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Oak Frame Repair & Restoration, Listed Building, Carden, Cheshire

This project involved Restoration & Repair work to this 400 year old Old Frame Building. We worked on the project for 14 months. The Building was in a very poor state, maybe semi derelict.

We sub-contracted electrical & plumbing works to local contractors, a large team from UK Restoration Services were also involved with the project.

This photo shows what is now the study. We salvaged as must of the original fixings as possible. The clay floor tiles were carefully taken up and stored on site for re-use.

All the original wood doors & door furniture were carefully taken down on stored on site.

The stove shown in the picture did not make it out alive! despite every effort. The Old Cast Iron Stove was very badly damaged internally.

This is inside the Oak Frame part of the building. The Solid Oak Floor shown was very unstable and we quickly closed this room off. The Oak Floor Joist below had decayed, they had been attacked by Woodworm. The ceilings of the Oak Frame Building was Lime Plaster on sawn Laths. Large sections of the Lath & Plaster ceiling had dropped due to water ingress.

Just to the lower levels you can see the brick infill panels of the Oak frame.

The room in this photo is now the Master En-suite, which is still in the Oak Frame section. We completely stripped out this room as it had been refurbished in the 60's.

All the Timber Windows in the building had to be replaced with new Iroko Hardwood Windows with slim light glazing.

Oak Frame before works commenced. The Oak Frame Building has subsided due to a collapsed drain on this elevation. The main Oak Member timbers had decayed at the bottom, causing the building to drop.

The existing stone foundations had also subsided due to the drainage problem.

The Slate Roof had also seen its fair share of repairs, as you can see with the large number of lead straps on the roof.

The Oak Frame is in filled with Brick Panels these were constructed with Lime Mortar and Handmade Bricks.

Due to the Oak Frame subsiding, the previous owner of the building constructed a large brick gable wall to prop up the existing Timber Frame.

Brick infill panels in the Oak Frame.

Front section of the oak frame building. This is a small open porch that housed the boil pot for washing.

You can just see the well pump to the bottom right of the picture.

The oak frame building on this side has a double pitched slate roof.

One of existing joints on the Oak Frame, not to bad to say the oak building has been up for the last 400 years. The face of this mortise joint has decayed exposing the tenon joist below. This mortise timber is one of the main vertical member posts.

The Oak Frame has been at some point painted a number of times with a bitumen paint. This would not allow any moisture or dampness in the timber to escape.

Another Mortise & Tenon joint beginning to fail. As we were to discover in time, lots of the joints on the Oak Frame has some kind of defect. The weight of the brick infill panels have caused stress on most of the joints.
Internal photo of the now kitchen area. Here you can see the original wattle & daub panels in the Oak Frame Building. The Wattle & Daub panels have lasted over the years and were in good condition, due to there internal position.

We first started by installing internal props & supports to the main timbers in the Oak Frame. Acro props were used to lift the building by 25mm. We then installed tension straps internally to pull the Oak Frame together.

The whole Oak Frame was propped and supported as we didn't believe that the building could stand as we began to strip it out. We had to also tie the Oak Frame building back to the Georgian section to prevent it from leaning, it was already 400mm of centre.

A full tent scaffold was erected over the Oak Frame building, this was due to the time of year & also the delicate nature of the building.

The Covered Scaffold also allowed works to continue in all weathers.

Front side of the covered scaffold. The repair of the oak frame building started once the scaffold had been completed. Restoration works started in January 2011.
One of UK Restoration Services specialist building contractors on the roof of the covered scaffold sheeting.

Internally we started excavating the internal floor levels, we used a micro excavator and mini loading shovel. Our Mini digger can fit through a doorway just 750mm wide.

We reduced dug the floor level to allow for the 100mm of floor insulation and under floor heating design. The original floor tiles were only bedded on Lime Mortar straight onto the earth.

The reduce floor level dig was a quick process within 1 week we had the new concrete floor slab cast. Excavated material was stored on site and later used for landscaping.

Once all the spoil had been excavated from the internal floor. We used a local crushed Limestone as a bender base at a depth of 150mm. The Limestone sub-base was then compacted using a vibrating plate.The foundation of the existing Georgian building were not compromised.

