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New games room/studio build


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So for the last 6 months we have slowly been building a new studio/games room and unground pool in our backyard. 

We had an old shed that had been there for over 80 years (the lady we bought it off moved in when she was 20 and sold it to us when she turned 100) which needed to come down. We basically just went through with sledgehammers and knocked out the end walls and pushed it over 🙂 We used the shed mainly for storage and putting our bikes in. There was no power going out to it and it was in such poor shape I didn't want to turn it into a games room.
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The next thing we needed to do was dig up the existing driveway going out to the back shed. That was a pretty intensive process. My wife and I undertook this task ourselves and if I had to do it again... I would use some heavy machinery. I've subsequently got a 2cm disc herniation in the L5 disc in my back that will now require surgery next month 😞 We filled up 2 skip bins with concrete that must have weighed tonnes! The truck that came to pick it up cracked the driveway out the front trying to lift it all up.

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We did a rough layout of how we envisioned the build to look. The pool s 6x3m and the studio is about 8x6 with a 3x3m space set aside for pinball (3 or possibly 4 in the space) 

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This all took place in October last year. As we were to find out, getting things built is quite a long process (especially when we were doing a lot of it ourselves)



 

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Posted (edited)

Moving on to November 2021, and we got the site levelled ready for construction to begin... or so we thought. 

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The excavator that came out to remove the grass almost sank into the dirt. It was really spongey and bouncy soil and even walking on it felt like a trampoline. It remained this way for close to a month as it started to dry out. Then we got heaps of rain and it reverted back to how it was before. We needed to get 450 diameter x 500 deep mass concrete pad footings over proprietary screw piers supporting adjustable steel posts. We had a sewer line running right through the middle of the backyard so we needed to have strip fittings over the top to put the studio on top of.

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We marked out the areas that needed holes dug and the strip footings and then had the excavator come and dig it all up. I had hired the guy to come and dig it up and take the soil away but when he showed up he asked where all the soil was going to go. He said that he heard I was going to be removing it from the site so he didn't have anything to dump it in to. He ended up dumping it at the back of the property and I had to hire a tip truck to remove it myself (which I was really annoyed about) 

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We got the trenches dug (you can see the tracks from the excavator) 

The next step was to get the screw piers inserted. That's where we ran into a problem (another one) It was going to take a month for the company to install the screw piers. We thought that would be ok, but the weather decided otherwise. Really wish I had organised both the dig and screw piers be done by the same company. We got the screw piers put in without any fuss but then I didn't line up the concrete to be done ASAP too. If I had to do it again, I would line up my trades to be done straight after each other as much as possible (or get one company to do all of it) 
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We had so much rain that it started caving in all of the holes that had been dug. I ended up buying some metal pier liners at 450mm to put in just so that walls would have some sort of protection from the rain. We had a bit of an archaeological site going on out there for a while, with gazebos over the top letting us work in bad weather. But then the bad weather got too much... 😞
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Got that all cleaned up and had concreters out.
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Few shallow graves put in... 🙂

Pulled down the old fence with our neighbour ready for the new Modular wall to go in.
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We had ordered modular wall from a company in Sydney and they quoted us $1250 delivery fee, so we just hired a truck and drove down from Newcastle to pick it up ourselves for free.

We had ordered the pool and frames for the studio in July 2021 and the pool was originally to be installed in January. The frames were set to arrive in April. So a lot of people doing building projects it seems. 🙂

The pool install date kept getting pushed back due to the weather, and it finally happened in April.

 

Edited by nich2pat
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I was putting a few jobs out on hipages for various things including electricians, plumbers, concreters and excavation work. Few things I found out.
Almost half of the tradies who contacted me who said they would come out for a site inspection didn't bother to come out at all and were unable to be contacted afterwards. 
Plumbers were the worst culprits for this. We only had one plumber come and quote for the job and he came back with a quote of $32,000... Luckily our neighbour is a plumber and he had just finished up working at his job in Canberra and could get working on it for us. He quoted $9000 for the same job, so you can see some of the discrepancies here. 

