shaun

Oct 162021
 

For this rather truncated week of work, we resumed the task of laying down the floorboards after a week of building the framework. One of the first things we did was to put in a load of insulation bits and pieces from our giant bag of “rubbish” we got outside into the area under the stairs. We also screwed a left-over piece of floorboard and put it vertically on the back of the 2nd step of our staircase and this will become the base of our control board for the stair-lift mechanism.

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Under-stairs-with-insulation-strips

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Under-stairs-filled-with-foam-scraps

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Panel-for-stairlift-controls



We then installed more vacuum cleaner piping across the central cross hall with connections for a cleaning point and the Hall 2 side of the Tech cupboard and a T connection going upstairs.
Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Vacuum-ducting-hall-crossways

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Vacuum-duct-for-hall-crsossway-point

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Vacuum-duct-going-upstairs



The other thing we did was to sort out the front door. It was built way back before we had the new flooring so it is too low. We simply just sliced off a chunk of material using our wiggle saw after noticing where the new floorboards will be etc. Then we had to fix down a fresh new door sill (there wasn’t one there before) using another left-over piece of 2by4 pine timber and along with a sheet of 10mm cement board, we screwed and sealed both items down into the concrete blocks underneath. This is only temporary until we are ready to build and install the proper door structure later on, using proper Oak timber.
Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Temporary-front-door-sill


Then we carried on putting down lots of floorboards, starting where we left off, in both Hall Two and Hall Three (going off to Bedroom Two and Three respectively) and we were very lucky to discover that these two “arms” were right angles to each other so the tongue and groove slotted together very nicely. Going down the side of the Entertainment Room only needed to slice off a very small narrow strip which was also lucky and arrived at the front door. We soon got the crossroad all covered up and then cut around the staircase too. finally, we went down Hall One towards the Great Room, going past Bedroom 1 and the Kitchen. It all went very nicely in the end and to finish off, we made a wide step at the entrance to the Great room to make it easier for anyone stepping off the new hall floor surface (being 400mm- 16inches high) especially if we are carrying large or heavy material in and out of the Great room.
Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Hall-cross-way

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Front-door-hall-1

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Front-door-hall-2

Hall 1 from Great room

Hall 1 from Great room

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Step-down-to-Great-room



We had finished at end of Thursday. Friday was lost to Shaun having a minor eye operation and Stephen resuming doing the Grapevine Talking newspaper after 18 months.
On Saturday Stephen started slicing the nice solid floor boards up into Ribbons! Well the ribbons are about 1m wide and are cut into rectangles as well. These are the liftable hatches to give access to the utility’s under the hall floors. All the ribbons have been cut and cutting of the hatches has started with Hall 2 and Cross hall hatches being cut.
Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Hall-2-lifting-panels-cut

Floorboards Laid for all Hallways

Cross-Hall-lifting-panels-cut



There will couple of slower days next week because Shaun needs to keep quiet and recover from his Op.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Oct 092021
 

This week (apart from one day on Friday lost due to other commitments) was spent constructing the complicated framework for supporting the remaining Hallways, going up to the Great room, the crossroads and the bigger section under the stairs and up to the Front door.
One of the tasks we had to do first before all that was done was to dismantle our large 8foot ramp that have been serving a very useful unction when we needed to bring in a trolley load of 8foot by 4foot sheet material or a pile of floorboards. It has been there for a few years and now it is gone, the pieces recycled for other jobs around the house.
The assembly of the framework was a slow process of setting the main outer rails down a section, supporting it with clamps while then progressing bit by bit using our green laser line generator to mark where each leg needed to be sliced so it can fit under the rail just about right, to avoid lifting it up or being too short and missing the concrete floor entirely, which meant repeatedly going back to our chop saw and nipping off very thin slices. We even took to grinding the concrete floor itself to help settle these legs in place. There are dozens and dozens of these blessed .. I mean lovely legs, doing a vital job of holding up the flooring for all our hallways.
One of the section that we thought didn’t need liftable panels was the route up to the Front door area but we realised that we couldn’t achieve that goal because we don’t have any pipes or air ducts ready to be permanently installed so we had to create a narrower lifting up section to allow us to install the necessary utility pipes etc, up to the front door, to serve the Entertainment room, the Front door itself and the stair lift mechanism too.
We completed the framework under the stairs which will holds various storage segments, some will pull out on wheels and a larger section for walking in. We had to put down temporary framework around the bottom of the staircase where the stair-lift mechanism will reside but again, we didn’t have any of the pieces that will make up the platform module or the pulling chain and cog wheels. We will have to come back to this area and unscrew the floorboards later on.
There was one sticking up conduit, coming out of the concrete, it is one of our temperature probes for monitoring the soil temperature between our energy modules buried underground, so we connected additional 20mm plastic conduit and routed it around to where the main gathering of the access point to this large Energy module situated under the Kitchen and Bedroom One.

Finished Framework for Hallway Flooring

Hall-floor-framing-1

Finished Framework for Hallway Flooring

Hall-floor-framing-2

Finished Framework for Hallway Flooring

Hall-floor-framing-3

Finished Framework for Hallway Flooring

Hall-floor-framing-4

Finished Framework for Hallway Flooring

Hall-floor-framing-5



One of the consequences of putting down the framework, right up to the Front door area, is that we cannot open the temporary front door! It is too tall, or rather too deep. We will have to slice off a small piece off the bottom of the door before we can open it again!
That will be one of next week’s tasks, as well as filling in some of the area with insulation and then proceed to cover all this lovely framework with floorboards. Hurray!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Oct 022021
 

We got the week going by taking our slab of OSB board we cut last week for the worktop in the Utility Room and cutting a large hole in the middle of it for the stainless steel sink to be placed. We wanted it fairly near the front and have more room around the back for pots and bottles to live and be ready to serve anyone using the sink. Then all the edges were rounded using a quarter turn cutter bit to take off the sharpness, rubbed down all over with the sanding machine.

Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Temporary-worktop-ready-for-paint


Then  a coat of black two-part resin scraped and brushed all over the surface to provide a waterproof barrier. We put the drying worktop upstairs into the warmer sunshine to help cure and harden the resin for a day and then brought it to its final resting place in the Utility room, sitting on top of the four plywood sides supporting the worktop. The stainless steel sink was installed and tied down using the supplied clamps and putting in a line of sealant to stop liquids creeping under the edge and dripping into our drawers and cupboards under the worktop.
Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Temporary-worktop-painted-and-sink-installed


Next, we plumbed in the waste pipe from the sink to the waiting socket we did last week and also inserted a long vertical waste pipe in the other waiting socket just positioned under the floorboard, this second one is for the washing machine in the future setup of the house when we finally move in properly.
Then, we turned off the mains water supply at our water meter so we can break into the capped off pipe that is coming up through the concrete floor, we put an right angle adaptor to convert from the 32mm diameter polyethene pipe to a standard 15mm internal plumbing pipework. This 15mm feed went through the side of the Equipment cupboard and had a cut-off valve inserted in just at the start of the middle cupboard (still under the floor) so it is relatively nearby and only requires lifting up a trap door to gain access. We will have clear labels to remind people to where it is but also we are planning to employ a motorised valve in series so we can tell the computer to turn off the mains water if we need to do any servicing. The other thing we added after this cut-off valve is a T-junction so we can feed a supply of cold water to our new mixer tap. The continuing 15mm pipe is terminated at this point but it will go all the way to the main kitchen and also upstairs to the header tank to feed those end points too.
The new mixer tap is a large flexible design with a mini shower head on the end pointing down into the sink bowl, being held up on an arm projecting from the body of the mixer tap. It has just cold water coming out for now but we will plumb in the hot water later on when we get that far with the pumps and tanks etc.
Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Incoming-mains-water-turning-under-the-sink

Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Mians-water-stop-cock-with-T-to-sink

Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Mains-water-to-the-sink

Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

The-sink-is-working



In the meantime, between waiting for the black resin to harden, we proceeded in building the flooring in our hallways. We started outside the Utility Room and Bedroom Three and after much discussing, we wanted to have a middle section to take the large air duct which is 440mm wide and 150mm high, plus also, we need to break up the floorboards into modules so we can lift up an access panel to do any servicing or additions that the house might need in the future. This led us to have four long rails running down the length of the hall, positioned across the width at 440mm and 1100mm apart. In the other direction, down the length of the hallway, we then had noggings every 1200mm and this will be our trap door dimensions. It was quite fiddly getting in the four rails, using 63mm CLS timber, two of them laid flat that will form the outer edge of the liftable panel zones, and two vertically mounted CLS pieces down the middle to support the air ducting. The laser was used to guide us in cutting the legs, every 600mm down all four rails, and then a whole series of horizontal noggings to brace the framework together. Every joint was glued, as well as being nailed, so to avoid any annoying creaking noises if any old timber joint warps or dry out and start making noises in the future. We had to do quite a bit of adjustment in putting in wedges under some of the legs as we discovered that the original horizontal rail we had mounted on the Entertainment wall was ever so slightly lower than it should have been. So we had to “fill” in the gap with thin layers of hardboard (3mm thick) and very thin sheet of veneer 3ply sheet we inherited from one of our deliveries (1.5mm thick), to get it ready for the floorboards to be glued and screwed down.
Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Bedroom-3-Utility-hall-framed


Next, we could then, and did, lay down the floorboards, more of our 22mm thick tongue and groove chipboard material, down the first leg of our four hallways. We went across both doorways of the Utility Room and Bedroom Three, we had to insert extra pieces of CLS timber to support the cut edge of the floorboard at the start of the rooms. We shaped this first and second boards to fit around the two doorways but after that, it was easier in just putting down a row at a time, measuring 1335mm wide (getting slightly wider as we went along the hall) and used our PU construction glue to join the tongue and groove joints together. Oh yes, we also glued the outer edges of the framework but not the middle rails and we also stuck down lines of cheap tape to isolate the glue from the timber so we can free our “doors” when we cut through the floorboards at the correct positions. To this goal, we carefully marked the positions of the rails and noggings, up on to the floorboard surface, ready for that slicing task later on.
Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Bedroom-3-Utility-hall-boarded


The next section of hallway we decided to tackle, was the shorter one going down to Bedroom Two. This leg is a little simpler as it doesn’t have a full size air duct so we reduced the number of rails to just three, but with a difference. We would still have the tow outside flat rails that defines the outer edges of the removeable door panels but this time, have a flat set of noggings going down the exact middle of the hall. This middle line was made up of a series of 1137mm length pieces but interrupted every 1200mm to put in a full flat nogging going across the width to join the two outer rails together. It was much easier to deal with the cutting of the individual legs, which are still placed at every 600mm point, putting the outer set of legs on first and then put in a middle segment, one by one. Another trick we realised, was to mount a piece of CLS timber across the open end of the hallway, mounted on the side walls with clamps and in turn, clamped the two outer flat rails underneath this supportive bar, while we worked from Bedroom Two end of the hall, towards the open area where all four arms all meet together, at what we call the crossroads. This method allowed us to continue using the laser to highlight the height of the framework, without being blocked by other legs etc.
Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Bedroom-2-Hall-Framing


