Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fixing the landings

Welcome to our blog, menfranco general blog
and this post, fixing the landings
timber landings



to be fixed

Fixing the landings
 Other repairs or renovations
Let us talk about some of those building repairs or alteration that are usually done wherever you happen to be: for instance here in Queensland most houses have a roof over their patio (veranda) most houses have too much space for verandas, (these are spaces that have a roof on them but they are open and have a hand rail around for safety reasons if the building if off the ground) so if an owner feels like that he is short of space in the house and he needs a small room for the kids or a study, he could enclose some of the veranda space and have an additional room at this house, because there is no structural alterations and the roof is already there, this could be a D.I.Y. job, as long as you know enough how to do it. Anyhow this is just an example how easy it would be to do some repairs or small alterations to these timber houses.
I believe that  every one of us would be able to do some D.I.Y jobs, even if they are very small things like painting a room or two, changing a door or window and then painting it to match the rest of the house, fixing those timber treads and the hand rail of your staircase, as we have done in our previous post; or repair or replace the timber flooring on your patio that is becoming too old and unsightly just to paint and repaint it, in fact right now I have this patio floor that is rotting away, because we have had so much rain lately, it looks so bad that I think that some of the boards might break if a heavy load is applied to it, so at least some of these floor boards should be replaced presently.
So, let us start with this very small job like changing a few timbers floor boards on the patio, and let us work out a way how to do it cheaply, because we have in mind that one day we might call some expert and renew the entire floor, when we have some money to spend.
Now since I have decided to fix the floor myself, I have to work out how to do it, and what I need to do first of all. So I pick up a hammer a type measure and a piece of paper and a pencil to work out what I need, because I want to see what it is really necessary to replace. With the hammer I am going to do two things, one is that I am going to drive in some nails that are loose and are sticking out and a person can easily trip, the other thing is that I am going to tap on the boards that seem rotten to see from the sound they make whether they are rotten and need to be replaced, anyone can learn how to do this and it is easy to learn.
Anyhow, I have done that and I have worked out what floor board I need to replace, how many of them and the quantity that I need to buy, so, now I have to go to a timber supplier and buy them, and then I can fix the patio. And we will see how I go?  
Fixing those timber landings
Let us write here a few things about how to maintain timber buildings here in Australia and also in other parts of the world if the buildings are the same as here. In this article we are going to talk about how to maintain those outside patios or landings. But first of all let us explain to those that are not familiar with these types of old timber buildings and also the reasons why we have those landings outside the real building.
The reason that here in Australia we have stairs and sometimes even patios or landings outside the main building is to save space under the roof of the building itself, so it is cheaper and also easier to build, the Australian climate is always rather hot and in most places dry, so people like to live in the open and therefore they don’t mind at all if the stairs and the landings are outside, therefore a lot of the cheaper houses have these stairs and landings outside; now, because they are in the outside they need more maintenance. Here we need to add that even though the climate is hot, and in a lot of places is usually on the dry side, it is not so all the time, so all those buildings that happen to be near the sea side tend to receive too much rain, so they need more maintenance that those building that are in a dry place. Anyhow, I think that here I have been able to explain the reasons why we build them this way, and also the reason why we need fixing those landings that we are talking about.  
As you can see from the title of this hub, this article is going to be a D.I.Y and also a handyman point of view about timber buildings: We have to admit that all timber building need more maintenance than concrete building, especially those parts of the building that are exposed to the weather, because the timber rots away easily when it becomes wet, so those timber landing outside need a lot more maintenance than usual, they need to be painted every second year or there about, they need to be looked after and those nails that every now and then pop-up need to be driven and punched down, but that is not all, the worst part of it all, is that they rot very easily, at least it seems so from our point of view, because we need to fix and paint them more often that we would want to.
These types of work that we are talking about here need to be done soon or later, and it would be better if we do them as soon as it is obvious that they need to be done, whether it requires fixing or painting or both, but sometimes it is not possible to do them soon enough and they might create a problem; because, sometimes it is obvious that some flooring may start to rot away to the point where you need to replace them, sometimes this can be only a few single pieces of flooring boards, at other times most of them, if not the entire floor boards, anyhow today I have got to fix this long landing, which could also be said that is an open patio or perhaps a long balcony, depending on the way that you see it. 
Today fixing this landing problem
Anyhow these days I have this problem to solve; the edge of this long landing that was fixed about fifteen years ago with hardwood timber that was supposed to last a long time is again rotten away so I need to fix it again, I believe that the timber that they sold us then was not properly treated, or it is the sign of the time, because of some shortage of good mature trees, the timber mills use any timber and some of this timber does not last as long as it used to last in the past; because it starts rotting away too soon and very easily.
 Now if you look at the photo beside here you would understand what I am going to say next, I believe that this is not going to be an easy job to do, because there is this long steel hand rail on top of it and cannot be removed easily, as it would cost a lot to remove it and then replace it again, so I have to try to remove the rotten timber from underneath a short section at a time, while at the same time I prop up that section of hand rail. As I have said this landing was renewed about fifteen years ago and at the edge we used a larger piece of hardwood timber instead of the simple flooring boards, because we needed some good grounds to attach the hand rail to it, anyhow it has worked out all right for fifteen years or there about, but now it needs replacing because it is rotten.
Today because the grounds have rotten a bit more, I have decided to use a larger piece of timber, so that it can bridge better the outside edge of the landing to the timber joists, the timber joists come from the building itself and in this case work as a cantilever, just like a very long balcony in a concrete building. Now because the hardwood has rotten in a very short time, I am going to replace them with treated pine slipper, because they are cheaper, lighter and easier to nail, I know it is a new approach and most builders may not approve what I am going to do, but I am going to try, I believe that the sleepers will last at least as long as the hardwood did. Anyhow we will see how it works out soon; and then we will see if they are going to last in a few years.
Replacing the timber edge
I have started to work to replace the old hardwood landing edge, with these new pine slippers, it is going to be harder than I thought it would be, to remove the old edge is very hard because there is the hand rail in the way, but as I said any other way is going to be very costly, I know it is going to be a real struggle for me but I am stuck with it. You see, we don’t want to spend a lot of money on these landings of this old block of flats, because the building itself is becoming old and in fifteen to twenty years is going to be demolished and a brand new building will be build. We are saying this because this is how these timber building usually last in Brisbane Australia, old timber building reach a stage when it becomes necessary to replace the existing building with a new one; very likely the new building will be a concrete building, nobody really knows, what it would be the right thing to build, in fifteen to twenty years’ time, because the local by laws may change and also the way we build seems to change continually. 
Anyhow the other day I have pulled up some of the old edging and I have set the first sleeper in place, but I still have to replace about another three of them, and also remove and replace any other timber that needs replacing and then paint at least what I have replaced; but really I am going to paint the entire landing and also the steel hand rail that is rusting, it is going to be a long job, since I am going to do it a bit each time, when I have some times to spare. Anyhow I believe that it is going to turn out all right, and I am going to show you with a new photo when I have finished.
  This is: 

Menfranco general blog, 

 D.I.Y. stairs repairs or renovation


Next time with, something else about buildings 

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