Enhance your property by laying a new patio – part #3

New drainage pipe for channel drain

Round by the garage and the back door of the property the wall of the garage is built into the bank of the house next door. The gravel boards of the boundary fence also act as a retaining wall holding the earth back. Rainwater runoff from higher up the road runs into the patio area of the house and makes the external walls wet when it rains hard. There is a Damp Proof Course (DPC) which prevents water penetrating internally.

To alleviate the effects of the surface rainwater run off a channel drain will be installed against the kitchen wall and continued round at the bottom of the patio running parallel with a new retaining wall which will hold back the earth from the garden. The retaining wall is made of new sleepers of lengths 1.2 metres and 1.8 metres and widths 100mm x 150mm. A narrow trench was dug and filled with type 1 with a sand and cement base that the first lot of sleepers were laid on with haunching (cement support) applied to the back of the sleeper wall once the wall was finished.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Type 1 and cement base for sleeper wall

The sleepers were staggered to match the height of the earth that would be retained behind the wall. They were cut and offered up dry to start with to make sure they fitted together properly. Holes were drilled in the sleepers to accept 1.2 metre long 20mm steel rods which were passed through the sleepers and hammered into the ground with 2 part polyester resin being used to glue the rods inside the sleepers. The sleepers were also glued in place with a quick setting Silyl Modified Polymer glue.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Sleeper wall partially built

Once the wall was complete it was left for 24 hours to allow the adhesives to set properly.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Sleeper wall finished

The rainwater which comes off the garage roof is carried away by a gutter into a downpipe. An inspection pit was dug following the line of the downpipe from the gutter in order to trace where the water was draining to.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Inspection pit to reveal drainage pipe leading to soakaway. Main main foul water sewer pipe routed above.

The downpipe exited into a 110mm 90 degree bend by means of a flexible reducer pushed over the pvc pipe. The inspection pit revealed that the pipe went under the shared services foul water drainage pipe and continued into a soakaway. A trench was dug to run the pipe which would be teed off and run up to the channel drain.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Inspection pit to reveal drainage pipe leading to soakaway. Main main foul water sewer pipe routed above.

In order to carry away the water from the new channel drain it was proposed that the rainwater drainage pipe for the garage roof gutter would have a tee placed into it and a new trench would be dug for a pipe to be laid and run upto a P trap. The use of a P trap was just to stop any possible gases coming up from the soakaway and exiting into the atmosphere at ground level through the channel drain. The P trap would have a downpipe that joans the bottom of the corner joint of the channel drain. Here the pipe is cut to accept the slip coupling and double socket branch.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Pipe cut ready to fit slip coupling

Then the slip coupling is inserted with pipe lubricant …

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Fitting slip coupling with joint lubricant to aid movement of coupling up and down pipe.

… and the double socket branch is inserted into the pipe.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Double socket branch tee fitted to facilitate installation of drainage pipe to channel drain.

Then a piece of straight pipe was inserted into the double socket outlet and 90 degree adjustable double socket bend was inserted into that which allowed a long piece of pipe to be run upto a 15 degree bend and into the P trap. The P trap was placed on type 1 and then a piece of broken patio slab to give a firm base. Once the P trap outlet was judged to be in the correct place to accept the channel drain outlet 10mm pea shingle gravel was shovelled into the trench to backfill the space around the pipes.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #3 Property Auctions UK
Trench backfilled with 10mm gravel pea shingle

Enhance your property by laying a new patio – part #2

subbase collapse under patio

This is part 2 of the patio replacement project which we are starting for the summer. We have pulled up the old patio slabs revealing the thin sand base layer that the original house builders put down.

A pickaxe is useful for levering up the old slabs and breaking up the ground while an electric breaker is useful for any concreted areas.

Be careful when pulling up the slabs and using hand tools like a pickaxe or shovel or power tools such as a breaker to remove earth that you do not damage any underground services like water supply or waste pipes. It’s always a good idea to know where the services run and how close to the surface they are when digging out spoil.

