Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Shiny Roof and Hairy Walls

The roofing contractors have made great progress and are on course to finish the roof by the end of the week.
The zinc sheeting is quite shiny at first but the other side of the roof that was completed last week has already started to dull down.

The lime plaster comes ready mixed and has a remarkable texture, not least because one of the main constituents is goat hair. This acts as a binding agent but also gives the wall a textured finish.

Once a section of wall has been plastered it has to be left for a day to partially dry before it can be smoothed over to give the final finish.

It's not nearly as easy to apply the lime plaster compared to a conventional gypsum plaster so it does take longer. The end result though, will be a wall that is far more 'breathable' than a conventionally built wall.

The fireplace in the main teaching room is a triumph with its chunky oak beam and clay lump walls. The clay is still incredibly damp.....it might be Christmas before it is properly dry! It will almost certainly crack as it dries but any cracks can simply be filled with more clay.
Less than three weeks left now before the building has to be finished so its getting tight but the plumber is due to start in a few days and as soon as the plastering is finished the second fix electrics will be done.
A delivery date for the doors and windows would be nice!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Work starts on the roof

There has been no let-up in the pace of work in the last week with the roofing company now starting and the final stages of both the internal and external walls.
The ramp leading to the building entrance is almost complete. As much as anything, finishing this will help the builders who are backwards and forwards all day.
The first panels of cedar cladding have been fixed. The cladding is really just a rain screen as there is a breathable membrane underneath which will stop any moisture getting into the walls.

This picture shows the outer layers of the wall. The green breathable membrane has been painted black as otherwise  the green colour would still be visible between the gaps in the cladding. A fine mesh fly screen is then put over the battens (this will stop hornets trying to build nests under the cladding!) before the cedar is nailed on with stainless steel nails.

The internal walls are being lined with a wood wool composite called Heraklith. This is a much more environmentally friendly alternative to plasterboard with excellent fireproof, sound proof and insulation properties.
This will be given a single coat of lime plaster as the final finish.

The company doing the zinc roofing have just started. This picture shows the flashing detail that will ensure that water running off the roof will fall into the gutter.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Floors and Fireplace

Progress is really rapid now with work on several aspects of the building all happening simultaneously.
The cedar decking has been installed throughout the covered areas and the ramp that leads out of the building (shown above) has been finished. The builders have done a particularly good job fitting the ramp between the hazel stems either side creating exactly the effect of walking through the trees that was wanted.

The picture above shows the cedar decking on the 'balcony' on the left hand side and the floor of the main teaching room being put down on the right. Much of the internal floor has been constructed using floorboards salvaged from an old barn at the Trust's Foxburrow Farm centre. The redwood floorboards were quite sound (apart from a little woodworm that has been treated). The boards will be sanded down and treated with a hard oil which will bring up a lovely orange/red colour.
A fully glazed wall will separate the outside deck from the teaching room.

The woodburner which will heat the entire building has to sit on a substantial hearth to isolate it from the timber floor structure. This has been built using old hearth bricks and a lime mortar.

This is the view looking down into the shuttering that has been put in place to enable a clay lump wall to be built in the fireplace. The wall will be 300mm wide and approximately 1.5m high and will act like a giant storage heater soaking up the heat from the woodburner and then keeping the building warm at night.

The original plan was to make the clay lump from clay dug in the wood but it wasn't quite the right consistency. Instead, Mike Canham found some original  clay lump (at least 170 years old) that was left as waste after an old cottage was renovated.

The clay lump is simply shovelled into a cement mixer with some water to wet it enough to reuse.

We have also got Excel Electrical on site this week doing the first fix electrics so lots of decisions needed on lighting, placing switches etc.