It worked out quite well, covering about 2.5metres of hallway, which we proceeded to cover over with six rows of the floorboards.
Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Bedroom-2-Hall-boarded


Finally, we finished off the week by getting the first set of the framework up for the third arm, the section coming from the Great Room, passing the Kitchen and Bedroom One. This arm is just over 4.8metres long so we clamped two more flat outer rails, just like the other section we have done and got those glued and nailed into place, with one cross nogging in place down at the Great room end of the hallway, along with their four legs holding that end up and everything.
Worktop Plus Sink Installed and Started on Flooring for Hallways

Great-room-hall-framing-started


Next week, we will carry on with that arm and then design the framework for the Crossroads and even perhaps the framework going up to the Front door region, all before we put down any more floorboards. We will see!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Sep 262021
 

The week started with the autumn’s annual task of the Sun Shield Taken Down and Thrown Away which occupied Monday morning. Then, it was a case of continuing on with sorting out the water pipes stretching across the Utility Room and finish putting three layers of insulation boards around the hot water pipes themselves, making sure they sweep under the worktop area for the sink and washing machine to have supplies of hot and cold water, before turning away and heading towards the Equipment Cupboard.
We put in two more CLS support noggings to provide support for the floorboards but also to support the vertical plywood sections of the carcass that will form the stack of drawers and two cupboards under the worktop.

Cupboard-side-supports

Cupboard-side-supports


Then we put down one and half strips of the flooring grade chipboard 22mm thick floorboards but only screwed it down just in case we needed to dismantle this and gain access to that area again, but it will be an unlikely event as all the plumbing and conduits bits and pieces are all done and fully accessible via the three new “trap” doors we also created in the floorboards. They are for the main sewage waste pipe that is under the stack of drawers, then the middle one under the sink section which is also the biggest one and the third trap door at the back in the left most section where the washing machine will live eventually, this access panel will provide the ability to work with the remaining conduits and pipes coming up from the concrete.
Laid-floor-under-cupboards-and-cut-hatches

Laid-floor-under-cupboards-and-cut-hatches


We put down a loose set of more floorboards to make it easier to walk in and across the room to the hallway and beyond, they are loose so we can quickly move them out of the way to install the next set of pipes or conduits plus the main air duct that will come soon.
The next step we decided to do is to mount a complete ring of floorboard support rails along on all the walls in all our four Hallways.
Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-1

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-1

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-2

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-2

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-3

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-3

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-4

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-4

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-5

Hall-Floor-Support-Rails-5



This will provide the basic level and framework for the rest of the grid of support joists and posts to be installed next week, but first, before we can do that, we needed to make sure we have laid down any rigid pipework and conduits before all this fixed structure is in place. So we installed an electricity conduit, a 40mm wide plastic that we had left-over from when we were installing conduits from the Loke. This conduit will hold the 90Amps mains 230V AC lines to the Tech Cupboard where we will have the main consumer unit that will serve the rest of the house. The second rigid pipe we installed is the connection to our Central Vacuum System, a 50mm smooth pipework which will be solvent welded together and create a network to allow you to perform cleaning jobs across the house without carrying around a noisy machine, just a length of flexible hose that will connect to a nearest vacuum point. The 50mm pipe we installed was one going across the Utility room from the Hall to a T-junction and a side branch going off to one of the conduits coming up through the concrete that connects to the Garage.
Vacuum-pipe-and-Electric-duct-1

Vacuum-pipe-and-Electric-duct-1

Vacuum-pipe-and-Electric-duct-2

Vacuum-pipe-and-Electric-duct-2



Friday morning we were sorting out more plumbing bits and pieces to order We had Friday afternoon off which made a change.
On the last day we then got down to creating the carcass for cupboard units under the window and created a temporary worktop now so we can have access to some water in a sink, the first time we will have such provision in our new house. We always wanted to have worktops that are deeper than the standard 600mm so we have gone for a depth of 775mm which will allow us to fit in a washing machine inside the cupboard, including fitting a plinth that is inset a bit along the floor level. The carcass is made of four vertical plywood pieces, using 18mm thick top quality plywood that we used to make our staircase from, to form 725mm wide and 870mm high pieces. We cut out a notch measuring 100mm high and 40mm deep at the bottom front edge to provide that recessed area for our toes to fit in and the plinth to cover up the internal parts of the cupboards.
Then we put in five pocket screw points on each vertical piece, two along the bottom edge to fix into the floor, one half way up the back edge to fix to the wall and finally, two more upwards to fix the worktop down. The carcass is now assembled so we have a 600mm space for the washing machine that will live nearest to the Equipment Cupboard, then another 600mm wide cupboard that is the position for the sink and all the associated bits and pieces that goes with sinks and the third section nearest to the outside door which is 500mm wide and will be a stack of drawers of various sizes, height wise but all being 600mm or even 700mm deep, to provide plenty of storage space.
Utiltiy-cupboard-1-hatch

Utiltiy-cupboard-1-hatch

Utiltiy-cupboard-2-hatch

Utiltiy-cupboard-2-hatch

Utiltiy-cupboard-3-hatch

Utiltiy-cupboard-3-hatch



The last thing we did was to slice out of a sheet of 18mm OSB material, a single piece that will become our temporary worktop, measuring 775mm deep and 1810mm long. We added two narrow strips that will go along the back and right side of the worktop to provide one of those upstand protective features, to stop one losing items off the back and into the window area plus also keep the water from spilling over the back edge onto the wall or into the window area again.
Utility-cupboard-bases-and-temp-worktop

Utility-cupboard-bases-and-temp-worktop


Next week, we will cut the sink hole into the worktop, and then paint the whole thing to colour it up and water proof the surface too. Then we can install a tap and have running water at last in our house!!

