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  1. #441
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Rokusai Pointy's Avatar
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    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    The Good.


    The pond construction has held up nicely, and only needs a paint touch up to be as good as new. My first attempt at doing pipework has also been good, with only a couple of minor leaks, which were cured by tightening clamps. The self designed and built Raspberry PI electronic system has worked really well and considering the electrics box has been open to the elements for years, it's been super reliable. The garden itself was always designed to be low maintenance and that has proved the case, as after 3 years of neglect, it still looks pretty good. Very few weeds appear and it just needs a tidy up and the fence panels painting.




    The Bad.


    While not necessarily really bad things, they are things I would potentially do differently if I could start over. The filter house is about as small as you could get away with for a Nexus 300 and Easypod, it's a little awkward to get in and out of, although I am hoping I get negate the need to get in there for cleaning cycles with a few tweaks. The water butt concreted in the ground for my waste sump has got water behind it, this has pushed in the sides and started interfering with the float switches. Positioning the 4 water butts for the garden over the sump was not a good idea, it makes it very awkward to get to the sump for inspection and cleaning. Finally, while I really like the look of the slate and stepping stones, my dog charging up and down like a crazy thing tends to flick the slate everywhere. (I am not sure I would really change this or him though )




    The ugly.


    This is the most disheartening and concerning part, my bricks are falling apart...

    fh1.jpgwall3.jpgwall2.jpgwall1.jpg

    Perhaps someone with some building expertise can tell me why this is happening, if the wall is likely to completely crumble and if I can do anything about it, without rebuilding it? In case it is relevant the bricks are LBC Windsor, in hindsight maybe they were not the best choice, but they were used when are garage was rebuilt after a serious fire a few years back, so I was trying to keep the brickwork the same. Is it Spalling, the wrong mortar mix or just the wrong choice of bricks? It is obviously water/weather related as the West facing wall of the filter house, which doesn't really catch the weather, is as good as the day it was built.

  2. #442
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Mature Champion Trace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pointy View Post
    The Good.


    The pond construction has held up nicely, and only needs a paint touch up to be as good as new. My first attempt at doing pipework has also been good, with only a couple of minor leaks, which were cured by tightening clamps. The self designed and built Raspberry PI electronic system has worked really well and considering the electrics box has been open to the elements for years, it's been super reliable. The garden itself was always designed to be low maintenance and that has proved the case, as after 3 years of neglect, it still looks pretty good. Very few weeds appear and it just needs a tidy up and the fence panels painting.




    The Bad.


    While not necessarily really bad things, they are things I would potentially do differently if I could start over. The filter house is about as small as you could get away with for a Nexus 300 and Easypod, it's a little awkward to get in and out of, although I am hoping I get negate the need to get in there for cleaning cycles with a few tweaks. The water butt concreted in the ground for my waste sump has got water behind it, this has pushed in the sides and started interfering with the float switches. Positioning the 4 water butts for the garden over the sump was not a good idea, it makes it very awkward to get to the sump for inspection and cleaning. Finally, while I really like the look of the slate and stepping stones, my dog charging up and down like a crazy thing tends to flick the slate everywhere. (I am not sure I would really change this or him though )




    The ugly.


    This is the most disheartening and concerning part, my bricks are falling apart...

    fh1.jpgwall3.jpgwall2.jpgwall1.jpg

    Perhaps someone with some building expertise can tell me why this is happening, if the wall is likely to completely crumble and if I can do anything about it, without rebuilding it? In case it is relevant the bricks are LBC Windsor, in hindsight maybe they were not the best choice, but they were used when are garage was rebuilt after a serious fire a few years back, so I was trying to keep the brickwork the same. Is it Spalling, the wrong mortar mix or just the wrong choice of bricks? It is obviously water/weather related as the West facing wall of the filter house, which doesn't really catch the weather, is as good as the day it was built.
    Don't know about the mortar but the brick faces popping off is defo "spalling" ... you should have treated the bricks with some kind of waterseal it only takes a few minutes to paint on. Don't like the look of those big long cracks along the brick layers but I would guess that has been caused by water ingress and freezing too.