Had a guy quote for installing 3 downpipes and digging a trench 4 metres to the street for $8000. I ended up digging all of the trenches myself and buying $200 worth of pic pipe and doing it myself. 

 

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Plumber working on getting all of the pipework installed. We were annoyed that according to our DA, we needed to get all of the rainwater from the studio into a rainwater tank (we got a 5000L one) and then pumped all the way to the street (about 30 metres away) The stormwater drain is over the back fence.. We wanted to just dump the stormwater straight into the stormwater drain but weren't allowed by Hunter Water. 

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Came around to April and it seemed like everything started happening all at once. The pool arrived and the frames arrived all in the same week.

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Had a friend from work who said he would take all of the soil because he had a retaining wall he needed filled in. They had dug about 1/5th of the pool out and he said he had enough soil now and asked how much more was left to come... 🙂 
He has a really big property so we were able to dump the rest of the soil over the edge of a hill he had there, but he has 4 goats that kept trying to escape. Half of the time we were herding goats while the trucks dumped the soil. Then one of the trucks got a flat tyre and so we only had one little tipper doing trips that were 5km away. It ended up taking a lot longer than we had anticipated.

 
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Pool got dug out and then it was time for it to get craned in. Really impressive seeing the crane operators getting through such tight gaps and navigating over the top of the neighbours house. 

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Pool all backfilled with sand and a cement mixture and filled up with water. Old mate having a quick drink to 🙂 haha.

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Then we had our adjustable piers ready for our bearers and joists.

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So just after the pool was installed we had our frames arrive.

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I have been out of action all year with my back injury, so was unable to help with any of the heavy lifting (or doing anything really) which I am really angry about. I want to do things but I am unable to.

Luckily we have a lot of friends and family who pitched in to get everything sorted out.

The bearers and joists going in.
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Floor going down and reo for the bond beam around the pool 
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Had a builder mate come round to help put the frames up (and a lot of extra sets of hands to lift, carry and hold things 🙂 Or stand around which is what I was doing a lot of.


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Got all the frames up and then the next day we worked on putting on rafters
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Rafters all done and then concrete around pool put in.
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We are now waiting for our sarking, roofing and cladding to arrive hopefully this week.

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Good to see Pat. What an ordeal with the weather. It will be worth it in the end. Sorry to hear about the back. Been there done that as you know but there is light and the end of the tunnel. You have a hydrotherapy pool now which is a bonus. 

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On 4/5/2022 at 6:44 PM, 1.21 Gigawatts said:

Good to see Pat. What an ordeal with the weather. It will be worth it in the end. Sorry to hear about the back. Been there done that as you know but there is light and the end of the tunnel. You have a hydrotherapy pool now which is a bonus. 

Thanks Duncan. Yeah I remember you having some big issues with your back when we used to play at Coogee Diggers. Did you get some surgery to fix it? 
I'm trying to stay off the heavy painkillers like Endone for as long as I can, but it is getting harder to do so. I can't even put my shoes on at the moment, any forward bending puts pressure on the S1 nerve root which causes a lot of pain. And yes having the pool is great, especially since it is a heated pool.

 

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7 hours ago, nich2pat said:

Thanks Duncan. Yeah I remember you having some big issues with your back when we used to play at Coogee Diggers. Did you get some surgery to fix it? 
I'm trying to stay off the heavy painkillers like Endone for as long as I can, but it is getting harder to do so. I can't even put my shoes on at the moment, any forward bending puts pressure on the S1 nerve root which causes a lot of pain. And yes having the pool is great, especially since it is a heated pool.

 

Can I move in I can pay you with hugs?