 Posted by at 12:37 pm
Sep 202021
 

Today, the first thing of the new week, we went up on our roof of our temporary living quarters to take down the Sun Shield from over our long corridor transparent roof “window”. It was falling apart and splitting in lots of places, we could just tug at the material and it would rip quite easily, so we undid all the clamping piece of wood and unthreaded the rope, folded it up and dumped it into our bin. Looking back in our records, it seems that we created this version of the shield back in April 2018, see Sun Shield Over Corridor Created and Mounted for details of us doing sewing, so it has done just about three and half years of service, coping with the powerful radiation coming from our Sun.
Next year, we will repeat the job of buying a new tarpaulin and making a new sun shield.

 Posted by at 12:00 pm
Sep 182021
 

We resumed work on our “Engine Room” within the Utility Room this week by putting on the thick heavy roof to the equipment cupboard. It is three layers of the fermacell boards, making use of left-over pieces where possible especially after we had put on the first layer which was tongue’d and groove’d to stop the edges sagging under the weight. We dug out quite a fair bit of old pieces of fermacell off the rack in the Garage that has been there for years. All to try and improve the sound absorbing qualities of the whole cupboard, to keep any “engine” noises from disturbing the household.

Cupboard-ceiling

Cupboard-ceiling


We then built up the front of the cupboard, to continue with this sound proofing technique by putting on two lines of horizontal CLS rails positioned at the floorboard support point and another one higher up at just above the plinth feature that will be constructed around the bottom of the cupboard frontage. We also did the floor support frame for going around the sink worktop zone (under the window) as well. Then, using these two new horizontal rails, we proceeded to insert two layers of OSB 18mm thick boards to squeeze in between the upright posts, to fill in the gap and make a smooth internal surface (we had to insert thin 2mm shims to pad out the two layers of OSB sheets because the posts where 38mm thick and the two layers of OSB only came to 36mm, hence the little thin shims) at which point we went around putting on a layer of fermacell on the inside surface, again for both more sound proofing measures but also to provide a better fire proofing protection too. With all this plasterboard like material now covering all the internal surfaces, we went around filling in all the joints and rounding off the corners with Polyfilla which we then use our new bulk sanding machine that we bought several years ago, just for this purpose. It is connected to our DIY vacuum machine and it was a dream to scrub down the wall, and ceiling, surfaces, removing the excess filler everywhere. All that was left to do by hand were the corners which didn’t take too long to do either.
Cupboard-boarded-at-bottom-1

Cupboard-boarded-at-bottom-1

Cupboard-boarded-at-bottom-2

Cupboard-boarded-at-bottom-2



One of the jobs we almost forgot to do was to cut a chimney hole up through our new roof so that we could have our air ducting chute to come down from upstairs. It took a few hours because of the tight close quarters but we managed it and we now have connection for our “waste” air returning from every corner of our house, ready to be refined, processed, recycled and discarded.
Return-air-duct-through-cupboard-ceiling

Return-air-duct-through-cupboard-ceiling


Now that we have the basic shell of our cupboard completed, we could move and build a proper electrical switchboard, to hold the consumer unit, fuses, junction boxes etc. all in the new cupboard. We have located this equipment to be at the left end of the cupboard, just near the window so we can just open a door above the worktop and gain access to the cut-off master switch and individual switches for each piece of equipment that will be inside the so called “Engine” room for our house. We also installed a row of temporary sockets to use whilst building. It took a day to get everything moved, sorted and made neat and tidy but we now have a solid foundation to grow the electric system for the whole house, the only bit left to do, is to hire an electrician to “plumb” in a unfused tap into the main distribution panel in the garage immediately after the smart meter etc.
New-consumer-unit-and-temporary-wiring-1

New-consumer-unit-and-temporary-wiring-1

New-consumer-unit-and-temporary-wiring-2

New-consumer-unit-and-temporary-wiring-2



The remaining day and a bit was spent constructing the grid like support framework for our floorboards going across the room, making sure we had room to lay down our air ducting which is our largest item that lives under the floorboards, to get across the room and diagonally towards the door and into the hallway.
Utility-floor-support-grid-1

Utility-floor-support-grid-1

Utility-floor-support-grid-2

Utility-floor-support-grid-2

Utility-floor-support-grid-3

Utility-floor-support-grid-3



And then start putting in the insulation pieces that encapsulates the hot water “flow” and “return” pipes, snaking across towards the sink under the window and sorting out the conduits that needed to cross over etc. One of those pipes, is the main sewage pipe going down into the concrete and we bought a module that allowed us to have the ability to plug in four separate 40mm diameter waste pipes, coming from the sink and washing machine plus also any condensed water that drops out in the air conditioning sub-systems.
Start-of-Heating-pipe-crossing-the-room

Start-of-Heating-pipe-crossing-the-room


Next week, we will continue with that process of sorting out the hidden pipes and conduits so we then can put down a strip of proper and permanent floorboards in front of the door and window which in turn means that we can build the sink worktop and the cupboard and drawers that goes underneath. We are just planning a rough and tumble worktop for the time being, just using some OSB material we have lying around so we can have a working sink sooner than later.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Sep 162021
 

After a long period of analysis, testing and weighing up the risks, we have placed an order for motorised water control valves from China, directly with the original manufacturer.