    Hopefully that's just a facing of bricks? I don't think it's the wrong choice of bricks we've had small patches of spalling here on many different types of brick. Waterseal is the answer ...
    About me: Back by popular demand ...

  3. #443
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Mature Champion Trace's Avatar
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    Looking again ... that seems like a lot for just a couple of years!
    About me: Back by popular demand ...

  4. #444
    I agree with Trace, that looks like water ingress and frost damage to me.

  5. #445
    Hi definitely looks like water/ frost damage to face of bricks, like has been pointed out a simple water seal applied would stop that. Morter does look a little week to me however depending on where in the country you are the sand used varies so i could be misled by picture.Personally i would re point that face and water seal.ATB

  6. #446
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Rokusai Pointy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I was pretty sure it was water related as the filter house (first pic above) is relatively ok, apart from the first few courses close to the ground. The back wall is a retaining wall, as the garden of the house behind is higher than mine. If you go back to page 4 or 5 you can see how it was constructed.

    The reason I asked about the mortar mix is because it looks like the mortar is blowing in a lot of places, I don't know if the mortar pulls the front of the brick off or whether it's the other way round. What would be the suggested mix for an outside/garden wall?

    Does it have to be sealed with a water sealer or can it be painted, because I stupidly painted a small section a couple of weeks back, thinking it would make it look better, which it obviously didn't. That was when i realised how bad it was. The paint I used was Deluxe Ultimate Weathershield, in case it is relevant.

    I have about 60 bricks left over and in an ideal world I would like to repair the filter house wall and then paint it. (I am not sure how to go about replacing the bottom 3 courses though) For the back wall, if I can get away without re-pointing and simply sealing it will prevent it getting worse, then my current thinking is to simply clad it with shiplap and paint it the same colour as the pond. It would mean removing the top slabs and relaying them, but It's something i could handle myself and I think I could do the whole wall for a couple of hundred quid.

    Please keep the advice coming.

  7. #447
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Sansai Hawk101's Avatar
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    As has already been said, it definitely looks like water ingress/ frost damage.
    If you have been unlucky and got a bad batch of bricks or the mortar is too weak a mix things will only get worse as time goes by.

    If it was my pond I'd be rendering and painting the whole lot, it might seem drastic and expensive but looking at what has happened in such a short time I think it is the only sure way of protection the masonry.

    Best of luck with it.

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  9. #448
    I think id go with Hawks suggestion and have it rendered .In my opinion its your best long term solution and probably the cheapest option all things considered. you'd be surprised how much an area a decent spread and laborer can cover in a day,you can then paint whatever color you wish. As a guide we pay our plasterer and his laborer £350 a day plus materials you may well find someone local cheaper .ATB.

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  11. #449
    Senior Member Rank = Rokusai Tom Koi's Avatar
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    £350 a day, bloody hell, I've been short changing myself, I only used to charge a day rate of 150 to 180 for plumbing and heating work, domestic and commercial when I was self employed

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  13. #450
    £350 a day for a plasterer and labourer what part of the country are you in? I'm a self employed electrician and only charge £200 a day. I think I'm in the wrong job

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  15. #451
    yes its steep but there good!! they also never let me down,moan,steal things etc etc they also do 12 hr days and get through the work, to me worth every penny i cant stand or do the job lol

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  17. #452
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Rokusai Pointy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    I am not a fan of render and the more I think about it the more I like the idea of cladding with shiplap. I will have a think about it, while I get on and try and finish other things. It would be nice if I could at least finish one area of the garden, every corner seems to have something for me to do.

    My first priority is to sort out the filter house. The other side wall only has a couple of bricks that need replacing and maybe some re-pointing lower down. Whereas the front wall really needs the bottom 3 courses replacing. How many bricks can I take out at a time? The wall is 4" concrete block inner and brick outer and hopefully the bricky used wall ties. What ratio mix should I use for replacing the bricks and pointing? Any other suggestions or tips welcome.

    In other news, I have dusted off the camera and Stuart will be coming out of retirement to oversee the project. Expect some photo updates soon.

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  19. #453
    Quote Originally Posted by vanman1 View Post
    yes its steep but there good!! they also never let me down,moan,steal things etc etc they also do 12 hr days and get through the work, to me worth every penny i cant stand or do the job lol
    I suppose looking at it like that then maybe it is worth paying that sort of money?

