This winter’s building project is to upgrade the bathroom in the gite (our original house) which is seriously sub-standard – damp exterior wall and shower which does not drain away properly because the slope to the septic tank is inadequate.
I’ve just had a site meeting with Stephen who is doing this work, and it has turned into a seriously major project. He has knocked down the partition between the existing loo and shower room and exposed part of the back wall. I always knew the back wall had been built against the rock face and had suspected that the bitumen, now 20 years old, might be leaking. The problem turns out to be not the bitumen, but the totally inadequate brick wall which, by its porous nature, has allowed poisture to soak into the bathroom against the tiles and plaster.
Stephen is going to have to take apart the tiles etc, build up the brick wall and add a substantial layer of non-porous insulation – which should make the bathroom less chilly! He is also going to get a Polish joiner to replace the single-glazed windows by fixed double glazed ones.
As to the plumbing, Stephen is going to hae to excavate the floor and run a pipe from the shower across the room to join up with the lavatory down-pipe. (The lavatory has worked since we put in a sanibroyeur – muncher).
All of this is on top of the originally envisaged plumbing and electrical work to instal a new loo, basin, shower and lighting and heating. Stephen charges by the hour and I tremble at the thought of how much this is going to cost. Of course the original work was very basic indeed, as it was intended to be just a simple summer house. But there is no point putting in a new bathroom without rectifying the probems of damp and cold.