Motorised Valve

It is just the unknown and sheer distance involved with this venture that is the risk but we had our goals and we wanted to realise them without having to pay a very high price for a similar device sourced in UK or even Europe. China has now proved themselves to be a reliable source of material and devices, or they wouldn’t be where they are now. We have paid about £13 a valve against £35 locally.
So we have spent nearly $1400 (plus $600 for shipping) on a set of water stop valves that can be controlled by a computer. We love the idea of automation and we always dreamed of having a smart house and hence this is an investment towards that goal. We had bought a sample valve from China a couple of weeks ago and analysed it, tested it and it all seems good and solid. So we are now having well over a hundred motorised valves coming, most of them are 15mm bore size but a couple will be the larger 25mm bore for the main water pipes we have laid out in the house.

 Posted by at 12:00 pm
Sep 112021
 

At the beginning of the week, we finished off preparing the Utility Room by concluding the task of putting up OSB wall boards around the door and then trimmed the window .. well we eventually managed it .. slowly! The router bit we had is getting rather blunt so we ordered some more replacement cutters, nice and sharp! Afterwards we extended the height of this wall board layer inside the window area so it goes up to the level of the worktop by using a whole series of biscuit joints around the three edges and sliding in the new piece from above and then fixed in with PU construction glue.
Next, we proceeded to cover all this OSB material with Fermacell boards which was a simple process of spraying lines of PU glue foam all over the surface and then staple each piece up with 25mm long staples fired from our compressed air stapling tool. The joints between pieces were stuck together using the thicker PU construction glue instead, to achieve a tougher and stronger joint.

OSB-on-window-wall

OSB-on-window-wall

All-walls-have-fermacall-applied

All-walls-have-fermacall-applied



That pretty much concluded the preparation work in getting the basic room done enough so we could start constructing the next object, namely an equipment come machine cupboard to hide away all the various devices, gadgets, mechanisms and storage that will provide the Utilities for the whole house and garage. It is essentially is a room within a room and we are constructing it using thick/heavy materials to try and reduce the noise levels as much as possible and not disturb the rest of the household. So we decided that we would have a cupboard the complete width of the room, from floor to ceiling, along the “E” wall and it will be 600mm overall deep including the wall thicknesses. Part of this design criteria was that we did not want to encroach too closely to the window, to give the window a better look and also we selected 600mm because we didn’t want to have a pile of waste pieces left over when we built the roof out of our 1200mm width sheets. Joining to this basic rectangular shell will be the cupboard region that will hold the clothes drying and vacuum machines, coming along the entertainment wall side of the room and stopping just short of the entrance way to the hall, allowing for the door to open fully and back against the wall. This section is going to be 700mm deep and it turns out to be about 1900mm long, which can be sub-divided into separate modules for each of the machines and other functions like shelving units. This is the extent of what we wanted in creating a noise reducing box like cabinet so we laid down a footprint of treated CLS 63mm timber pieces down on the concrete floor, glued and bolted that defines the outline shape. We also put down extra pieces in front of the window too, to define what would be our worktop and sink section, again being 700mm deep and also being about 1900mm long too.
Cupboard-Footplates-fixed-down-1

Cupboard-Footplates-fixed-down-1

Cupboard-Footplates-fixed-down-2

Cupboard-Footplates-fixed-down-2



One of the minor tasks we completed before we continued with the cupboard, was to fill in the joints and corners around the fermacell walls with Polyfilla and smooth it all off so it is sealed. After that, we started building the cupboard using 18mm OSB boards but just before that, we stapled up little squares of foam material that is 8mm thick so that we can maintain a air gap between our new cupboard and the room’s walls, to disconnect any direct transmission of any sounds being generated by motors etc. inside the cupboard.

We brought a dozen sheets of 18mm OSB inside from our pile outdoors and got them ready. One thing we wanted to do was to use a tongue and groove joints so they formed a solid structure, a backbone for the rest of the cupboard to be built from. Also, we needed room at the top of these walls to fit a “lid” on top and still be separated from the ceiling, this meant that we needed a full height board (2440mm high) plus a narrow strip of 270mm wide to start at the bottom line sitting on the newly installed CLS footplates. So sliced up two board into eight narrow strips and then cut a set of tongue edging on four of them plus groove edging on the other four.
We proceeded with the narrow strip first, right around outer sides of the cupboard and then put a row of horizontally mounted full sized sheets, again with a set of tongue and groove edging. The long side of the cupboard (against the “E” wall) is 3740mm long so we put in a full sheet in the middle and filled in the left and right ends with 650mm pieces. We were making sure that no joints lined up with each other and creating a stronger monolithic backbone. The top line of OSB board had to have a large section cut out to make way for the air ducting sticking through the wall. Oh yes, the same for the five other sticking out conduits and pipes at various places and also we had unscrewed and lifted the air duct that is coming down through the ceiling.
we ended up with the first layer all done, starting about 300mm from the window, coming along the “E” wall some 3.7metres and turning along the entertainment wall another 2.5metres before finally turning right angled from the main wall to form the end of the cupboard which is a further 750mm wide.
First-row-of-OSB-for-cupboard

First-row-of-OSB-for-cupboard


That took a while to do because of all the tongue and groove edges we needed to cut and fit everything together with glue etc. but once we have done that first layer, we could mount on the second layer much faster because we didn’t need to do any further tongues or grooves again as we had the backbone layer to press against, keeping the joints neat and tidy. We proceeded to spray a zigzag line of PU glue foam all over the surface and screwed this second layer straight on to the first layer. We had drilled clearance holes all over the sheet, we did a grid of four rows by six columns, giving us a total of 24 screws to tighten the two sheet together squeezing the glue out thinly. We used about 200 screws by the time we done all the second layer!
Next, we put up a solid CLS 89mm piece of timber right across to form a lintel for the front of the cupboard to help support the heavy “lid” which will be made of three layers of fermacell sheets.
All-cupboard-OSB-placed-and-glued-1

