shaun

May 012021
 

We continued the task of putting up reinforced wall posts for the hanging toilets for the cloakroom and for the en-suite of Bedroom 3 where we had to put down an additional footplate inside the knick-knack cupboard, to allow for a box to be built around the back of the toilet pipework and the sewage pipe going down into the concrete. We put another one of our homemade I-Beam element, but a shortened one.

Then we resumed putting up a forest of posts all around the remaining Ground Floor walls including the cloakroom, linen cupboard (where we put in a double post to support an extra wooden lintel over the doorway), the en-suites and finishing off Bedroom 2 and Bedroom 1.
Another section that had to be done was in the Great Room entrance way. This point is between the steel legs of the Skylight and it has a large C shaped steel beam (designed to hold up the first floor going over this doorway) and we needed to glue a couple of pieces of timber to the top and bottom flanges. The top one is an ordinary CLS timber plank, a 89mm wide piece but planed down from 38mm thick to 33mm thick to match up with the actual joist support level. The bottom flange however wanted to be a much wider piece, about 200mm in actual fact so we used our 18mm OSB boards and cut off two strips. We glued them together to form a 36mm thick planks and then glued this up on the bottom flange of the steel beam, all clamped overnight to dry and cure. After that, we could install the last set of posts for the ground floor, this time, the edges of the sliding door cavity
Then the final job was to lay on the two levels of top-plate CLS timber to tie all the posts together, to tie all the walls together and create a another solid set of rooms.

To conclude this stage of the operation of building the Ground Floor walls structure, we put on the second layer CLS timber pieces all the way around on the external walls and added a third layer across the doorway and window in our Utility Room because these have a major load from the First Floor Joists.

We finished the week by tidying up all the pieces of cut-offs, the tools and preservative liquid, to make the place ready for the next task. That is probably be installing conduits through our external walls so we can easily feed additional cables etc. from inside to outside when we need lighting or speakers etc outside.

 Posted by at 2:00 pm
Apr 302021
 

After a week of calculating, analysing responses and digesting options, we have finally placed an order for a collection of Joist Beams to build our First Floor support.
There are 61 joists and 455m in total, ranging from the shortest one of 3.2metres and all the way up to 10.8metres. These joists are a specialised hi-tech product, made entirely of natural timber materials but done in such a way that the weak points of using raw untouched wooden planks are almost completely eliminated. The joists are a wooden version of the classic steel RSJ beams (after all, RSJ stands for Rigid Structural Joist) and they have both that shape of a capital letter I, a large vertical webbing with a fitted top and bottom flanges. In the case of these wooden versions, the webbing is made of plywood or OSB to a thickness of 10mm and the flanges are a thick 36mm multiple layered plywood too. The only different is the width of these flanges, depending on how strong you want the joist to be. Of course, the other way of making stronger joist beams is to widen the webbing to spread apart the two flanges thus increasing the both the compression and tensile loads and stiffening up the whole beam. We have chosen to use one of the smaller webbing depth so that our joists are 240mm high. As part of the structural loading calculations we did several years ago as part of our submissions for planning approval, we knew that 240mm is sufficient for the job. We are using two size of flange, 96mm for the joist which extend out for the gallery and 53mm for all the rest.
So after a round of sending quotes off to various suppliers, bouncing back questions like what happens to the waste pieces and what stock length they hold in the yard, we have settled on buying their original stock lengths of these I-Beams and cut them up ourselves. It is slightly more expensive this way because it seems that one of our suppliers makes use of all the waste pieces in other projects but in contrast, the alternative supplier (we had only 2 to choose from in the end) didn’t bother with that and always charged us for the use of the entire length of the beam and presumably threw away the waste pieces and only supply our 61 pieces at our specified lengths.
But we had a very good idea of using these waste pieces ourselves to make noggings to help brace all the joists as required. We were going to use 18mm OSB sheets, cut up into appropriate sizes and jammed in between each joist to stop them slipping sideways and twisting. But making use of the waste I-Beam pieces, we got a much, much better and far stronger bracing the entire First Floor Joist structure together from one edge of the house to the other side.
Hence we were quite happy to spend a further £400 to buy a total 593m of beams and getting these waste pieces ourselves and will have a far better finished structure. The final choice came and after the second supplier added on their delivery charges (which turned out to be quite a major and surprising extra cost), we selected our first supplier, placed the order, then got the money transferred over and now we wait for our delivery slot which is a long three weeks away.
So in the meantime, we get on with different jobs like drilling holes through the exterior walls to install conduits to the outside world, putting glass wool and vapour barriers up on our walls and start putting on horizontal rails on all the walls and so on.

