Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I spent the Easter weekend out in the countryside and tried to get some things done. First I spent a couple of hours removing stinging nettle roots. Those beasts develop root lumps several feet in diameter, with the occasional deep roots. About the only way to get them out is to dig up the entire area with a fork half a foot deep and drag on the roots. After a few hours I had about half of the area I wanted to dig up done and was extremely sore. So I decided to call it a day, smoothed the ground and seeded some grass. That way we'll slowly work our way through the entire garden. As an extra plus the fresh grass looks a whole lot better than the old, patchy coarse stuff.

The I dragged myself into the pigsty to check out how much of the demolition we could do ourselves. I grabbed our trusty Bosch rotary hammer, the flat chisel bit and started plugging away at the concrete floor. After 10 minutes I had a small dent, maybe 10cm in diamater and 3cm deep... definitely no way we could take out the entire floor with our own tools. I had hoped the concrete floor could be as bad as the roof and ceiling, but no such luck.

Then I turned my attention towards the exterior walls. First surprise: at least one of them was unplastered concrete up to about 1m from the floor. And the concrete even protruded over the plaster... so if we decide to plaster the entire surface the bricks will get quite a solid coat.
The plaster came off, reluctantly but in the end it worked.

Finally I tried my luck with the stall partition walls. They're supposed to be brick.

After 10 minutes of hard work I had chipped off a small corner... the plaster is like concrete, as is the mortar, and the bricks are rock hard too. Yuck!

Sounds like we're going to leave the entire demo to the pros, using a pneumatic jackhammer.

I first considered bulldozing the entire building and building new... but I then realized that would give us trouble since we'd have to build the ground floor to current code, which means 2,8m ceiling height instead of 2,65. And most likely that's only the tip of the iceberg. So we'll try to keep standing as much as possible and work with/around it...

On the plus side I realized if we use hollow core bricks we can significantly reduce cost. Precisely we can almost cut the cost for bricks in half. Nice! Besides they're much faster to put up due to their size (25x23x37,5cm) and provide better thermal insulation. The only downside: not as mechanically strong as full bricks and less sound insulation.

We also had the local handyman over for an estimate. He said he'd get a few contractors and material suppliers in for a full estimate based on my plans. He also said we'd need to have the plans ready for permission in April, because the hearings don't seem to be monthly like the architect said.
So yesterday I had a wild CAD session changing lots of details in the drawings. Except for 1 or 2 small items I'm done, so I hope tonight I can mail the plans to the architect again.

I need to get a full site plan though, that's the only large CAD item missing.

No comments: