The veranda was finally coming together with the main features finished as told in Part 3. The semi-final finishes for the Veranda Project were the windows and Chiminea. The eastern end still needed closing, but the floorboards were a major issue, notably because they had been painted with some cheap, battleship-grey enamel paint that was far too difficult to remove because the floorboards were laid with the grooves uppermost. This was a real shame, as the floorboards were merbau and would have looked great the other way around with a natural timber finish, but there was no way that I was going to attempt removing 5000 nails (that’s what I calculated) and there was no guarantee that the floorboards would come off without breaking. And it was too late now anyway, as the removal of the floorboards should have happened before anything was started.
So I took the easiest task first and that was the windows. Having made up the windows, I’d always planned to hinge them so that they could be opened and allow air to circulate in the Summer months. Installing hinges also meant that they’d be secured against wind and not fall out as they were prone to do. Rather than installing screw in hinges, I opted for a simple solution and that was to install some coach bolts on either side of the frames and then using casement window stays I could secure them in an open position (you think I could find these stays in Australia on eBay?). The coach bolts are simply slid in and the entire window can be removed in a matter of seconds if desired. Opening the way they now do also provides a better way for air to flow through, as the open window acts as a kind of vent (for want of a better word).
The second thing that I wanted to complete, which I’d put off for far too long, was the flue for the Chiminea. I’d been hampered in part by variable weather, as well as the prospect of having to cut a hole for the flue right across the join of the corrugated iron roof. However, I finally set my mind to finishing this part of the project and when I looked more closely at the roof and the position of the Chiminea, I realised that I could avoid cutting along the join, so it turned out that the job was a lot easier than I expected. Fortunately, where the flue is located, it’s well away from the roofline of the house and high, so meets all building regulations, even though technically there’s no requirement for a flue. I was expecting to have a pile of excess flue pieces, but all that remained was one off-cut from the internal flue.
I then finished things off by installing stays on the flue and covered up the screws that you see protruding through the roof (something that was unavoidable). Some might look aghast at the fact that I’ve used timber to cover the screws and the timber sits virtually against the flue, but the heat at that point is so low (not enough to warm your hands on a Winter’s day) that nothing could ever catch fire. The timber also provides an additional level of support for the flue above the roof, though it’s held up by more than the corrugated iron roofing (which isn’t visible). I’ve also installed a heat shield behind the Chiminea (double-layer stainless steel from a scrap metal yard) to keep the heat away from the walls, as well as reflect the heat into the veranda, making the Chiminea a lot more efficient. All in all, this part worked out a lot better than I anticipated and, after a test firing, the Chiminea works very well, drawing the smoke out effectively and nothing getting hot near the roofline.
Two things were still left to do, the flooring and closing in the eastern end. After a lot of thought, I decided that carpet would be the best option for for the floor, for many reasons. Firstly, carpet would be much more pleasant on bare feet when wandering around in summer and would provide additional insulation in winter. Secondly, carpet would level out and hide the various imperfections in the flooring, which was always going to be an issue. But the only carpet that would be able to survive the outdoor environment and usage would be marine carpet and, after comparing all the other options, marine carpet would end up being the cheapest overall as well. Now I just had to find the right marine carpet, but this would have to wait until Summer. I’m still pondering what to do with the open end, but I have some ideas floating around in my head.