Jul 242021

We started the new week, after completing our staircase in just four days, by fixing up the metal joist bracket to the stringers at the top of the stairs. We had already made two triangle wedges and they were glued in on Saturday. The metal bracket was only screwed up this time because we want to have the possibility of moving the whole staircase when we come to install our stair lift module later. We are not sure yet whether we will have enough space either side of the stringers to mount cog wheels and other materials to build the parts of the stair lift. So the joist bracket are just screwed on and not glued ..yet!

Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


So onto the flooring job, we got out our green laser line generator and sat the device in the middle of the crossroads of our hallways and adjusted the height until we got the green line shining right on the 10metre mark, this being our Ground Zero line. We already had an 11metre mark on the metal leg “number 5” that is our reference point for the whole house so we measured down one metre for our ground zero, this will be our flooring level for our ground floor. We now have marked all the doorways (Kitchen, Great Room, Bedroom 1 & 2 & 3, Entertainment and Utility rooms) plus every other wall posts everywhere in range from the hallways, also doing the smaller rooms (toilet, tech and knick-knack cupboards etc) plus the front door and stairs too. We want to be able to place our laser line generator in each room separately and get the floor height exactly the same all over the house when we get to do that room.

One of the first things we needed to do, after doing the laser calibrations, was to empty the content out of each room we want to work on, so in Bedroom 3 we had to move our solar water tubes and a heap of ladders etc. so we decided to move them, the solar tubes to our new storage area, mainly the first floor and its great expanse, to get them out of the way for the time being. But first, we felt the need to be a bit careful and clever, to position these items upstairs so they don’t impact too greatly on us working upstairs like building walls etc. To this aim, we marked out an outline of each room and their walls, these being the Creative room, the Study, the Workshop and the toilet plus all the “triangular voids” spaces and the large storage space behind the toilet over the top of the back rooms of the house.

Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


Then, we moved the six crates that holds our one hundred solar glass collector tubes from Bedroom 3 to upstairs and placed in the Study over the Entertainment room and front door. The heap of ladders etc. were moved to sit underneath the new staircase.
This meant that we could and did get on in constructing the flooring for Bedroom 3 (the one next to the Utility Room) and got the laser to shine a green line right around the room, aligned to the reference marks at the doorway and carefully marked all the vertical posts and stuck masking tape on the black plastic to see the mark there too. Then slicing five lengths of our usual 63mm CLS timber, we nailed up a perimeter of a support framework that will hold the 22mm thick floorboards when we are ready for them to go down. The room is arranged in a grid pattern with 600mm spacing between the contiguous joists and an alternating noggings in every 1200mm in the opposite direction.

We built a little laser hanger gadget that hooks on to the perimeter rail so the green light will be exactly the height of all the legs supporting all the joists and noggings. We cannot just simply measure the distance from the concrete floor surface, up to the underside of the CLS joist because both the concrete floor and the wood slowly rises and dips in random directions, hence this little clever hanging gadget to position the laser line generator to shine its green line against each set of legs to be trimmed.

Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


We are using our left-over treated timber for our legs, plus dipping the cut ends into more preservative treatment, all to protect the wood from rot if we ever got a flood under our floor, we don’t want to find that our flooring supports started rotting after a decade or two and find our floor sagging. So we are dipping the cut ends into a trug that has black died preservative and therefore we would know which end to put downwards.
But these little legs are only 63mm wide (by 38mm in the other dimension) so aligning the leg underneath the horizontal joist (which is also 38mm thick) would poke out only by 25mm. This is plenty enough to support noggings but only on one side at a time. This means that we staggered the noggings in each row so the whole room is evenly supported across the floor.
Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


The next job was to sort out the bundle of water pipes and cable conduits that runs across the room, from the external walls, from underground and passing through from the Utility room. We did the hot water pipes first which comes along from the Utility in 28mm pipes and curves towards the en-suite. We had always planned to have 28mm diameter pipes, to hold a high volume of water flowing throughout the house and also we wanted to constantly keep this hot water supply hot and active, ready for any demands. This means that we have two hot water pipes running alongside each other, a “flow” and a “return”, just like in a traditional central heating systems. But we recognised that there could be a good deal of heat loss, and money, in a constantly circulating system, losing energy around the loop all the time. So to this issue, we put down two layers of 100mm thick PU foam boards, sitting on the concrete and cut a slot in the top of the second layer for the 28mm pipe to sit snugly in.
Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


Then a 90mm thick “lid” went over the top that brings it up to the underside of the wooden floor supporting framework. The rest of the space on either side will also be filled in with more insulation so this hot water system will be as protected as possible against heat loss and provide our whole house with quick supply of hot water when we want it.

