As I wrote in my WOYWW post yesterday:
When we had our new kitchen fitted when we moved, I asked the builders to retain the old cupboard in the corner as it was an original feature that I was reluctant to lose. However, since we’ve been here, it has proved to be an absolute pain to use as it’s too deep and I struggle to find what I want in there. The bottom part has always been a bit damp too.
A few days ago we were invited for coffee by some friends, and they showed us around, and when she showed me her little walk-in larder, something went “ping” in my head and I knew this was what I wanted instead of my awful cupboard! Later we contacted our neighbour who is a builder, and has done quite a bit of work for us, and he came up to look at it, and he said it was possible, and although he could do it, he knew a professional kitchen fitter who would do an even better job, and he’d match it all in with my existing units.
He then looked at the damp, and this is where the bad news begins. He pulled up the piece of lino covering the floor inside the cupboard, to find that the floorboards had completely rotted away and the joists underneath – he could poke a thin wooden stick right through! On a traffic lights scale, he said this was RED and needed immediate attention.
Later he phoned the damp specialist that he knows and trusts, and told him about the problem, and this man phoned me to say he would come and look at it in the morning.
He arrived at 9 a.m. and agreed with our neighbour that the problem is serious and must be dealt with asap. He said that it is dry rot, and the timbers will need to be cut back 1 metre beyond the affected part. This means that not only will the whole cupboard have to come out (which we expected anyway) but the fitted double oven will also have to be moved, and quite a bit of the laminate floor taken up. Depending on how far the rot has extended, he may also need to take up the floor on that side of the sitting room next door. He was pleased that the oven was electric and not gas, and said that moving it wasn’t a problem. He is always dealing with things like this and will take it in his stride. I just hope he doesn’t ruin the tiling on the other side of the oven…
We are hoping that it is confined just within the cupboard on the left-hand side in the angle of the chimney breast, which will mean that the work will only have to take place in the kitchen, but until he takes up some floor, we won’t know.
He said that it is most unlikely that this would be covered by the insurance, as most companies never cover for rot, unless the problem is caused by a leaking pipe. I phoned the insurance company this afternoon, and they confirmed this, and pointed me to the clause in our policy (which I couldn’t find on first looking) which said that rot was excluded. It is sick-making that we pay out all this money every year for insurance and then something turns up that isn’t covered.
The damp expert said he would give us an estimate in the next day or two, but obviously until he starts he won’t know the full extent of the damage. I said I realised this, but was he able to give us a range from best case scenario to worst, off the top of his head, and he said somewhere between £1,200 and £5,000. This is obviously a lot of cash to find but it’s got to be done or eventually the house will fall down!! Fortunately we do have a contingency fund but it will clean it out.
He said he could probably start the work in about a fortnight’s time. Hopefully it won’t take too long once he gets started. It is going to cause a lot of disruption and mess. Before he starts, I have got to clear the whole cupboard (which goes from floor to ceiling) and clear the space in that corner of the kitchen. We are fortunate in that the granny flat is empty at the moment, and we can decamp into there and use the kitchen, and if necessary, the sitting room. I will have to think about what I need to transfer into the kitchen to tide us over.
Once he has finished the work, we will be able to approach the kitchen fitter our neighbour is recommending, to rebuild the cupboard in the form of a walk-in larder. Fortunately our kitchen is only 3 1/2 years old and Howden’s will still have the units and laminate flooring in their catalogue, so hopefully it can all be done to match what is there.
Once the work is all done, it should be really lovely. It’s just the process of getting there that fills me with dread, especially not knowing exactly what we are dealing with at this stage, and how much the whole job is going to set us back.
This is a humungous bore all round, but thank goodness I am now over my recent surgery and in a much better state for dealing with the upheaval. Hopefully it will all be completed before my next operation.