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Living with screed...

(21 Posts)
Notonthestairs Tue 17-Oct-17 10:24:17

We've been living in rented accomodation since the beginning of the year whilst our extenstion has been built. We are thankfully coming to the end of the process - screed is being laid over underfloor heating which will stretch 3/4 of the downstairs area. Kitchen will go in during early November.
I had planned for us to move back in December with the idea that everything would be completed and safe (I have a child with complex SEN and additional needs and I wanted to limit their exposure to the build for fear of increasing their anxiety levels).
However, our house was broken in to last week and whilst the builders are doing their best to secure the site they have commented that its obviously being watched.
When the kitchen goes in there will obviously be a number of expensive electrical items being delivered. I am worried that an empty house will be an open invitation to whoever is watching my build.
So I was wondering about moving in early - before the vinyl floors are laid. Upstairs will be carpeted and one room downstairs should be useable although it will be packed with furniture.
But how difficult would be to have screed from one end of the house (hallway, utility, kitchen diner and downstairs loo) - what is the risk of damaging it? I've been told we can walk on it but if we put chairs etc on it will I end up panicking all the time? We would potentially be in for a month to six weeks before the vinyl goes down. Presumably we'd also have to put back in washing machine etc and then move them again to get the floor laid.
Im so bloody sick and tired of the whole process - its been miserable - I just want to go home. The alternative will be to wait, cross our fingers and up our insurance.
What would you do?

5rivers7hills Tue 17-Oct-17 11:24:45

Not sure about your child with complex needs, but ignoring that I would move in and 'camp' upstairs if you have enough room to have the TV and stuff up there. Don't have chairs etc downstairs. Don't plumb in the WM, go to the launderette. Don't worry about cooking, eat picky food a lot.

JT05 Tue 17-Oct-17 11:40:55

I would move in and camp. I’ve done it twice with babies and toddler. We bathed the baby in the utility room sink!

It’s easier to cope with the building, without the extra worry of security. Children are adaptable and might see it as an adventure, indoor camping!

butterfly56 Tue 17-Oct-17 12:18:37

We lived upstairs for 6months while we renovated downstairs as we had no floor at the front of house. It was a lot warmer and the kids were absolutely fine with it.

Notonthestairs Tue 17-Oct-17 12:20:47

Thanks 5rivers and JT - I'm leaning towards just going for it and muddling through. And I very like the idea of the laundrette!
Would we have to avoid any furniture on the screed altogether do you think?

Notonthestairs Tue 17-Oct-17 12:23:01

Thanks butterfly - its reassuring to know. I'm so dog tired of it, my brain is fried and I seem to have lost the power to make decisions!

Ifailed Tue 17-Oct-17 12:25:14

Rather than moving your family back, could you not get a house-sitter in?

alovesupreme Tue 17-Oct-17 12:27:28

Could you find someone to do the floor sooner?
Surely it would be better to have the floor finished before the appliances arrive wouldn't it?

Notonthestairs Tue 17-Oct-17 12:38:09

The screed is only just being laid - we've calculated that it will take 6 weeks to dry out hence the delay. There would be 3-4 weeks between the kitchen being finished (I hope) and the vinyl going down.

I'd hadn't thought of having a house sitter - I'll have a think about whether we know anyone that might help out.

The house has been empty for 8 months but just as we getting to the end someone gets in through the back. Argh.

mayhew Tue 17-Oct-17 12:46:24

I was selling an empty house (London) for friends who lived abroad. We got squatters! After we got them out, a neighbours university age daughter stayed there with her friend to keep it occupied until completion.
It was a good thing because one night some more people tried to move in!

Ifailed Tue 17-Oct-17 12:48:21

Squatting in residential property is now a criminal offence, so don't worry about that.

PigletJohn Tue 17-Oct-17 14:30:16

robbing banks is also a criminal offence, but people do it.

OP, you could put down inexpensive mats or carpets. Nothing rubber-backed as it will block evaporation, but some kind of kitchen mat would be OK.

Screed is basically fine concrete so you can walk on it. It will be pretty hard after a week. Be cautious of dragging cookers and washers over it as they may leave gouges.

PigletJohn Tue 17-Oct-17 14:32:06


cement-based products don't harden by drying out, it's a chemical reaction, so it will be strong even if still damp (or even submerged in water).

ruthsmumkath Tue 17-Oct-17 14:37:00

We just lived in through major renovations - after 24 hours screed can be walked on and although the underfloor heating shouldn’t go on for a couple of months (the bottom layers take longer to fully dry and heating it will cause cracks) the actual screed is fine.

Ours got flooded (toddler disconnecting temporary waste) many times and walked on for months causing no problems.

Good luck!

Notonthestairs Tue 17-Oct-17 17:18:16

Thank you for the suggestion of the mats and the confirmation that it will be ok to walk on ( I had no idea that it wasnt a question of drying out but a chemical reaction!).

I think I'm going to go for moving in early or at least immediately after the kitchen has been installed and then sit it out in a couple of rooms until the floors can go in.

I had so wanted to wait until all the trades were finished in the hope that them having an empty house would speed things up - but I really can't face the idea of being burgled again before we've even got to live in it!

PigletJohn Tue 17-Oct-17 20:31:42

if you've been burgled once, you can expect them to be back after you've had time to get more stuff, or the builders leave tools inside.

Consider a burglar alarm. You can get a DIY system that will phone you on a landline for about £150 and take an hour or two to fit. Professionals sneer at DIY systems but a loud siren will make some thieves feel uneasy, may cause neighbours to look out, grumbling, and if you live near enough for a keyholder to attend, that will enable you at least to show your face so they know they can't work without interruption.

It's sometimes said that as well as a siren on the outside of the house facing the road, another indoors but out of reach - for example on the landing ceiling - is so noisy that it will upset intruders. Good.

Liara Tue 17-Oct-17 21:10:48

I was going to suggest putting up a camera system with remote access. You can get them very cheaply online, and monitor the place from your mobile.

I know someone who had something like this, and when burglars broke in he told them to piss off - which they did (not exactly sure how that works, he has some sort of speaker on site?).

buckeejit Tue 17-Oct-17 21:17:44

you could buy 'ring' which is a doorbell that you can talk through remotely from your phone etc. There are also sensors that set off cameras when anyone enters the property from whatever zones you set up.

I'd say camp also though.

Notonthestairs Wed 18-Oct-17 14:52:00

Thanks for all the advice - I've spent the morning talking through burglar alarms with the electrician and he's going to install ours as soon as he can.
We're also going to move back in as soon as is practical!

PigletJohn Wed 18-Oct-17 14:56:11

if somebody is watching the house, pop in at frequent but irregular intervals for tea and biscuits, whenever you go shopping or walk the dog.

One good trick is, after a visit, when you've (been seen to have) driven away, come back again half an hour later.

Wiifitmama Wed 18-Oct-17 15:00:04

We moved out for our recent extension and remodelling work. And we were broken into twice. We were storing some of our belongings in our property in rooms not being used. It was a risk as our insurance company would not cover us while it was unoccupied. Anyway, being broken into once was definitely only the beginning. My husband moved back in before the rest of us did as he was not sleeping at night worrying about being broken into again. He relaxed as soon as we were back. Building sites unfortunately are targets. And it wasn't only our belongings that went. Builders tool, etc. We too had a kitchen and very expensive appliances delivered and I was very very worried about that.

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