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Apr 242021
 

We have resumed our task of building up the Ground Floor’s walls, at least, the structural framework structure using our 63mm CLS timber planks and over the last eight days we got quite a long way forward. But one of the first jobs was to redo the vertical timber pieces that were glued to five of our steel legs, we discovered that we didn’t do a very good job in the first place, or rather we hadn’t realised that the primer paint was not very well stuck down as the metal wasn’t very clean when it got painted years ago. So we easily ripped off the timber pieces and then used the angle grinder with a metal scrubbing disc to polish the metal to a nice shiny finish. We also cleaned the timber planks as well using a clean but similar sanding disc and finally applied a fresh coat of PU glue and reattached the timber back to the steel legs.

The next task was to look at the four wet rooms, the bathroom and the three en-suites, because we wanted to put across the entrance ways, a proper and robust lintel to support the first floor joist without having to need any supporting posts underneath. This feature would then allow us to have the option of having complete glass walls and door for our en-suite or indeed other designs we may come across. We had four left-over pieces of rectangular tubing from our steel legs which hold up the Skylight which proved to just be long enough to bridge over the entrances. These steel legs are 100mm by 50mm with 5mm thick walls so they turned out to be very useful to serve as very strong lintels. We only had to slice very small bits off two of them to make them fit for the Bathroom and bedroom 3’s en-suite. Next, to sort out the pile of 145mm by 45mm timber planks and decide on which ones we can used. We decided that we needed one of these wide planks to help with the lintel and combined with the steel element, will help secure the joists in place and properly transfer the load of the first floor sideways to the posts. These posts are made up of another piece of the 145mm wide timber, coupled with narrower 95mm by 45mm plank we had left over and was sitting in our swimming lane storage yard. So each composite lintel was made from gluing together the steel element with the 145mm wide wooden piece.

All the CLS Planks Moved Indoors and Ground Floor Walls Is Going Up

Sliding-door-lintels-started


And then we glued the two wooden pieces, the 145mm and the 95mm planks together to form the integrated post, including a notch cut out to receive the steel part of the lintel. We left that to dry and cure. So in the meantime, we spent a few hours bringing in the first load of CLS timber planks that we have lying outside that was delivered a few weeks ago. We moved about 150 planks.

The following day saw the new lintels and their posts get fitted and fixed into place, making sure that each one was straight and vertical.

All the CLS Planks Moved Indoors and Ground Floor Walls Is Going Up

End-of-an-En-Suite-lintel

All the CLS Planks Moved Indoors and Ground Floor Walls Is Going Up

Steel-lintel-for-Daphnes-En-Suite



After that, we could carry on in building the stud walls from all the footplates we had put down a month or so ago. We started over in Bedroom 3, making sure that the load bearing elements had studs spaced apart by 400mm and the perpendicular walls had 600mm spaced legs. We went around all the smaller rooms, the the Bathroom, en-suite 3, the Tech and Knickknack cupboards plus one wall (the long wall) of Bedroom 2 and then the corridors including doing two doorways. Finally, we put on the two layers of the top plates, overlapping in each direction to help bind all the section of walls together.
All the CLS Planks Moved Indoors and Ground Floor Walls Is Going Up

