The house moved closer to completion with the excitement of two trades, the plumber and electrician, being on sit on the same day.
The bushfires and advice to get out of the Blue Mountains had meant that I had two extra days on site to build. This time was used making the laundry bench out of half a table I had bought from the “rejects” section of IKEA. Into this was placed a sink, bought while on sale, that we had intended for the kitchen, but was no longer needed so found a new place in the laundry. Rails were unscrewed from the half table and reused as supports for the laundry bench.
|Laundry bench, sink and tiling
In the laundry I tried my hand at tiling, a 100mm border of white tiles on one side and under and 200mm above the laundry sink and bench, using 300 x 200mm tiles, on the other. My tiling skills were learnt from various You Tube clips. I called up my tiled and used the same adhesive he had “Gripflex.” My skills with the notched trowel were rudimentary and I found it difficult to evenly spread the adhesive in the confined space under the laundry bench. Grouting the following day was a much easier task, I had had some experience with this from doing mosaics and the rubber grout spreader I had bought from the hardware store made the task much easier. On the third day white silicon went in along the joints between the walls and the walls and floor.
I had been disappointed to find that my beautifully tiled bathroom has cracked grout along the wall joints, my YouTube tiling research having suggested that silicon be used in these locations to avoid cracking if there was movement between the walls. A phone call to the tiler and the suggestion that I scratch out the grout and fill the joint with silicon led me to undertake this job. Despite the Aldi brand caulking gun I had bought coming with little plastic curved shapes to do corners I resorted to using my fingers to smooth out the silicon, they seemed to work much better.
|Cracked grout in the join between walls
|More cracks in the grout
So when Len and Ben the plumbers arrived on site, although the tiles in the laundry had not yet been grouted, enough work had been done for them to put in the laundry sink and tap. In no time we had running water. The excitement to be found in watching a tap run can only be understood by those who have lived without this luxury.
But our enjoyment of the mod cons did not end there. The tiled bathroom had a flush toilet installed, the bathroom vanity unit and tap and most importantly the shower were all installed an operational. This brought us one step closer to the long awaited dream of hot water on tap. The absence of a suitable place to put the LPG gas bottles prevented us from having hot water. This was to be quickly remedied as the excavators were booked for the following week and the second hand 600 x 600 concrete pavers were just waiting to be used as a base for the gas bottles.
|Bathroom vanity, shower and exhaust fan all working
Having done most of the work on site ourselves over the previous few months, with the exception of the rendering, it was bizarre to have two trades on site at the same time. Paul the electrician had come down to fix a problem with the solar electricity panels. It turns out the problem was some incorrectly manufactured fuses that had shorted out. These were replaced with a more reliable model.
While on site Paul got to work installing lights and switches. The bedrooms and kitchen/living room now all have working lights, as does the laundry and front bathroom, which also has a working exhaust fan. This was another significant step into the modern world. No more working a night by head torch or floodlight. When it is the first time you do it, a simple task such as turning on a light switch becomes a much more conscious and significant task.
|Ceiling light in the bedroom
|So excited I took a photo of a light switch
The internal and external wall lights could not be completed until the rendering is done. We will also have to wait for another day for the power points, but for now I am satisfied with the simple joys of water coming out of a tap and light at the flick of a switch.
Rendering continued with the main kitchen/living room being completed and the final bedroom being started.
|North wall in the main room with pendant lights awaiting their shades
|South wall in the main room
|First wall in the third bedroom freshly rendered