Saturday 27 April 2013

Day 63: Chimney Wrapped Up

The waterproofing of the roof after construction of the chimney remained incomplete, but immediately the following day (17th April, Day 63), the entire chimney was clad in metal.

The photo above shows the base of the chimney in more detail. The sheets overlap with the surround on the outside such that water flows from the walls onto the roof without any chance to penetrate.

The whole installation is completed by a little roof on top of the chimney, preventing rain and snow to enter into the chimney and flood the sitting room. Note also that the edge around the chimney pipe is folded up so that water accumulating around it cannot flow into it. Smartly done, and it looks smart, too. The only thing missing now is a permanent access ladder and platform for cleaning and inspection.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Day 62: Waterproofing a Roof

There's seemingly some magic to closing a hole in a roof. Once you cut a hole in the roof, the roof area above the hole acts as a collecting area for water, which then goes straight into – in this case – the gap between chimney and roof. How to close the gap reliably?

First a surround for the chimney base was installed (17th March, Day 62) in such a way, that its edge is under an additional sheet of roof cover. You can see the lower-right corner of the roofing in the photo above.

Thus the water coming from above, will flow onto the chimney surround.  The surround itself is shaped from a single sheet of metal such that there are no gaps and no seams, and the water is guided away from the chimney to flow down in adjacent channels. The photo shows the area just above the base of the chimney.

Here's a view of the entire chimney surround. All screws come with a rubber base, which locks them to the sheet metal in a water-tight fashion.

A small gap between chimney wall and the vertical bits of the surround remains. Thus water can still enter, but in far less quantities than before. This will be fixed another day, and for now the chimney had to be wrapped in some tarp again.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Day 61: Chimney Reaching Full Height

On 16th April (Day 60) in the early morning we began the work on the chimney. A hole was cut into the metal roof, and then the chimney was brought up to its final height. That meant carrying a lot of bricks and mortar up a ladder, but by midday it was done and it looked great. The picture above shows the makeshift scaffolding put into place as a work platform. The platform then grew with the chimney by adding more palettes.

The second photo shows the chimney from above, looking towards the access road to our yard. Unfortunately the person supposed to make a metal cover for the chimney and thereby closing the roof again, didn't have time on the same day, so I had to wrap the hole with some tarp in order to make it survive the following night without water damage. It worked well, but that was due to the lucky fact that the night turned out to have remained dry.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Day 60: Fireplace Door Installed

On Day 60, 11th April, just in the morning before the public show of Our House, we managed to install the door of the fireplace in order to complete the look of it. Also the service/cleaning hatches below the fireplace and at the bottom of the chimney were installed. Now it really looks the part, except for the missing chimney – so don't start a fire just yet.

The house show later in the afternoon was well visited, even crowded at times. Our narrow access road was at one time plugged with cars so that there was no escaping from us. Also, one person parked slightly off the road and needed to be towed out by skidoo... All in all a successful afternoon.

Friday 12 April 2013

Day 59: Kitchen Complete!

On Monday, 9th April (Day 59), the kitchen was finally completed. It had by accident been delivered one element too short, but the missing parts came during the previous week. Now Our House is ready as far as our contract with the factory is concerned – the fire place is a separate arrangement. The only obligation left from our side to fulfil the contract is to show the house to the public.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

House Show

Our House will be shown to the public on 11th April, between 1700h and 1900h. At that time, sales staff will be present, and visitors can have a look around Our House and ask questions etc. If you are interested, take the opportunity and visit. Click on the image above for a larger version, or go directly to the on-line information. Welcome!

Thursday 4 April 2013

Kitchen Arrives and Cleaning Progresses

Our House is basically complete, except of the kitchen, which was accidentally delivered short by one element or 60 cm. The missing cupboard (foreground) and the work surface of correct length (background, to the left) were delivered on 3rd April, and they will be installed on Monday, 8th April.

Otherwise cleaning is progressing, with a general dusting of absolutely everything, which includes also a careful check of possible damaged bits. In a construction process it probably can't always be avoided that something goes wrong, but then it needs to be negotiated if this leads to compensation claims. Thus one of the tasks is finally to reveal the laminate floors by collecting the corrugated cardboard covering. The photo above shows the ready product, a design called "honey oak," the same as the one we chose for the work surface for the kitchen.

