Jan 252020

This week, we created a machine to slice up our pile of random insulation sheets (which can be up to 150 mm thick) and started putting them into the walls surrounding the Entertainment Room. We needed to do this job now as we require access to the “I” section of the wall in Bedroom 3 so a new window hole can be created and this is being blocked by the stack of insulation.
So our slicing machine is constructed using a full 8foot by 4foot sheet of 12mm plywood, framing the edges and putting it on legs and then mounting a sabre saw into a wooden bracket and screwing it to the under side of the table. The table had a square section measuring 300mm cut out so we could gain access to the saw clamp to change blades. We also put together a boom arm over the blade and mounted a pair of ball races that grips the saw blade to stop it flexing sideways.

Foam Board Slicer Created and Started Putting Insulation into Walls around Entertainment Room


Foam Board Slicer Created and Started Putting Insulation into Walls around Entertainment Room


We also made provision to have our large format vacuum machine to suck away the crumbs and dust of the insulation material as we push it through the slicing machine.
Finally, we got a mobile adjustable fence with two clamps so we can set up a regularised width to guide the foam sheets through the machine.
Foam Board Slicer Created and Started Putting Insulation into Walls around Entertainment Room


Then, first job was to slice some of the sheets from the random heap of thicknesses, widths and lengths to produce a regular 940mm size. This measure is the distance from the concrete floor and to the height of the concrete wall and its three lines of timber. This means that when the first section is filled in, then the upper section can be loaded with another set of regularly sized insulation boards.
So this is what we did and now the Entertainment Room has the lower section along the “d” and “c” of the wall all filled in, apart from the window section.
Foam Board Slicer Created and Started Putting Insulation into Walls around Entertainment Room


Then we realised that we could use up the left-over pieces of the polystyrene foam sheets (they came from when we were making the rafters) and we could use them to fill in the gap within the leg themselves, as they were already 38mm thick and this is exactly what we need here to block a potential cold bridge through the legs.
So all the pieces went through the slicing machine at 220mm wide and ready to be inserted when we need to.
Finally, we started the task of filling in the upper section of the walls and we decided that because of the random nature of the foam boards we got second hand, we would slice the pieces into a regular width and then stack them on top of each other and build it up layer by layer, with lots of PU spray foam to make sure that we don’t get any cold bridging. So we started right in the corner (the “C” – “D” corner) and sliced a set of 620mm wide pieces. We had found enough for two layers of 120mm thick boards and finished off the third layer using 100mm thick boards.
Foam Board Slicer Created and Started Putting Insulation into Walls around Entertainment Room


It was rather fiddly but we are learning and some of the pieces were quite tight so next time, we will make it a little looser and use more spray PU foam to seal all the edges and joints. This would mean using a lot more spray foam but it is a small extra cost against the total cost of the insulation and it would help us move quicker in doing this job too.
Next week, we resume filling the walls in around the Entertainment Room, the reason we are doing this area first is because we will be building the soundproofing concrete walls as one of the first jobs to do inside the house when we have finished all the exterior cladding and have installed the windows and we would lose access to get the insulation in!!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jan 142020

After our Christmas and New Year celebrations, we resumed work this week with the outstanding task of sealing all the cement boards covering the walls of the house. We resumed the grinding operation and washing tasks to clean and smooth the joints. We completed the remaining segments, namely the J, K, L, M, N, O and P1.
Just before Monday’s lunch, we started rolling on the flashing tape, 3inch wide and extra heavy duty bitumen backed tape, to seal the bottom edge of the cement boards to the concrete blocks (to deflect any rain running down behind the cladding away from the joint). It was cold and the bitumen glue wouldn’t stick by itself so we got out our hot air gun and warmed it up and rolled it hard to the surfaces. We got this all done by the end of the day at 5pm in the dark!!

Sealing the Cement Boards on Walls


The following day, Tuesday, we then resumed the other half of the job of rolling on the shiny aluminium tape over all the joints of the cement boards, completing those last parts of the walls left undone since before Christmas.
We also used our new cut-down platform modules to help gain access to the two porches, the front door and the side door porches and got all the joints covered too.
Sealing the Cement Boards on Walls


Sealing the Cement Boards on Walls


Sealing the Cement Boards on Walls


Sealing the Cement Boards on Walls


Finally, to complete this job, we spent the last hour in filling in the window hole on the B wall (we decided that this window was no longer needed), this is the left hand four feet sticking out portion of the Front Door and Leisure Room structure of the house. We sliced off 30mm of the existing cement board around the window. This left room to put up two pieces of fresh cement boards cut down to fit which then we glued and nailed both bits into place. The final job was to cover these new joints with the aluminium tape to make sure it was air tight.
Sealing the Cement Boards on Walls


