Finally satisfied that it was both level and at the correct height, I held it in place while Chris fixed a couple of the angle brackets. We checked the level and height again before screwing on a couple more brackets. We checked again, and stood back to congratulate ourselves on a job well done.
It would take four pieces of timber to stretch the whole length of the room, and the second piece proved trickier as there was no wall to use as a support. Not only did it have to be level and at the correct height, it also had to continue from the first piece in a straight line, otherwise we would have the wrong gap for fixing the loft panels.
But Chris and I make a pretty good team, even if we do have our moments of madness when we do things like trying to bend a length of two by three round the stairs. Having worked out how to fix the second piece of timber in place, we soon got into our stride and after just two days the floor was covered in parallel rows of timber.
We did seem to have a lot more brackets and screws than we needed. Chris and I puzzled over this superfluity while we ate dinner and came to the conclusion that we had planned to place the brackets in pairs along the new joists whereas in the event we had staggered them on either side, and our original calculations had allowed for ten screws in each bracket – five each into the joist and floor – but we were only using six. It was also distinctly possible that I had added an extra nought to the number when I ordered them. Whatever the reason, I now have enough screws to last not just my lifetime, but the lifetimes of my children and grandchildren as well.
I spent the next morning carrying loft panels up the stairs while Chris had the easier job of screwing them to the joists. That done, we spent an hour or so walking over every square inch of the floor to ensure it was firm and there were no squeaks, and another hour crawling across it with spirit levels to ensure it didn’t slope in any direction. Finally, we were happy with what we had achieved so far.