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Over these posts i'll explore projects as they come and go and in particular the restoration of a period property in Dorchester.

By guest, May 31 2015 03:55PM

Restoring an old Victorian cupboard? Here are a few tips and tricks to achieve the best results.


With any project, no matter how large or small, I always look for any potential problems and then find suitable remedies. Sometimes these issues are not visible and this was the case with the cupboard.


As you can see in the picture when I removed the floorboards I discovered a section of wood that over the years had perished or been eaten by something. The joists also had small holes and at some stage had been eaten by woodworm but were generally still solid. There was a large amount of rubble/debris on the floor that was blocking the air from circulating freely underneath the boards- this would have contributed to the deterioration of the wood. I cleared the rubble to allow good circulation, removed the entire horizontal piece of wood, lay a damp proof membrane and replaced the wood with a treated piece to ensure future protection. I then sprayed the joists with an anti woodworm solution.


In the first picture you can also see a section of plaster has fallen away. In a property of this age the lime plaster, often with the introduction of central heating, dries out and becomes loose from the lathes/bricks. A simple test is to tap the wall- if it makes a hollow sound then more often than not the plaster has 'blown' and has come away from the substrate. In this case the section by the pipes was literally hanging on so I decided to remove an area until I reached a section that was secure. I then PVA'd any exposed brick/plaster and used hardwall to fill and repair any small sections of wall/ plaster. For the bigger sections I used hardwall to stick sections of plaster board to the bricks. Once this had dried I then filled any cracks with an interior filler to create a smooth surface. Although not visible I also filled/caulked any other areas to ensure the cupboard, once the doors were shut, was completely sealed. After the joists had aired and were completely dry I refitted the floorboards.


Now the structural problems had been remedied I was ready to paint. When looking at a space I always think of what it is to be used for. In this case the cupboard is being restored so it can once again function as a larder. I therefore opted to seal the walls with a Zinsser product which was safe to use in food areas. The walls were painted in a water based Fired Earth eggshell which is wipeable and low odour. The cupboard doors were painted with Bedec Aqua Advance Satin finish- again low odour and non yellowing- to provide a longer lasting finish. After the paint had sufficient drying time secured the door furniture and fittings and the cupboard was ready to use....


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