More swearing. More stupidity. Thankfully, only a few had suffered some mild dry rot. Andrew treated them, drenching them with treatment solution, and slotted slate beneath them. Slate is a natural water barrier, and is great to bed wood on, it stops rot dead. We had some slate knocking around the front garden and we have used it under the floor to bed down six joists. The boards are now back down, they are nailed down safely and don't float. Andrew is still walking like a duck though.

Good floorboards can last a lifetime if you treat them well

We do have another problem. We have obvious signs of boards that have been replaced. Can you spot the difference? Andrew wants to treat the entire floor for dry rot to be on the safe side and has suggested a product that his Dad used on our floor and joists a few years back which did stain that corner of the room like the rest of the boards, an oak brown. You can see some of it on the new boards below.

Staining floorboards

This may be the solution to our two tone problem. It would treat the entire floor and then all we need to do is fit a new floor register for the stove, you can see the old one above - you can't close it, which is annoying when you are not using the fire as it means heat is lost - we're getting there and hopefully soon we can wax the new floor and get back in.


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