Here you can see a drainpipe which is quite close to the surface where it exits the down pipe.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #2 Property Auctions UK
Be aware of existing service pipes

Round by the rear of the garage the slabs had sunken quite badly where they butted up to the garage wall. This was most prominent near the rain gutter down pipe which could highlight that there is a leak in the pipe below ground level which is washing out the substrate causing the slabs to sink.

To investigate this a large trench was dug in order to find out the state of the pipework.  A visual inspection revealed the pipework looked undamaged and pouring some water into the gutter showed that there were no leaks.

What digging down did reveal was that the garage had been built using a block and beam construction and the void under the floor had been left open underneath the outer most precast beam. Because the garage is single skin the wall had been built on top of the beam which meant there was no outer facing brickwork laid down to the concrete foundation footing level and therefore the void was open allowing the collapse of the patio substrate into the void.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #2 Property Auctions UK
Patio sub-base collapsed into block and beam void

In order to remedy this some pressure battens were glued to the brick and block piers and pressure treated gravel boards were screwed onto the battens underneath the outer most beam. This will stop the hardcore and type 1 that we put back into the trench from collapsing into the void underneath the block and beam garage floor.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #2 Property Auctions UK
Shuttering to block and beam void

Then the trench was back filled with pea shingle, hardcore and sharp sand.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #2 Property Auctions UK
Back fill of pea shingle, hardcore and sand put back in service trench

Once the slabs had been pulled up and removed the next step was to workout how much spoil to remove in order to get the correct fall on the patio. This was done using a long spirit level and some stakes banged into the ground to mark the level of the top of the slab that would allow a fall of between 25mm per metre and 25mm per 2 metres. Then dig out enough of the ground to allow the required 100mm of type 1, 50mm of mortar and then the thickness of the slab.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio – part #1

Old uneven patio

Now that the summer is fast approaching it is time to start thinking about your outside spaces. This patio is twenty years old and is beginning to show its age. The patio slabs have sunken in places and have become uneven in high traffic areas. It’s time to pull up the old pavers and lay down a new patio.

When the original house builders laid the patio they put down a very thin sub base of hardcore and then laid a thin layer of sand on top without compacting the earth underneath. This has led to the slabs sinking and becoming uneven in places. See the picture below.

Enhance your property by laying a new patio - part #1 Property Auctions UK

The first part of the project is to pull the slabs up and prepare the groundwork. This will involve taking off the old sand base layer and digging out the hardcore sub base and some of the earth below that to give enough depth for the sub base, base and slab layers. This will allow for a new sub base of 100mm of sub base Type 1 MoT. MoT stands for Ministry of Transport which is the specification for the type of hardcore used for sub base layers also known as DoT or Department of Transport. On top of the Type 1 will go a base layer of cement to a depth of 40mm. The base layer will be made up of 3 parts sharp sand and one part cement with the slabs being laid on top of the base layer. The depth of the slab should be taken into account as well to allow for a gap of 50mm if possible below the level of the damp proof course (DPC) so that the risk of water penetration into the brickwork from the splash back of droplets against the wall when it rains is minimised.

Roof Repair Case Study – Broken Roof Tile and Rotten Fascia

Repair broken roof tile and rotten fasci and box end

Roof Repair – Broken roof tile leading to a rotten fascia and box end

One of the roof the tiles was cracked all the way down the centre of the tile. The tile in question was fitted on the gable end of the house in the bottom row and had been notched out by the builders to fit round the brickwork. The cut had been made by an angle grinder and in making the cut it looks like the tile had been split in half but used anyway. This meant rain water had been running down through the split and slowly rotting away the fascia (although on the gable end it would normally be a barge board this was horizontal from the return around the eves overhang so therefore a fascia), box end and the end of one of the eves.

After some phoning around and investigation on google the tile was identified as a concrete Marley Bold Roll tile which Marley stopped manufacturing sometime around 2007. A call to a few reclamation yards turned up a good supply in a company down near Braintree.

If the property was built around or before 2000 then take care to inspect the soffits and also undercloaking (thin board used between the roof tile and facias or barge boards on the bottom row of roof tiles). If you are unsure and suspect asbestos, then it’s definitely worth getting it checked out. Have a look online. There are companies which will come out to take a sample and do a 48 hour turn around on the analysis and give you advice on how to proceed for around £150.