Also the windows got their first dusting, and they immediately become one step more transparent. It's surprising how much fine dust collects absolutely everywhere. Fortunately the large stickers weren't glued onto the glass, but stuck there simply by electrostatic adhesion, so easy to remove.

There won't be any more updates to this blog until next Monday, when the kitchen will be complete. After that, blog entries will be sparse, posted whenever something interesting happens. The next items on the agenda are the hand-over of Our House on 11th April, and the House Show on the same day.

Construction-wise, the chimney still needs to break through the roof and reach its final height, and access ladders for chimney sweepers must be installed. In May, we will dig the trenches for drainage pipes. After closing those trenches, another double-layer of FinnFoam around the outside of the foundations will provide the last bit of insulation against ground frost. On top of this, the soil originally taken from under Our House will be used for backfilling around the house.

Furthermore, the house needs to be painted from the outside, and a lot of gardening is going to happen. Thus there will be updates, but at irregular intervals.

House Show: Our House will be open to the public on Thursday, 11th April, from 1700h to 1900h, with sales staff present. Welcome if you are interested. For details follow the link.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Day 58: Blowing Insulation into the Loft

On Day 58 (1st April), another lorry arrived. It was time to give the Our House its final bit of insulation, which was to be blown across the floor of the loft.

The lorry was fully loaded with a material called Ekovilla, which is an insulating wool made of recycled paper. It comes in paper sacks, and is fed into the machine at the back of the lorry, which gives it a good mix, and then blows it through a hose into the loft.

In the loft, one person simply guides the hose until the correct thickness of material is achieved. In our case this was 45 cm of Ekovilla, on top of 10 cm of mineral wool. This should keep us warm in winter, and prevent us from overheating in summer. The photo shows Ekovilla being blown in.

This is what the area looked like afterwards. The product name "Ekovilla" means "eco wool" in English, and it is very ecological, consisting entirely of recycled paper.

The process is very dust, and paper fibres are everywhere. Of course during the process face masks are an absolute must to wear. Otherwise Ekovilla is simply a dry, grey, fluffy substance. However, it compresses well when stepped on, and I am happy we took the advice and built a pathway across the entire loft for later access.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Day 57: Wrapping the Chimney

After the plaster on the chimney under the roof was dry, it was time to wrap it in special fire-proof mineral wool. This is done to prevent the surroundings under the roof to get too hot, should the chimney itself get too hot. Two 50-mm thick layers are wrapped around and secured with wire.

Since the first set of mineral wool sheets are only just tall enough to cover the area to be filled with Ekovilla insulation, I put another set above the first.

This is where the chimney will eventually break through the roof. The roof is made up of large sheets of thin metal, which are pressed into a shape resembling tiles. One can clearly see the shape from underneath.

Unfortunately, it is really difficult to take pictures of this, but during Days 56 and 57 (29th and 30th March), the rest of the family have joined me at the site and began the process of cleaning Our House, beginning with an overall hoover session. Cleaning has started – surely that must mean we are close to moving in: 17 days to go!

Monday 1 April 2013

Day 56: Bridging the Loft

On 29th March, it was time again for us to make some improvements. The "floor" of the loft, as per standard delivery, is a mesh of planks and bars criss-crossing each other. Below these planks, and in between the bars, there's a 100 mm thick layer of mineral wool, under which there's a folio acting as vapour barrier. The folio also makes the house airtight, which aides insulation. Below the folio are the electrical cables and then the ceiling panelling. Thus it is fairly dangerous to step onto the yellow mineral wool, since one might just crash down into the house. The photo above shows the first planks crossing the loft, onto which longitudinal plants will be placed to create a walkway.

During the next phase, paper-based, insulating wool (Ecovilla) will be blown across the entire floor, which will have two side-effects: first, it will obscure the mesh of planks, making it a rather tricky guessing game as to where one can step safely. Secondly, the insulation effect is hinged on the fluffiness of the wool, and once it is compressed by stepping on, the effect is greatly compromised at that location. In order to provide access for jobs like cabling the TV aerial, we were advised to build a bridge about 65 cm high across the entire loft. Fortunately, there was enough left-over wood from the construction. The second photo shows the near-finished main walkway. Now one can move safely across the entire length of the house without stepping on insulation.

Finally, I extended the accessible area towards and around the chimney, just in case we need to get there when finishing it, and also to allow the chimney to be inspected anytime later on.