The cold water is also supplied in a 28mm diameter pipe but that is running “loose” nearby the hot insulated pipes and all three are routed to arrive just outside the en-suite doorway where we will have a liftable panel cover to gain access to the various controls and devices to condition and supply the water needs for the basin and shower in the en-suite. We built an extra framework around this area to support the “lid” and also inserted vertical PU foam boards to act as a barrier to keep the loose insulation in the rest of the room from “leaking” into our inspection and servicing chamber.

Then we connected up more water pipes, this time in 15mm diameter pipes that connects to our Energy Module (a buried tank of water), a pair of them so we can exchange the energy (hot water) from the tank to the Utility room and back again. the pair goes into conduits that were fitted to provide a “high” and “low” extracting points so we can draw off the floating hot water and put in new hot water down in the bottom of the tank. These 15mm pipes are only intermittently used so they don’t need a great deal of insulation, just the normal floor insulation to keep it warm while it is being transferred to and from the Utility room. The other 15mm pipe going into the Utility room is a connection to our Swimming lane. We did an external connection (drilling through the concrete wall) several months ago and so we laid in this pipe too. This Swimming lane connection will provide a source of cold water to help “sink” any excess heat away. The Swimming lane is a 25,000 litres of reasonably cold water to make use of!

The final 15mm water pipe is also an external connection but this time, it is a low-volume irrigation watering system to serve the garden in and around the this end of the house and this 15mm pipe only needs to travel to our servicing chamber we have already made. At this point, a computer controlled water valve will be installed and connected to our cold water supply later on when we have designed and built such devices. The other connections to our servicing chamber are empty conduits, the first two being also irrigating watering feeds but this time up to the Eves for any hanging baskets etc. The final five other conduits snaking across the room are the temperature probes that will monitor the regions immediately surrounding our buried Energy module. All these conduits are 20mm diameter black polyethene pipes and we joined them to the sticking (out of the concrete) up portions using short length of the fatter 25mm polyethene pipe which fits perfectly and very tightly providing a smooth joint and transition for our cables and sensors when we push them down the conduits.

Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


We are not quite ready to put on the lid or fill the space with the insulation rubbish because we got other tubes to lay in the floor, this time for the air supply. We are going to have four 50mm conduits running from the hallway, next to the doorway, and branching out to the four walls, to distribute the fresh air. We will have a air channel just at the bottom of the walls to spread the air out and enter into the room itself in a gentle flow, without too much disturbance to the feel of the room. We won’t be able to totally avoid any movement as it is meant to be providing fresh air and drawing the old stale air out at the ceiling, just like as if the windows are open on a warm day. Another set of conduits are needed to be laid in, this time to route the electricity cables from one side of the utility channel to the other side, going around doorways and windows. This will be done when our delivery of new twin wall plastic tubing arrives next week.
In the meantime, we started on the task of nailing up the horizontal wooden rails, we called these utility rails because their function in life is to provide the space for our Utility Channel that goes around the whole room at the 800mm to 900mm height, plus also we are using this separation to allow for the air channel to run around the room too, down near the floor. Each of these horizontal CLS rails (our usual 63mm by 38mm timber) are positioned as follows:

  • 235mm off the floor (air channel)
  • 772mm (bottom boundary of utility channel)
  • 1010mm (top boundary of utility channel)
  • 1703mm (mid support point for wall board)
  • 2422mm (support of wall boards at top of wall)

These measurements are for the top edge of the CLS timber because we can see it with our green laser light (more later on) and a 22mm offset is also added because we are measuring from the floorboard supporting framework that will have the 22mm thick floorboards laid down later on. We marked the door post with these measurements and then clamp our green laser line generator which is sitting on a small shelf at each measured mark. Then we went around nailing up lots of CLS timber to create the wall framework for holding up the finishing surfaces and of course to provide the space for our electrical sockets etc.
We started using our left-over timber (a large pile of it in the kitchen) to form these horizontal rails by using a biscuit joint to join smaller lengths together. We also inserted a horizontal rail at the window seat level, this one being 500mm off the floor surface.

Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


Started Work on Building Flooring Structure for Ground Floor Rooms


That concludes the work so far for this week and we will carry on next week with the wall support and laying in more conduits when they arrive.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jul 172021

We started on our next task on Wednesday, to design, create the parts and then build the staircase, all in just four days!
The first job was to get our two remaining pieces of the LVL timber, some 6metres long and sliced a shallow angled cut at the beginning of both planks. This end will be sitting on the concrete on the ground floor and rise up towards the first floor, at an angle of 36degrees. At 4936mm along up the bottom edge from the concrete, we then cut a triangle birds mouth where it will hook on to the first floor and its floorboards, so that the top step will exactly be the same level of the flooring when we get around to building the rest of the flooring layers and carpet etc. These two very long elements are called Stringers. Everything will be mounted to these stringers hence why these pieces of timber are 240mm wide, 45mm thick and laminated like plywood to make a very strong structural framework for the whole stairs.

Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


The rest of the day was spent in taking four sheets of our newly purchased high grade 18mm hardwood plywood, with 13 layers and good quality veneers and sliced it up into a series of strips, four long strips of 205mm wide and 2.44metres long, then sliced the remainders into exactly 950mm wide. We used our big saw mounted into our workbench. The next set of cuts was done to the 950mm wide pieces to make sixteen 300mm deep planks, these being the “treads” of the stairs and followed by fourteen 225mm high pieces, these being the “risers”. Using various left-over pieces, we made sixteen narrow 27mm wide strips and then glued each one to each Tread piece thus making a thicker edge to each step, deliberately overlapping the front edge so we can trim off the excess and the dried glue to make a smooth finish.

The following day, Thursday, we took our four narrow strips and paired them up and proceeded to mark along one edge exact measured marks, taking from a spreadsheet printout showing the calculated distances from each step to the next one. Then using a right angle framing square, we precisely positioned a diagonal piece of straight wood and clamped it to the framing square so that first side was 270mm long and the second side was 195.4mm. This jig was aligned and slid along the edge of our paired strips to every previously marked positions, to draw the right angle triangle down on the plywood, to which we positioned our next piece of equipment, the track saw to carefully cut out each of these triangles, to end up with a long series of pointed staircase like steps. These four prepared sawtooth like strips were then glued and and nailed to our stringers that will form the basic structure to hold the treads and risers that will form the whole staircase.

Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


The rest of the afternoon was spent setting up the router machine and fence to guide through the 16 treads and 14 risers. The first little job was to use the straight cutter with a top ball bearing, to run all the treads that had the extra bit glued on and cleaned off the dried glue and excess material to make a smooth flat edge ready for the bullnose. The last bit of the day was setting up a 18mm wide straight cutter and position the fence so we can slice a 5mm deep slot for the riser to fit into on the underside of the tread, just behind the bullnose, exactly 25mm in from the front edge and proceeded to get that done.
On the Friday, we carried on with the routing operations, this time, to cut a bullnose on the tread front edge. We did some test pieces with different radius cutters doing a 9mm, 12mm or 18mm radii. The thickness of the front edge is now 36mm (double layers of 18mm plywood) and we found that the 9mm radius was too small and the 18mm is too large so we settled on the 12mm. so the 16 pieces were sent through the router on both sides to generate our bullnose.
In the meantime, the LVL stringers were cleaned up to remove the excess glue that has bubbled out from the step support plywood
Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


The last task for the treads were to drill clearance holes along the front edge in the middle of the slot (to join and tighten onto the riser piece) and two more clearance holes on both left and right hand sides to fix the tread down. That finished all the preparation tasks to the 16 Treads.

For the 14 Risers, first we aligned them all together into one neat pile and clamped them all together, making sure they are all squared up. Then we sliced a small notch out of the bottom corners, some 20mm wide and 25mm deep. This notch will allow the risers to fit down below the Tread level and allow a slot to be positioned 25mm from the bottom edge that will support the back of the tread piece. Talking about this slot, that is our next job, setting up the router this time to cut a similar 18mm wide slot and 5mm deep (just like the other slot underneath the tread) but cut horizontally near the bottom of the riser, as mentioned before, 25mm off the bottom edge. Finally, five more clearance holes was drilled along the slot to help draw in the tread and ensure a tight joint for the glue to work at its best performance. Oh yes, two more holes were done, one on each left and right side to secure the riser.

Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


By the end of Friday, we had done some test fittings and there were concerns over the stringers not being straight and a little twisted and bowed and the tread and riser combination were not sitting in neat and square (It might be ‘engineered’ timber but it’s still only wood).
So on Saturday, we verified that our two stringers matched together (bringing them together and inspecting the support steps etc) and also confirmed that the a riser placed in the top most step position was right angle to the first floor stair hole itself. We also got out several large clamps and straps to squeeze together the two stringers together tight to a tread plus riser pair and all is actually looking ok after all. We left on a strap fully tight at the top of the staircase and decided that we would start at the bottom to fix each tread and riser pair in place, for real, using screws but no glue. We used the clamps for each pair to make sure everything is good and tight before screwing in the screws, but we did have to trim a tiny bit off the back edge of some treads to make everything fit snug in the two slots. We continued with this process, going up until we got over half way and decided that everything is coming together good and looking neat and smart so we felt that we could commit ourselves to permanently gluing everything together so we undid the screws out of the treads but left the screws in each riser to help hold the two stringers in alignment.
Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


So we proceeded from the beginning again and glued everything, fitted each step into place and applied all the screws this time, including the five screws in the back of each riser to anchor the tread into the slot. We only had to use the large clamp once or twice again as we went up and finally reach the top by the end of the day.
Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


Staircase Designed, Parts Created and Fully Assembled


We have completed our steps for our staircase! We can now get up and down much easier, we can show our visitors our first floor without asking them to climb a ladder and also we can carry up larger and heavier items to get them out of the way while we are working on the ground floor. Yippee!

We will be adding hand rails and balusters later as part of installing the stair lift.

 Posted by at 6:30 pm
Jul 132021

To finish off filling in the outer walls, and to provide a vapour barrier too stop moisture getting into our timber elements, we proceeded to cover up the glass wool with a layer of a plastic membrane, from top to bottom. We used the thick heavy duty DPM polyethene material, comes in rolls of 4metres wide by 25metres long. We started at the Front door again (like for the glass wool) and cut strips off the roll, either 2.75metres or 3metres lengths, depending on whether we had a wall going right up to the floorboards of the first floor or to the underside of the joists of the first floor. The Great Room has another length of 3.2metres to reach the roof rafters as there are no first floor structure hanging over the Great Room.
To ensure a tight seal to the timber framework, we decided to use a line of thick high quality double sided glue, namely butyl .. .. .. that comes in rolls of 25mm width. We stuck it onto the freshly sanded wooden surfaces of the bottom footplate and along on the top-plate timber that support the first floor. Where there was plastic already up there on those sections of the wall supporting the joists of the first floor, we used another sticky tape, this time an acrylic based glue that is much thinner (and cheaper) but still very sticky to join the two layers of the plastic together.
So over the week, we proceeded to shape, cut, glue and staple the plastic membrane up going around the house to cover up the glass wool. Windows we went straight across and then cut out the middle and used the side flaps to wrap towards the oak frame of the window but we stopped and started again at the doorways.

Vapour Barrier Plastic Membrane Installed (Part 1)


Vapour Barrier Plastic Membrane Installed (Part 1)


Vapour Barrier Plastic Membrane Installed (Part 1)


We had to pause in the middle of this, while the Conservatory Air Duct was Built Inside Wall was installed but it was fairly easy in covering the wall.
The only complicated bits were the corners and places where an internal wall meets at right angles the outer wall. They needed the plastic to go around the obstacles but also seal onto the membrane coming along the walls. That took a while to do each one in turn.
The final task left to do was to seal all the conduits that had to pierced through the plastic membrane so we used a very conformable 60mm wide butyl glue tape to wrap around the conduit and stretch flat onto the plastic.
Vapour Barrier Plastic Membrane Installed (Part 1)


Vapour Barrier Plastic Membrane Installed (Part 1)


This concludes Part 1 of this job, Part 2 and perhaps Part 3 will be done when we have managed to get access to the sandy soil outside the window of Bedroom 1 to install more underground conduits and junction boxes, used up a lot of the CLS timber in the Great Room, move the tools and supplies in the Utility Room and finally all the roof rafters upstairs needs filling up with insulation foam board, glass wool and more of this vapour barrier membrane.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jul 102021

We spent a day or so making an air duct that will extract the hot air from the Conservatory. It needed to go inside the wall between the window and the door, going all the way from the concrete floor level and right up to the top of the wall and beyond.
We used more of our supply of 25mm thick aluminium coated insulation PU foam board, careful to retrieve ones that had no defects or wrinkles in the surfaces and sliced them up into various width strips so we build the four sides of the ducting.
But first, we had to dig out old insulation boards because we filled the space up before we remembered that we were always going to have an air duct here! It measures approximately 250mm wide by 150mm deep in the interior which is equivalent to very nearly five 100mm diameter pipes so it will have a good capacity to carry lots of air at minimal pressure loss. We even “bent” the last foam board to provide a sweep bend at the bottom of the shaft, to help the air molecules to change direction smoothly. We did this by slicing every 30mm through the back paper layer and snapping the foam to make it wiggle and still be attached to the front layer of the shiny aluminium paper, then taping this floppy piece around a large circular drum that had about a 500mm diameter and finally, spraying tiny amount of expanding PU foam into the opened up cracks to glue it all back together again.

