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Project of the Month – September 2018

Harridec restores Bacons to its former glory

Bacons is an 18th century farm cottage near Maldon, Essex, named after its original owners. Over the years the cottage has seen various alterations and outbuildings added which consist of a conservatory, garage and office. A nearby brewhouse has also been converted into a dwelling to form part of the estate. 

Lewis Harrington, Managing Director of Harridec was approached by the client after viewing their website and were confident they were the company for the job after seeing evidence of similar projects that they have undertaken in the area.

On inspection, it was evident that the timber elements of the building were in an extremely bad condition due to exposure to the elements and neglect over many years. Extensive repair work was undertaken to restore the oak windows. Firstly, they were stripped of failed clear varnish by mechanically sanding 40G, 80G, 120G and finally 240G. The water stains were removed with Owatrol Net-Trol wood cleaner and colour restorer, followed by 1 coat Sikkens Cetol HLS Plus and two coats Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 Plus in light oak.

Lewis said “We decided to use a light stain in place of clear varnish because clear finishes have much shorter maintenance cycles. With no pigment to block UV degradation, clear finishes really need recoating annually or more in south facing environments”

In addition to the rotten windows, the building was covered in weatherboarding and on inspection rotten boards were identified and later replaced. On removing the boards there was evidence of birds nesting, and rodents both dead and alive were found behind them. 

An interesting discovery was that the original entrance to the property had been covered up in the late 19th century and a staircase installed inside when the property had been split into two small cottages. 

Due to the property being rural and surrounded by fields and ditches, Lewis installed stainless steel rodent mesh behind lower courses of the weatherboarding to provide some protection from rodents going forward. After repair the weatherboarding was painted Tikkurila Valtti Opaque. This was chosen because it is highly flexible, and the softwood boards are prone to expanding and contracting with the elements. 

Many of the original painted windows had to be completely removed, stripped and rebuilt with new hardwood and repairs to the frames were undertaken with Repair Care resin. The windows were then re-hung on new brass hinges and the putty was replaced with Repair Care Dry Seal MP. After repair, the windows were primed in Jotun Visir and four coats of Jotun Demidekk Ultimate windows and doors, matched to Farrow & Ball Old White inside and out. 

Lewis said, “We have been using Jotun exclusively for these types of windows and other exterior joinery projects for almost 8 years now and are yet to experience any call backs or issues with failure whatsoever, which is why we continue to use it.”

It is evident that Lewis is very proud of his work and strives for customer satisfaction. The customer’s final words were what all decorators want to hear!

“Hello Lewis, yes I’m very pleased with the finish and standard of work, and how you’ve left everything clean. I’ve just transferred the balance”

Lewis Harrington began decorating in 2004, when he left school to work for his father’s company. In 2009 he formed HarriDec and the company has since gathered a reputation for quality work within the private sector, with a great deal of experience of working with listed and historical buildings.

* Images supplied by Lewis Harrington, Managing Director of Harridec 

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