Monday, 27 February 2012

Under the boardwalk

The weather has been warming up nicely, which makes it a little more pleasant doing work on the house. Stuff that has happened over the past two or three weeks includes lifting more floor boards on one of the attic levels. The existing boards looked ok, and were relatively new, but after the crap (literally) found under the other room, I thought it's be nice to make sure we had no future surprises. The boards turned out to be well nibbled by woodworm, but I've kept them all for reuse somewhere else.
2nd level, west, sans floor boards
The new beam in the living room is partially secured since last Saturday, but some more brickwork is needed to finish the job. While doing that, a neighbour asked why we were only exposing half the beams in the living room. I had taken some of the old plaster down for safety, as it was quite loose, but had to admit, the beams looked well. Of course, this meant the sandblaster had to come out of retirement for an hour.

Part of living room ceiling, a mix of clay and cement plaster.
The contemplative sandblaster, looking like a StarWars extra.
Newly exposed and blasted beams.
 And last, but not least, I had fun with a jackhammer, breaking up the concrete floor in cellar 3. Under this was hardcore rubble, ice and sand. I plan on digging down more, putting in a layer of expanded clay pellets, a limecrete floor, perhaps with flagstones or brick as a final layer. The main idea being that it is a breathable floor to regulate moisture. No treasure found yet.
That was fun, and easy!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Another post bites the dust

A small update. Coming to the top of the stairs to the second floor there used to be a wall with a door.
August 2011

After removing all the plasterboard from the ceiling and walls in this landing area a few months ago, we were left with posts exposed where this wall was. These wobbled like hell, so were clearly not playing a structural role, so yesterday I took them out.

September 2011

This has opened up the area between the staircases, and now avoids the need to step over the beam that was at floor level (see photos below) when making one's way to the next level. As it turns out, this beam was simply resting on the floorboards, so it looks like it could have been a later addition, probably so a door could be built in.

February 2012
The effect of sandblasting the timbers is also clear!

Of course, the posts and beam haven't completely bitten the dust. They've gone into storage in the barn with many other timbers and will probably get reused for other projects. Some day...

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Zellofant cometh

After a couple of false starts, today was the day the Zellofant came. We spent the best part of six hours together, so I got to know it very well. What is it? A great big masher for Zellulosefaser-Dämmstoff, or cellulose fiber insulation, also known as minced up newspaper. It's an environmentally-friendly material that also happens to be a pretty good thermal and sound insulator. In our case, it has been used to insulate the roof, by blowing it in between the rafters which have been covered with, well, an envelope of brown paper.
The Zellofant.

Bales of cellulose insulation.
The Zellofant feeding.

During the course of the day, 141 bales of compressed cellulose insulation, each weighing 14kg were fed to the Zellofant, which promptly spat them though a hose to the professional up in the roof. By cutting into the paper envelope, he was able to blow in the cellulose insulation, resulting in  200mm thick layer of insulation between the rafters. That, combined with the wood fibre sheets that lie on top of the rafters means our roof is pretty well insulated*.

There's 1974kg of cellulose behind that paper membrane!
This was the last major component of the roof. The rest is just internal finishing (well, we don't fancy looking at brown paper forever), but that can come later. Probably a lot later!

*If you're a interested, the wood fibre boards have a K (thermal conductivity) value of 0.044 W/(m·K) and are 35mm thick, while the cellulose has a K value of 0.04 and is 200mm thick, meaning we should have a total U value of 0.17 for the roof surfaces (if I've understood the formulae correctly!).