Conservatory Air Duct Built Inside Wall


We put aluminium 50mm sticky tape across all the joins inside the vertical shaft to reduce turbulence and air flow rates and finally put on the front lid, made up of three pieces and joined with more of the aluminium tape.
Conservatory Air Duct Built Inside Wall


Conservatory Air Duct Built Inside Wall


Conservatory Air Duct Built Inside Wall


Eventually, we will make a chamber at the bottom to translate the rectangular duct into four 100mm pipes that will go across the floor towards the corner of the Great Room with the Kitchen and go back up to the first floor to join into the main air duct running down the whole building. The upper section will be finished off when we have working platforms positioned for when we need to fill in the roof rafters with more insulation foam boards.

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jul 062021

In preparation for filling and covering the walls we went around and planed off any of the plywood spacers between inner and outer wall posts which were sticking out from the wall, this will allow the horizontal rails to be nailed on without damaging the vapour barrier.

Glass Wool Fills the Air Space in Outer Walls


Glass Wool Fills the Air Space in Outer Walls


It then only took a few days to insert the horrible irritating glass wool insulation into our outer walls, to fill in the airspace void between the rigid existing foam boards already in the walls and the room’s wall boards. We didn’t want to have lots of hollow sounding walls so we went around filling in this void with various thickness of glass wool. We started first with the lower section and we put in a mixture of 100mm thick wool but sometimes we needed 150mm thick. We used our spray gun foam glue to help stick these vertical strips of the wool material but we also fired 2inch long staples to mechanically hold the wool into place too.
Glass Wool Fills the Air Space in Outer Walls


The next job was to do the upper sections of the walls, this time using mostly 200mm thick and occasionally 150mm thick glass wool in places we had originally inserted thicker rigid foam pieces. Again, we used the PU spray glue to stick the wool in but this time we deliberately had much longer pieces and all the excess length were pushed up and through the gap at the first floor floorboard level and piled on top of the rigid foam. We did this to provide a fire break in the vertical direction just in case the PU foam causes a path for the flames to travel up and into the roof space but for the glass wool acting as a barrier. It will also protect the roof from a fire on the outside of the house getting into the roof through junction of wall and roof.
Glass Wool Fills the Air Space in Outer Walls


Glass Wool Fills the Air Space in Outer Walls


Glass Wool Fills the Air Space in Outer Walls


There are sections of the walls that we cannot do right at this moment in time, mainly in the right hand end of the Great Room because of the huge pile of CLS timber, again in Bedroom 1 because we haven’t installed the conduits through the wall to the outside world and finally, in the Utility room because it is full of our tools and supplies. These sections will get done later on when we have used up much of the CLS timber and removed the obstacles outside Bedroom 1’s wall. All the left-over rolls of the glass wool are now located upstairs at the back of the house.
The next job is to cover all this yukky stuff with a vapour barrier .. !

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Jul 012021

We spent these last four days putting in extra insulation foam boards over the top of all the doors and windows. We needed to do this first because when the vapour barrier plastic membrane goes around the walls, they will go over the doors and windows, and below the windows too. So we put some extra CLS pieces horizontally, aligned to the door’s (and window’s) upper frame and then inserted a slab of OSB board pieces to provide a platform for the insulation to sit on.
The insulation was the standard PU foam boards, three layers of them so it filled from back to the front and high enough to reach the approximate level of the first floor floorboards.

Extra Framework and Insulation Over Doors and Windows


Extra Framework and Insulation Over Doors and Windows


Some of these regions we had to do from the first floor level itself and slide in the foam pieces in like a jigsaw but we managed it. The next job is to put in glass wool in the walls to fill the airspace between the rigid foam boards and outer surface what will be the room’s wall structure itself.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jun 262021

We resume the week by collecting up the sand we had spread across the kitchen to dry and sieved it through the finest mesh we had and lugged up six trug full of fine sand, to pour into our sand box surrounding the air duct pipe coming out of the Entertainment room. We estimated the amount almost exactly correctly .. Wow!

Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Then filled in the space between the joists with 200mm thick glass wool, we did this now because we won’t be able to access this space after the floorboard goes on. The glass wool is there to provide some additional sound dampening effect between downstairs and upstairs.
Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


After that, we had one more little job to do, that is to test for water leaks in the new sewage pipework running through the joists and we fitted our adjustable bung to the bottom of the stack at a convenience T-junction to block the pipe against the water. We started filling the pipework up using the garden hose but suddenly the rubber bung lost its grip and flew down the pipe and splash water all over the place! But fortunately, we had tied a piece of string to the winding wing nut mechanism of the bung and it stopped it from completely disappearing deep down in our sewage pipes. But unfortunately, we couldn’t reach it by hand and pulling the string didn’t work either so we had to cut into the vertical stack to dismantle the T-junction piece which allowed us a better access. After rescuing the bung, we reapplied the bung but this time, much higher up at the top of the stack and poured in the water .. and after all that, we had no leaks! We put in a new piece of 110mm pipe to replace the one removed and using a inline slip connector, we got everything back together again. That was a unwanted diversion! Phew!
Then we drilled hole through some joists and installed a waste pipe from Workshop 3 to the bathroom.
Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Oh yes, we glued and screwed down a restraint bar between the middle pair of the steel Skylight legs as required by the structural calculations and instructions. It is a 5mm thick metal bar, 50mm wide and 2.4metres long and it is bolted to the steel legs on sticking out tabs that we welded on the legs years ago which we had designed to line up to the surface of the floorboards and hey presto .. there was only a 3mm or 4mm alignment error! The floorboards were slightly too high so we just put in a couple of steel washers on the bolts and everything came nicely together.
At last, we could resume laying down the tongue and groove chipboard and we proceeded by continuing around the stair hole where we got to last week and completed a dozen more rows, making several adjustments to clear obstacles like air ducts, steel skylight legs and arrive at the next major transition point in the house design.
For safety reasons, as soon as we done around the stair hole, we screwed down a ring of CLS timber and mounted a hand rail to protect us from falling down the open gap in our floor.
Plus also, we installed the second restraint bar between the third pair of the skylight legs like before.
The last section of the first floor, situated over Bedroom 3 and Utility rooms, had a line of noggings put down the middle to do the usual job of stiffening up the wobbly joists and then we proceeded to finish off all the remaining floorboards.
The next job was to install the four restraint bars around the thick skylight leg that is holding up the far end of the Skylight, the structural calculations requires this leg to be restrained too so we put on the prepared metal strips in the four ordinal compass directions, with the longest one pointing towards the external wall. These were again glued and screwed to the floorboards and bolted to the steel leg itself.
The final task of the day, and of the week, was to tidy up everything off the flooring, all the tools, cut off pieces etc and sweep all the sawdust and glue fragments too.
Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


Work Continues on Construction of First Floor and Its Floorboards


This concludes the construction of the First Floor, its joists and its floorboards. We have about 19 sheets left from our original 150 sheets we ordered. We didn’t have much in the way of cut-offs as we managed to re-use many pieces again. We are planning to use these 18mm thick chipboard material to make our return air ducting channels that goes around the edge of the house on our freshly laid first floor, but that is for later on.

and for your enjoyment the whole month in a few minutes…

Next is to install the glass wool into the walls downstairs and put on the vapour barrier membrane and that will clear away the pile of glass wool rolls, at which point, we can build the staircase, if we can get hold of some nice quality plywood material to make the steps and risers. There is a world wide shortage of this kind of wooden material due to the Covid and high demands in USA! Phew!

 Posted by at 2:00 pm
Jun 192021

This week was a chop and change kind of week, working on lots of different elements that needed to be done before we can continue in laying down the floorboards across the first floor joists. One of the last remaining tasks from last week was to glue and and nail the final four long I-Beams into place (these are going down the long hallway from the central part of the house and heading rightwards to the Utility and Bedroom 3 rooms) and put in the noggings to secure them at the ends. Talking about noggings, we looked at the structure of the first floor and counted how many more noggings we would need which came to some where around of figure of 60 individuals. We had 16 still left over from the last grand nogging creation so we sliced up three I-Beam left-overs, about 3metres each and then sliced up one complete 10metre I-Beam, to generate additional 44 noggings.
With this done, our slicing machine have mostly finished all the bulk work so we dismantled the working area under our Front Door Porch, tidied away all the equipment and moved the slicing machine into Bedroom 1 for any odd jobs. Then we moved the final two 10metre I-Beams over to our Swimming Lane storage area for the long term (we will find something for them we have no doubts!!), folded up the tarpaulin, moved twelve concrete blocks and tidied away the wooden bearers. The front of our house is all clear again – hurray – Smile!

