The builder showed up bright and early this morning, and we had a chat about what had been found in the first day of demolition and poking. The engineered wood floor came up very easily, and a powerful damp pong reeked through the property once that was done (I can’t smell it, clogged nose).
The fireplace flue fell down when they were taking the cladding off, and there’s a suspicion that it might be asbestos. The builder has a mate coming on Monday to investigate that and provide advice; I’ll be off to Fenton Fires in Greystones on Saturday to evaluate fireplaces, and work out who needs to build what – so we’ll see how the advice overlaps.
Half the grey-painted brick structure inside the living room is gone; when the flue fell down, the builder stopped doing anything with it on the advice of that previously mentioned mate. For all we know, what’s left is what’s holding up the entire flue assembly as it passes through the bedroom above.
While taking the floor up yesterday, it was noticed that the cement over by the stairs to upstairs was very fragile, and when small bits were lifted, there’s a lot of grey powdery aggregate underneath a very thin cement layer. More investigation needed.
The parquet flooring that is on the porch is absolutely rotten next to the party wall; you can shred it with bare hands. It gets better as you go away from the party wall, which supports a hypothesis that there is or was an influx of water on the party wall. This would explain the damp readings from the paid report.
Today’s work for the builder is going to be exploration to determine if any of the posited hypotheses are correct.
Hypothesis 1: In the past, water has cascaded down the party wall due to a lack of guttering. Due to poor construction, this water has ended up behind the cement covering on the party wall, trapping it.
Hypothesis 2: The guttering on the porch dumps the water on to the tarmac driveway, and the slope may not be sufficient to carry the water away quickly. Water has gone “backwards” into the walls and slab.
Hypothesis 3: Same as 1, but the problem is ongoing.
Turns out there’s a doorway behind the fireplace too; from the right angle, you can see the door frame.