Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The grand unveiling

The first of many, I hope. Today, after 15 months of being covered in scaffolding, the house was finally set free. A small retrospective is in order.

No idea when this is, but I had been guessing the 30s, but could well be earlier.

Then to October 2010, when we were first considering buying the house. We thought it had potential, if not realising the work needed.

And to today. The lower half still needs painting, which should be done soon, and of course the doors need to be replaced, but they'll be one of the last things we'll do before moving in. Whenever that is... Otherwise, the outside of the house is pretty much complete. Yay!

It's really weird not having scaffolding...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Getting warmer

Well, relatively speaking. Eight days after getting the insulation, I'm just about finished doing the inside of the west gable wall. Quite a lot of hours, considering I worked till 10 or 11 every night for those eight days, but it's the small details, particularly around the windows or accommodating the roof slope, that took the most time.

Here's a little before and after fun. First, the living room.
Living room, pre-plastering
And now with insulation.
The pink bits are extruded polystyrene, which are considerably denser than the white, expanded polystyrene stuff. The idea was to use this where fittings, like curtain rails, might go, so it'll support the weight better.

Going up a floor, to the bedroom, just above the living room.

And insulated
I've to cut blocks out to put some extruded polystyrene in here.

And finally, up another level. Small windows here, but I wanted to preserve the underlying arch form somehow, while making sure it was still well insulated. Filled the gaps above the windows with insulation then overlapped a layer with a fake arch cut in. When it's plastered, it should look nice, with an alcove/reveal 10cm deep.That's 10cm more than there was before!

Insulation finished tonight
There's still the very tip to do, then foam has to be injected between every insulation block, just to be sure, and finally, the whole lot has to be anchored to the wall with special screws. Once that';s done, we're ready to install the wall heating system!

Well, the south facade still has to be insulated, this time with wood fibre insulation. I have a feeling it'll be more difficult to work with. If I can get it ordered and delivered this week, I'll be happy.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Wood frames and insulation, oh my!

Just about two weeks ago, the window people finally came to fit the wood frames and window sills around the front windows. We'd been told it'd take six to eight weeks, but in the end it took twelve, despite persistent nagging. In reality, we think they built them in a day or two the week before installing them, as someone who answered the phone during one nagging session expressed surprise it should take so long, as they build them in their own workshop. Anyway, it also turned out they hadn't yet ordered some special powder-coated sills we need, so that adds another couple of weeks on, and the sills they did fit were not installed correctly. My patience is wearing thin...

Nevertheless, the frames are in, and the ever-reliable Dieter Edinger, our painter/plasterer, got the first coats of mint-green paint on them yesterday.

Frames fitted (without the sills!)
First coat of paint.
I think they look well, but my only complaint is that we were not consulted about the width. The original surrounds were at least twice as wide, so these feel a little... puny. Still, it's another step to the outside being complete, and the scaffolding should go in the next week or two.

Meanwhile, friend and neighbour Sace did us a great favour by picking up 50 square metres of insulation this morning.

Although I'd planned on using wood fibre insulation for the two sides of the house that must be insulated from the inside, frankly, it's simply too expensive. As a compromise, I'll insulate the brick gable wall with 10cm styrofoam, but will use the more breathable wood fibre insulation on the inside of the half-timbered wall on the front facade. Basically, this needs to be as breathable as possible to allow water in and out with ease, thereby keeping the timbers safe.

Not one to wait about (hah!), I began this afternoon on the second floor bedroom, with a foam gun and home-made hot-wire cutting device provided by Sace.

My nicely plastered walls, waiting for insulation.
The rather cool, hot-wire cutting device (also plays music)
The puzzling well under way.
And done (apart from window surrounds).

It's really rather fun doing this, but I was glad I'd learned some tricks while helping Sace insulate the outside of the local inn.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Guttered up

It seems like between travelling, picking apples and hazelnuts and a short illness, not a huge amount has happened on the house over the past month, but some important things have been done. With the expert help of Enver, we've finally got new gutters mounted on the pigsty behind the house and on part of the barn, where the gutters had been broken for the best part of a year. This should help a lot with the damp issues in the cellar, and the water from these roof surfaces is now diverted into the rainwater cistern. Roofer and neighbour, Lutz, also put up a snow catching grid to stop snow dropping down into the passage between the house and barn.

Shiney new gutters on part of the barn.
A little bit of scaffolding and lathes prepped for new gutters on pig sty.
Job done, so the patio stays a little drier.
The scaffolding should have gone weeks ago, but we've been waiting on the window people to finally come and fit wooden surrounds around the windows on the front of the house. We've been waiting about 11 weeks now, which is crazy, but they promised to come this week. Once that's done, the final painting can be done, though I think it's looking quite well already.

And inside, after weeks of procrastination, I finally got around to blocking up one of the excess doors into the kitchen. Now I just have to build the installation shaft, and we can begin wiring.

One less hole.