All-cupboard-OSB-placed-and-glued-1

All-cupboard-OSB-placed-and-glued-2

All-cupboard-OSB-placed-and-glued-2



On our last day, we went around fitting in a third layer of material, this time our fermacell “plasterboard” sheets, again, just went straight up onto the wall surface with the PU foam glue and this time, was stapled on with 25mm staples. It didn’t take very long and we finished off the day by putting four vertical CLS posts, two 63mm ones up against the walls under the lintel, and the other two being 89mm pieces, again fitted under the lintel but this time 800mm out from the walls. All four will help support the lintel and in turn, the roof of the cupboard. The last piece of CLS, another shorter 89mm piece, went along the front of the side arm of the cupboard, also to support the heavy “lid” over this side section of cupboard.
Cupboard-lined-and-basic-framework-errected-1

Cupboard-lined-and-basic-framework-errected-1

Cupboard-lined-and-basic-framework-errected-2

Cupboard-lined-and-basic-framework-errected-2

Cupboard-lined-and-basic-framework-errected-3

Cupboard-lined-and-basic-framework-errected-3

The-whole-cupboard-is-isolated-from-the-wall-of-the-room

The-whole-cupboard-is-isolated-from-the-wall-of-the-room



Next week, we will start building the lower sections of the front parts of the cupboard, up to the floor levels and getting ready for the flooring supports for the room and starting to lay out the pipework and ducting etc. going across the room and out into the hallway.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Sep 042021
 

We arrived for this new week to resume our work on preparing the Utility Room, to get it ready for installing the vast collection of equipment, tanks, switches, pipes and many other bits and pieces that will provide the services like water, air, electricity, vacuum and other utilities.
We got going on dealing with the black plastic that is pinned up on the wall, covering the window so that got sliced and wrapped down the sides. We also inserted the plastic liners for both the bottom and top cavities that sits below and above the window too. We are just repeating the same procedure as we had done for Bedroom Three windows and these cavities are designed to provide space for the mechanism to control the automatic window blinds. As part of dealing with the window, we put in the extra pieces of CLS timber to frame on all four sides and then put up two vertical 11mm OSB boards on the left and right sides but only after we remembered to install several lengths of 20mm black conduits. We nearly forgot to put one conduit in to allow us access and the ability to feed through whatever electric wires we would need for the mechanism. It was a tight squeeze to slip the conduit behind the plastic already up on the wall but we made it. As part of putting up the plastic and wrapping it into place, we used our malleable white tape to seal tight all the conduits poking through the plastic but also did the large air duct boxing too.

Next we did the doorway. We had to take off the door again plus all its equipment like electronic lock and sensors etc. so we could wrap the plastic up and onto the door framework, to ensure that we are creating a good vapour barrier. We also put on three extra CLS 63mm timber pieces around the frame that will form the inner surface wall and door entrance. We remounted the door, changing the hinge position slightly and put back all the door furniture and reapplied the door hook too.

Dorr-framing-redone-and-door-rehung

Dorr-framing-redone-and-door-rehung


Looking at the order of things, we then got on with installing the ceiling covering. We needed to do the ceiling next because we are planning to build the equipment cupboard and that will go from floor to ceiling almost and we wanted to put up one layer of the fermacell (this is like a plasterboard material but highly accurate and engineered gypsum mixed with recycled newspaper and no paper liners) to improve the sound proofing levels to stop the machinery and equipment we are planning to employ from disturbing the rest of the household, especially the living spaces up on the First Floor. So towards that goal, we built a second air ducting but this time, it is coming down through the First floor joist structure. We used more of our 18mm floorboards chipboard material to create an oblong shape measuring 600mm long and 240mm wide, narrow enough to fit between two joists and also enters cleanly into our equipment cupboard too. We made it 370mm tall, enough to traverse through the first floor floorboard and joist space. Next, we lined up the box against the floorboard to mark where we want our hole and sliced our way through. This will allow the exhaust air that is being all collected upstairs and being routed around to this spot, to be diverted downwards into our equipment cupboard, to be processed and then rejected outside. We only screwed in this air ducting for now because we can see that we will need to move it out of the way when we come to build the cupboard later on.
Air-duct-down-from-first-floor

Air-duct-down-from-first-floor


Before we can mount our fermacell boards up on to the ceiling, we need to cut a set of tongue and groove into selected edges. We discovered way back when we built the Garage that we couldn’t keep all the sheets of fermacell dead level to each other, even though we put on PU glue and fixed little screws in the joints to hold them steady while the glue dried, it came out very slightly wobbly and it took a great deal of sanding to get it smooth again. So back then, we tried cutting a tongue and groove into the fermacell and it worked like a treat. So today, we took that experience and set up our two router machines with new cutters, both are identical shaped cutters, that does both a series of tongues and groove within the thickness of the material. These cutters can do up to 25mm thickness but we are only wanting to do either 10mm for the fermacell boards and 18mm for our OSB boards.

We also adapted the two router machines by extending their bases to a much larger supportive area so the heavy machines won’t tilt off the edge and we can pull it along against the surface and the fence, to get a smooth, regular and neat cut. The only different between the two routers is to the exact position of the cutters, one will do the grooves and the other one does the tongues.