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  21. #454
    Quote Originally Posted by Pointy View Post
    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    I am not a fan of render and the more I think about it the more I like the idea of cladding with shiplap. I will have a think about it, while I get on and try and finish other things. It would be nice if I could at least finish one area of the garden, every corner seems to have something for me to do.

    My first priority is to sort out the filter house. The other side wall only has a couple of bricks that need replacing and maybe some re-pointing lower down. Whereas the front wall really needs the bottom 3 courses replacing. How many bricks can I take out at a time? The wall is 4" concrete block inner and brick outer and hopefully the bricky used wall ties. What ratio mix should I use for replacing the bricks and pointing? Any other suggestions or tips welcome.

    In other news, I have dusted off the camera and Stuart will be coming out of retirement to oversee the project. Expect some photo updates soon.
    Good luck with it all and I'm sure there are plenty of builders on here so you are bound to get an answer sooner or later.

  22. #455
    About 5 -1 ratio on the pointing .Its tricky on removing those lower course bricks as your not sure hes used ties, i wouldn't personally remove more than 2-3 at once.If your going down the cladding route i wouldn't even bother? ATB.

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  24. #456
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Nanasai anne's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Pointy




    In other news, I have dusted off the camera and Stuart will be coming out of retirement to oversee the project .
    Expect some photo updates soon.

    Welcome back Stuart

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  26. #457
    Senior Member Rank = Gosai Rayman's Avatar
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    Good to see you back Les. Look forward to seeing your updates.

    Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

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  28. #458
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Rokusai Pointy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanman1 View Post
    About 5 -1 ratio on the pointing .Its tricky on removing those lower course bricks as your not sure hes used ties, i wouldn't personally remove more than 2-3 at once.If your going down the cladding route i wouldn't even bother? ATB.
    Thanks for the advice, from memory I would say the ratio was 4-1 for the brickwork when it was built, but I can't be sure. It's only the filter house walls I want to repair as the back wall is definitely going to be covered some how. I did have a crazy idea about removing all the upper damaged bricks, one at a time and screwing some raw bolts into the concrete blocks to support the bricks above, I could then remove the damaged courses below and repair the whole lot in one go.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rayman View Post
    Good to see you back Les. Look forward to seeing your updates.
    Hey Rayman, maybe you will get so see what happens to that piece of lorry curtain you gave me.


    Well, I was so close to getting a corner of the garden finished, but as usual, something always goes horribly wrong to put me off track. While doing some modifications to the sump, I found out that the 1.5" ribbed hose had split, right where it enters the sump.The hose runs underground 20m to the drain by the back door, here's the 1st 10m or so, when it was laid 4 1/2 years ago. (It is inside to 2" ish pipe that my brother in law gave me, I believe its the stuff that BT use to lay cables in)

    Pointys Murky Puddle Upgrade-trench2-jpg

    I thought, I could just dig back about a foot or so from the sump and join it to some rigid 40mm waste pipe. No chance, the footings from the filter house/step come right up to the sump. After looking at the above photo I decided the best option was to try and find the pipe, roughly where I am stood in the above photo, After a digging a quick search hole, I found the pipe quite easily and after breaking a section of the outer protective pipe, sat there pondering what to do. In hindsight, I should have done it all in solid pipe as I really do hate that ribbed hose and as I am about to lay a decorative stone patio kit, right where I had just dug a trench, I didn't want any joins underneath it, especially as I don't trust that hose anymore. I managed to attach a 40mm straight joining piece to my drain rods and thought if I can pull that through easy enough, I should be able to shove some new solid waste pipe down the protective pipe. It went through quite easily, so early the next morning it was off to the store to get some 40mm pipe and fittings.