The under floor heating system required a concrete slab cast, then the insulation is placed on top of the slab. The under floor heating pipes are then pinned to the top of the insulation, with a 75mm screed over the pipes.

Concrete floor slab cast. We installed a 1200dpi plastic membrane under the slab to prevent damp penetrating the concrete floor slab. This was trimmed back at a later date.

Once the Covered Scaffold had been erected we started by removing all the roofing slates. We were trying to remove a lot of the weight from the Oak Frame, to help with the frame repair.

The Slate Roof was not in very good condition. It had a lot of lead straps holding slipped slates in place. Also there was no breather membrane under the Slates. At UK Restoration Services we are specialist Roofing Contractors in Cheshire.

We managed to re-use around 60% of the existing Welsh Slates on the roof. After looking around reclamation yards we found a excellent match for the slates.

Our team of skilled roofing contractors regularly use Welsh Slates, Stone Slates & Roofing Tile on large restoration projects.

Here you can see the roof Rafters & Battens. We have stripped most of the slates from the roof, on the lower sections of the roof you can see the Lime Lath & Plaster ceiling.

All the roofing slates were stacked on the scaffolding to help prevent breakages.

Once all the slates had been removed we did not remove the battens, this was to try and keep some strength in the rafters while the Oak Frame repairs took place.

On the front side of the Oak Frame Building. The front roof had a 1960's dormer constructed on the mid section. The roofing slates for the front section as the back were stacked on the scaffold. These also helped keep the covered scaffold weighted.

We install 3 sets of festoon lights around the covered scaffold. This meant we could work till 6pm even in January, a large advantage that outweighs the cost.

Our team of Roofing Contractors took just 1 day to strip this building of slates in Cheshire.

Inside the Oak Frame Building once the roofing slates had been removed. We also dropped the lower & top ceilings, this was due to water damage.

Someone in the 60's someone had the bright idea of cutting through the centre member of the internal frame. This Oak Frame had brick infill panels between the Oak Timbers. When we put a 2m level up the frame the whole Oak Frame was leaning 400mm toward the gable.

At a later date in the restoration project we removed all the Lath & Plaster ceilings & brick infill panels from the internal Oak frame.

After we took down all the Lath & Plaster ceiling in the Oak Frame that had been Lime Plastered by a Lime Plasterer who probably lived in the Cheshire Area. We had to laborious process of de-nailing the existing ceiling joist.

Some of the existing ceiling joist were in a poor condition due to water ingress and damp problems. These decayed ceiling joists were replaced with new treated timber.

There was only 1 roof rafter that need to be replaced on the Oak Frame.

This is a photo inside the Georgian section of the building. You can see the tension straps running through the room. These straps are anchored to the main supporting beams in the oak frame building. We anchored the straps to a very large Oak Beam that supported the floors in the Georgian Section.

All the Lath & Plaster ceiling in the Georgian section of the building had to be remove, as they did not offer must in the way of head height.

The Oak King Post Truss is visible. The existing Lime Plaster Lath & Plaster ceiling was fixed into the Tie Beam on the King Post Truss.

Our skilled team of Restoration Contractors started to remove the Brick Infill Panels from the Oak Frame. These brick infill panels were probably installed by a local Builder around 100 years ago, these brick panels are not the original.

The brick infill panels were constructed with a Lime Mortar. All the brick taken out of the brick infill panels were stored on site for reuse in other parts of the Restoration works.

The Oak Frame Building had to be monitored as the brick infill panels were remove. We had concerns with movement in the building as the weight was removed.

We install additional straps & supported to the walls and Oak Frame, Structural Support & Props for the Walls were also required.

Once all the brick infill panels had been removed. We used our Mini Micro Digger / Excavator to excavate the foundations to the oak frame building. The scaffolding had been erected with this in mind, so the standards were placed around 1m from the building thou allowing use to use the excavator next to the Oak Frame Building.

The exiting foundation stones were removed, these stones were later used to make the stone dwarf walls.

You can see the members of the Oak Frame Building unsupported.

This is the foundations before concreting. On the right a member of the oak frame building unsupported.

All the excavated material was stored on site and later used for landscaping works.