Router-with-extended-base

Router-with-extended-base

TG-cutter-in-new-base

TG-cutter-in-new-base



It took a little while to do these modifications and testing sessions but it is well worth the time, in order to get good quality results in the long run. So with these new tools, we proceeded to put up a set of fermacell 10mm thick boards up on the ceiling, using our very handy and strong board lifting contraption (It’s a bit rusty from being stored in a shed for 10 years). It runs on highly adjustable wheels so it can squeeze into corners and go around obstacles. But before we did that, we loaded the joist space with a load more of 200mm thick glass wool material to provide more sound proofing.
Insulation-in-the-ceiling

Insulation-in-the-ceiling


We, and our lifter (each full size board weighs 25kg each!), did a row of boards, some 1200mm wide strip next to the “E” wall and then did a wider 1600mm strip along towards the door entrance into the hallway. We did this much of the ceiling because our equipment cupboard will go along the “E” wall and also along the Entertainment wall and stop about a meter before the hall door. We put spray PU glue on the joist flange itself and construction PU glue into the groove to joint two sheets together and plenty of 35mm long staples to fix the board up for the long term. The roof will be inaccessible after we have built the cupboard.
Board-lifter

Board-lifter

Holding-up-a-board

Holding-up-a-board



After dismantling the board lifter, we then tackled the “E” wall and covered the entire surface with more fermacell, from concrete floor and right up to the ceiling. We had to put up three and a bit sheets along the upper wall plus a narrow strip along the bottom to cover up the plastic.
Before we put up the last piece at the bottom we had to remove the very old ‘chimney’ which protected the entrance tunnel for the air from the earth tubes. This just pulled out of the hole in the floor and we had a peek down the tunnel because we didn’t actually know if the tunnel was OK.
Top-the-Earth-Tube-tunnel

Top-the-Earth-Tube-tunnel

View-along-the-tunnel

View-along-the-tunnel



This layer, and the one on the ceiling too, will provide additional fire protection too, making our wooden house that much harder to catch alight if we ever had a fire as the Utility room is the most likely place to catch fire in the first place. We will put in extra measures when we build the equipment cupboard and there would be active fire suppression devices installed inside, plus plenty of alarms so we are fully aware when there is a problem.
E-wall-boarded

E-wall-boarded


Now we moved around to tackle the Entertainment wall which is a stud wall made of 89mm thick CLS posts, we only wanted full board of OSB beside the hall entrance so we nailed up narrow strips of OSB pieces on the rest of the legs. We did have to pull off that full sized board because we forgot to put in the glass wool material first! So we duly put in more 400mm wide strip of the 200mm thick glass wool and stuffed them into the 89mm space, yes 200mm into 89mm! This will obviously compress the wool down when we put the series of board on the wall and this is great because it will reduce much of the sound and noises coming from the Utility Room and entering into our Entertainment room where you may be watching and listening to a movie and the last thing you want is, to hear the washing machine spinning or the vacuum system whirling away!!
So this wall had a layer of fermacell put on, compressing the wool down and this finishes off this wall completely too. Again, we did this now because of our equipment cupboard which will be built slightly removed from these walls to provide another air gap for sound insulation.
Entertainment-wall-boarded

Entertainment-wall-boarded


You may have noticed that we are putting these boards directly onto the wall posts and not on any horizontal rails. This is deliberate as there is hardly any needs for having electrical sockets or switches. Most of the Utility Room will have cupboards, cabinets and shelves and they will have their own electrical sockets inside these regions and nothing will be visible. The only exception is the little length of worktop in front of the window for a sink and we might put up a socket on the side of the cupboard at the end of the worktop.
The last bit of work for this week is putting up the first layer of OSB board along the “F” wall, to cover up the plastic and provide a strong screwable surface for mounting anything up on the wall, like a worktop! We got as far as the door, again each piece was cut to give a tongue and groove edging to bring together each piece in a nice smooth finish, ready for the layer of fermacell to go on too.
Window-wall-OSB-started

Window-wall-OSB-started


Next week, we will finish the OSB around the door, trim the edges and then put up the fermacell to get that finish. After that, we will start building the equipment cupboard which will be fun!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Aug 282021
 

One of the first jobs was to move the existing electricity control board from over beside the window and position it out of the way on the dividing wall between this room and Bedroom Three and reconnect some of the electric cables so they were all out of the way before we could fill in the walls with rock wool and cover it up with the vapour barrier. We also did some extra lighting for our hallways, see Installed Lighting Along Hallways. We then started preparing the Utility Room to be created with all its equipment, pipes, valves, pumps, tanks etc. that will serve the house and one of these items was to create an air outlet vent that will allow the exhausted air to escape the house and we did this by chopping our way through the 200mm thick foam insulation near the ceiling and near the left side of the “E” wall as you stand inside the room. The hole we made was the full width between two wall legs, some 550mm wide and a height of 600mm, reaching the cement board outer skin layer where we sliced a 450mm wide by 500mm high hole through the 10mm thick board. We had some stainless steel woven mesh (left-over from replacing our filter in the rain water filtration system), the mesh is woven with fine wire and has 2mm holes which should stop almost all insects and animals from entering the dangerous zone of a fast spinning blades of the air fan. We used some MS Polymer black glue to attach the mesh to the inside surface of the cement board and held it in place using a plastic covered piece of OSB board with clamps to keep it firmly pressed tight while the glue cured.