    The first problem of not having enough space to feed the pipe was easily rectified by lifting up a fence panel, fortunately the neighbours garden is clear at that point. The second problem was as the 40mm waste pipe is not that flexible it was a bit of an effort getting it into the trench and down the hole. After extending the trench I was able to get the first length 3/4 of the way through, I then glued the next length on, left it a few minutes and then with a bit of effort got that through, but it was getting harder to push it with each length and the 3rd length refused to go in more than about half way. So I am sat in a muddy trench, with the waste pipe 3/4 of the way through but seemingly stuck, thinking to myself, why didn't you just play it safe and go for the 32mm pipe? In desperation I got out the rubber mallet and to my surprise I was able to knock the next 3m or so through with brute force and ignorance. Hugely relieved, I just hoped that I hadn't damaged the pipe with my not so gentle persuasion. I decided it would be prudent to move the join to a location I could get to easily, should the other half of the ribbed hose fail in the future, so I moved it to the corner of the bungalow and after much swearing, managed to get the hose on the hosetail that I had glued to the 40mm waste pipe. The sump was already full of wast water and with nervous trepidation, I flicked the pump switch. To my surprise and relief there were no fountains of water erupting from the ground or any signs of leaks at all.

    The garden gremlins effort to sabotage this project had failed again, although it had set me back a day or so.

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  30. #459
    Senior Member Rank = Gosai Rayman's Avatar
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    Sounds kike a right pain that does. I had simar issues with the ribbed pipe. It seems to degrade over time and then leaks on you. The joins are, as you discovered, the most susceptible part. Glad to hear you got it sorted out. Hopefully the tarp will look resplendant atop your filter pit in due course. Onwards and upwards now mate Pointys Murky Puddle Upgrade

    Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

  31. #460
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Rokusai Pointy's Avatar
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    I did finally manage to get the camera out this week, between the rain, so it's time for some updates.

    I actually started working back in the garden a couple of months ago now, it started off with me having to repair the broken wooden front gate, which had blown shut over the winter and split. I managed to glue and screw it back together, completely sanded it down and then filled and stained it. It felt good to do something productive for a change. This led me to look at the mess in the front, which still had 3 x 8' x 4' boards, full of rubbish from 4 years ago and a jungle of weeds in the borders. So with renewed enthusiasm I worked my way around around the front border, digging them over and putting down weed membrane, chippings and some new plants. This led to the back/side passage which had only been partially slabbed, it looked like this in the beginning ...



    Pointys Murky Puddle Upgrade-trench1-jpg


    I finally finished the slabs and gave the fence panels a coat of ducksback and now it looks like this. (it's nice to be able to walk out to the back garden with bare feet)

    back passage.jpg

    The next job was to tackle the sump and water butts. So on a hot sunny day I geared up with a heat gun and various knives/saws and commenced battle with the dreaded buried water butt. After a fierce battle that latest a couple of hours, he lay slain in pieces in the garden...

    wb fight.jpg

    The sump was then painted with some A1 pond paint and the flexible pipe replaced with solid waste. The bilge pump that fills the water butts (which you can't quite see in the following picture) is cable tied to the bottom of the pipe leading too the sump pump. This means that by undoing the flexible connection at the top, I can lift the whole lot out in one go for cleaning/maintenance.

    sump.jpg

    The water butts were then relocated to the other side of the small tool shed. The flexible hose and float switch wires were fed inside some 40mm waste pipe to keep them safe. The old smaller Nexus waste ball valve just happened to screw into the tap connection on the water butt, which means I can now fill a watering can much faster than the original tap's pee speed.

    wb connections.jpgwb.jpg

    To finish off this corner of the garden, the fence panels were painted and the tool shed was revamped, which went from being a quick paint job to taking the whole roof off and adding some cross supports due to excess sagging

    finished corner.jpg


    While digging though the rubbish out front, I found half a dozen 3.6m lengths of shiplap, left over from the pond, which I duly converted into a storage box for the patio furniture cushions.

    storage box.jpg

    I have also done various other bit and bobs not shown above. All fence panels have been painted, both decks have been sanded and re-stained, in fact the smaller one I completely relaid as I wasn't happy with the spacing. The filter house finally has a roof, but I need to finish off some bits before I reveal it. I rebuilt the Evo 55 and saw the bottom drain in the pond this week for the first time in a year or more.

    As if I didn't have enough to do, I have also noticed another problem. Virtually all of my edging stones, that finish off the upper pond level, have come loose. They were laid on a normal bed of mortar but I wonder if a sharp sand mix would be better? Is there something I can add to the mix to make them stick better?

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