I built my two storey extension for 20% of builder's quotes

This site shows how - step by step from design to completion

Deconstrcuting a house for building materials

With a tempoary kitchen and shower room fitted into the main house, I could demolish the single storey and prepare the site ready to build the extension. I wanted salvage before demolition and to save materials as far as possible so it was a case of slow and steady. I believe that reuse of building materials is both financially and environmentally a good thing to do, so I would effectively be deconstructing a house for building materials. Unfortunately, I wouldn't get the satisfaction of smashing it down with digger, sledge hammer or a big ball on a chain - shame!

Having re-plumbed and re-wired for the remporary arrangements, I stripped out all the disconnected plumbing and electrics from the old kitchen and bathroom.

The Rayburn weighs seven hundred weight but as no friends were around, I used a series of levers and rollers to move it on my own, across an uneven patio, down a slope and down a couple of steps. It was acutally quite satisfying (if a little slow)rayburn

I decided that the Rayburn won't be a feature of the new kitchen. Compared to modern boilers, a Rayburn Nouvelle like this really drinks oil. Having serviced it myself for the past 12 years, I also know how temperamental it can be and what a filthy job it is to service it every six months.

Time to start knocking down part of my house! This was quite scary. Fingers crossed that it all goes according to plan. As I wanted to save materials as much as I could, I took down the single storey by hand.

Slow but progressing. Thankfully, having been built with lime mortar, the bricks loosened fairly readily using a static chisel on an SDS drill.

This may sound pretty dumb, but solid 9" walls are made up of a lot of bricks, and when they are in a pile instead of a nice neat wall they take up a lot of space.

roof offFortunately I didn't have to pay for skips for all the waste rubble because a local builder was happy to drop his 2 tonne tipper truck around for me to fill. He then took it to a local farm who wanted the rubble as hardcore.

Though this saved me a lot of money on skip hire, I could only have the tipper on days it suited the builder. This was a bit frustrating at times, and forced me to double handle some of the rubble, shiting it all into a pile only to shovel it up later and barrow it into the truck. I was astonished at just how much rubble I was producing. I lost count but I am sure that I've filled the truck at least 10 times.

Great. The winter of 2009/10 ended up the being the coldest winter in 31 years. Progress, therefore, has not been as fast as I had hoped - mostly due to a lot of popping back into the house for cups of tea. Then came the snow to add to the cold - deep joy.walls down

The old bathroom floor was concrete with ceramic tiles. I really didn't imagine I could lift the tiles without breaking them - but I tried. First, I used the trusty SDS chisel horizontally, trying to get under the tile, but this just caused them to crack. However, after a couple of breakages I changed technique. I chibbled away all tile adhesive that was around the edge of the tile then used the SDS chisel vertically down into the grouted joints (you can see the marks at the top left of the tile). The tile eventually shifted sideways.

I successfully removed the tiles intact and stacked them with my ever growing pile of materials.

walls down 2Tiles removed, I hired a heavy duty breaker to break up the old concrete floor. Maybe my Titan could have handled it but for £22 hire this made very speedy work of it and saved me doing lots of bending over.... and you feel like a proper labourer when you use big tools and make lots of noise!

I broke the concrete into sizable chunks and shifted them into yet another pile for potential use should I need to increase the size of my soakaway.

With the roof off and shrubs cleared away it became obvious that the wall of the single storey had not been built straight, but kinked in at a slight angle half way along its length. This was going to cause me a bit of a problem. If I rebuilt to the same line, it would have knock on effects on my proposed single storey roof as the rafters would need to narrow along with the wall. If I built the new wall straight, I would actually be stealing a tiny bit of next door's land. My only other option would be to build the wall straight but stepped in at the house end. 

I needed to think about the knock on effects of each option so I allowed it to mull as I continued demolition.walls snow

Eventually I started to take down the wall that separates me from next door, which happens to be the Village Hall. As this wall is a party wall (ie) on the boundary of our properties, I had to comply with the 'Party Wall Act' and write a letter to the owners and the tenants explaining my plans.

I managed to get my hands on a couple of Heras fence panels so that I could secure the site and offer safety to the Village Hall users.

The old drainage pipe and the 32mm pipe from my macerator look a bit weird but worked fine as a temporary solution.



wall bent 

village wall