House refurb story, half complete. (pic heavy)


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Hello all.

I'm pretty new here, I visited to get information for speakers (mainly subs) for my living room as that's coming up on the refurb list.

In 2012 we decided to have an extension on the house. This has now turned into 3 extensions!

We lived in the house throughout, and other than brickwork I did everything (with the help of a friend at times, that part really helps, even if its just for motivation) We very little/no experience (apart from my garage I built with NO experience the year prior).

Unfortunately my pictures don't go back to the very start.

The garage

This is where the old flat roof extension had been knocked down

We had to remove 120 tonnes of rubble, the pics don't really show this.


That was close, (the lead water main was leaking) I decided to later replace this with MDPE

Footings for the second extension,

This shows the boarded up kitchen.

We had to use engineering bricks upto this point. (this is where we installed the damp course!) God knows why, you'd never get damp up at that level in the house anyway.

Taking shape

Where the bifold doors are going

Taking shape.

For some reason I have lost the pictures of all the roof etc going on.
Heres the type of thing you have to put up with. (this was the only way to get a shower) the old shower was fed from a pipe that went 30 meters around the house.

Heres the inside when we first knocked through.

Moving a door location,

I was really nervous at this point

All Acro's removed,
Downstairs toilet studded in.
Most of the cables run.
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Onto the inside now.

This was me laying out the downstairs toilet.
To get to this stage was a nightmare, I had to smash through nearly 10 meters of concrete floor to lay the 4inch pipe.
I was worried it was going to be too small, from memory its 1400mm x 900mm. Its plenty big enough to be honest.

We lived like this for far too long, without my wife been understanding it wouldn't have happened. At one stage we could see from the kitchen. To the upstairs bedroom, and into the loft, and bathroom. I'll try and find the pictures later.
Here you can see the electric velux windows. Half the wiring. Roof construction. Some speaker cables in the ceiling. (app for this forum)
I'd also started to insulate with 6" kingspan.

Downstairs toilet plastered (by my brother)

Some more boards on, it was winter now, most of my nights were spent doing this.
You'll also notice the old boiler and my temp pipework. I think at this point I had redone all the plumbing in the house to the new boiler location.


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Heres a picture of the old upstairs bathroom, knocked through into the small upstairs extension, notice another temp soil pipe. Remember, we were still leaving here at this point. It wasn't a pleasant time.

The view from my youngest daughters bedroom, into the bathroom, and the extension. (she obviously didn't sleep in here at this point. But I did still shower and use that toilet.

I forgot how much steel went into this house. I angled this RSJ so the old and new roof could sit into it.

This bath was VERY heavy, and at this point we decided to have a sunken bath, much larger than this one.

Somewhere around this point I put 4 RSJ's up in the loft to support the roof and tie up the ceilings which sagged in places.

The view into the kitchen, from the bathroom, into the bedroom.
Lets just say we had a lot of takeways and ate out a lot.

Outside it was like this

I decide to fit AC inside, my Mrs wasn't happy at this point, she thanks me now though with all that glass.
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I started to send the pipework up into the loft, This was to feed the shower and in future the other bathroom. At this point we had decided to have another extension at the front of the house, and been in the loft it'd allow me to bring down new rad pipes to other parts of the house easier should the be needed.
2 x CH, 22mm, 1 hot water and 1 cold (just incase) 28mm.

How much better for a bit of plaster.

Typical 1 of the 12 lights was wrong!

The new bath

At this point I realised I was going to need a BIG boiler, 35 minutes to fill to that level

Back to the downstairs toilet.

I installed 200w per meter underfloor heating and 15mm of insulation)

Travetine tiles and my first attempt at tiling.

Even in this little space the room had 15mm of runout. (1890's built house)

The shower head for upstairs, my normal (bigger is better theme) 450mm square.

Sealed and grouted.

Splash back behind sink, you'll see I primed a little more, but the proportions didn't look right.

An aluminium radiator, we are still undecided on them even to this day. They do warm up quick, but they cool down quick also.

Towel rail and toilet in, things like the hidden pipework took an age, in comparison.

Again my OCD cost me many hours of my life here. This is an oak door casing. You will see, it isn't large enough, so I scribed the plasterboard into the architrave, NIGHTMARE.
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Back to the upstairs bathroom, and the bath sat in place. Notice the soilpipe is in now also, a very shallow fall, but touch wood its been ok to date.

We had to instal an RSJ to support the joists, I didn't want any on show. So they were all hidden like this

Lots of insulation went around the bath. Also a boss was installed to accept the shower waste.

WBP ply fitted around the bath

My wife got a little ahead of herself with the plant. At this point, this was how we all washed.

This pained me, I didn't realise I was going to have to rip up the floor boards to install the shower try, you'll see its directly above the only room that was "nearly finished" the downstairs toilet.

More ply down, and cement to bed the shower try

This was heavy on my own, my large theme continues 1400 x 900 tray (sorry it looks like I used a potato for the pic

Downstairs, plastered, burning some old timber outside

The long wait till we could turn on the UFH in the downstairs toilet, it certainly works, burn your feat hot at this temp.