First-few-rooms-are-Framed


One of the tasks we wanted to do since we were getting on much quicker than we imagined in building these walls, is to find and buy the I-beam joists we would need for building the first floor so we spent one of the mornings measuring all the lengths of various rooms, to make sure that what is actually the real world measurements, matches the technical drawings, before we send off the final shopping list of these composite wooden I-beams. We need 61 in total, about 460metres in all, ranging from 5metres to double that size of nearly 11metres. It was quite good and matched within 20 to 30mm to the drawing but we had always intended to round up the measurements before sending the list off to four local suppliers and one manufacturer. But only two suppliers have replied with quotes in the ball park figure of £2,800+VAT in total, about £6 per metre. This price includes the wastage from cutting the beams from stock lengths and we realised that we could make use of these waste pieces, by slicing them up into shorter lengths and turn into our noggings to strengthen the sideways anchorage of our very long and tall joist hence utilising all the wastage that we would had paid for anyway.
Then, spread over the afternoon of Friday and the next morning, we finished moving in the rest of the CLS 63mm planks to our indoor storage area. This makes a total of 600 planks we moved this week.
Added with our existing pile, we now have 772 planks to be used for building the ground floor walls including the horizontal structs, the floor support framework, the first floor walls and ceiling. We hope we got enough!
All the CLS Planks Moved Indoors and Ground Floor Walls Is Going Up

CLS-All-moved-in

All the CLS Planks Moved Indoors and Ground Floor Walls Is Going Up

More-than-750-pieces-of-CLS



For the rest of Saturday, we marked out roughly where all the wall stud posts will go, including making provision for the three hanging toilets, the various doorways like the sliding doors for the cloakroom. There is a total of 86 of these posts to do, to finish off the ground floor walls, of which 25 have their ends dipped into timber preservative to ensure long term survival in these various wet rooms.
For the hanging toilets, we designed our own I-beams structure, a pair of CLS timber with four pieces of plywood glued and screwed across to make a ladder like combined element. This will help stiffen up the point where the toilets will be mounted and keep everything nice and stable. So between Bedroom 2 and 3 pair of en-suites, we positioned the three of these I-beam elements so each en-suite can have their toilet and connect into the same pipework.
All the CLS Planks Moved Indoors and Ground Floor Walls Is Going Up

First-toilet-wall-framed


They are positioned so that we meet the minimal legal requirement of at least 500mm spacing on each side of the toilet including the bowl itself.
Next week, we can do the cloakroom in a similar manner and also do the same thing for Bedroom 3?s en-suite too. Then we will carry on putting up the rest of the stud posts.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Apr 152021
 

Whilst tidying up the house of the insulation foam rubbish, a new set of shelves was created to provide more room for tools and parts to be on hand for this phase of working inside the house. We moved the Ikea shelves over to beside the new wall between Bedroom 3 and added an extension upwards plus also we sliced up two more 500mm wide OSB 6foot strips and used several 63mm CLS pieces to act as shelf supports, so we sub-divided the larger gaps to provide more capacity.

Rebuilt the Utility Room and Its Shelves

New-tool-storage


The smaller Ikea shelf system was also extended upwards and moved into the corner beside the electrical consumer units and sockets and this became our electronics stack.

The new shelf system is 8feet from left to right, 8 feet tall and 400mm deep, made using four whole sheet of 18mm think OSB boards. We sliced three of them into 9 400mm 8foot strips and the fourth sheet had eight 100mm wide strips to form the legs (four on each side of the shelf) with the final 400mm strip to go right to the top of the larger Ikea set of shelves where the overhanging piece was anchored to the wall with an angle bracket.
The new shelves were screwed together with just screws into the edge of each 18mm OSB strip (we recognise that much of the materials and ironmongery parts are relatively lightweight (apart from the huge collection of screws where we did use several more angle brackets to reinforce the shelf!). We decided that we would fix the position of the shelves and looked at our shelves in the garage to see what sort of sizes and gaps we would need and settled on 300mm for the gap at the bottom on the floor, followed by 400mm, 500mm, then four 150mm shelves and finally a 300mm gap to the final top shelf.

Rebuilt the Utility Room and Its Shelves

New-parts-storage


We dragged it into the corner (weighing about 75kg at least!) and shoved it up against the E wall, and slid it along to meet the electronic shelves.
We can now see what we got and keep things tidy!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Apr 152021
 

In the course of filling our exterior walls with rigid foam boards, which get a huge “mountain” of left-over cut-offs pieces, some fairly regular in shape but many just simply rubbish.

Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Insulation-rubbish-Pile-1

Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Insulation-rubbish-Pile-2



We had to strip off the paper foil off both sides of the board (sometimes, it is a glass-fibre impregnated paper and others are shiny aluminium foil coated paper) so it could go into our shredder machine.
Here are some examples of the wide range of variability of these “seconds” that had been thrown out by the manufacturers and amazingly, some of the boards had dates on them and these dates indicated that some were only a week old when we got the delivery!!
Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Foam-shredder-Mk1-2


The shredder dealt with the pieces that are not long and regular in shape and size, the cuboid and badly formed rubbish bits were crunched and shredded. One might had expected that by shredding these solid blocks of foam into a random chunky pieces would have generated extra volume but it turned out that it is not so bad after all. We did a couple of ton bags of cut-offs we had already collected a few weeks ago and when these were shredded, they virtually occupied about the same volume as you can see ..
Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Two-bags-of-insulation-shreddings

Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Shreded-Insulation



But we still had to make room to store this mountain of rubbish while we build the interior framework of our rooms so we elected to use the alcove outside, formed by the L,M & N walls and built a very large tarpaulin “bag” to hold this fluffy material.
Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Large-foam-storage-bag-1


Four corner stakes were bashed into the sandy soil and, using dismantled left-over pallet materials, to reinforce and build a box like structure. One of our 10metre on a side tarpaulin that have several holes in it (due to the covering up of the stack of OSB sheets), was used to create a bag, laid inside our new frame and weighed down with concrete blocks in the corners and stretched out upwards and clamped down around the top edge of the framing.
Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Large-foam-storage-bag-2


Now we got this outside storage, we proceeded to shred up the remaining irregular pieces and transferred the fluffy lumpy bits to the new super bag outside.
We then bundled up the more manageable pieces of rubbish with duct tape and move this outside too, to join their cousins, the fluffy bits.
Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Larger-pieces-stored-behind-the-bag


The only upheaval to this process was the demise of our shredding machine. We had overworked the motor and it got too hot and burnt out several windings inside the electric motor itself (we believe!) so the last couple of days was spent breaking up the greatly reduced pile chunks using our hands and fingers instead. It was very tiring and long winded! We probably will buy an replacement machine, later on to be ready when we tackle the insertion of more insulation board bits up into the roof rafters, but it was quicker (just!) to get it done now, rather than waiting for a delivery!
Anyway, all this material will be used in the long run, to act as more insulation under our suspended flooring on the ground floor. Nothing goes to waste!
Finally ..
Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

The-bag-is-full-of-bits

Massive Tidy Up of Mountains of PU Foam left-over Cut-Offs!

Bag-all-covered-up-waiting-for-later



We now have our house looking much tidier and ready for the next task of building more walls for our internal rooms on the ground floor.

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Apr 132021
 

We postponed the insertion of the PU foam board into the Great Room walls, because the freezing temperatures that has just arrived with the icy northerly weather, would not allow the gun foam to properly expand and cure in the correct way. So, Tuesday, we switched over to doing another task that has been waiting for months for us to complete. This is the upgrade and repair of our rain water filtration module, specifically, the main large mesh filter that provide the final sieving and removal of larger bits from off the rooves, like moss and leaves. Originally, we used a geotextile cloth like material to provide this filter barrier but we found, unfortunately, the fluffy texture of the cloth made it a good environment for bacteria and fungi to grow, which in turn blocked the last six inches of the filter and we had virtually a permanent pool of water sitting in our filtration module and in turn, in our 100mm pipes that runs right around the whole house.
Last year, we bought some fine mesh stainless steel woven mesh which a 2mm size holes so it will still do the job of stopping the moss and leaves from getting into our underground rain water tanks but the larger and much simpler mesh design would stop any bacteria and fungi from growing.