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Wow , just read this thread...bloody nice work!. I too did is much as I could. Hired a Kanga digger, trenched, leveled, 3 skips later. Layed the drainage and cabling. Then garden beds, sleepers. No pool or shed 🙂 Youve used the area spot on. 

What heating did you get? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So have had another bit of a setback with this build. A couple of weeks ago my father-in-law fell off a ladder from about 4m high and landed on the yellow-tongue flooring and put a big hole in it. I think the floor was able to break his fall a little bit. If he had fallen straight onto a joist it might have been a lot worse. Also if he had fallen onto his head or landed on something else... So I think he was pretty fortunate to only break 7 RIBS! He was reaching across with an angle grinder to cut a piece of metal and lost his balance. The decision to try and reach out from the ladder instead of getting down and moving it a metre and climbing back up 😞 I think everyone would have a similar story to tell. Falls are the biggest cause of injury on job sites. We are so thankful that it wasn't worse. I was with my sons at their soccer match and so didn't see it happen. My wife was there and saw her 82 year old father falling in slow motion. Said he let out a groan that she had never heard before. He is a very strong man with a very high pain threshold. He kept saying he was fine and she had him doing big deep breaths that he was able to do with no issues. He wanted to drive himself home but she took him straight to the hospital. He had no internal injuries which was great, but a couple of ribs were fractured in multiple positions. 

Speaking of his high pain threshold, a few years ago he cut the tendons in his forearm with an angle grinder (he really should lay off the angle grinders I think 🙂 ) and when he went to the hospital they said they would need to perform surgery on his arm. He was disappointed that he wasn't able to have a local anaesthetic so that he could watch the surgeon perform the operation. Even with his 7 broken ribs he has not taken any of the pain medication they have given him... ?

So our main worker is out of action for a while now, and we are back to working on the studio on weekends, which has slowed down the progress. However, there IS progress happening! You can see the milk crate covering the hole that was made and the height of the ladder that was fallen off. 


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I have been able to do a few of the jobs around the place (no heavy lifting) but as I have been working from home part-time I have been able to do some of the easier things. 
Adding the bracing to the rafters, installing the roof battens and roof sarking.

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We got the roof done on Tuesday last week. Its very hard to find people to come and help on work days 🙂 Had my brother come around on his lunch break and my wife's friend is between jobs so she was able to come and help too. Got the roof put on in a couple of hours and then the wall wrap was able to be installed the same week. So we are pretty much water tight now. We have installed 3 of the 5 windows, but will need help with the 2 bigger windows and the double door, which will be happening tomorrow. We have a big L shaped window going on the back wall that is quite heavy and will need some help installing. The wall it is sitting on is quite wobbly so we will need to put some bracing on there I think. 
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We have had the landscapers around Thursday and Friday this week working on the pavers. We have Arctic Grey pavers from Lithic and they are looking really good. The guys have been doing a great job with it. They are almost finished so the pool area will be done on Monday next week and then we will work on putting the cladding on. 
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So we have the 3x3m room that will be set aside for pinball and another 5x4m room that will be the main studio area. I am hoping it will all be a pinball studio at some stage 🙂 haha. I think ill need to get my boys a bit more interested in pinball in order for that to happen.

I have sold my Baywatch pinball machine to a nice guy from Perth to help pay for the renovation costs and will be hopefully dropping it off at the depot in Sydney on Monday. It was meant to be dropped off Monday this week but when my wife got to Ken's place they found that the springs under one side of the trailer had come loose from the bracket and it needs to be repaired. This is the 3rd time I have had to sell my pinball machines in order to do renovations for my house. The first time about 5 years ago, I sold Whitewater, Demo Man and Galaxy for $8000! That helped pay for the kitchen in the new house. The Baywatch is going to pay for the plumber this time 🙂

So we are slowly getting there. There is no rush, but its good to have it getting closer to completion. We will get the outside done and then we will need to do a bit more saving to furnish inside... Or we could use the equity to borrow some more money from the bank. I think that's what I will need to do if I ever want to buy any more pinball machines haha.