My first stab at door hanging. Daughters bedroom, nearly finished. This was the one that had no joists or floor in the earlier pics.

Floor insulation around the bath

What happens when 2 kids get bubble bath and a jacuzzi!

Or an adult and expanding foam!

Room number 2 done.
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UFH going down in the bathroom. Insulation/backer boards screwed to original floor then 150w per miter cables down

More matting

Downstairs I didn't screed over the cables. I just made it up with adhesive. This wasn't the way to go IMO.
I can't remember the brand I used, but its was extra flexible. (possibly latex)

I put building sand around the edges to form a dam.
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Downstairs toilet ceiling up

Boarder skirting

Back to the upstairs,
I used a BAL tanking kit, before tiling

I wasn't sure if to go staggered or normal.

I went staggered. But this was MUCH harder due to the wall not been totally flat. (remember this is my first go at wall tiling)

1 wall done.

Obviously this side couldn't be staggered.

I wasn't sure how to attach the trims

Shower screen up, and first shower head. The grout was a nightmare to get off.

This was going to be an issue. Notice the "splash" down the wall. (thats without a person in the shower)
The room was all tanked as if to be a wet room, but we couldn't be dealing with a wet floor, so I bought the large tray and a single screen. Later I added a door as well.


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Its all about, taking your time, doing prior research and just having a go in my opinion. Just have a go, although electrics and plumbing if you're unsure at all get help!
These type of tiles I dreaded, but they are by far the easiest out of them all. If you have bad walls or don't think you can do it, start with small, or these type of tiles.

I also primed the wall ready to tile behind the bath.

Tiling behind the bath was really difficult as the tiles wanted to slip, but I couldn't put anything behind them.
I couldn't tile down to the top of the bath. As I thought at some point if I ever want to get it out to fix a leak etc I wouldn't be able to. I also used flexible waste pipes on the bath for the same reason. I hope that day never comes.

These are the second lot of tiles we picked for the floor, they are 900mm x 450mm tiles. I layed them 50/50. However I had an issue with some lipping and found it out to be the tiles, they weren't quite flat! I called the manufacturer and they said you cannot lay them 50/50 staggered as this is inevitable.
They cost in the region of £60 per sq meter. After some arguing they swapped me some of the tiles.
I must say, I didn't help by using only a 4mm gap, but me been me and not liking grout lines I ran with it. I'm happy how it came out, and only me would notice the lips.

Every cut was templated in card first. They are porcelain tiles so not easy to cut.

Cutting a curve wasn't easy either. Thankfully, I didn't waste a single tile.

Bath area almost complete

This is the worse of the lips, It is around 2mm. Because they are a square edge tile with a thin grout line it is noticeable. I know I'm not a pro. But I don't think any tiler would have persevered like I did, going through 5-10 tiles to find which fitted where best first.

1 left to go

Vanity cabinet installed.

My youngest playing with the automatic tap


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Back to the outside. Rear of the house now rendered in monocouche. I didn't apply the render. But I did "rub it up". I left it till the next day, on instructions from the manufacturer. What a mistake, I've since learnt an early start and rub up on the same day is the way to go. It took me 12 hours of rubbing to get to this stage!

My "makeshift" scaffold.
And the render just going on the second extension

Don't look down

Looking better

Better for not having that scaffold up!
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As said I had an issue with my phone, so the pictures are a little hit and miss now.

You've probably noticed we have the worlds largest bath, and I now had the worlds most nagging wife/kids about how long it takes to fill.
I tested our water pressure and it was 3.5 bar static. However as soon as you opened a tap that plummeted to around 1 bar! The old lead pipe was around 1/2" ID, and probably had kinks etc. After some research I decided to go for the largest possible size of MDPE that was readily available. (toolstation were the cheapest)
No pictures, other than these couple, but I installed 32mm MDPE.
All the services ran together.

As I didn't have an exact date for them to come out and do there part I got a 32mm mdpe to "lead lock" which connected our water back up and running.

I called the water company, and to my delight, if I replaced upto the boundray and followed there regs, they would do the road side FOC. I kept my mouth shut about the size till the people came to do the work.

When they guys came out they asked why I'd used 32mm instead of 25mm. They were only allowed to use 25mm, and of course, after a few cups of Tea, an early Xmas bonus and me providing the 32mm fittings, they still didn't fit me a 32mm pipe straight to the main. Wink wink ;)

I ran the MDPE pipe into the house, through the cellar and into the garage. I did worry about freezing. In the cellar, but we never had an issue.


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We now had a fantastic flow rate and pressure, over 40LPM straight out of the 32mm pipe.