Roof Repair Case Study - Broken Roof Tile and Rotten Fascia Property Auctions UK
Broken Marley Bold Roll Roof Tile

Stage 1 – Remove broken roof tile

A solid standoff on the ladder makes a good platform to hold the tools and materials while working. Always take care to follow ladder safety and make sure that the ladder is on level ground and do not overreach.

First off the gutter that was attached to the fascia had to be removed. This can be slightly tricky with older plastic guttering that has gone hard and brittle due to the elements. Try sliding the guttering back and forth in the clips being careful not to upset the rest of the run and then pull the clips out and up pushing the guttering inwards to release it. The gutter will have to be removed all the way up to the first joint beyond the fascia to be replaced. The gutter is usually joined by a slide out rubber seal. Once the guttering is off unscrew the clips and keep them safe for when it comes time to put the gutter back up.

Use a claw hammer or crow bar to lift up the tiles above and around the broken one. If any of the tiles being removed or lifted up are at the edge of the gable end then the cement between the undercloaking and tile will need to be carefully knocked out. The bottom row of roof tiles is normally nailed to the roof batten. Try and get the claw of the crow bar underneath the clout nail to lever it up in order to pull the broken tile out. If you can’t get purchase on the nail, then carefully try levering the tile up under the nail and then when slightly raised the nail can be knocked out with a thin metal bar. Slide the roof tile out. Depending on how much the tile above the one to be removed is raised up by will determine how easily the batten lugs, if any, of the tile to be removed will slide over the batten. The tile may have to be jiggled around a bit to pull it out.

Roof Repair Case Study - Broken Roof Tile and Rotten Fascia Property Auctions UK
Rotten Fascia and Box End

Stage 2 – Remove rotten fascia and box end

After enough tiles have been removed to gain access to the part of the rotten fascia being replaced pull back the felt (sometimes the overlapping felt has rotted away) and remove any undercloaking if any. A cordless reciprocating saw was used to place a mitre cut just beyond the rotten part of the fascia, taking care not to saw through the soffit vent, in order for them to be removed after the nails holding the soffit vent to the facia were removed. In this case the box end had to be removed as well as it too was rotten. It was nailed to the rotten barge board through a 45 degree mitre joint.

The ends of the eves that had gone rotten were cleaned up and sealed with a timber treatment. The felt was replaced with enough left to overlap between the new fascia and gutter when replaced and then stuck down with roofing felt adhesive to make the joint water tight.

Roof Repair Case Study - Broken Roof Tile and Rotten Fascia Property Auctions UK
New fascia and box end cut from pressure treated timber

Stage 3 – Make new fascia and box end

The new fascia and box end were cut out of pressure treated timber and painted with 2 coats of exterior white gloss paint. They were offered up into position and then holes were drilled to allow the box end and new facia to be screwed together and the new fascia to be screwed to the old fascia. The soffit vent was tacked back into position on the fascia. The screw heads and mitre joints were filled with exterior repair filler and painted over.

Roof Repair Case Study - Broken Roof Tile and Rotten Fascia Property Auctions UK
Replacement Marley Bold Roll Roof Tile with notch cut out

Stage 4 – Cut a notch out of the replacement roof tile and put back

Now was time to cut the notch out of the replacement Marley Bold Roll tile using an angle grinder taking care to wear protective ear defenders and eye protection. The tile was offered up to make sure it fitted. Happy with the fit of the replacement tile the rest of the tiles were put back wit a bead of an MS Polymer exterior adhesive was placed down the edges of the tile that will be in contact with the roofing batten and the felt. This was because it is difficult to get the clout nails back into the tile nail holes without damaging the tiles around it particularly if close to tiles near the hip, valley or gable end of the roof. Then using the same procedure as removal the tiles were put back by placing a claw hammer under the existing tiles to allow the tiles to be slid in and interlocked, taking care to get the batten lug over the batten.

The last tile which in this case was the replacement tile with the notch cut out was put back having had the fibre cement undercloak nailed back on to the top of the new replaced box end first and a bed of exterior repair cement laid on top that the replacement tile would bed into.

