The big leap forward with my new ‘baie coulissante’, my new sliding patio door. My good friend Wim arrived at 9.00 am this morning to give me a hand and we got cracking straight away. The first job was to knock out the old windows and door frame and after that I wanted to press on. However, Wim said that it would be a good idea to pause and erect a plastic screen to seal off my living room and although initially I thought that we could do it later, in fact it was a master-stroke as later on we generated a huge amount of mess and dust that would otherwise have flown straight in.

I knew that the job would be no pic-nic as sliding doors have to be mounted dead square and vertically in an almost perfectly rectangular aperture. This is OK when you’re dealing with a ‘normal’ house, but mine is far fom that having been converted from what was genuinely an old farm barn many years ago when the builders hadn’t needed to worry, therefore, about having everything plumb and square.

It had also made my measuring job much more difficult than it might otherwise have been, so I’d been keeping my fingers crossed that everything would work out OK when we eventually came to fit the new door frame into the wall. And it wasn’t easy – far from it. We had to cut quite a lot of really hard stone away on one side to get an edge that was clean, vertical and true. We started by doing it by hand with a club hammer, a cold chisel and a brick bolster but it was just too much effort, so when I went over the Brico Depot to pick up the materials that we’d need that I didn’t already have, I also picked up a multi-purpose cutting blade to go onto my large electric angle grinder.

This made it much easier and what could have taken an hour or more to do by hand only took a few minutes, plus it was also possible to shave a bit off at a time so as to get a nice neat fit without the danger of going to far and creating gaps between the aluminium frame and the walls. We finished up at the end of the day with the frame secured in place along its top edge where it meets with an oak beam and two screws in the lower corners of its sides. Here’s how the job ended up this evening.

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We could almost have fitted the doors but I want to get the remaining frame securing screws in place and a concrete bed installed for the frame to sit on first. I’ll do that tomorrow morning and we should then be able to fit the doors when Wim arrives in the afternoon leaving me free to do all of the making good and finishing off by myself afterwards. As usual, I couldn’t have got anywhere near this far on without his help and certainly not in the relatively short time that it has taken to get to where we now are.

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