Posted in Blog, HOUSE & GARDEN, House Renovation

Upper Floor – Support Work – Stage 1 – February 2008

Beams and Blocks for concrete floor The delivery of all the beams, blocks and steel for the upper floor support was unloaded into the courtyard in early 2008. In France, this type of floor — poured ready-mix concrete on top of a beam and block support with steel trellis reinforcement — is refereed to a an “hourdis” (pron. ‘oardee’ ). The RSJs are ordered to length such that they span the width of the floor area and penetrate about 20 cm into the wall at both ends. They are a sort of short, stumpy capital T shape in cross-section and are set in place “upside down” (inverted T shape ) such that the hollow concrete blocks when dropped in between each pair of beams, rest on the protruding inverted top of the T.

RSJs in place

In the image above, you can see how we’ve used a block at the ends of each set of beams to act as spacers. As each beam is positioned, the next beam adjacent to it is then placed with a spacer block. This ensures that when all the remaining blocks are dropped in between the beams, they will all fit!  Don’t need to measure anything and this method allows for any small irregularities in the sizes of the beams and blocks.

Gîte floor joists

Cutting the slots for the joist endsThose beams at the gîte end, that lay across the width of the building, had to be housed into the existing stonewall. If sufficient loose stone could not be safely removed, then we had to cut slots into the stone with an angle grinder, which created dust clouds worthy of a Saharan Sandstorm!  Depending upon the future room layout and stairwells, etc, 2 and sometimes 3 beams were laid adjacent to one another, for greater load-bearing strength at that locality, and to facilitate adding shorter cross beams when creating open spaces for stairwells.

Read Stage 2

Posted in Blog, House Renovation

Stone Cladding then Demolition — October 2007

Once we’d got the gîte blockwork up to door lintel height we started the stone cladding on the exterior, using the standard lime mortar.The pale whitish coloured faced stones are new—bought from one of the local stone merchants, sized, cut and dressed to order. Usually need to count on paying around €80 per running metre, so framing a double door opening runs at about €300. The old concrete block wall was soon to come down so that we could prepare the ‘hourdis’ on which the first floor cement slab would be poured.

The image below shows the gîte end of the property a few weeks later when we’d demolished the concrete-block wall, and taken off a lot more roof.  By this stage we’d tidied up the west side transverse wall and cemented in a reinforced concrete beam along the top. This would support the end of the concrete support beams for the upper floor structure.The final image shows the same area but taken in the opposite direction, from the gîte towards the main house—the area still roof covered will eventually my the main lounge.

from gîte towards the lounge to be