With this I order a boiler. I went for an unvented hot water tank and decided to mount it in the cellar. With all the pipework in place I started to ring plumbers to come and connect it. You need a ticket for "G3" (if I remember the code correctly)
After speaking to about 50. I gathered a lot of plumbers up north don't like unvented cylinders, (the ones that didn't have the ticket), and the ones that did/could told me it can't go in the cellar and they're booked up for months.
I started to read again, and called the council. I also watched a "Myth Busters" and saw one fly through a house roof!
Height was a restriction so I had to have a custom cylinder made (from memory). I spoke to a few manufacturers and the most helpful were a company called Tempest. Who made me a 400l tank with a tripple coil for rapid reheat (something like 16 minutes at 30kw)
Getting it into the cellar was a nightmare. I had to remove the consumer unit, and the stop tap for the 32mm pipe I had just fitted!
But it was in.

I still had the issue of having nowhere for the Temp and pressure discharge pipes to go. I researched and found a company that made a pump. But it was £500. As you have probably guessed I don't mind spending money if its needed. But where I can, I will always try to save.
I called the company and asked what tests it has passed, if it was certified in any way, they were a little cagey and the answer was simply no.
So I made my own. I order a pump that had a brass impeller and was good for the flow and temperature that the cylinder company recommend. I welded a large sump at work, installed a float switch (200 degree certified) and fitted the pump. It cost me around £200, and is built to last. (it should last) as its never actually been used, and never should unless there is an issue. (sorry no pictures again, I can grab some if anybody is interested)

Here is the cylinder, with the cold water supply connected, 28mm copper, and the balanced supply.

Here is the cylinder with D1 and D2 connected, the coil flow and return. Valve etc etc.

Expansion vessel fitted, you will also notice I put drain taps on the flow and return, as well as valves, so I can isolate the cylinder and drain just a small part of the CH system should I need to perform any maintenance.


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We still had the old combi fitted, but not connected to the new cylinder. I ran the cylinder off the immersion for a couple of weeks, while I mounted the new boiler in the new location in the kitchen.

I decided to go for a Valiant boiler, (we had one before and it was excellent) I cannot remember the model number. But it was a 38kw (from memory) model. I was worried as my total heating load was over 45kw with the hot water cylinder. I didn't want the heating to go cold when it was warming. However this has never been an issue, infact the boiler hardly ever runs at full load.

Boiler temporary mounted to see where to cut the plasterboard and flue.

I had a plumber come out some months previous who ran me a 28mm gas pipe from the front of the house (in the cellar) to where the boiler was going to be and capped off.
I mounted the boiler and ran all the pipework ready to be connected, connecting all the water side myself.

All connected



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We now needed some steps for the back door, with 2 young kids I didn't want anything too steep. My friend who is a brickie had already built me half the wall.

He came while I was at work and did me the rest of the wall, when I came home I wired in the bricklights so I could work in the dark!

I used natural slight slabs and kerb edges

I was happy how they turned out.

Which was a good job because the front of the house is no ready for extension number 3.


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Around this time I had an issue with my phone, so have lost most of the pictures. The memory card died so I only have the odd picture.
Footings were going in at the front

The back still nowhere near finished. This was the 28th of November and i'd promised to be done for Xmas.
First I installed ceiling speakers. (I think they are Kef but cannot remember)

The top speakers are motorised, they were certainly from Kef.

In the run upto Xmas a lot went on, I did manage to get everything completed. I took a week off work, and finished 11 o'clock on Christmas Eve!.

I haven't got any pictures other than current ones, but it hasn't changed since then.


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Bathroom pretty much completed

We went for a door on the shower.
Also we have the large head and a wall mounted "flip" shower or something from Mira. Altogether we get 35lpm flow rate from both showers. This causes an issue for the "high flow" (or not) waste.
You simply have to turn one of the 2 down slightly.

Ignore the clutter, this was when I was sealing the bath


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As said, I lost all the progress pics of the kitchen. I did everything apart from cut the granite. Getting the approx 300kg slab in wasn't easy!
The pictures aren't great but you get the idea.
This is a boiling water tap. Awesome invention, looking into the utility area.

Looking into the kitchen from dining area. Most of the doors are custom, the end panel also, so it goes into the steps.



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Now it was around spring and the kids wanted a garden. As I'd built a 1000sq ft garage and 3 extensions that meant space was at a premium, but this suits my busy life, gardening isn't for me.
All of the soil from the front excavation went into the rear as loose fill. We left it a month or so to settle.

I then put 10 tonnes (I think it was) of sharp sand down.

Decking around the edge.

The T @ G Timber is cedar, for the fence.

An outdoor carpet.

Yes I really did cutout for the posts like this. (this was my first attempt at a wall)

I welded some anchor plates, then fixed them to the old wall for the fence posts.
A little help from the youngest.

Another long day

Nearly there

Ignore the mess


I also decided to try my hand at rendering, this is half way through the "rubbing" process.

The patches are just it drying.
Also you'll notice i'd varnish the fence. Most of you will probably say it would have been best to let it go silver but I liked the original colour.


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Great work, looks really good, well done.


Active Member
I see upgrade-itis extends to paddling pools as well! Excellent build and thread. Well done

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