Painful Errors

Because I am taking a relaxed approach and only visiting on occasion and not daily, errors begin to occur. When I arrived today I was upset to see what looks to be cement used as the wall render. Apparently their standard practice is to use a “Bati” mix of 40% cement to 60% chaux (lime) which is then mixed with more chaux to give a render with about 22% cement. They looked stupefied when I said I wanted 0% cement in the rendering!

impossible to talk to the manufacturer in France so I had an extended call to the U.K. and did lots of googling which basically confirmed that, especially in older buildings, cement is a no-no.

To be fair, Florent spent the morning talking to various contacts and suppliers and got the same basic response. Although it goes against the grain, we agreed to undo the work done and redo it in 100% chaux. All the rest of the walks will be done the same way. We are also meeting St Astier’s (manufacturer) rep to discus best approach for the visible walls (one internal and the rest external).

Above are the cement rendered walls before cleaning.

Below is the new engineered beam we are adding. It will sit on a concrete wall that is bolted and fixed to the damaged stone wall seen below part shuttered. The cracked stone has been strengthened already with three long threaded bars. First a deep hole is drilled, then it is filled with a special bonding resin and finally the bar is inserted. Below is one that has been capped off.

Meanwhile, Eric of Materiaux Nord Blayais arrived but with only half the ordered wood. He did a great job getting it into the site but it still had to be manually moved to store it inside. Thank Florent, I know I am paying but your team just helps when needed. An hour of hard work got it done. Unfortunately the quality lèves a lot to be desired. These are meant to construct a flat floor but a lot of them are badly warped on delivery. I will use what I can but some will have to be replaced.

It seems everything went badly this weekend. There was a seismic shock in our region and it managed to open the crack above the doors much wider. What was to be a simple fill will now be a more complex repair as the crack is now right through to the inner leaf of the wall.

Time for me to leave with the guys still cleaning the walls back although it is mostly done. Bit worried I will not be back before Friday now.