I thought i would show you lot what i have been up since last Friday afternoon when i finally picked up the keys to 'my' unit.
I'm going to be keeping this as a sort of journal and trying to update it on a daily basis, at the end i'll print it off and one day show it to my kids! I'm always open to advice and suggestions on how to go about things, so feel free to give your input.
Well it finally happened on Friday 23rd at around 5pm, i got the keys to 663 Ajax Avenue, a unit comprising 35000 sqft workshop space with 1500 sqft office space, and a large yard just for good measure.
I'd seen this unit countless times before taking the keys and i knew the roofspace was going to be the biggest nightmare in terms of the time needed to paint it and the requirement of a scissor lift in order to get up there in the first place.
The unit has been empty for around 18 months, and the previous occupier was a nappy packaging company. Which is great because you walk in to the smell of talcum powder, but terrible because the hot glue that they must've used became airborne and suff to the roof lights, creating a thick crusty layer on every single panel.
Day 1 - Saturday 24th May
First job of the day was to try and shift this dirt, i tried a multitude of spray and brush on products - megs APC, oil and grease remover, even oven cleaner. Nothing was shifting it. I even got the pressure washer on it, and with a pencil jet, it still wasn't shifting. The only thing for it was to scrape as much of it off as i could using a stanley knife blade in a window scraper holder.
This is what the windows looked like before:
It was backbreaking work and what with all the phaffing around testing all the products and installing an outside tap in only got a small number of the windows done.
Here are some 50/50 shots, you can see that because the rooflights aren't flat glass it was impossible to clean them completely, as i couldn't get into the troughs of the glass.
Day 2 - Sunday 25th May
I brought in some help today in the form of my mum, dad and brother. I cracked on with the rooflights as i had got into a rhythm from the day before. My mum got busy cleaning the kitchen and loos, and my brother and dad started removing the numerous isolators and redundant electrics that littered the walls.
The dust that was coming off the windows from scraping them was vile stuff, and i had bought myself a face mask the day before.
My dad and brother removing the electrics:
We came up with a fairly ingenious way of coiling up the ridiculous amount of cabling that was taken out of the trunking:
It ended up looking like a christmas tree made out of wire.
By the end of day two all the electrics had been removed, one side of the rooflights had been scraped and my mum had started scraping the windows in the walls which also had a layer of grime on them.
And this is how it was left at the end of Day 2:
Day 3 - Monday 26th May
Today Laslow, a Hungarian painter and decorator, started working and this guy is a grafter, what took me a day and half to do he did in a single day. One whole side of rooflights, 40 panes of glass in total, he knocked them out in a day. I was in pieces after my day and half of scraping, his shoulders must've been killing him, but at the end of a hard days work he said that he was 'a little bit tired'.
Whilst Laslow was doing the rooflights, i carried on scraping the windows around the side walls and when my Dad arrived we started prepping the frames for paint.
Day 4 - Tuesday 27th May
Laslow scraped off all the loose paint on the wooden roof boards ready for painting.
Once this was done he used the hot pressure washer to basically blast all the dirt from the steelwork in the roofspace and also went over the windows to try and get the last bits of dirt off them. The blasting of the windows was to no avail, the dirt stayed stuch to the glass, i was quite disappointed as i had hoped the hot pressure washer would shift it.
What the unit looked like at the end of Day 3:
Day 5 - Wednesday 28th May
Another guy started work at the unit today, Gregg, he's actually going to be installing the window tint and paint protection film once we are up and running, but he used to be a painter and decorator in a previous life.
We were also joined by two other guys who started the work required for the valeting bay. Essentially SEGRO (Slough Estate Group) would not allow us to valet unless all the wash water was going doing the foul drainage, which meant proposing a channel being cut around the valeting bay in order to catch the water and tapping into the foul drainage.
Gregg and Laslow got on with painting the central section of the roofspace. We knew it would never cover with just one coat, but now it looks like it'll need at LEAST two to get it to a decent standard.
With just one coat applied:
I knew that work still had to be done on the windows so i had arranged for a sales rep to visit the unit with some powerful degreaser and glue remover in order to see if we could shift the last of the crud on the rooflights. He did have a product that seemed to work but would not be able to get any out to us this week and he said that it was an expensive product, and at the quantity we would require it just wouldn't be cost effective. But he suggested trying something like paint thinner in order to break it down. I was a little deflated after he left as i was really pinning my hopes on this guy being able to provide a solution to the window problem. There was no way i could leave them as they were, they'd let down the whole unit once finished. In a last ditch attempt i popped down to Wickes and picked up a tin of Paint Stripper - a thick, gel like subtance. I brushed some on half a window and left it to dwell, i washed it off with my new hot water pressure washer that i've purchased and to my delight it came up almost perfect, and that was just after 5 minutes of contact time. The final job of the day for the two lads was to roller on the paint stripper onto all the rooflights. I've left it overnight and tomorrow morning we'll pressure wash the windows and see what comes of it.
At the end of Day 5: