the old woolshop
Old Woolshop home

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The Old Wool Shop
Diary of a renovation
Part 4: September 2005 - January 2006


New Chimney
We had picked up a new stone fireplace sometime in July and this was to dictate the size of the fireplace. The plan was to have a big fireplace at the back of living room. In this fireplace we'd have a stove that would help heat the hot water for the house, provide direct heating for the living room and provide a feature for that end of the room. Seeing as we've got a pretty much unlimited source of free seasoned wood this seemed like an efficient way to part heat the house.

from the living room through to the stairs stairway blocked up big hole in the floor (foundations)
I had to dig up the existing floor as it wasn't up to the weight of the fireplace and chimney. The resulting hole was filled with reinforcing concrete to create a base for the new firechest and chimney. The hole is blinded with sand before the damp proof membrane is fitted and the concrete poured.
blockwork build in progress hearthstone laid chimney upstairs

The firechest was built in concrete blocks with a two lintels forming the top. The larger concrete one fitted to the rear supports the chimney whilst a steel one supports the blocks making up the roof of the firechest. Once this was all set the hearthstone was laid and a matching piece of yorkshire stone cut to fit behind where the stove will sit. The chimney built using a modular system called Anki. Its basically load of insulated blocks that slot together forming a central flue, they're quick to put up and I don't have the expertise or time to start building a chimney from scratch. In the third photo above you can see where the chimney comes up through the first floor and out to the roof.

blockwork build in progress first fire lit fire surround installed

I was nervous about checking the backboiler circuit but once the leaks were cured this worked nicely, The boiler was plumbed into the Dunsley hot water and heating circuits upstairs so that the boiler would help to heat the floor and the hot wate for the house.

The final step was to glue and bracket the fire surround into place and enjoy the (nearly) finished result.

Sunpipe number 2
The back of the living room was really dark so another sunpipe was fitted. As you can see it really increases the quality of light in the back corner of the room.

before after  

Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating was the only practical option for the big rooms, radiators would have used up too much wall space and concentrated hot air at ceiling height. Underfloorheating (UFH) produces a higher percentage of radiant heat and runs at a lower temperature to produce the same end result.
The UFH system had been delivered in July but installation had been delayed by the building of the chimney and plumbing for the stove, I now finally had time to clear both floors and install the system. First I laid a DPM (damp proof membrane) onto the existing floor. Long lengths of 4' x 2' softwood were then laid on end as floor joists at 250mm centres. Into the gaps between joists went strips of 35mm Kingspan insulation. 16mm UF pipe was then laid between the joists in five seperate zones or circuits. These are connected to a manifold which pumps hot water round these circuits.

DPM laid laying floor joists more floor joists

Once the pipe (all 450m) was laid I linked it up to the manifold and wired up the controls. Four of us then spent suix hours laying six cubic metres of dry (8:1) sand and cement mix. This set hard to make a large thermal mass that would hold and radiate the heat from the hot pipes.

At first we used conventional thermostats to control the UFH but it became obvious that with a heating up time of six hours the floor needed to be permanently heated. The solution was to install night set back thermostats that let you lower the temperature of the room at night and when you're out without turning the heating off entirely. This was all complicated by the installation of a new condensing boiler and solar panels in the back of the house, it took a lot of working out to get the conventional heating, hot water and under floor heating all working independently. The result is well worth the effort though, the under floor heating is really effective for a room of this size.

drymix slab laid fireplace UFH manifold

Reclaimed Flooring
We'd already bought approximately 130 square yards of reclaimed flooring from a salvage dealer one year previously. Once the heating was installed the flooring was laid on the heated slab for a month to acclimatise, this is to prevent problems with expansion or shrinkage once laid.
Every piece of wood
had to be individually cleaned up so the joining faces would meet properly. It was then a painstaking job to level, lay and fix every piece without putting nails into the UF pipe. A special tool was hired to secret nail the boards. The kitchen/dining room floor will be finished in slate.

secret nailer in action strip flooring stacked  in size order nearly complete

floor laying animation


Side door and window
The side door to the living room had to go as it didn't work with our planned layout. We replaced it with a stained glass representation of Emley Moor tower, probably a first for a stained glass design!

looking out work in progress new installed window - Emley Moor

New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve was the big deadline for getting the loor laid and the rooms heated, we made it with two days to spare. A temporary MDF floor was laid in the kitchen, party lights installed and we were ready to see the New Year in, in style. Dolefin performed their second reunion gig of the year, the rest of the music was courtesy of iTunes. We finally got to bed for a well earned couple of hours at 4.30am.

the scene is set builders turned entertainers Gresh
people even danced! Andy and Claire Andy - will work for cheap beer

Floor No2
A new year and straight back to it, 25 sq metres of slate flags were delivered for the 9th January and were laid in a weekend. In the following week I stripped the damaged tiles from the new kitchen.

slate floor and exposed wall new slate floor tiles removed

part 5 >>