DIY BLOG - Stove and Flue installation
When taking on a refurbishment project it may be common understanding that jobs inevitably, and invariably, begin to grow arms and legs. Quite often the excitement and vigour of taking on such a project can obscure the naivety or ignorance in what that job may actually entail, or sometimes what started out as a small intervention, quickly becomes the complete dismantling of a wall.
This was true of our valiant attempts to ‘simply’ redecorate the old living room in the traditional part of our croft house on Skye: what began as a simple redecoration became the stripping out of an entire wall.
COTTAGE TYPE No.6a
The original croft house had been built in the 1920’s when my great-great grandfather and his family moved from Aird on Lewis, over to the Minginish peninsula in the West of Skye. The move was part of a government drive to pull people closer to the mainland following the Highland Clearances of the previous century. The board of agriculture offered the incentive of land for crofting and some modest materials to form a temporary shelter before a more substantial croft house could be built.
That croft house was known as Cottage Type 6A.
CUTTING OFF THE HEAD…
In our property, the fireplace had similarly been replaced and modern plasterboard lining fitted to allow for a wallpaper finish. For years a bulge in the wall, around the fireplace, made me feel a little nervous about what may be going on behind the lining - was the stone wall subsiding? My wife and I originally decided that we would just decorate this room, removing the dado band and giving it a fresh, white coat of paint - curiosity however got the better of me and I had to investigate.
SET IN STONE
The excitement of uncovering a random rubble stone wall was soon quenched by the state of the mortar and the fireplace. More importantly however it spoke volumes about the lack of care and workmanship when alterations had been made to the house - this was true of many other areas where workmanship was poor or inappropriate materials were used.
Ever the curse of the architect who can’t sit still in a space for noticing lazy or upsetting details, I had to try and recover the fireplace and express the stonework as a feature wall. This meant two things:
1. Making the wall nice to look at as an exposed finish
2. The opportunity for fitting a wood burning stove - especially since this wall would remain uninsulated.
The idea is that the wall would take on the thermal heat from the stove, storing it within the mass of the stone and throwing it back into the room like a large radiator.
As we planned to fit a new concrete lintel, we would need an end bearing either side to take the weight spread across the lintel. It made sense to build up a leaf of blockwork either side to provide this bearing and to reduce the overall size of the recess to something more in proportion to the stove we had purchased.
100mm concrete block
145 x 100 reinforced concrete lintel
Premium white Portland cement
Wheelbarrow and Spade for hand mixing
Grinder with stone cutting disc
STOVE & FLUE:
Charnwood Country 4 Woodburner
5" x 500mm length telescopic stove pipe matt black
1000 x 500 Register Plate 1.5mm thick galvanised
5" Register Plate Collar stainless with gasket
5" - 6" flexible liner adaptor
6" 904 grade midflex liner
6" Top hat insert
Junior Birdcage Cowl stainless
Leca 50 ltr insulating vermiculate
Ideally there will be photos of the stove fully fitted and operational however for the meantime, the works in Skye will have to wait. The increasing problems with damp have pointed to the exposed ground under the suspended wooden floor. This coupled with a lack of ventilation has made for an unhealthy internal air quality. The best remedy for this will be to take up the timber floor boards, level and compact the soil, add a damp proof membrane and top with a thin layer of concrete - a job reserved for a later date…