So having done that, we could resume laying down floorboards but only a couple of rows. It took us almost an entire afternoon just to do one row, because it was the transition of entering into the larger space plus also there was two metal legs of the Skylight to navigate around too and we reached the next challenge. This is where we needed to install additional hidden elements that lives inside the joist space as follows ..
The Cold Water Header tank Support lintel being the first one, we had made provisions during the construction of the walls by putting triple posts in the location where the ends of the steel lintel will sit so we just needed to hoist up the steel lintel. This steel object is another one of our left-over piece, this time, it is a 2.1metre large fat steel leg measuring 160mm wide by 80mm thick. These steel elements are supporting the Skylight hanging over the Great Room and we got three of them lying around in the Garage so it is ideal to be used as a lintel to support the large header tank and transfer the weight down directly to the concrete floor and not into the first floor structure. It weighed about 60kg so it took a bit of lifting from both of us to haul it up to the first floor. We then chopped eight pieces from a 2by6 timber to form short stumpy legs to lift the steel tube up so it is flush with the tops of the joists and the floorboards when it finally get laid. These stumpy support posts were 160mm tall and after slicing tiny bits off to get everything level, we glued the two set of four to form the two pillars and we stuck down the freshly scrubbed steel lintel into place. Finally, then we put small pieces of noggings down on either sides of the steel to make sure it is locked into place and won’t fall over or twist under the load of the header tank.

Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


The next job was to connect a waste water pipe that we will need for the upstairs bathroom’s basin and shower. But we discovered that the boss adapter we had already previously connected together into the large diameter waste pipework was a different size hole and we didn’t have any fittings that would fit reliably. It looked like a 50mm diameter boss socket but it was a case of a different manufacturer and their idea of what standards to adhere to. We tried all sorts of different solutions, rubber adapters and the like but O Boy we failed to get anything to work. So we had to block off the hole by making a circular disc of plastic and use PU sealant to stick this disc into the boss connector and seal it up. We fortunately had the luck to use another pipework piece, a right angle element that had more of these boss connectors but manufactured by someone else so we moved over to use that one instead. we had a particular adapter that fitted very well so we solvent welded the 40mm water pipe diameter adapter into the boss socket, after we had drilled a 40mm hole and then slide in a two and a half metre length of white pipe, ready for further connections to the basin and shower units later on.
Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


After all that palaver, we moved over to the front of the house over the Entertainment room to design and build a air ducting channel that fits in between two joists so it can run underneath the upstairs Study room. This air channel is the waste air being collected by all the ground floor rooms at the front of the house like the Kitchen, Entertainment room and the Great Room and the Conservatory too. Normally, our waste air ducting will run on top of the floorboards on the first floor running around inside the triangular void spaces but we didn’t want to have to introduce four sharp bends in the air flow to just avoid crossing the upstairs Study and also have a permanent square boxing running around this room too. So, we routed the air ducting downwards to squeeze in between two joists for a short distance before rising again and heading off to the Utility Room for processing. We used a mixture of 30mm and 35mm thick PU foam boards that has the shiny aluminium paper coated all over them. It is quite smooth so will provide very low air resistance and it has two gentle slopes to avoid the sudden change of direction. The pieces were hooked and glued into place to create a square channel. The rest of it will be done later on when we build the remaining waste air channels.
Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


The final piece of work that we needed to do before the floorboards were laid, cutting off our access to this joist space (because the Entertainment room has the concrete ceiling, cutting off access from below. This was to install the air extraction pipework for the aforementioned Entertainment room. All the extraction pipework will be 100mm metal ducting with metal sweep corner pieces etc. and we connected together one 90degree bend to a short straight piece, then a 45degree bend to raise the ducting above the floorboard and left a short length sticking out. All this is done inside the space between the joists that lined up with the hole we left behind in the concrete block ceiling but we didn’t leave it at that point. We wanted to make sure that any sound waves being generated inside the Entertainment room were dampened and not leak out through the air ducting pipework and infect the Study sitting over the top. To this goal, we built a box out of left over pieces of chipboard floorboard pieces and glued this box down to the concrete surface and laid the metal pipe along inside and glued this in too.
Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


We will fill this box up with sand but it needed to be dry first so we filled three trugs full of sand from our sand bank outside our conservatory and spread it all over the kitchen floor to dry off, blowing our giant fan over the top to assist this process.
Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


One of the last things we were doing towards the end of the week, was putting more noggings across various collections of joists, some over the Entertainment room, some over Bedroom 3, some over hallway outside the Cloakroom, all to anchor the first floor support joists and stiffen them up.
By the end of the week, we had done lots of different “little” tasks, had only put down two more rows of floorboards but that building a house for you. There are certain jobs that depends on the completion of other jobs. it is very important to do each one in order .. or else!
Here is a picture of our first floor with all the piles of chipboard boards waiting, a table of tools and working area.
Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space


Fiddly Hidden Elements Completed in First Floor Joist Space



We resume on Monday with these little jobs!! Phew!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jun 142021

It is very very hot outside today, we had to repair the tarpaulin that provides a sun shield over our long corridor in our temporary living quarter and also replace one of the tensioning ropes.

