Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Renovation project - There is a hole in the wall !!!!!!!!

Renovation project - There is a hole in the wall!!!!!!!!

We wake to no rain, even the sun is actually shining, what a fantastic day, so good that we make a start on taking the porch down.

John pulls on a bit of wood and the whole lot comes down, apparently it was just a wire that had been holding it in place, OMG, this was so bad.

John climbs onto the stone wall and gives a gentle push and the whole lot comes tumbling down, I hadn’t even considered this bit to be unsafe!

We do hit a major snag though; the beams in the porch actually went in the wall at the back of the house. John has to remove them which leaves a hole in the house wall. This needs to be fixed immediately as it will be very cold and the rain will come in.

John removes all of the wood and now has the joy of retiling the outside of the house. We also look at the old bathroom window and decide to remove this; we have already removed it from the inside, as this is now the bathroom wall.

John has tiled many roofs in the UK, but the tiling is different in France.

The empty space is covered by planks of wood and crochet hooks are hammered in to place and the tiles are added to these (john does not like the French way of slating!)

Our first problem is getting the correct slates, friends know of a roofing merchant that can supply them but this will be an extra cost that we could really do without. So we look at the slates that are on the old barn roof, these are bigger but can be cut to size. This will be a long job, cutting every slate to size but time is something we have plenty of, money is not.

John climbs on to the dilapidated roof and it immediately disintegrates under his foot. He has to carefully stand on the edge where the stone wall is, as he takes the slates down the roof beams disintegrate into dust in his hand.

I am there as watch out to let him know if he is going to fall or if there is any danger, I also take the slates and stack them sorting out which can be reused and which just crumble.

This job doesn’t take very long, and to be honest if we had just had another big gust of wind, we probably wouldn’t have had to do this job at all!

We have the stack of slates and John cuts them all to size, next is the actual job of fitting of them. John carefully removes the window which is only held in place by a couple of the crochet hooks (the window was not sealed in anyway, so no wonder there was such a draught) we still can’t believe that a window could’ve been just added in this way!

The wood planks are attached and John starts to add the slates, keeping the lines straight and the pattern continuous, this is not made easy, as if there is a knot in the wood you cannot get a crochet hook in, but you can’t put it anywhere else if you want the pattern to look right. John really does not like roofing in this way, and I think anybody in the vicinity now knows this, I also learnt a few new swear words and believe me after doing this project for so long, I really didn’t think that would be possible!

More tiles are removed as the new ones are added as some of the old ones break very easily, so John has to retile a much larger section than he had planned.

Once it is finished we look to see what it looks like and if you can tell the difference, the only difference is the colour, but once all are weather worn this will not be noticeable, now we just need some more dry weather as the entire barn roof has to come down, and we would prefer to take it down rather than have it all fall down.


  1. plenty of wood for the woodburner though :)

    1. unfortunately some of it was so rotten we had to burn it in the garden, but so far this year we have gotten away with out buying any, so hopefully the sun will be shining soon and we won't need the fire ha ha ha

  2. I know your man has experience, but boy does that look careful John!

    Your heart must have been in your mouth watching him do that
    Oh the mad things we renovators do to save money- read the book , got the teeshirt.....................

    Better to find out now though than later when whole roof could have collapsed on your heads!

    1. Hi Gill I have got used to it by now, and yes was very glad to find out just how bad it was before it fell down, I don't know how it has stayed there for so long!

  3. You are both so brave! We're not at all practical so wouldn’t know where to begin. I really admire your work.

    1. Thanks Anji, John had spent thirty years doing this in the UK, but even he had never come across a roof this bad!!!!!

  4. Two thumbs up for John! Roofing is not an easy task and can be quite dangerous, but John managed to handle it by himself. It’s really an advantage having someone around the house who's good in roofing and other handy trades. But help would still be great to finish it immediately before the rain comes in. Anyway, how is it now?


    1. Hi Amber the joy of having a man who can :)