Rain Water Filter Module Upgraded With Stainless Steel Mesh

New-mesh-for-rainwater-filter


(here is our roll of the mesh)
But first, we had to drain the filtration module using our built-in little pump which took well over an hour to pull out nearly seven hundred litres of water, pull out the old filter, cut off the old cloth and then give it a thorough scrub in strong detergent to remove the slimy yukky mess.
We discovered that the resin we had coated the mild steel bars with, is showing signs of being chipped and this could be letting in water to oxidise the metal, i.e. rust. We may have to go all stainless steel in a future replacement but for now, we dried it all off and smeared copious amount of grey PU sealant when we put on the stainless steel mesh.
The mesh was cut down to size, 380mm wide by 1100mm long, trimmed around the handle and the extra sticking out tongue piece at the bottom. We then cut several lengths of wooden 2by1 battens, put on parcel sticky tape, wound around a thick wire and cover that up as well with Sellotape (so the PU sealant doesn’t stick to the wood nor wire) and clamped around the edges of the framework to press the engulfed mesh into the PU sealant. The wire is there to try to ensure that we had a little extra amount of sealant above the mesh to provide extra bulk to encapsulate the mesh for long-term strength and stability.
Rain Water Filter Module Upgraded With Stainless Steel Mesh

Clamping-batten


On the following day, we discovered that the grey PU sealant was taking a long time to set, we surmise that this was being caused by the lack of water vapour reaching the sealant to aid in the chemical reactions to set it. So we rigged up a “tent” over the filter and directed our fan heater to blow in warmer air to raise the temperature to speed up that chemical reaction. We had to wait another day and then carefully peal of our battens off. The sealant was just about set but still sticky to the touch so yet another day was required. This is ok as we got on with doing the insulation filling task in the house (the outdoor temperature has warmed up enough to allow us to carry on using the foam gun) and also we performed a test of several different kinds of glues to examine which will work best on naked rubber. We used Stixall, neutral silicone and PU sealant by smearing it hard into the rubber surface.
Rain Water Filter Module Upgraded With Stainless Steel Mesh

Rubber-gluing-test


The conclusions were that the stixall and neutral cure silicone worked very well but the PU one literally rolled off with no difficulties at all.
After several more days of neglecting this task, we finally got bac to finishing off by sticking down a line of glazing rubber strips on the underside of the metal bar. These original rubber strips were left-overs from doing the Skylight and they are 50mm wide but we only wanted half that width so we sliced them down the middle. We then used a Stixall glue (we had several tubes of that left) to glue down the rubber strips onto the metal bar and waited another day again.

We finally installed the repaired and upgraded filter back into the rain water filtration module and we will wait and see how well it performs over the next year or so.

Rain Water Filter Module Upgraded With Stainless Steel Mesh

Mesh-glued-to-filter-frame

Rain Water Filter Module Upgraded With Stainless Steel Mesh

Rubber-seal-on-filter

Rain Water Filter Module Upgraded With Stainless Steel Mesh

Filter-installed


 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Apr 102021
 

Over the last couple of days, the two rolls of artificial grass we bought, which are left-over pieces from the supplier at half the normal prices. They were 4metre long rolls and about 1metre wide, the plastic grass itself are 30mm long strands in a very dense weave.

Artificial Grass Stitched Down Middle Of Loke

Artificail-grass-closeup


We chopped 640mm pieces off each of the rolls which allowed us to get twelve in total, which meant that we could cover just over 12metres strip down the middle of the Loke, between our neighbour’s entrance ways.
Artificial Grass Stitched Down Middle Of Loke

Grass-center-of-the-loke-1

Artificial Grass Stitched Down Middle Of Loke

Grass-center-of-the-loke-2



The method we decided on, to hold down the material, was to dig out the recycled asphalt material out of the grid cells that runs either side of the 500mm centre strip. Then, each grass section was draped so that the 666mm direction covered across the 500mm width and the ends dropped down into the empty cells. Of course, we had to snip the material at every cell boundary to let it in and then used a cable ties to lock down the flapping pieces to the plastic grid modules themselves and finally, the asphalt granules were pushed back in on top of the excess material to provide more clamping force. Another line of cable ties was used to join the grass sections together, which was repeated as we moved along the Loke.
This is an experiment and we will see how well this style of creating a “green” splash of colour for our Loke will survive over the short and medium terms, before we decide how to continue upgrading and resurfacing the rest of the Loke later.
Loke-before-resurfacing-Mar-2021-1