 

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Posted (edited)

Geez, glad you're father in laws OK (reminds me of my Mum at 76 climbing a coco palm, bare foot, no rope, holding a pruning saw to prune and no one at home - no accident but it was the last time. How did we find out? Neigbour was showering in the outdoors and happened to look up LOL).

Ahh pinballs for renovations, I know that to well!

I really like your pool - did you put a light in there?

Love the build post keep it coming!

Edited by acejas
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 27/05/2022 at 7:36 PM, nich2pat said:

So have had another bit of a setback with this build. A couple of weeks ago my father-in-law fell off a ladder from about 4m high and landed on the yellow-tongue flooring and put a big hole in it. I think the floor was able to break his fall a little bit. If he had fallen straight onto a joist it might have been a lot worse. Also if he had fallen onto his head or landed on something else... So I think he was pretty fortunate to only break 7 RIBS! He was reaching across with an angle grinder to cut a piece of metal and lost his balance. The decision to try and reach out from the ladder instead of getting down and moving it a metre and climbing back up 😞 I think everyone would have a similar story to tell. Falls are the biggest cause of injury on job sites. We are so thankful that it wasn't worse. I was with my sons at their soccer match and so didn't see it happen. My wife was there and saw her 82 year old father falling in slow motion. Said he let out a groan that she had never heard before. He is a very strong man with a very high pain threshold. He kept saying he was fine and she had him doing big deep breaths that he was able to do with no issues. He wanted to drive himself home but she took him straight to the hospital. He had no internal injuries which was great, but a couple of ribs were fractured in multiple positions. 

Speaking of his high pain threshold, a few years ago he cut the tendons in his forearm with an angle grinder (he really should lay off the angle grinders I think 🙂 ) and when he went to the hospital they said they would need to perform surgery on his arm. He was disappointed that he wasn't able to have a local anaesthetic so that he could watch the surgeon perform the operation. Even with his 7 broken ribs he has not taken any of the pain medication they have given him... ?

So our main worker is out of action for a while now, and we are back to working on the studio on weekends, which has slowed down the progress. However, there IS progress happening! You can see the milk crate covering the hole that was made and the height of the ladder that was fallen off. 


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I have been able to do a few of the jobs around the place (no heavy lifting) but as I have been working from home part-time I have been able to do some of the easier things. 
Adding the bracing to the rafters, installing the roof battens and roof sarking.

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We got the roof done on Tuesday last week. Its very hard to find people to come and help on work days 🙂 Had my brother come around on his lunch break and my wife's friend is between jobs so she was able to come and help too. Got the roof put on in a couple of hours and then the wall wrap was able to be installed the same week. So we are pretty much water tight now. We have installed 3 of the 5 windows, but will need help with the 2 bigger windows and the double door, which will be happening tomorrow. We have a big L shaped window going on the back wall that is quite heavy and will need some help installing. The wall it is sitting on is quite wobbly so we will need to put some bracing on there I think. 
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We have had the landscapers around Thursday and Friday this week working on the pavers. We have Arctic Grey pavers from Lithic and they are looking really good. The guys have been doing a great job with it. They are almost finished so the pool area will be done on Monday next week and then we will work on putting the cladding on. 
image.thumb.jpeg.bd20c7474ef113722f564f2bf622c9e4.jpeg

So we have the 3x3m room that will be set aside for pinball and another 5x4m room that will be the main studio area. I am hoping it will all be a pinball studio at some stage 🙂 haha. I think ill need to get my boys a bit more interested in pinball in order for that to happen.

