I had asked the builder to take down a bit of MDF for me, while taking up the carpets and floorboards for the electrician, with the intent of making a set of shelves to fit in the space once all the making good had been done.
Who tell me say dat? He took it down, and then texted me to say he’d found moisture on the wall behind it, should he investigate? Duly authorised, he investigated, and found that you can see daylight when you look through a cavity in the wall. It’s not a lot of daylight, but you really shouldn’t be able to see daylight inside of a wall. It looks like the crown cap on the party wall, which is a garden wall at this point in the building, has holes in it, and is letting moisture in.
The recommendation is to either re-crown the wall, or to extend flashing over the whole thing. Re-crowning is a demolish and rebuild job, while flashing can be wrapped over the existing crown; I think flashing will be the way to go. Have to pop over to the neighbour today and have a chat about access and permission.
The other step backwards is the porch. We had discussed, early on, the approach of just knocking it down and rebuilding it, and had dismissed the idea as “not worth it”. As we expose more and more of the construction (scraping back all the gypsum etc), “rebuild it” is becoming more and more tempting. I’ve told the builder to give me a better estimate on Monday (rather than off the top of his head), so that I can determine what to do.
Once the crown is fixed in some manner, the wall will get covered with a thermal board, then skimmed. It’ll make the room warmer, without much loss of depth, though the bookshelves might be a bit shallow.