Gluing-the-HVAC-exit-vent-mesh

Gluing-the-HVAC-exit-vent-mesh


Next, we took some of our left-over 18mm floorboard chipboard material and created a box that will form a large square duct that will help guide the air out of the building. It measures 450mm by 500mm to match the hole through the cement board and put on a ring of 50mm wide strip to provide a larger surface area to bond to the outer perimeter of the wire mesh. The whole box extends well beyond the thickness of the wall so we have options to how much we need when we connect the rest of the ducting and fan later on. Talking about the fan, got one of our new 300mm diameter fans and temporarily seated it inside the new vent hole and powered it up. We did some test runs with different air flow rates and went outside to listen to how noisy it was. We even got out our sound level analyser and took some readings. So at maximum air speeds, we were getting a reading of 63dB at a distance of about 2metres and 65dB and 68dB using different settings on the analyser, representing different patterns of sound pressure and frequencies. The background noise at the time was 40dB, it wasn’t very windy at the time. These figures are quite loud but this was for the maximum possible speed and the sheer power of the fan is that we will only need that kind of air flow rate during the very hottest times of the day in the middle of Summer. Most of the time, the fan will be running much more slowly and we think that it will be about 50dB which is a quiet murmuring noise that fades away when we moved some 5 metres away like the front door or out in the Loke.
Oh yes, just to make clear, the outside layer of Larch timber was still there, the air was escaping through the gaps between all the planks and it seems to be working very well. It gives us the benefit of having somewhere for the exhaust house air to escape but not having a ugly large metal grill visible.

So upon the good test results of running the fan, we proceeded to glue the wooden box ducting into place and filled around the edges with more foam boards, using PU spray foam to stick the whole lot together.

HVAC-Exit-vent-1

HVAC-Exit-vent-1

HVAC-Exit-vent-2

HVAC-Exit-vent-2



The next job was to insert a long awaited conduit that needed to go from the concrete floor level and all the way up to the Eves, to provide a water irrigation supply for any hanging plants etc. We positioned this conduit near the copper water pipe already installed some weeks ago. There were a couple of other conduits that we also extended and positioned so they were poking out into the room, these were the mains socket in the wall and a couple of underground connections too. Another little task was to screw and glue a vertical CLS post in the corner, the E-F corner to provide a mounting leg for the wall boards when they go up later.
Because the Utility Room has lots of cupboards, a worktop and the door and window too, this meant that there was virtually no where to put sockets and other switches etc. so we decided that we didn’t need to employ the same design of creating a Utility Channel running around the whole room. It is a bit ironic not having one of these channels, called a Utility Channel, in our Utility Room! Oh well. We did realise that we would like a switch beside the Side Door entrance so we could activate the lights or trigger the garage doors to open if we were going that way, so we embedded two short CLS pieces between the wall legs that is sandwiched by the door and window, to form a pseudo Utility Channel. Oh yes, We remembered to insert another piece of conduit that went down to the concrete!
Another preparation task was to go around and plane off all the little sticking edges of the plywood that formed the wall leg structure, there are three of these plywood pieces for each leg and some of them are proud of the leg itself and we need it to be all smooth and ready for the wall boards to go up next week.
Another job that needed doing was measuring and making horizontal rails for the bottom and top of the window and the top of the door too. These rails are the exact position that defines the height and hole of the window at 500mm from the floorboards and 2200mm at the top, also the same for the door too. But we don’t have the same utility rails that other rooms have, we had to fit them inside the framework instead and there is already pieces of CLS timber in place but only approximately at the correct position. We needed to create a special piece for the window, a 45mm to 47mm high piece for the bottom rail and a more even 30mm piece at the top. The doorway was easier and a normal 63mm piece went in straight. Well perhaps not easier after all, because we discovered that our temporary door was too tall and hit this new framework piece. This led us to having to deal with the door itself next. We took it off and decided that while it is off, we would go ahead and install a new temporary door sill, to make sure that we will get above what will be the new floor surface when we put down the floorboards. We found a piece of “4by2” treated timber, cut it down to 1040mm length, to fit the width of the doorway, levelled it off by using a couple of solid 5mm plastic spacers and a smaller 3mm one in the middle and fixed it into place using three concrete screws plus a heap of MS polymer glue to seal the outside joint to provide some water protection against future rain floods.
Temporary-side-door-sill

Temporary-side-door-sill


Now that we had the new sill in place, we could measure the amount of material we would have to remove at the bottom of the door, some 45mm in total. We put in an replacement CLS frame to ensure the bottom of the door was still reasonably stiff. Then we chopped off 10mm off the top to clear that new upper rail and then put the door back. We did have to do further adjustments by running the planer across the bottom edge as the door turned out not to be exactly square but since it is only a temporary door, we kludged it to get it to fit without scraping!!

Finally, we were in the position to do the next stage of filling in the walls with glass wool and the plastic vapour barrier membrane. We scrubbed the aged timber surfaces along the bottom, applied a line of the butyl heavy duty double sided sticky tape along the bottom edge, around the window and along the top edges too. Where there were a plastic layer already, we used acrylic sticky tape instead. Next, we unrolled and cut up lengths of glass wool pieces, 100mm thick stuff for the lower half and longer pieces of 200mm thick stuff for the upper sections. We filled in the corners and around the door and window so everything is now filled in.

Fibre-in-utility-walls-1

Fibre-in-utility-walls-1

Fibre-in-utility-walls-2

Fibre-in-utility-walls-2



After that, we put on sheets of plastic to encapsulate the yukky glass wool stuff and provide a vapour barrier to stop condensation from forming in the body of the wooden walls and hence avoid potential rot problems.
Utitlity-walls-with-vapour-membrane-1

Utitlity-walls-with-vapour-membrane-1

Utitlity-walls-with-vapour-membrane-2

Utitlity-walls-with-vapour-membrane-2



We now have finished covering up the walls, just a little bit to finish off like sealing around the air duct and various conduits sticking out, plus finishing off the window and door too. Then we can install a layer of plasterboard to cover up this plastic to provide a fire resistant barrier and then we can start on building the internal “cupboards” that will contain the equipment that provides the utilities and services for the house.

 Posted by at 7:00 pm