As mid-December came and went, our side extension began to take shape, and we were a step closer to our new laundry and storage room. I was actually surprised how quickly the extension went up, and that’s credit to Wayne who worked so hard on it – every weekend and in the evenings, whether it was cold, rainy or windy… he was out there, labouring away, and so the build began.
Initially he started by making the frame and there were a few things he had to keep in mind, such as the slope of the driveway and ensuring that everything was level as he went. The frame was built out of timber (4 x 100mm square fence posts for the wall supports) and attached to the house using anchor bolts. The walls went in next, made from 18mm plywood OSB boards, with 4 x 2 timber battens in between, all of which Wayne sourced from local builder’s merchants. I won’t lie, it wasn’t pretty and there was plenty of woodcuttings and shavings everywhere – the garden effectively became his workshop and he put up a gazebo so he could saw away undercover. Since we wouldn’t be using the garden during those winter months, it seemed like a good time to start.
Every day I’d see a little bit more of the extension finished and it wasn’t long before the frame was built and the flooring went down. All the materials, including the 18mm T&G chipboard flooring, were chosen as they were structurally stronger. It all sounds very technical, doesn’t it? I trusted Wayne knew what he was doing and took myself back to planning where I was going to put everything once it was finished, just peeking in now and again to see the progress!
We’d decided that the roof would need to incorporate a skylight, to create more light – not just for inside the new space, but also so that the rooms inside the house with windows looking out into the extension, would stay light and airy, too. The only problem with this was that we needed the weather to be a little nicer in order for us to install the skylight, as the sealant wouldn’t be able to gel in the December weather. So, until the temperature improved, Wayne put up a temporary roof, with enough of a slope that the rainwater could drain away correctly.
One day, I came home to find him looking extremely pleased with himself. Fed up with trying to lift the large plywood sheets onto the roof of the extension, he’d made a timber ‘lift’ contraption that he could use to hoist the ply up. Genius! That’s where being practically minded really helps I suppose (his words, not mine)…
The outer shell of the extension was covered in vapour barrier – a material used for damp proofing – and then insulated using sheets of 50mm insulation in the walls and ceiling. With the main room created, it was time to build the porch at the front of the extension. Wayne built a couple of steps up and then a porch floor and frame, along with a door in the side of the structure, so that we can use it for storage. Again, a clever idea that gives us extra space to store items – we’re going to keep our bikes in here, so that we don’t have to wheel them through the house (or side extension) when we want to use them.
If you’ve read my previous blog you’ll know we’d already decided that we wanted to clad the outside of the extension, but we did deliberate as to which colour to choose. We finally settled on anthracite, which is a very dark grey (almost black) and we went for the same colour for the porch flooring, which was made from 4 x 2 timber and covered in composite decking.
Scouring eBay and local selling sites to find a matching door, Wayne discovered an anthracite-coloured LPD design in a herringbone pattern that we fell in love with. It was one of those times when once you’ve seen something, you can’t get it out of your head, and nothing else will do. Despite it being pricier than a bog-standard door, we knew it would work perfectly with the finished look. Plus, the door is at the front of the house and they do say that first impressions count! We actually got a good deal, as the company selling the door had lowered the price by £300 due to a few tiny marks on the inside – this didn’t really worry us as the marks are really small and as we’ll have deliveries and boxes coming through that door, it’s likely to get a few marks over time anyway.
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Once we’d seen how good the anthracite looked, we knew that we wanted to continue this at the rear of the extension, so Wayne covered the wall in anthracite Durasid vertical cladding, the same as at the front. We decided that double doors at the back of the extension, leading out into the garden, would be handy as we’d gain the access we need, plus we can open them up wide in the summer to get more air in. Finding French doors in the same anthracite colour wasn’t a problem, but they do cost more than the same design in white, and it was details like this that took us £1,000 over in budget – getting the quality of finishes right on the outside was important to us though, and we haven’t regretted it for a minute.
Wayne called in some favours from friends in order to fit the double doors, and also for the electrics. We had downlighters installed on a PIR sensor (passive infrared sensor), so that they turn on when we enter the side extension and go off after we leave. It’s perfect, as if I’m going to be carrying props or laundry out here; it means I don’t need a spare hand to flick on a light switch.
Once the main build was finished, it was onto the inside and the storage. Pop back soon to see how we’re getting on…
Read more Our Side Extension blogs in the series.
Featured image: Wayne’s clever ‘lift’ invention to help get the roof panels up high.