The last job was to screw the gutter clips back on to the facia and put the gutter back up making sure the fall was in the right direction to allow the rain water to drain away.


Renovate your favourite old chair

Do you have a favourite leather or vinyl sofa in your house or perhaps chairs at your office or in a salon that are beginning to show their age or have become discoloured in the line of duty. As long as the fabric is structurally still sound then a rejuvenation of the colour is not as problematic as it may seem at first glance. Even if there are minor blemishes in the material then these can also be improved and sometimes eradicated completely.

It is important that the fabric be as clean as possible so as to give the leather and vinyl colorant dyes the best chance to penetrate into and adhere to the fabric. In order to achieve this first of all give the material a good clean with a foaming interior cleaning agent using a sponge and then plenty of soap and water then use a good isopropyl rubbing alcohol with a high alcohol percentage to get all the grease and dirt off of the fabric and to evaporate thoroughly in order not to leave any cleaning residue behind that may impede the application of the colour dye and paint.

Minor blemishes like a small cut or burn marks in the fabric can be repaired with special leather and leatherette colourant dyes that are quite thick in viscosity. They can be painted into cuts and burn marks in order to fill the gap and smooth out the blemishes. The dyes can be applied in layers to build up the necessary thickness and are available in a range of colours to suit your requirement.

With all the blemishes in the fabric repaired now the material can be repainted to either restore its original colour or to change the colour to a new one. Use an all surface spray paint that can be bought from your local hardware store. Spray outside and be mindful of where the overspray will go. Make sure you wear a face mask, eye protection and gloves. Give the can a good shake for a minute or so before you spray and use even strokes across the surface. Do not allow the spray to become to thick in one place or it will produce runs. Build up the finish in layers allowing 20 minutes per layer for the paint to become touch dry.

Once the painting is complete allow to dry thoroughly for 72 hours before using your newly restored chair again.

Make Your House Entrance Hall Pop With An Engineered Oak Wood Floor

Finally The Engineered Oak Floor Is Complete

The entrance hall is the first thing that everyone sees when they step into to your property. One of the easiest ways to give your house an upgraded hallway is to put down a gorgeous engineered oak floor to really make it stand out.

First job is to remove all the old carpet and underlay along with the gripper rods and door threshold bars. Then all the skirting boards were removed. These were a little tricky to remove because they had been nailed through the dry wall and into the thermalite blocks as well as being dot and dabbed but prizing them off the wall using a wall paper scraper, claw hammer and cold chisel did the job. Then  the walls were filed, sanded down and repainted.

Make Your House Entrance Hall Pop With An Engineered Oak Wood Floor Property Auctions UK
Removing Old Carpet, Underlay and Skirting Boards

We did a moisture check on the concrete screeded floor and found that the reading was around 3 to 4 percent which is a little on the high side when laying wooden floors. To minimise the amount of water that could permeate through to the engineered boards we decided to apply a rapid drying liquid damp proof membrane (DPM). We painted this on using a large brush and allowed an hour between coats and then let it totally dry for 24 hours.

Make Your House Entrance Hall Pop With An Engineered Oak Wood Floor Property Auctions UK
3 Layers of Rapid Liquid Damp Proof Membrane Being Applied

Now it was time to start laying the hand beveled oak smoked engineered boards. The width of the first board was calculated to allow the width of the last board on the opposite side to be a similar width. The boards were laid in a randomised staggered pattern so as not to have any uniformity where the joints were made. A gap of 10mm was left between the dry wall and the edge of the board to allow for some expansion. An MS Polymer adhesive was used to glue the boards down with the first row being weighted down and allowed to dry before the rest of the boards were laid. The boards have a tongue and groove joint which was tapped into place with a rubber mallet and block of wood to protect the face of the boards. To apply the adhesive to the floor a 10mm v notched trowel was used to spread the glue after it was poored on the screed. A chop saw with an fine 80 tooth blade was used to cut the boards. But none of the cut ends are on show as they are all hidden under the thresholds.

