Thursday, March 21, 2013

More DIY house extension...

Sorry forgot to follow with this post, better late than never, maybe... We don't have many photos to this stage either. The frames were built by Mr CH and lifted up with the help of our two Dads and braced (with stud and clamps) so Mr CH could nail them in place. The walls are 9.8 foot at the top down to 8.2 foot at the lowest, so we needed help with that bit. The rough-sawn rafters were sanded and stain-varnished to keep a rustic effect. These rafters were attached to the frames and to our $250 (at the time) Tasbeam between the kitchen/dining with angle iron brackets which Mr CH made for the purpose instead of using the usual triple grips. Stronger and not so visible and a lot cheaper. The inspector liked them. The Tasbeam was also stain-varnished and re-wrapped in plastic sheeting and lifted into place using chain blocks by Mr CH alone. The tie down rods (the rods that are supposed to stop your house lifting during a cyclone) were welded to the steel beams underneath and bolted with washers at the top of the frames.
Chain block (endless chain) used for lifting very heavy objects safely.
We used sheets of 12mm grooved plywood for the ceiling which we stain-varnished before hand (all 16 of them +2 for the kitchen cupboards = $1000)  The advantage of using ply was, it also acted as the bracing for the roof. The plywood sheets were nailed to the rafters on one day and covered with a large tarp (borrowed) until the next weekend, the roofing battens were screwed through the ply into the rafters and the sarking/insulation was rolled out and covered with the roofing tin and screwed down. A sigh of relief to finally get a roof on, a huge step after so much rainy weather.

Fibro waiting to be lifted up

The bracing ply was nailed in place and passed inspection.
Three inspections, one for foundation holes, one for framing and bracing (including tie downs) and one at lockup stage. We also needed a plumbing inspection for the sink, however the inspector said he would tell the plumber we were just reconnecting the drain to the previous spot and we didn't get that inspection. Depends how easy going the inspector is.

The extension was never intended to be an slavish copy of the front older part of the house, as it's our turn to modify the old girl. We couldn't access reclaimed or new pine flooring and as the rest of the house had carpet, it didn't matter at the time. The ceiling was the easiest method of self construction, skillion roof line, but the walls were deliberately chosen to mimic the vjs in the old part of the house. These MDF wall sheets had to be specially ordered for us because of the height and amount we needed. We were told at the time, that we were going to a lot of extra expense to match them and that plaster walls would be a better choice. The wood stain was the popular choice at the time (1999 warm country tones) back when you were either minimalist or homely. We both liked exposed rafters rather than covering them up.

We used tongue and groove spotted gum hardwood for the floor, which sat for a while, supposedly acclimatising though kiln dried?

Mr CH machined his own clamps to push the tongue and groove boards tightly together, so he could pre-drill and nail the boards to the joists.The clamps were tightened with the ratchet pictured lying on the floor. The longest, tedious job of all.
The outer walls were temporarily ( !!!) clad in fibro (cheap) until we could afford to clad with treated pine traditional chamferboards, still a work in progress. No insulation, other than the roof, it was not required back in the late 90's. Chamferboards over fibro = good insulation though. In our climate this house rarely gets too hot or too cold, we don't use air-con much and the wood heater is usually our main heating method.

The balcony was constructed using the recycled hardwood rafters, joists and old kitchen floorboards.  Two posts were new. The french doors were from a demo yard. Awnings made by Mr CH.

The old silky oak windows were free from Pappy's shed, we were given 12 but only used 10. They were already, mostly bare timber (a bit dried out) and needed plenty of oil based undercoat to stop the wood drying out even more. Every window was re-puttied and painted three times (1 undercoat 2 topcoats).

Never an idle moment around here, soil from under the house was dug out (bit by bit by hand) and distributed to garden beds and fence lines. You can see a partial soil line on the block wall, this is the low soil end.
And this was the high end.

This end wall had two sets of windows in the plan, we changed our minds and only used one set and no-one noticed and was still approved.
To save money and time, the electrical wiring was run by Mr CH after instruction by our sparky friend. All checked and connected by him, we paid for 4 1/2 hours of labour only, which included the new earth rod. All wiring and switches bought by us as well. We bought them new however at demo yards and opshops you can get them for $1.
  For our overseas readers, Australia is one of the few countries in the world where it is illegal for home owners do do any electrical work on their home other than changing a light bulb. The same control is over plumbing work as well. Which is why Australians have to pay a plumber $60+ dollars an hour to change a tap washer??? Which contributes to our high cost of living.
In the old days ( less than 50 years ago) self- sufficiency was the norm, not just a trendy catch phrase.
 Government control and all that.
(just watched a tv show last night where the Chasers team up with Choice to expose the retail rip offs consumers are constantly exposed to. Disturbingly funny, worth another view here)
Looking towards bed3

Extra studs added to the original wall to nail the VJ panels to, floor finished, our only built in cupboard was lined with 3 ply and MDF shelves. Which were then covered in contact.

This sitting room has never served the sole purpose of an extra living space until recently and has been used as a dining room, storage space and extra bedroom in the past. It is long over due for a makeover. No styled pics here, we still have an extra lounge in here from the painting floorboards job in January, because an older kid swiped the tv. And there is a love/hate relationship with most of our wall art at the moment, hence empty wall nails. At least I moved the "crap stack" from the end of the kitchen bench for a photo, ha.

So our 4 room home extension costs including demolition and rebuild - less than $13 000 (pre GST 1999/2000) and took us 18 months.
  The crazy part - it was %90 constructed with a hand saw, hammer and a few tools borrowed from family and friends! This was before the availability of cheap home handyman power tools, which we now have an abundance of.

Though we did buy a cement mixer for the foundations (not as a jungle gym), which has been handy for family and friends over the years and has been a very good buy.

I'll be back next time with a look at our el-cheapo kitchen (circa 1999/2000) that we built ourselves for a few hundred dollars.


  1. OMG! That is just incredible!!!! To think that you guys built all that and at that price..amazing. Its just lovely too. Do you do commissions..haha

    1. Haha, only if you want it 90% finished.

  2. No wonder you are doing so many complex things on your are very seasoned renovators/builders. The extension turned out beautifully, a very practical extension of space. I am looking forward to hearing about your kitchen next.

  3. Amazing! I watched that show last night - funny and a bit awful that we get so ripped off....

  4. What an amazing post, your building journey is fantastic to read about !!!


  5. Love reading your DIY reno posts - amazing how much money can be saved! Our quotes (3 from 5) are now just starting to hit my in-box. Looks like the building game is pretty tight at the moment, because there's not a huge difference in the quotes so far. xx

  6. Great post, love your timber bench top in the kitchen, I'm a blue girl too.

  7. I am glad you finally got a roof on! At least you are now confident you wouldn't get wet if it rains again. You know what I like the most about your house? It would be the space. Just by looking at these photos, I can tell that it is well-ventilated. And the roof seems to be sturdy. I hope you placed enough beams for support, so it won't get blown away by a heavy storm.

    Elizabeth Hoffnung

  8. Once you have made up your mind for home extension, firstly you need to have some good planning and funds available to have it done. Secondly, if you are short of time and not able to manage the project, you need to hire some good and experienced professional home builders Adelaide to get it done for you.

  9. this is good example of house extension and in present time is this is main issue your discussion abut house extension is to good.
    house extensions Qld


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...