dimanche 25 avril 2010

Fastening sleepers

From the kitchen window, today

the Wisteria blooms

Renovation work is incompatible with writing.

No, wait. What's that? I have been writing about renovation work? That's my principle subject matter? Oh. Well, then something has gone wrong because it's starting to feel like they don't go very well together, or I'm at wit's end and nothing goes with anything, except a headache and a foul mood.

It was all supposed to be so easy. In my mind's eye, it went humming along, everything falling into place. In reality, I can't even drag it along. If we are having subcontractors do things, they don't show when they say they will, but somewhere in the same month, or nearly in the same calendar week, if we are lucky. They sometimes call to say when they will come, or won't be here, but not always. If we are doing it by ourselves, we know very well when we will be here, but either the tools are inadequate, or the patience blows. Usually both, with an accompanying rise in cranial pressure and a sense of marital displeasure.

I cut the sleepers for the oak floor last week. Someone had to do it, and I discovered that I could. I lay them out, a little farther spaced than I'd like, but tough. So far, so good.

I even felt a sense of accomplishment.

It didn't last the week. When the mason didn't show Friday or Saturday to drill the holes he promised in the sleepers, since contrary to what he says should work just fine, we have destroyed several drill bits intended for concrete and the hardest stone using a 500 Watt drill making a very few holes in his slab to secure the metal framing system, I felt deflated. I started to want to drill them myself. My husband signed up for the job.

I knew where that was headed, and it went right there.

"J'ai pensée à quelque chose," he began. He'd had an idea, and the drill had been whining only a quarter hour.

"Hm," I grunted, trying to make it not sound like a question.

"Pourquoi on ne peut pas fixer les lambourdes en place avec des bouts de bois perpendiculaires?" He was suggesting a sort of framework of wood, with bits of wood leftover from his other projects wedged between the long sleepers, perpendicular to them. That was a lot of work, too, and unnecessary. Using sleepers is an old system, and a dumb one, if you ask me now. I am very aggravated with myself for not just nailing 3/4" plywood to the damn slab for a nailing surface and calling it a day. It was the guy at the wood place who talked about sleepers.

Sleepers with a nailing surface of 3/4" plywood would have been better, probably.

What's more, I realized afterwards, we tend to overlap and stagger the sleepers of random lengths, made from ripped 2x4's. These are just run the length of the room in single lengths.


Anyway, you can just set the sleepers in asphalt mastic (hot poured or cold cut) and call it a day.

I launched into some explanation about changes in humidity causing the wood to swell or to shrink and how it could move under the nailing points. What gets into me? All I had to say was, "On peut faire plus simple," even if we have been accepted advice that makes it more complicated and difficult.

He went back to drilling, stopping every now and then to ask, again, why he couldn't just make a framework.

"Parce qu'on n'a pas besoin de faire ça. Laisse tomber."

"Mais," and he'd launch into the explanation all over again.

"Non," I'd say, and he'd return to drilling again, while I dreamed of cold cut mastic.

"Où est la scie de métal?" he asked as I headed upstairs with a cup of green tea.

"Sur ta table," I replied, not stopping. Then, I stopped short. "Pourquoi?" Why did he need the metal saw? I knew. I knew he as going to cut down the length of the concrete nylon nail anchors. I knew it because I know him.

"Laisse tomber," Never mind, he called back to me. He knew it was better not to explain, or risk a diatribe.

I swore to myself and continued on upstairs to return to my plank lay-out. Using AutoCAD, I had made rectangles of each length of oak flooring and copied them to make 20 of each of the 9 lengths. Then, I was laying them out over a copy of the floor plan of the "petit salon" to make sure that we used it in a way that made sure that the end joints in two adjacent rows were not closer than 6", and to make sure that the pattern of lengths was (sort of) balanced.

It took forever, and the drill whined on, despite begging him to stop and let the mason deal with it. If he had made a slab into which we couldn't drill with masonry drill bits deep enough to attach our sleepers according to practice, then it was for him to see that this was so.

Then, the drill stopped. I listened. I waited. It didn't start again. I heard his feet on the stairs.

"J'ai laissé tomber. De toute façon, je ne peux pas." I didn't say I told you so. I thought it, though.

Tomorrow I'll call the mason again, first thing. If I can't get him here right away, then it's asphalt mastic and that's that.

I also need more vapor barrier to lay over the sleepers and under the oak flooring. They didn't say I need it, but I don't feel secure.

I also have to call the electrician, who burned me the week before, and let's not even talk about the workers for the contract on the exterior renovation on the house. My head hurts badly enough. I hate this.
Enregistrer un commentaire