The ground working contractor in the foundation for the new wall to the Oak Frame. We excavated material to a depth of 1.4m due to the internal reduce dig for the floor levels. The existing members of the oak frame are up to his shoulder.

The foundation were excavated and new wall built before the internal & external reduce dig, this made the excavation works and building works difficult.

Excavating foundations for the new wall and the rear side of the Oak Frame. Inside the oak frame building you can see the acro props and tension straps, we could not compromise the structural support of the building.

Due to the weight load of the scaffolding, we had to cast the concrete foundation in small sections of 2m. These foundations are tied together with reinforcing bars.

The foundations to the timber building being excavated. The use of a Micro Digger made for easy digging. The structural members of the oak timber building did not need to be supported due to the internals timber being supported.

The structural members of the timber frame building have decayed over time, as you can see in the photo. The lower section of the Structural Oak Beams have decayed to most, this is due to the passions at ground level.

A night shoot of the covered Oak Frame Building, the covered scaffold meant we could work on into the evening in the dark winter nights.

This is what is now the utility room, this was formally a kitchen area. We removed this hugh fireplace from the room. The Fireplace was a 1960's addition to the house. We installed Structural supports to the floor joists & Oak Beams as we removed the fireplace.

The fireplace had to be removed before the floors could be excavated & concreted ready for the under floor heating.

The fireplace had been constructed with a very hard sand & cement mortar. This made dismantling the fireplace very hard going.

At a later date in the contract it was decide to remove the floor we are currently propping.

Dismantling the internal brick wall in the Timber Building. You can see the internal Structural support we installed to the Oak Beams. There is also a tension strap pulling the front and rear structural members together, this is to stop them falling outward due to the rotten joints.

We also under took Roofing Works to the front and rear section of the Georgian section. Our in house Roofing Contractors worked on this project in Cheshire for 3 weeks.

The front and rear roofs were slates with a random width tonne slate. We stripped these and and stacked for re-use.

We replace around 8 roofing rafters from the front side, these were replaced with new treated timber rafters.

All the Lead work on the front and rear roofs had to be removed and replace with new. The existing Leadwork on the roof i.e. the Lead Aprons, Lead Flashing & Lead Soakers was installed badly.

We replaced the existing Leadwork with new Code 4 & 5 Lead. Once the roofing Slates had been relied on new timber battens, we set able renewing the Lead work. Our Roofers are specialist in Roofing & Lead work. We used a roofing CAT ladder to access the roof, as you can see on the photo the weather in Cheshire was freezing.

Our in house Roofing Contractors made the new Lead Aprons to be installed on the front side of the chimney.

Our in house Specialist Leadwork Contractor used a Code 5 Lead to make the new Lead Chimney Apron. The Lead worker used Traditional Lead working tools to make out the Lead Sheet before cutting. We sourced all the Lead for the project from a local Cheshire Supplier in Chester.

If a Lead Chimney Apron is to be made correctly the Lead Chimney Apron must be Lead Welded. Lead Welding is a Specialist Traditional for joining two pieces of Lead.

Chester in Cheshire has a good supply of Lead Suppliers

Here our in house Lead Working Contractor use Lead Welding Equipment to join the Lead Chimney Apron.

The Lead Chimney Apron is made on site, following a Hot Works assessment. We only use small portable Lead Welding Equipment for ease of use.

The Lead worker is using a Lead Dressing stick to flatten the 30mm weather flange. The Chimney Apron is now Lead Welded together to form 1 whole structure. When Lead Welding on site we use traditional Lead Welding Rods.

We have now installed the new Lead Chimney Apron to the Brick Chimney Stack. When Installing new Leadwork to a Chimney the Lead need to be fixed into place with Lead Wedges. These Lead Wedges are simple 25mm strips of lead folded & batten at one end to for a Lead wedge.

The Chimney Apron is fitted over the top row of roofing slates to create a water tight seal.

We install Lead straps to the underside of the Lead apron which are fixed to the top batten to stop the lead lifting in high winds.

There was a total of 3 brick chimneys to install Lead Aprons to, this is the one to the rear gable wall. The Lead Work is yet to be pointed with Lime Mortar Pointing.

