Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I'm back from a 10 day family holiday that could have been more relaxing - lots of driving, terrible traffic (German railways have become a bit unreliable but they're still a lot nicer than the motorways!) and too much in too little time.

Plans around here change every five minutes and the most important change is that my brother isn't going to move downstairs but two of my brothers rented a flat some 15 minutes walk from here. That does have some advantages as we now get spare rooms here so we can shuffle around stuff while we renovate and possibly even clear out the downstairs flat completely but it means yet another project!

The wiring was just redone but the walls need to be painted at least in some rooms and the floors are in rather bad shape. The smallest room is the worst, narrow tongue and groove pine planks painted brown and in spots worn down right to the tongue! We also need to block the door that connects the  large bedroom and living room, while it looks nice it won't be used and lets a lot of sound through. Yesterday we went shopping for tiles (some of the godawful 70s tiles in the loo were damaged when some plumbing work was done, thankfully the tiles and repairs paid for by the landlady). I don't really have anything to do with the place but I'm the DIYers so I took my brothers to the various stores and offered some advice.

Today we rose early (at least for a summer holiday) for another extensive shopping trip. Knauf UW and CW studs (sheet metal studs for partition walls), 8 half-sheets of plasterboard (2.6x0.6 m), mesh tape, some kind of foam tape that goes between the studs/base and top plate and the door jamb, fibreglass and last but not least 5 packs of 19 mm thick pine t&g flooring, 4 m long. At that point we could barely move the cart any more and it became clear that we wouldn't be able to fit all that into the family van. The large DIY stores run their own van rental so we asked about that, only to be told they were all booked out until Saturday. Then we asked about delivery but that'd have taken at least two days and one of my brothers would prefer to move in today or tomorrow. So we paid for our stuff and set on to making two trips with the small van. Just as we were leaving the store we heard someone calling out for us - someone had cancelled an appointment for a van and we could pick it up immediately!

My dad completed all the paperwork and since we'd just shopped for more than 250 Euros we got the van for free. It was a medium-size Iveco with a tarp-covered bed something over 3 m long so the plasterboard fit just fine and the floor boards didn't stick out much, well below the 1 m limit (if you exceed that you need to attach a red flag to the load). Driving it was annoying, Ivecos are odd beasts and being rentals doesn't make them any better but we arrived safely. Carrying the plasterboard to the third floor was a royal pain and we still have to get the five packs of floor boards up. My arms are already numb just from maneuvering the plasterboard! The stairs are a bit tight so the sheets barely fit and the floor boards are much longer! We'll have to lift them up and over the banisters every time we round a corner.

I'll definitely NEVER plasterboard anything unless I absolutely have to or unless someone else carries the stuff up the stairs!

In a while we'll leave again to close up the door (yay, itchy fibreglass!) and remove the old floor. That'll be a bit tricky because some of the boards extend under the plaster on the walls.

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