Sealing the Cement Boards on Walls


Oh yes, we decided to seal up the joins in our Conservatory as well so we were truly air tight as we won’t be able to work on the Conservatory when we got the internal rooms all done and we needed to perform the pressure test procedure.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Dec 142019

With Christmas fast approaching, with various interruptions occurring, we had only managed to do a couple of days of work.
We got on with the task of sealing all the cement boards covering our walls around the whole house. The first part was to grind all the edges of each board because they were smeared in old glue that we used at the time of mounting the boards up. We discovered that this white general purpose construction glue suffered from exposure to rain and sunshine, it went brittle and crumbled away. SO we had to clean off any residue and we did this by using our battery powered angle grinder with a 120 grit sanding disk. Then everything was washed down with warm water to remove the dust and dirt to ensure a good strong bond when we roll on the aluminium tape.
The aluminium tape we bought especially for this job, it was a thicker metal foil (75microns thick), 50mm wide and we bought 5 lots of 50 metre rolls
By the end of the week, avoiding some bad weather too, we manage to get done all along the front, around to the side and the first segment along the back. Precisely, we did P2, A, C, D, E, F, H and I. We had skipped the B part because we wanted to fill in the tiny window hole first (we realised that the window wasn’t worth having and it was going to be awkward to put the cladding around too).

Sealing Up Cement Board Joints


Sealing Up Cement Board Joints


Sealing Up Cement Board Joints


This post is very likely to be the last one of the year (and decade too) so Merry Christmas!

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Dec 072019

After our conclusion of the slates on the roof (the front porch section) on Monday, we finished dismantling of all the remaining platform modules apart from two full height modules that we managed to move inside the house and a further three modules were cut down to provide a new lower working platforms.



We then repaired and completely replaced the covering over the swimming lane storage area. The old tarpaulin that has fallen apart due to long exposure under the power of the sun. We also removed all the old wet hardboard material and chucked them up to our fire pile. Using the old plywood sheets that were the walking surface of the platform modules, we used eight of them to recover the swimming lane, also using a series of the narrow strips to fill in the gap at the front of the roof too. Finally, we recycled two very large tarpaulin off-pieces which was 14metres long by 3metres wide and draped it over the new roof surface, having it folded over to form a double layer. Everything was tied down with pieces of oak strips (from our burn pile) and stapled into place.

Performed Site Tidy-up and Maintenance plus Preparation and Spraying Black Paint Under the Eves


Performed Site Tidy-up and Maintenance plus Preparation and Spraying Black Paint Under the Eves


The rest of the week was spent on preparing the eves, removing sticking through nails and removing the last of excess brown rubber glue material around the back of the fascia and sanding it down smooth. Then we got out our new paint sprayer we bought in the Summer, set it up, with water ready to practice spraying only to discover that it didn’t work. There was no suction into the inlet tube. This is the second time this fault occurred as it happened when be bought it but we exchanged it for a new one, which we tested it with water back then. So we contacted the retailer and they said, take it back to the shop and get your full refund. I am glad that we found the receipt because the till insisted that the product only costs £70 but our receipt says £180! The store manager had to override the till so we got all our money back!
We then found another model which was nearly double the price and went to buy that one instead. We tested that and after a little false start, we got it working with emulsion paint.
By this time, the day was over and the following day was wet so we didn’t get to spray the under side of the eves until Saturday.
The black acrylic paint we are using is very very thick and dense, even after diluting it by 30% as instructed on the tin, the paint still wouldn’t spray through the nozzle. So we had to dilute it by a further 10% before it got going. The diluted paint was still very thick like thick custard so this acrylic paint is amazingly heavy for external surfaces (it’s made for barns etc).
The other piece of equipment we made was a protective shield to stop any splatter reaching the guttering. We just wanted to spray behind the fascia and up the roof board and the rafters coming out from the walls.
This shield was put on legs so we could prop it up against the fascia edge, but also we mounted 5 little LED flood lamps to help brighten up inside the eves.
We started around next to the conservatory at the front of the house and worked our way along the front.
But after a short while, the initial litre of paint we put into the hopper was gone and we had only done a few metres. We did realise that by spraying the paint, it uses it up more quickly, giving the surface a thicker finish, but not that quickly! So we diluted the paint by another 10% and got on with the task, hoping that we will get a fair way around the whole 75 metres of eves!
And .. we actually got back to the beginning but only just! We do need to buy more paint anyway because the two porches with their under surfaces disappearing high up to a point and we need to get up on a platform module to give us the reach and finish off the last bit. It also looks like some of the rafters need a second coat.

