Fixing the Landing
Landing to front flat repainted
Fixing those timber landings
Welcome to our article (45), fixing the landing
Dear readers, we have called this article fixing the landings. Because in this article, we are going to talk about how to maintain and fix those outside patios or landings. But first, let us explain to those that are not familiar with these types of old timber buildings, and the reasons why we have those landings outside the main building.
The reason that in Australia we have stairs and patios or landings outside the main building, is to save space under the roof of the building itself; we do that, because it is cheaper and also easier to build, the Australian climate is always rather hot and in most places dry, so, people like to live in the open, therefore, they don’t mind if the stairs and the landings are outside, therefore, a lot of the cheaper houses have these stairs and landings outside.
Now, because they are outside, they need more maintenance. Here we need to add that even though in Australia the climate is hot, and in a lot of places is dry, it is not so everywhere, so, all those buildings that happen to be near the sea-side tend to receive too much rain, so, they need more maintenance that those building that are in a dry place. Anyhow, I think that I have explained the reasons why we build them this way, and the reason why we need fixing them.
As you can see, this article is a D.I.Y and also a handyman point of view about timber buildings: We have to admit that all timber building need more maintenance than concrete buildings, especially those parts of the building that are exposed to the weather, because the timber rots away easily when it becomes wet, so, those timber landing outside need a lot more maintenance than usual, they need to be painted every second year or there about, they need to be looked after and those nails that every now and then pop-up need to be driven and punched down, but that is not all, the worst part of it all, is that they rot very easily.
These types of work that we are talking about must be done often, and it is better if we do them as soon as it is obvious that they need to be done, whether they require fixing or painting or both, but sometimes it is not possible to do them soon enough and they create problems. When we don’t paint often enough, some flooring boards may start to rot away to the point where you need to replace them, sometimes this can be a few pieces of flooring boards, at other times most of them; anyhow today I have to fix this long landing, in this block of flats, which can be said is an open long balcony, depending on the way that you see it.
Fix and paint flats landings
Today fixing this landing problem
Anyhow, these days I have this problem to solve; the edge of this long landing that was fixed about fifteen years ago with hardwood timber, it was supposed to last a long time, but is again rotten away, so, I need to fix it. I believe that the timber that they sold us then, was not properly treated. I believe that this is the sign of the time, because of some shortage of good mature trees, the timber mills use any timber and some of this timber does not last as long as it used to last in the past; because it starts rotting away very easily.
Now if you look at the photo beside here you will understand, that this is not going to be an easy job to do, because there is this long steel hand rail on top of it and cannot be removed easily, as it would cost a lot to remove it and then replace it again; so, I have to try to remove the rotten timber from underneath a short section at a time, while at the same time I prop up that section of hand rail. As I have said this landing was renewed about fifteen years ago, and at the edge we used a larger piece of hardwood timber instead of the simple flooring boards, because we needed good grounds to attach the hand rail to it, anyhow, it has worked out all right for fifteen years, but now it needs replacing.
Today because the grounds have rotten a bit more, I have decided to use a larger piece of timber, so that it can bridge better the outside edge of the landing to the timber joists, the timber joists come from the building itself and in this case work as a cantilever, like a very long balcony in a concrete building. Now because the hardwood has rotten in a very short time, I am going to replace them with treated pine slipper, because they are cheaper, lighter and easier to nail, I know it is a new approach and most builders may not approve what I am going to do, but I am going to try, I believe that the sleepers will last at least as long as the hardwood did. Anyhow, we will see how it works out soon; and then we will see if they are going to last in a few years.
Timber edge of the landing rotting
Replacing the timber edge
I have started to work to replace the old hardwood landing edge, with these new pine slippers, it is going to be harder than I thought it would be; to remove the old edge is very hard because there is the hand rail in the way, but in any other way is going to be more costly, I know it is going to be a real struggle for me but I am stuck with it. You see, we don’t want to spend a lot of money on these landings of this old block of flats, because the building itself is becoming old and in fifteen to twenty years is going to be demolished and a brand-new building will be build. We are saying this because this is how these timber building usually last in Brisbane Australia, old timber building reach a stage when it becomes necessary to replace the existing building with a new one; very likely the new building will be a concrete building, nobody really knows, what it would be the right thing to build, in fifteen to twenty years’ time, because the local by laws may change and also the way we build changes continually.
Anyhow the other day I have pulled up some of the old edging and I have set the first sleeper in place, but I still have to replace about another three of them, and also remove and replace any other timber that needs replacing and then paint at least what I have replaced; but really I am going to paint the entire landing and also the steel hand rail that is rusting, it is going to be a long job, since I am doing it a bit each time, when I have some times to spare. Anyhow I believe that it is going to turn out all right, as you can see from the photo in this article.
Stairs and timber landing
Other building things
Dear readers, we have called this article fixing the landing, but we have a few more things to tell you, before we finish this article. To do that, let us go back to see what we have done in our last articles, D.I.W. house repairs, we have talked about stairs repairs, and other things that we are going to review here, since there are many other things that can be done on these old timber buildings. We have also written about, House renovating, where an entire house was renovated; and fixing an old timber landing, of course, there other things that need to be done on a timber building, these things can be done, if the owners feel like doing it, anyhow try to do some D.I.Y, you will be proud you did, you see, I did and every time I see what I have done, I am proud about it.
Anyhow, here I want to add another thing that can be done in these timber houses. For instance here in Queensland most houses have a roof over their patio (veranda) most houses have large verandas, (since these are spaces that have a roof on them but they are open and have a hand rail around for safety reasons, if the building if off the ground) so, if an owner feels like that he is short of space in the house, and he needs a small room for the kids or a study, he can enclose some of the veranda space and have an additional room at this house, because there is no structural alterations and the roof is already there, this can be a D.I.Y. job, as long as you know enough how to do it. Anyhow, this is just an example how easy it is to do some repairs or small alterations to these timber houses.
I believe that I have said enough in this article, so, see you in our next article, where we are not going to talk about how to build houses, but we are going to talk about how to buy and own a house, in our article, fiends are there to help.
See you soon.