Category Archives: Structural alterations

Essex cottage, oak timber frame major repair, part 1

It’s not often I’m lost for words, but the state of this old cottage left me speechless, any number of  builders have been involved in repairing this building and in doing so have , over time made it worse, although the fact it still exists and hasn’t collapsed may be down to their so called repairs.

The main cottage is old possibly 17th Century or older, built of oak timber frame and thatched with and extension added sometime during Victorian times again in timber frame, 20th Century repairs over varying times to the structure and the internals.

Our first picture shows the total non existence of timber frame which has rotted away, what you can see is solid concrete where the timber wallplate once was and hard cement render externally on wire metal lathing, this is all that holds up this section of the building.

These old buildings need to breath by locking the timber between cement render and concrete the timber has long gone and was  probably in decay when this repair was done.


Further along the same wall some time survives but is sitting on concrete, this is not looking good.


Each section will have to be done one at a time or there is a danger the building could collapse so careful removable of the concrete is a must, Acrow props and timber props are used to take the strain, this is no diy job or for the faint hearted or for the average builder.


You can see below the concrete is everywhere, the original laths can be seen a few feet up, this is where the previous repair finished, it’s looking like the whole building has been done the same way, we could be here a while


With everything removed from one section that is either concrete or wood dust this is what remains, on the plus side the original footing brickwork looks sound, the render will get cut back further up but for now we need every bit of structure possible to hold the wall together.


From the inside you can see how little is left of the frame, nearly everything from the window sills down will need replacing.


Part 2 we will start to put back this section before we can move on to the next.

To continue reading about this project in Part 2 Click Here