Performed Site Tidy-up and Maintenance plus Preparation and Spraying Black Paint Under the Eves


Performed Site Tidy-up and Maintenance plus Preparation and Spraying Black Paint Under the Eves


We will get that done next week and then we will start on the task of putting up the wall cladding.

 Posted by at 2:30 pm
Dec 022019

On this very chilly Monday morning, and a bit of the afternoon too, we finished off putting slates on the last section of roof, the “C” section which is our front porch roof facing our Loke. Another 100 slates went up, followed by about 80 slates for the flashing up the two hips.

Roof Section C Complete


This concludes the task of putting the roof on. We had a quick count of the remaining slates we got left which turns out to be about 3000 slates and 70 wide slates.

Roof Section C Complete


Roof Section C Complete


We received 18360 slates last October so that means we have put up over 15000 slates, including 640 wide slates, stretched over an area of 360 square metres.

We generated a full ton bag of waste pieces

Roof Section C Complete


So that needs to be processed somewhere and somehow. We may phone around to see if anyone wants bits of slates for garden paths or something.

This means that the whole roof is now complete at the beginning of December 2019. We started the job of constructing the roof way back in July 2017! with putting up the kerb and rafter support blocks. Then getting on with the job of creating each and every single rafter.
It is by far the most complicated part of the building project we had to do and hopefully, the rest of the build will be just a tad bit easier!! (and quicker!!!!)

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Nov 302019

After finishing dismantling the excess platform modules and the lift hoist shaft, we got on with the task of preparing the Eves, ready to be painted. But the week saw quite a lot of disruptions to our work schedule.

But The first job was to spray PU foam using our gun foam kit and climb up inside the house to the top of the walls and seal the gap between the cement wall boards and the roof boards also seal the rafters where they go through the wall.

Sealing the Roof boards to Walls and Cleaning the Eves


Meanwhile, the logo plus name banner design going across our Front Porch, on the outward facing portion of the roof, namely our “C” section that isn’t done yet, is coming along. We have been doing test runs on cutting certain portions of the rose and leaf designs into the slates and filling it in with coloured resin and seeing how it comes out.

Slate house name banner design

Slate house name banner design

We have been building various tools and jigs to help us in selecting and preparing the slates, for example, finding nice flat ones of a reasonable thickness.

But in light of our tests, we have decided that it was taking too long to arrive at a final solution. We want to do more Research and Development and we didn’t want to rush this stage and then regret it later on. We will make the design slowly and install it when the house is (nearly) complete!

So on Saturday, we spent all day putting up over 300 slates across a further 13 rows to add to the existing first row we did a couple of weeks ago.

Sealing the Roof boards to Walls and Cleaning the Eves


We are about half way up the height of the C roof section but only about 120 slates to go to finish it off and then nail up the flashing slates and we are all done. We will come back when we are ready with the banner logo design and swop out the necessary slates for the new ones.
This means that we can dismantle the final five platform modules and tidy up everything along the front of our house so it looks more respectful. We will keep the component parts of these platform modules so we can rebuild some so we can gain access to the “C” roof again. We would only need two of them (or even just one) as our house banner is currently only 1600mm long and 350mm high.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Nov 232019

We are working on a design for a house banner, located over our front door porch facing our Loke. We want to cut the design into our slates and then fill it with various coloured epoxy resin to form a picture of a rose or two and our house name. The tricky bit is generating the necessary instructions to send to the milling machine that will slice into the surface of each slate by about 2mm. We have already bought the epoxy resin plus a series of tough UV stable colours (like Iron Oxide for the rusty red colour, aluminium powder for the silver grey, chromium oxide for the green and titanium dioxide for the white etc. )
The whole design won’t be to big or too bold, just enough so our house will have something to identify itself to visitors!
The work on this has been patchy when the weather was yukky and we couldn’t work on the roof, but since we have finished the main part of the roof on Thursday and the tidy up job is interrupted by more rainy weather, we have been working much more on this task like all day Saturday.

The other task that was done this week, from Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, is to start dismantling the dozen platform modules we have been using for the last 18 months. We will not get rid of all of them, partly because we still got the “C” porch roof to complete, but also we realised that some of the better looking modules could be used for internal functions like reaching the ceilings in various rooms when we are decorating etc. But for now, we have dismantled four modules completely and making a stack of “legs” in our swimming lane.

House Banner Design Progresses and Dismantling of Platform Modules


And we adapted three other modules by slicing off 900mm off the legs to form set of working platforms to enable us to prepare the Eves (ready for painting) and finish off rubbing the gutters and seal the metal mesh coverings.