I have sold my Baywatch pinball machine to a nice guy from Perth to help pay for the renovation costs and will be hopefully dropping it off at the depot in Sydney on Monday. It was meant to be dropped off Monday this week but when my wife got to Ken's place they found that the springs under one side of the trailer had come loose from the bracket and it needs to be repaired. This is the 3rd time I have had to sell my pinball machines in order to do renovations for my house. The first time about 5 years ago, I sold Whitewater, Demo Man and Galaxy for $8000! That helped pay for the kitchen in the new house. The Baywatch is going to pay for the plumber this time 🙂

So we are slowly getting there. There is no rush, but its good to have it getting closer to completion. We will get the outside done and then we will need to do a bit more saving to furnish inside... Or we could use the equity to borrow some more money from the bank. I think that's what I will need to do if I ever want to buy any more pinball machines haha.

 

Pool looks good with the tiled area done, I wish I had the room to install one  however the daughters unit and our shed stole all the available room 🙂

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5 hours ago, Rob1966 said:

Pool looks good with the tiled area done, I wish I had the room to install one  however the daughters unit and our shed stole all the available room 🙂

Yeah the pool area is all done now and I am really happy with how it tuned out. The landscapers really took their time to map it all out and get the tiles in and symmetrical. 

It is a good time to get a pool as my boys are 3 and 8, so there will be many more years for them to enjoy it. 

So I had my back surgery on Thursday this week and am on the mend. It was a microdiscectomy and the surgeon said that the herniated part of the disc was like a rock! It had been herniated for so long that it had begun to calcify, so getting it removed was great. No more pressure on the nerve and instant pain relief. Just recovering from the surgery but should be back to normal in a couple of weeks. 

I was able to get most of the cladding on last week but we are now waiting for the window company to fix one of the windows they stuffed up. We paid in full for all of our windows in December last year and when we went to install them a few weeks ago we realised that they had put the flashing on the inside and the reveal on the outside... They also stuffed up the bi-fold door. It opens to the wrong side, and there is no way of locking it from the outside... So pretty pointless. Have spent the last two weeks trying to get in contact with someone from Trend windows but of course they are all too busy (now that they have our money) I have since heard horror stories about this company and had another look through their google reviews and have heard a lot of similar stories to ours. The windows are actually good quality, its just the after sales support that is lacking. 

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I also had a bit of an accident when I was installing the cladding. Managed to drill through a bit of my finger when I was putting the cladding on. Turned into a bit of a crime scene 🙂 

So it has been all up to my wife to continue on with the work. Everything takes a lot longer than you expect when you are doing it yourself.

Finishing touches on the front cladding. Tricky getting the angles all done. Next step is building the landing outside of the bifold doors and some stairs off to the side.

The glass pool fence will come out from the studio and follow the edge of the pavers around the pool and join up with the house on the other side.

We have our pool filter and equipment in the storage room accessible from the pool area. We are going to put a storage room that is accessible from inside the studio above that room.

 

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We did a little bit of a clean up inside and put in some shelves for all of our tools. Will also need to look at buying another driver as our current one dropped off the a-frame and into the pool! Sat it in a container of rice but I don't think it helped. Battery gone 😞
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I might start on painting next week if my back allows it. My plumber has marked out where everything is going and will rough in next week. Sparky is also going to come back in a couple of weeks too. So its all moving ahead. Can't wait for it to be done. Hopefully will be ready for summer!

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Just remember you can’t have enough PowerPoints!! For the pin are you want a double every 2m which is basically 2 pins apart. And you’ve got to think about lighting too. You don’t want too much over the games but having lighting over the games is good when it comes to working on them so I suggest separately control rows so you can’t have the “walking” area and above pin area at different brightness. And if you really want to go nuts maybe some track lighting so you can have a more direction light on the games. Oh and if you every want to put a tv in there think about getting a data/tv jack installed and maybe a hdmi lead run somewhere. I kind of forgot about the tv install… 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 14/06/2022 at 10:38 PM, Audioenslaved said:

Just remember you can’t have enough PowerPoints!! For the pin are you want a double every 2m which is basically 2 pins apart. And you’ve got to think about lighting too. You don’t want too much over the games but having lighting over the games is good when it comes to working on them so I suggest separately control rows so you can’t have the “walking” area and above pin area at different brightness. And if you really want to go nuts maybe some track lighting so you can have a more direction light on the games. Oh and if you every want to put a tv in there think about getting a data/tv jack installed and maybe a hdmi lead run somewhere. I kind of forgot about the tv install… 

 

We will have our sparky out on Friday this week so will talk with him about lighting etc. We will have a tv area setup in the main room which will be visible from the pin area too. 