Make Your House Entrance Hall Pop With An Engineered Oak Wood Floor Property Auctions UK
The Engineered Oak Dark Smoked Hand Beveled Brushed & UV Oiled Boards Being Glued To The Substrate With a MS Polymer Adhesive

A multitool was used to cut the architraves at the bottom of the door frames to allow the boards to be slid in underneath.

Make Your House Entrance Hall Pop With An Engineered Oak Wood Floor Property Auctions UK
The Floor Boards Being Fitted Under The Door Frames and Architraves

Once all the boards were laid the the skirting boards were glued back on to the dry wall. Skirting was added around the newel posts and gap filler was run around the top of the newly applied skirting.

Make Your House Entrance Hall Pop With An Engineered Oak Wood Floor Property Auctions UK
The Solid Oak Thresholds Being Fitted Between The Room Junctions

Then solid oak thresholds were added underneath the door stops to finish off the junctions between the cloak room, living room and kitchen.


Fixing to Breeze Blocks Using Chemical Fixings

Using chemical to fixings in thermalite blocks

Breeze blocks like Thermalite or Celcon are used a lot in the property industry for their ease of use and green credentials. We had a requirement to fix some wall brackets to Thermalite blocks.

The fixings needed to be able to with stand a reasonable amount of weight being hung off them so had to have good structural strength. Thermalite blocks are scratched with a series of lines which indicate the type of block. In this instance the blocks had 6 squiggly scratch marks that designate the fact that they are from the “Turbo” range.

Thermalite blocks are quite brittle and can be easily drilled or cut producing alot of dust when worked. Any fixing into the block needs to create a tight and secure bond with the inside of the drill hole.

The fixings used here contain chemicals so where gloves, eye protection and a mask in order to minimise  accidental ingestion or contamination.

This job requires M8 studs so a 10mm hole is drilled into the Thermalite block using an HSS drill bit to a depth of 85mm.

Fixing to Breeze Blocks Using Chemical Fixings Property Auctions UK
Holes drilled ready to accept chemical fixings

The holes need to be thoroughly cleaned out of all dust created from being drilled. To do this a straw, preferably a metal one to stop the straw walls from collapsing under pressure, was taped to the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner and inserted into the hole with the vacuum cleaner turned on to suck out all the dust. As a belt and braces exercise the inside of the holes was coated with a very quick drying clear concrete sealer and left to dry for 4 hours. This step is not absolutely required.

Fixing to Breeze Blocks Using Chemical Fixings Property Auctions UK
Using a vacuum cleaner with a straw attached to clean out the dust made from holes drilled in thermalite blocks for chemical fixings

With the holes prepped to accept the chemical fixings its now time to insert the glass capsules. Make sure the arrow on the capsule is pointing into the hole and push the capsule all the way down to the bottom.

Fixing to Breeze Blocks Using Chemical Fixings Property Auctions UK
Inserting the chemical fixing capsule into the hole following the direction of the arrow printed on the glass

Then place the hex end of the M8 stud into the chuck of a drill and tighten it up. Place the chisel end into the hole up against the end of the glass capsule and start the drill pushing the stud into the capsule until it breaks.

Fixing to Breeze Blocks Using Chemical Fixings Property Auctions UK
The threaded stud is placed in a drill and pushed and drilled into the chemical capsule

Drill the stud home so that the collar of the stud is just protruding out of the hole and then leave it to set for an hour.

Fixing to Breeze Blocks Using Chemical Fixings Property Auctions UK
Threaded stud drilled into the chemical capsule and left to set

Once the chemical fixing has been allowed to set the bracket can be mounted on the studs and the hex nuts tightened up to secure it.

Fixing to Breeze Blocks Using Chemical Fixings Property Auctions UK
Wall bracket mounted to studs using chemical fixings

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door

Door with completed replacement Multipoint Lock

The deadlock in this uPVC door failed so it was time to replace it with a new one. For the most part their are a couple of variants for the dimensions of Euro Profile door mechanisms. The face plate can be 16mm or 20mm in width and the depth from the centre of the cylinder to the face plate can be 35mm or 45mm. This one was a 16mm face plate width and 35mm cylinder depth.