We will also dismantled the lift shaft as we don’t need that any more and we have an odd sixteen foot long platform module that was our mobile platform we had last year and that will dismantled that too.
With winter coming, we will work more and more in the workshop on our windows and assemble them together and get them all ready for installation etc.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Nov 212019

We start the week with the left-over task of moving the Larch Timber inside our house to get it under cover. It was two and a half tons of wood to shift!! See Larch Timber Arrives.

But over the next couple of half day sessions, two afternoons (Monday and Tuesday) and one morning (Thursday) we got the remaining two hundred slates up on the “H” section of the roof, including doing the hip where we had to use our long extension ladder to climb up the roof to reach each slate meeting the hip edge. It was very fiddly because of the ladder, having to lean out and having to cut every slate with an angled shape. This also includes putting up the flashing slates as we went along.

That concludes the “H” roof.



Roof Section H Complete!


Roof Section H Complete!


Roof Section H Complete!


We have finally reached right back to where we started eight months ago. The only small section left to do is over the front porch where we are designing a logo banner that will be cut into the slate surface itself and filled in with various coloured epoxy resins. This is the very last section of the whole roof, a further 500 slates.

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Nov 182019

Today saw the arrival of our Larch wall cladding timber! But it was most unexpected and the first sign that it was coming, was a phone call from the driver saying “I’m ten minutes away!” We were told delivery would be 2-3 weeks and it’s only been 9 days!
O boy!
The day was a very wet with virtually continuous rain all morning and we hadn’t planned to be out in it at all! But the phone call changed everything!!
We hastily got changed into work clothes, put on rain jackets and gloves and got outside into the rain!
The first job was to guide the lorry down our Loke, but at least and thank goodness, the driver was confident to reverse his soft shell high sided vehicle, all the way down to the bottom. The delivery truck had no crane and was expecting a fork-lift vehicle on site to unload the two pallets but alas we don’t have one of those!

This meant that the whole lot, all 5 tons of it, had to be unloaded by hand, plank by plank, a total of 600 Planks!
We got two trestle tables out to help organise carrying piles and several two by sixes to laid on the ground to support the larch out of the way.

The load arrived at 10:10am and we got it all unloaded by 12:40am, a total of two and an half hours of solid back breaking continuous effort without a single rest!

The Larch Timber for Wall Cladding Arrives


The Larch Timber for Wall Cladding Arrives


There are three different widths (145mm, 126mm and 95mm) planks and they came in various lengths. The narrow ones were the longest with most of them being nearly 6 metres long!

The Larch Timber for Wall Cladding Arrives


The larch planks are very nice indeed, with hardly any knots and very smooth!

The first quick analysis of what we got, seems to suggest that we were delivered 870metres of the widest planks, and about 810metres of the other two planks each. We ordered 850metres of each width.

On the following three working mornings, Friday, Saturday and Monday, we moved all of them inside our main house so we could more precisely tally what we got, but also to stack them up in a much neater way, allow the planks to air and dry off from all the rain and get them ready for the two liquid treatment procedures they will need.

The Larch Timber for Wall Cladding Arrives


The tally results for our timber were as follows:
* Widest (145mm) : 213 x 4 meter = 852 meters
* Medium (126mm) : 75 x 3 metres and 156 x 4 metres planks making 849metres
* Narrow (95mm) : 62 x 5.4 meters plus 90 x 5.7m and one 4.9m = 852 meters

This has meant that we were interrupted from our work on the roof and doing the windows! But it has to happen anyway.

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Nov 162019

We resumed work on our roof, continuing with the task of putting up the flashing slates up the “F” Porch roof section and then started doing the “G” little section on the side of the porch section. This narrow strip is very very fiddly, having to work on both the valley and the hip and only four standard slates in between. It took well over a day to complete it, most of Monday and Tuesday morning.

Sections F, G Finished and H Nearly done !


On Wednesday, we eagerly got started on the last section of roof, the “H” section, and got the valley done, which was slow because of having to cut on every row special slates to fill in the angle. But once that was finished, we then could speed up putting slates in strips of three slate wide and we got about 350 slates done in total.

Thursday was a very wet day so we were going to work in the workshop but we had a sudden phone call from the delivery driver to say, “I’m ten minutes away with your Larch timber” and we weren’t expecting it! See Larch Timber Arrives.

We didn’t get back to our roof until Saturday. We managed to do another 300 slates and we are now about two thirds done on the very last bit of roof, the “H” section.

Sections F, G Finished and H Nearly done !


We should get the last bit done on the new week including the tricky bit of scaling up and down the ladder to reach the last few slates!

 Posted by at 5:00 pm