Timber Framed House Restoration

Timber Framed House Restoration

This project is probably the most comprehensive and complex with which Martin and sons have ever been involved. The building currently houses a cancer research charity office in Lichfield, Staffs, and forms one end of the historic Tudor shopping precinct there. The half timbers of the building had completely deteriorated, causing a danger to the public beneath, and a possibility of long term structural compromise to the building itself. Consequently, English Heritage, the building owner, commissioned Martin and a team of skilled craftsmen to restore and conserve the building to its former glory. Many people have no idea of the incredibly exacting standards required by English Heritage of their appointed conservationists. This project would prove to be one of the most intense and challenging of martin’s career, along with his colleagues at the time. First of all, the original rotten timbers were painstakingly measured, their positions photographed and recorded, then removed for use as templates in the new construction.   Martin’s team constructed new beams from imported timber, of a specialist type only available in France, by using techniques off-site in the workshop, together with millimetre-accurate careful use of a chainsaw morticer, shown here in situ:                             The joints used in the construction of timber facings were constructed using Martin’s medieval carpentry skills. Here you can see an illustration of a ‘Stop Splayed and Tabled Scarf with Sallied and Undersquinted Butts’.  In short, a medieval technique for ensuring that timber could not move laterally nor longitudinally once the joint was closed together. Such was the iron-like hardness of the wood, and the incredible accuracy required, that the manual hammer and chisel work for the construction of one joint took Martin several days!     Here the job is halfway through its progress:  At last, after the new timbers were constructed, they were stained using appropriate materials, and the front of the building sympathetically re-built and re-rendered.    ...

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Roofing

Roofing

A nice neat new roof always looks wonderful, but here we show you what lies beneath. This bedroom extension in Birmingham was built above a corresponding ground floor bay window extension, so here we show you what lies beneath the neat tiling!               You can see the complex construction that goes into the work. . . .and how the central beam ties in with the building’s existing roof structure.                                    ...

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Underpinning a house!

Underpinning a house!

This underpinning  project at Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire, was undertaken on a bungalow that had started to subside after a spell of exceptionally dry weather contracted the ground beneath it. The corner of the property needed to be underpinned.  We excavated and added shuttering and steel rods to make a reinforced concrete raft, whilst always ensuring that the weight of the house was evenly borne on jacks.                             Here you can see martin digging all the debris to access the space needed to pump the concrete into the raft.           The concrete was then machine-vibrated several times to achieve the maximum density of composite.             After the raft had set, we removed the jacks to let the property settle on the new effective foundations, and finally the hole was filled in.  The work was inspected by the council, and the site made good to a state of repair, such that no-one would know the builders had been...

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Well Construction and Block Paving

Well Construction and Block Paving

This block paving job was for a client in Needingworth, Cambs. The client required the nearest part of the rear garden flagged and block paved, with a series of decorative walls constructed, and a functioning well-head to be built, not least with a working pump. This was a major project taking 30 man-days.           Here you can see the creative design by Martin and the team, in terms of the small walkways and raised beds created . . .                 The well head was particularly well received by the grateful client . . .             And the pump works ‘well’ (!) for garden watering and the...

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Half timbered interior

Half timbered interior

This half-timbered interior wall of a bedroom was constructed when an old cupboard was removed to reveal collapsed wattle and daub and a large crumbling alcove behind. Once again, as the building was listed, the beams and plaster used had to be sourced from very specific materials. Hydraulic Lime Plaster was used and beams manufactured and / or refurbished where necessary. In effect, this project involved the construction of a new wall within a listed building, yet adhering closely to planning...

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Replacing a Damp Proof Course

Replacing a Damp Proof Course

Manual and physical replacement of a damp proof course is often necessary where chemical injection techniques have failed or are inappropriate. This listed building required 5 metres of Damp Proof Course replacement. Each section of approximately 700 mm per stage was removed, the lower course cleaned and dressed, then new mortar, DPC and bricks replaced in situ.             Here you can see the process in more detail. This particular job was made problematic by the fact that the damp course in this instance ran across a chimney breast. The section of chimney base needed some rebuilding and contained extensive amounts of debris, which required careful and painstaking removal through a small aperture....

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Chimney Repairs

Chimney Repairs

Martin reckons that over the years he’s been up more chimneys than Santa Claus! Knight and Sons specialise in the rebuilding, re-pointing, re-flashing, lining and re-flaunching of chimneys. Whatever the type of property, whatever size and shape of the chimney, you can be fairly certain that Martin and his lads have fixed a similar one. Here is an example of some recent substantial repairs. Here you can see a pair of before and after photos from a Victorian terraced property on Shobnall Street in Burton Upon Trent. Note how the bricks have deteriorated so badly, that an almost complete rebuild was required.  This chimney was, in fact, extremely dangerous, and could have fallen into the child’s bedroom below. Martin, Steven and Shane rebuilt the chimney using appropriate reclaimed bricks to keep the character and construction technique identical to the original 1850’s construction. Here is a closer view:   The top of the neighbouring chimney was also in a terrible mess, and required removing and re-flaunching, but Martin ensured that a very minimum amount of debris was allowed to fall down the interior of the chimney into the breast beneath.      ...

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Lead Channelling

Lead Channelling

This listed farmhouse roof at Hammerwich in Staffordshire required complete replacement of the lead channels in the gable valleys, as they were leaking very badly. 5 metres of old leadwork and rotten wooden channeling beneath was replaced in its entirety by Martin and his team. The  deterioration of the existing channels had not been helped by the fact that the original builder had not put a gravity drop into the channels. Hence, water would sit in small puddles rather than drain away to the guttering as it should be designed to do. This situation was especially worsened in the winter, when snow would collect in the channels, and thawing off-runs of water would remain static for days on end until the snow had almost all melted.                 Martin started off by constructing new timber staging for the channels, each with a drop factor of  just over 1:80. This is sufficient to cause water to run freely at a speed whereby the channels are less likely to clog up, as the water inside them flows quickly enough to carry small foreign bodies away.               After the timber staging was added, lead was dressed and welded at 1500mm intervals.                   You can see the professionalism and attention to detail from these images here.  ...

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Curved Wall Restoration

Curved Wall Restoration

This curved and alcoved brick wall was a decorative feature within the curtilage of a listed property in Staffordshire. The wall separated one section of the gardens from the patio of the house, and had crumbled so badly that it had become quite dangerous as well as being an eyesore. The wall was so badly deteriorated that it had to be rebuilt almost from scratch by Martin and his team. This was no mean feat as the curvature, height and thickness of the original wall had to be mimicked to the millimetre!                       First, most of the original wall was demolished, and bricks re-used where possible.             Then the task of rebuilding started . . .                   Then the rendering, picked out with identical faux-blockwork style to the house, was painstakingly applied.                   The finished article was a work of art – proudly showed here by Shane! The stone ball was worth a fortune, and was craned off and on with extreme care, put back into place using steel rods as the original wall’s designer intended.  ...

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