First unscrew the handles and take the bolt out of the face plate that keeps the Euro Cylinder in place.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Undo screws and remove Extension Bars and Lock Plate

Then using the key adjust the revolving cam inside the Euro Cylinder to be in the downward position and pull the Euro Cylinder out. This will be used in the replacement system.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Euro Cylinder being removed by turning the key to put the revolving cam in a downward position to enable it to be pulled out

Then remove the face plate. Some times there can be separate face plates for the hooks at the top and bottom and the latch and lock in the middle. The replacement for this system has separate plates so the latch and lock plate is offered up first. The existing housing in the uPVC door needs some adjustment so that is cut using a drill and multitool to fit the new latch and lock case.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Adjust Centre Latch and Deadlock Housing

Once the lock case fits into the door then pilot holes are drilled in the door in the positions where the screws will be fitted to secure the face plate. The screws are then put into the face plate and tightened up. At this point put the Euro Cylinder is put back into the lock case using the key to make sure the revolving cam is in the downward position and the bolt is screwed back in to secure the Euro Cylinder. Put the spindle back through the latch and place the handles back on the door and do up their retaining bolts. Make sure the latch and deadlock move freely when turning the handle.

Offer up the latch and lock plate keep to the frame and make sure the existing keep housing in the door frame is in the right position otherwise adjust as required. On this system there is a datum line on the face plate in the door that has to match up with a datum line on the keep. The keeps for this system have packing grub screws to allow a secure footing when the keep overlaps thinner keep gully’s of the old door frame but they are not long enough for these older frames so I used pieces of wood screwed into the metal part of the door frame by drilling pilot holes and securing the wood strips with self tapping screws. Then drill pilot holes for the keep screws and screw the keep to the frame. Test shutting and locking the door and adjust the keep plates as necessary with the grub screw adjusters.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Lock Keep fitted in position with packing and being adjusted to accept Latch and Deadlock

This system has a roller as well as a hook to pull the door tight when turning the handle but some just have a hook. Offer up the bottom hook and roller face plate and adjust the housing in the door by cutting the uPVC as necessary.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Adjust bottom housing for hook case

When offering up the hook plate make sure the hook is in the fully retracted position when you place the outer male toothed conrod of the hook face plate into the female toothed conrod of the centre lock plate.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Centre Lock Plate Conrod with Female Toothed Section

The hook unit case is also sometimes called the gearbox. When you are happy that the hook plate is in the best position to work with the centre lock plate and the existing keep housing in the door frame make pilot holes where the fixing screws should go through the door and then insert the screws and do them up. This system has a cover plate which has a location pip which locates in the centre lock plate and then a grub screw into the hook plate to cover the join between the two.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Cover Plate for Centre Lock Plate and Hook Plate

Go through the same process for the bottom hook plate keep as was applied to the centre lock plate keep and test the mechanism. Pay special attention to the hooks and that they clear the bottom of the keep when closing. Repeat the process for the top lock plate keep.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Top Hook and Roller keep fitted to the frame with packing

Once all the keeps are fitted test closing, locking, un-locking and re-opening the door.

Replacing a Multipoint Lock System in a uPVC Door Property Auctions UK
Door with completed replacement Multipoint Lock

Cloak-room makeover

Corner sink basin

This cloak-room has remained the same since the house was built in 2000. It was uninspiring then with all the inlet and waste pipes unflatteringly on display below the wall hung corner basin. Now was the time to give the cloak-room a makeover and give it a more contemporary feel.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Old cloak-room in need of renovation

The first job was to pull up the old carpet and level the floor with a self leveling screed. The old toilet was unscrewed and removed (nb the toilet and corner basin were recycled on the freecycle website reducing waste costs and helping the environment at the same time!) making sure the waste pipe was taped up to stop waste gases coming out of the pipe and into the house. A long spirit level was used to show high points in the floor.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Cloak-room concrete floor

Once the floor was leveled it was time to lay some tiles. A dark gray square porcelain tile was chosen and laid in a square brickwork pattern with a 4 mm grout joint width.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Gray slate porcelain tile laid in square brickwork pattern