We have also installed Lead Soakers in Code 4 Lead & Lead Flashing in Code. We have not used the Lead Step Flashing method because we believe the individual Lead Flashing's are more adequate.

On the rear side of the the roof we have removed a number of Rotten Timber Rafters. These original timber rafters are made from a square section oak.

We only replaced the timber in the roof casually required. We used a multi treatment Woodworm, Dry-Rot & Wet-Rot to treat the Timber work. luckily there was no signs of dry rot or wet rot in the Georgian section of the building.

The Oak Perlins in the building had suffered from a attached of Woodworm in the past but did not require replacing.

We used a dry rot, wet rot & woodworm timber treatment, this was a liquid treatment that we sprayed on the Roof Rafters & Roof Perlins.

Dry Rot & Wet Rot need to be Treated by Specialist Contractors we have done a number of dry rot & wet rot treatments in the past.

This house in Cheshire had only been attached by small number of Woodworm. With the Timber Rafters & Perlins being made from Oak the Woodworm struggle to penetrate the dry timber. It is only when the Oak becomes wet & softens the Woodworm can get through it.

We found some Roman numerals on the Oak Roof Rafter, there was around 6 of the Oak Rafters that had these markings.

We recorded and photographed the marking for future reference.

Slating with Welsh Blue Tonne Slates. We used around 80% of the original Tonne Slates we stripped for the roofs.

Here was are slating around the Chimney stack, ready to install the new Lead Chimney Apron. This will be made by our Leadwork Contractor.

We managed to squeeze our Micro digger into the Oak Frame Building (just). We Excavated the internal floor level, digging out the floor level to reduce by 500mm to the new finished floor level.

At this point we had excavated the foundations and concreted, the internal blockwork was being constructed. You can still see the acro props supporting the timber beams of the 1st floor.

The excavated material from the timber frame building was removed by wheel barrow. All the existing tiles was removed and stored on site for re-use at a later stage of the project.

Our restoration contractors worked on this oak frame building in Cheshire for a total of 14 months. The oak frame of this building was in a very poor state, most of the joints had decayed.

Digging out floor using a small excavator. The 1st floor supporting props had to moved as the excavations were carried out. The rear block walls had been built with the visqueen built in to lap to the floor visqueen.

We excavated the floor level internally. The under floor heating make up was 150mm of crushed stone compacted. We then blinded the stone with sand to prevent the stone puncturing the visqueen sheet. On the visqueen sheet we laid 150mm of concrete & 100mm of insulation on the concrete. The under floor heating pipes were attached to the insulation with retaining clips. A 75mm sand / cement screed was laid over the pipes.

Excavating the foundations of the new internal wall. This concrete block wall was constructed under a supporting oak beam that supports the 1st floor oak joists.

The foundations were excavated with a mini digger. All the material excavated had to be moved by wheel barrow. We then filled the excavated foundations with 200mm of concrete. A 150mm concrete block wall was constructed on the foundations.

On this photo you can see the amount of spoil we excavated from the floor of this oak frame building. The bottom step on the oak stairs has to be replaced as the old riser had rotten. The stairs has to be propped from the back side. We used timber barrers behind the stairs to support the goings.

You can also see acro props supporting oak beams & walls. We continued to used the stairs as the ground workers excavated the floor level. Most of the area in the photo was excavated by hand as it was to small to bring an excavator in.

After the floor level had been reduced and dug out, the groundwork's filled the area with 150mm of clean crushed stone & compacted.

Here we are excavating new foundations for the new walls to be built under the sole plate of the oak frame. The foundations had to be excavated deep as the internal floor level will be dug out. Digging out the floor was done at a later stage.

The newly excavated footings were concreted with 250mm of reinforced concrete.

You can the vertical members of the oak frame. This is how we found the members, there was no sole plate supporting the vertical members.

The foundations for the new wall had to be all most 6ft deep. Due to good ground conditions we only had to allow for floor & wall make up.

Our groundwork contractor worked with us on this project in Cheshire for 6 months. One of the first jobs the contractors did was to excavate the floor level in the georgian section of the house. The contractor quickly concreted the new floors so internal work could commence.






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