Sun Shield Patched and Installed over our Corridor plus New Waterproof Cover for Header Tank


The rope had frayed quite badly in the middle point where the whole cover is hoisted up to provide two sloping surfaces to shed the rain water. So we had to thread a new piece of rope through which was a bit fiddly. For the large tear, we found two thin oak strips and while pulling the tear closed, used the two pieces of timber and clamped across the tear using six screws alternatively driven from each side and holding everything together, hopefully for another year or so.
Sun Shield Patched and Installed over our Corridor plus New Waterproof Cover for Header Tank


Then, we replaced the 10 year old waterproof cover, protecting our header tank that sits on top of our garage to provide a temporary water supply to the kitchen, shower and toilet downstairs. We cut another piece of DPM plastic measuring 2.1metres by 2.7metres long and rewrapped the rectangular structure and re-tied the rope back into place.
Sun Shield Patched and Installed over our Corridor plus New Waterproof Cover for Header Tank


Next, we had a quick survey of our roof surfaces to make sure that there were no holes or wearing patches that might look troublesome for us in the future and we can report that it is looking good.
That concludes this year’s annual maintenance for our temporary living quarters.

 Posted by at 11:00 am
Jun 122021

We carried on with the task of cutting and hauling up a whole series of Joists to form our First Floor structure. We had started at the back of the house over Bedroom 3 and its en-suite and worked across the building towards the middle, stopping at the metal Skylight legs. Here we had our very longest joists to put up next, nearly 11metres long, stretching from over the Cloakroom, a hallway, two cupboards and across Bedroom 3 to arrive at the external wall.
Then, the next task was to replace the C channel metal bar that went between leg 2 and leg 3 of the Skylight, and replaced it with a full sized LVL (it is like plywood but with no twisting of the layers) plank measuring 240mm high and 45mm thick and about 3.7m long. This was bolted back onto the metal legs with 12mm thick high tensile steel bolts and spiked connecting washers to help spread the load bearing forces.

All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


This beam forms the top end of the staircase and we wanted to make it much easier to mount the various structural elements that makes up the framework around the staircase itself. It has a matching LVL plank running parallel but at the other end of the stair hole, just short of the main wall running along the front of the building that forms the kitchen and great room external walls.
Then a final piece of LVL plank was fitted between these other LVL pieces and this had eight joist metal brackets nailed at the 400mm spacing as per normal to allow the continuation of the joists going across the Entertainment Room and Utility Room.
All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


After that, we carried on with the joists but starting from over the Front door this time and working forward to the metal legs of the skylight which was relatively easy and quick to do.
All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


This leaves just four more lines of joists to complete, in two sections, going down the hall way past the Entertainment Room towards the Utility and Bedroom 3 rooms and over to the outer wall. A final piece of LVL plank was cut and positioned stretching from the left side of the Tech cupboard to the Entertainment Room to help support the long unsupported span going along this hallway. This LVL plank had four more pairs of joist brackets put on both sides and we did the shorter pieces first, some 3.2 metres and got them installed with the usual glue and nails. We then cut the final four longer pieces, some 7.53metres long and instead of installing them into place, we hauled them up to the first floor and left them out of the way.
All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


This meant that we could finally finish off building the last few walls and doorways near the Utility Room. We had deliberately left this undone in May because we knew the task of bringing in these long Joists, would need the angles while approaching in from the side door and get pieces ranging from six metres up to eleven metres in, up and landed on the First Floor area and moved around the house as appropriate.
It will feel quite strange to having to leave the Utility Room through a proper doorway now.
We didn’t quite have enough time to properly glue and nail down the last four joists but they are in place now so we can safely say “We have Done all the Joists and All Fitted!!”
All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


All of the Remaining Joists Up and Secured


But this is still not the end, we have to put in dozens of noggings in the middle of longer spans on all the I-Beams to help stiffen them against twisting and then put down some 120 sheets of floorboard, Phew!

 Posted by at 6:40 pm