The tiles were laid with a rapid flexible adhesive that requires only three hours setting time before the grouting can be applied. A light gray grout was used and as always pulling the grout float at 45 degrees across the grout lines so as not to drag the grout out of the joints and then taking the excess off with a sponge before it dries hard on the tiles. The grout was left to harden for 24 hours before the tiles were then cleaned up with a grout remover using a non scratch scouring sponge and washed off with plenty of water.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Gray grout

Next job was to cut off the old overflow pipe and fill the remaining hole as the new toilet has an integral overflow outlet that vents into the pan and to re-position the water inlet pipe to accommodate the new back to the wall close coupled WC.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Remove overflow and re-position inlet

To re-position the copper water inlet pipe the old elbow had to be removed and replaced with a new one at a different angle. First the water was turned off, the pipe was cut after the elbow and any water in the pipe was taken out. The paint around the joint was rubbed off with emery cloth and flux was brushed around the joint. Then to de-solder the elbow joint heat was applied to the elbow very carefully by placing a heat protecting soldering mat over the pipe to stop the flame from burning the wall. Map gas was used in the blow torch as this burns hotter than propane. Heat had to be applied to the joint for about a minute right in the hottest part of the flame about an inch from the torch nozzle before the soldered joint released itself and the elbow could be taken off.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Soldered copper elbow joint to be removed

Then a new elbow was soldered on making sure the pipe and elbow were cleaned up first with wire wool and flux was placed around the inside of the copper elbow and outside of the pipe. A new piece of pipe was soldered on the other end of the elbow and a 1/2 inch straight tap connector soldered onto that. This enabled a braided hose with an isolating ball valve to be screwed on the end to connect to the cistern inlet for the water supply.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Soldered copper pipe for cistern inlet with elbow and isolating ball valve

Next the wall was painted and the new back to the wall toilet and cistern were connected and screwed down. With there being no gap behind the WC it does make connecting the waste pan connector and inlet water supply slightly tricky. A flexible pan connector and 500 mm braided hose for the water supply give enough play to allow the joints to be made without too much trouble. A tip for putting the pan connector on is to put washing up liquid over the exterior of the pan outlet pipe to aid sliding the pan connector on.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Back to the wall WC

Next the sink was removed and the rest of the walls painted . The hot and cold water supply inlet copper pipes were cut to allow 1/2 inch straight tap connectors to be soldered on and isolating ball valves screwed on to those in order for the tap connectors to be attached later when the sink gets installed.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Isolation ball valves and tap connectors for sink

Next the vanity unit was altered with cutouts made in the shelves and carcass to allow it to fit around the pipework. The vanity unit was screwed to the wall at the top and bottom to make it stable.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Altered vanity unit carcass

With the vanity unit fitted the tap and clicker waste were installed in the sink with clear jointing compound placed around the joints of the clicker waste to help the seal and the sink was put in place with dobs of silicon placed around the top of the vanity unit carcass to keep the sink in place. The tap connectors were screwed on and the waste connected up with a flexible hose and the door put on the vanity unit. A tiled mosaic splash back was created around the sink using a contrasting tile of grays, greens and browns with a light gray grout to tie in with the grout used for the floor tiles. Then the skirting board was fitted and the fixtures and fittings put on the wall.

Cloak-room makeover Property Auctions UK
Cloak-room makeover
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Vanity unit in cloak-room makeover
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Use your voice to search for auctions

We want to tell you about some new functionality we have added to www.PropertyAuctionAction.co.uk.

The new feature allows the selection of auctions by using your voice.

Here’s how it works:

  • Just click on the microphone icon in the search box.
  • First time through it will ask for authority, just check to allow.
  • And then tell Property Auction Action what auctions to filter by.

For example lets search for all the SDL Auctions.

Click on the micrphone icon and then hit the “Allow” button to allow access to the mic for PAA first time through.

Now say “SDL”

And then PAA will automatically filter the auction list to only the entries that have “SDL” in them.

It’s as simple as that.

At the moment this functionality only works in Chrome but we are working on other browsers.

Hope you find this useful.

Here’s a “How to” on YouTube

Use your voice to search for auctions Property Auctions UK
Click the microphone image to allow voice search

Use your voice to search for auctions Property Auctions UK
Click here to allow microphone use