Loke-before-resurfacing-Mar-2021-1

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Apr 082021
 

By Thursday, after a couple of delayed days due to icy cold weather that would have stopped the gun foam from working properly, we finally finished installing the 200mm (on average) thick layer of polyurethane (PU) “seconds” foam boards. The last section was around the Great Room, in the west end, finishing off the Patio section, then the O section and finally the N little section around the corner.
We had to first dismantle the upper section of our indoor timber storage area, see Spare timber Store Moved Outside to Swimming Lane and move the timber outside, to gain access to this segment of the exterior walls. It is our very last section to get done and now we can say, for real, without this task hanging over our heads, that we really truly finished this job. Although we have not finished putting insulation in the walls because we will be adding further layers of Mineral wool insulation to finish filling the rest of the wall up to the 380mm depth for the complete wall.

Exterior Walls All Fully Insulated with PU Foam Boards

Foam-Insulation-in-the-last-Wall


The other job that took several hours was to glue a piece of 11mm OSB board to go over the “O” window to improve the structural integrity of this section that is supporting the extension and its roof.
We filled in the space with foam, gluing each piece to the wall and each other and then screwed the OSB to the timber framing, using plenty of PU glue to ensure the whole thing is solid.
Exterior Walls All Fully Insulated with PU Foam Boards

Reinforced-Header-over-O-window


So that is it .. except, we now have to tidy up the mountains of rubbish generated!!
Exterior Walls All Fully Insulated with PU Foam Boards

Insulation-rubbish-Pile-1

Exterior Walls All Fully Insulated with PU Foam Boards

Insulation-rubbish-Pile-2


 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Apr 042021
 

Today, we decided to move the heap of timber planks we had stored inside our Great Room, on a raised shelving rack system.

Spare timber Store Moved Outside to Swimming Lane

Timber-storage-rack


The main reason for tackling this job now, to move the timber outside, was because we needed access to our external walls to insert the insulation foam boards. We knew that we had to move this pile of various sized planks anyway, sometime in the future so we felt that if we did it now, then we would finish off the insulation task completely and not have it hanging over us.
So the first job was to have a look at our swimming lane outside, to rearrange some of the items so we had enough room for the 4.8metres long planks.

We pushed this and that bits and pieces around and was able to transport a collection of planks, ranging from 89mm by 38mm planks, some 100mm by 50mm ones and three big 100mm by 75mm planks to their new storage location, under cover in our Swimming Lane.

Spare timber Store Moved Outside to Swimming Lane

Moved-to-swimming-lane-storage


The shelving system in the Great Room was dismantled and we now got a cleared area to allow us to gain access to the walls for the installation of the insulation chunks.
The rest of the timber, the 63mm by 38mm type, is staying indoors because they will get used up to build all the internal rooms for both the ground and upper floors.
Spare timber Store Moved Outside to Swimming Lane

Tidied-the-CLS-stacks

 Posted by at 3:13 pm
Apr 012021
 

We needed access to the sections of the exterior walls in the utility room to get the insulation boards in, we are currently storing tools there. So today, Thursday, on April fools day, we built the first solid wall between Bedroom 3 and the Utility Room to give us more space to store tools. This wall is the usual 63mm thick but we had put on an additional fermacell plasterboard layer on the interior side of the wall, then filled up the hollow space up with 100mm thick glass wool we had lying around in our garden shed, some 10 years old (and perhaps too old as the material didn’t seems to spring back into its full 100mm thickness), to act as another sound absorbing layer. The whole thing was covered up with a layer of 18mm thick OSB board to provide a good solid first layer of sound reducing wall, between Bedroom 3 and the various noisy equipment that will live in the utility, like the washing machine and drying cabinet and the other pieces of equipment for running the air conditioner etc.

Utility Room reorganised and First Solid Wall built

First-solid-wall-1

Utility Room reorganised and First Solid Wall built

First-solid-wall-2



Then we moved the Ikea wooden shelving modules over to sit in front of this new wall and unscrewed the electric switchboard off the wall. We then installed the insulation in the walls and re-installed the (temporary) electric switchboard.
Utility Room reorganised and First Solid Wall built

Utility-insulated-and-re-arranged

 Posted by at 6:00 pm