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We have got a bit more work done on the build now. One of the things was patching up the hole that the father-in-law made when he fell off the ladder. So thats all sorted now. We also put in a drop ceiling in the bathroom so the sparky will be able to put our lighting and exhaust fanout somewhere. We also finished off the loft storage area above the pool filter room. The kids have been calling it their cubby and it is actually a pretty cool little hiding spot for them.
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The next thing was putting up the gutter and flashing. We thought we would be able to get it all done in a day but with just the two of us (and little building experience) it took 2 days instead 🙂 But we got it done and it turned out ok for a couple of amateurs. There were too many times where we would both be up on the roof and ask where the tin snips were, or we would leave something down on the ground (or up on the roof) so there was a lot of climbing up and down. We had one of the pieces of flashing fall down from the pool side and created a few dents in the colorbond which was a bit annoying, but there was nothing we could do about it. Just one of those things I guess. So we just tried to even it out as best we could and the result wasn't too bad.
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You can see some of the dints from this angle on the left side. Unfortunately we couldn't get a single length that went the whole way across the top so needed to get two 4.2m pieces. 
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We also finally got our window fixed after a month of calling, emailing and texting Trend windows. We finally found someone who worked there who was actually able to do their job. Every time I called the local number nobody would answer and then someone from head office in Sydney would answer and they would say "i'll see if they are available" but then just transfer my call to someones mobile who would never answer. We had one contact person (who was the salesperson who sold us the windows) who would continually tell us that "ill find out whats going on and get back to you" but would NEVER get back to us. We had delivery scheduled for Wednesday last week and then midway through the day were told it would be Friday because the drivers were all sick. Then on Friday when nobody had shown up by 1pm my wife called and actually got through to someone. They said that our delivery wasn't meant to arrive until this Wednesday but after explaining the situation she got the delivery drivers to make another trip and got the window to us Friday afternoon about 4pm.
We are still waiting for them to send someone out to fix the bi-fold door...

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So my wife finished cladding around the window yesterday and so we are pretty much water tight now (apart from the door) 😞

The next thing we want to get sorted is the landing and stairs up to the studio and some screening around the bottom 600mm of the studio. Went on marketplace and found a guy selling about 60m2 of Modwood decking for $500 but we just needed to go and remove it ourselves. I say "we" but I cant do any heavy lifting for another month, so again it was up to my wife to go out and dismantle the deck. 🙂 She did have help from her brother-in-law but it turned out to be quite a mission. Not the dismantling part - the boards popped up quite easily, but getting the boards onto the back of the truck. The house was a waterfront property on Lake Macquarie and had restricted access. There was a 1 metre wide path up the side of the house that was about 60 metres away from the truck. So there were a lot of trips back and forth from the water to the street. My wife said she had done 18,000 steps between 9am and 1pm.
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We are going to redo our back deck with the same modwood decking so it will hopefully blend in a bit better. We have a 8x3m deck that is blackbutt timber, so will put the modwood on and it wont need so much attention like the timber deck does.

I will get around to finishing off the painting (I have about 80% done) and we will also start building the landing and stairs into the studio.

Tiler and waterproofing booked in for mid July so we need to get our villaboard and cavity sliding door into the bathroom before he arrives.

Once I have the back of the studio painted we can install the 5000L water tank on the slab and put the carport up on the side. So its all coming together pretty well.

Edited by nich2pat
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