Sunday 11 September 2011

Tiles for the terrace

 terrace, looking NE where corner step will be
Today it's raining and cool. What a contrast to yesterday when it reached nearly 30C here: a real summer's day, hot and sunny.

In Edinburgh they have a saying: 'If you can see the Pentland hills it is going to rain; if you can't, it's raining'. It's a bit like the second bit where we live: if you can't see the other side of the Aigronne valley it's raining. Right now we can't see the other side.

Typically, on such a lovely day for doing things in the garden we needed to go and visit Leroy Merlin--well known to anyone in France who does any kind of home or garden improvement. We needed to order the tiles we'd chosen for the terrace. Before we moved in we had the terrace dug out, concreted and a small breeze block retaining wall put in. We'd decided that the finishing would come later once we'd settled in and were clear what we wanted.

terrace tiles
Later has now arrived. We want it done before the winter as there are also some drainage issues. We need the terrace to slope slightly away from the house so that water runs in that direction. As it is a large space, 52m2 in total, we also need to have a second soakaway put in. When it rains here, boy can it rain!  We'd also found, using the terrace over the summer, that the step up to the grass was far too small. Now it is going to be widened and placed in the corner on the angle so as to 'open' the terrace up to the space beyond.

We'd liked the look -on the internet site- of 3 different tiles. When we got to the store yesterday morning they didn't have one of our choices but the other two were on display. So we looked at two others we hadn't considered during our internet search but, in the end, came back to our original equal favorite. 

The tiles look like stone setts and are a pale golden colour. Most importantly they are anti-slip and have a high resistance to fading. The colour should blend in with the tones of the stone & render of the house keeping it all light. They looked good in real life and the store had them in stock so the order was placed. The staff were efficient and friendly and we were in and out very quickly. So a successful visit and it meant we would get home in good time to deal with the grass.

some of the kit for the new step and soakaway
But the best laid plans.... we have just over 2 1/2 acres and we take it in turn to mow large sections of it. We were just changing over, having got about half the area done, when Niall noticed that the front left tyre on the ride-on mower looked very soft. We had a flat! On Tuesday we'll take it to the garage in the village for repair. The rest of the grass will have to wait until the tyre is fixed and it stops raining.
However, rain or shine tomorrow the work starts on the terrace and we're looking forward to having it finished.

[terrace tile image from Leroy merlin catalogue]


Craig said...

I like the tile choice very much... it should look great on the terrace. A bummer about the flat tyre... you need to stop the racing to the shops on the ride on mower!
When we lived in France we liked Leroy Merlin a lot. We found it sylish, well run, and with good quality well priced goods. Don't get me started on M. Bricolage though... ours had lots of staff doing nothing and the stock always looked like it was bought in 1973!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Craig LOL! We've seen a neighbour do that--except it was a mini-sized garden tractor. How he would explain being on a D road to the gendarmes beats me! :-)

We too have found that BricoMarché and M.Biroclage 'tres variable'.

More pics of work on terrace will follow--we won't let you escape too easily :-)

Pollygarter said...

We found the same with the tiles we chose for our kitchen - the catalogue didn't do them justice, but the ones that looked good in the catalogue were actually pretty grim. Tim mended a flat on our mini-tractor himself, but it took a lot of wrestling. Part of the problem was having a two-wheel tractor!
And still it rains! My sympathies to Ken,

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Pauline - on advice of a friend found some 'stuff' you spray into tyre via valve {SuperU car section} and then you can simply re-inflate afterwards. Worked a treat on their tractor mower and doesn't require removing wheel etc.. Will be trying it out at the weekend.

Miserable isn't it? Place is rapidly turning into the 'gloop like' state. Always seems to rain when we have digging work done....

wcs said...

Can't wait to see it finished. What's a "soakaway?"

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Walt - We're not on mains sewers so all the downspouts [and now terrace drain] run into undergound pipes which gradually fall away to an end point which is the soak-away. So yesterday a trench was dug and today 24m of pipe was laid in a line away from the house on a gently decreasing angle. It will drain rainwater from the terrace.

LindyLouMac said...

This interesting post makes me realise how similar your life in France is to ours here in Italy. We did the very same thing when we moved in by concreting our large outdoor terrace just like you did! Then this year we tiled it with anti slip tiles, etc etc. Sorry about the rain still not reached us, although it does mean lots of watering!

the fly in the web said...

Glad the tiles - which look super - are non slip...friends had tiles on their terrace which were lethal if the slightest bit didn't need strong drink to put you flat on your back at their place!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@LindyLou - too right! watering is not something we've had to do do recently :-). But today we had glorious blue skies--even if it wasn't too warm. Temp due to go up by end of week though.

@Fly - we were very keen to make sure they were anti-slip as we'd had the skating rink tiles experience at a holiday rental.

GaynorB said...

I like your choice of tiles for the terrace. Hope the work goes to plan, and that the weather is kind to you as the building work progresses.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - Monday was horrid-- but since then it's been sunny. Fingers crossed it continues like that next week. :-)

JEH1002 said...

Agree with others - lovely choice in tiles... I must return and give a personal opinion ;-)

So is it complete now? Hope all coming together nicely?!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane - nope not yet. It will take a while longer .... more to it than meets the eye.