Friday, 10 April 2015

On the Final Stretch

March 2015

March started very cold. We had a large amount of snow and some heavy frosts at night.

In between the very cold spells we started building the retaining/garden wall on the north side of the house. This wall will hold back the soil from the peculation area.

The cold weather at the beginning of the month

Foundation marked out ready to dig.

Waited for warmer weather before we concreted the foundation. It took 6m3 of concrete

While we waited for the concrete to harden we completed the infilling of the area around the house. The passage way is 4m wide and goes from the edge of the house to the retaining/garden walls. This passage way goes round complete perimeter of the house and garage. We first laid a geo-textile material on the ground before adding 100mm to 150mm of graded stone. The stone was raked and levelled using the laser level.

The geo textile material will keep the wet clay material away from the stone and keep it clean. And will give the ground much greater load strength.

This side is the south side and will have decking on it and it will be 150mm to 200mm above the stone.

Area behind the garage

Same area after the geo-textile and stone.

The patio doors from the back of the link building to the terracing.

We also completed most of the land drainage works around the back of the house and garage. The land drainage works will be on going, but we will come back and finish this when we do the final landscaping.

Some of the 120 tonnes of clean drainage stone used.

The first terrace having drainage installed and the passage way around the back of the house and garage.

We then started on the garden wall on the north side of the house. We used all the spare blocks which we had saved from the building of the house, garage and the other walls. These blocks were put near the foundation to make it easier for the block layer to pick up and lay them.

There has been very little waste on this site. All the blocks were put near the foundation.

The blocks were laid on the "flat " for the bottom few layers and cavity blocks were used for the top layers. The cavities will be filled with concrete.
Putting on the cavity blocks for the upper layers.

We installed the main sewer pipe connecting the house to the septic tank. The pipe goes to an inspection chamber before the tank itself.

The pipe needs to be laid with a slight fall to the tank.

As the weather improved during the month we thought about laying the kerbs along the drive way to the house. We formed the kerb line first with lime powder this gives a clear mark. 180 x 900mm kerbs were ordered. This will get us up to the court yard area.

The lime powder makes it easy to draw a line and make changes if they are needed.

The curve was drawn a few times to get it right.

We added another drain on the right hand side of the drive to make drainage even better. We now have drains on both sides of the drive.

There should not be any drainage problems on this driveway. This drain will go into the main field drain at my road frontage. 

The straight sections went in very quickly.

The curved sections took a lot longer. Due to all the cutting. All the concrete that was used to bed the kerbs in was mixed on site using a very large concrete mixer.

We also cleaned up the field drain on one of the boundary of the land. The drain was full of debris that had fallen into it while constructing the access road to the back field. We also levelled out this road and dressed it with a 150mm layer of stone. Between the access road and driveway we also added some topsoil ready for hedge planting.

Cleaning the drain. The main field on my road frontage had to be piped while it went under the driveway and access road.

The topsoil between the access road and driveway. The access road levelled ready for stone.

We used a 6 ton dumper to bring the stone to the road.

The machine makes a fantastic job of levelling the stone. It also helps having a very good driver at the controls

My builder is going to use a barrel stove to actually replace his oil boiler. Many people have already done this, mostly in the States, but I think this idea will catch on. 

I will be using a similar system, with my barrel stove, to heat up the garage.

The first burn is done outside. This is to burn off the paint.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Outside Rendering Completed.

February 2015

During the first few days of February the plasterer finished all the external rendering.
The garage looked really good with its final coat of render. The render had a much higher lime content which gave the render a much lighter, almost white colour.

A section of wall at the rear of the garage.

The other section of rear wall. The first drier lighter section in the background.

Garage fully rendered. 

The boundary wall with scratch coat waiting for final coat.

The front entrance way wall were also completed. They had their scratch coats done and then the final coats applied.
We are having a plinth detail on the entrance way walls this has caused a bit of a talking point amongst my neighbours. 
The western wing wall with the plinth detail.

The extra large pier caps were also installed. The top black cable is for the lights. The bottom cables are for the intercom and camera. The cable right at the bottom on the side face is for the eye to stop the gates closing on pedestrians who may be near them. 

The front entrance walls with the scratch coat.

The western wing wall completed with plinth detail. The plinth will be painted in a dark grey colour. The rest of the wall will be painted white.

The front entrance way completed. The timber gates have been purchased but we are waiting for the special hinges to be made.

The heavy duty armoured cables for the electric gates, lights, intercom and camera have been installed along the driveway. The cables had to be cut to 110m lengths and then installed in a trench, with sand at the bottom, to protect the cables. The trench was then filled with stone. Having the stone in the trench meant we could used it as a drain for the driveway.

The loops in the cable are for the driveway lights.

We started to put in the drainage between the house and the boundary walls. Also the rain water guttering from the house will also be attached to this drainage. All the water will then be diverted into the pond.

Holes were drilled into the top of the pipes at 10 12 and 2 o'clock positions. The water can then flow along the bottom of the pipes.

The trench was then filled with clean stone.

The trench and boundary wall.

The trench and boundary wall on the south side.
We added several land drains around the peculation area and into the other field this will help dry the field.
The drains are made with 125mm and 100mm plastic land drainage pipes sitting on a layer of clean stone with further clean stone over it. The stone was then filled to the top of the trench. A total of eight loads of clean stone was used. Very expensive.

A very deep drain which will take most of the water away from the house into a drainage ditch.

The land drain running along the front of the peculation area. A loop of cable can be seen for another light.

The drain running into the next field. The mud is a very deep in some places!!

We purchased fresh timber for the stove. We should be able to use from next season when its dry. The amount of timber that we have we should be able to use for at least 3 or even 4 winter seasons.

The wood store is made from pallets

This should last us for 3 to 4 seasons. Not bad for €480.00

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Light at the End of the Tunnel

January 2015

The new year brought with it the promise of very bad weather. So the electricians came back to connect the heat recovery ventilation system's pipework to the HRV unit.

This meant that what ever heat we created with the stove this would be distributed throughout the house and would help dry the house out.

The pipes coming from the different rooms to the system unit are 150mm but the units connectors were 200mm so we had to put flexible connecting pipes. This is only a temporary measure until we can get the appropriate reducers and solid piping from Germany. 

A room outlet.

The connecting pipes are flexible and they should be rigid.

The link building was next on the list of items we had to finish. During the Christmas break I sourced a double glazed patio door that we could install into the link building. This will mean we can get to the terraced garden directly from the link building. 

We insulated the floor and applied a waterproof but breathable membrane under it ready to install a timber floor. Insulated the ceiling ready to apply plaster boarded.

The new patio door.

Putting OSB into the spaces between the joists so the insulation doesn't fall out.

200mm of wool insulation in two 100mm layers

Even though the roof panels were insulated we added an additional 150mm of wool insulation into the ceiling.

Using the board lifter for the plaster board.

Ceiling done and scratch coat of render on the walls.

For a few days we have very bad weather heavy snow falls and very low temperatures. Even the pond froze over.

Nearly 150mm of snow in one day. But went away in a few days.

The ice was a good 50mm thick.

During the cold snap the plasterer carried on with the link buliding. He rendered two walls with sand/cement and then plastered it.

Ready for painting.

The plasterer than started with the bottom half of the garage, the retaining, boundary and front walls.

He first "scudded" all the faces with a strong sand/cement mix. He than applied a scratch coat then a finished coat. The finished coat was given a "napped" finish, which was the same at the house. The final coat of render had a greater amount of lime in the mix giving the coat a much whiter and brighter appearance.

The garage wall scudded.

The eastern boundary wall.

The southern boundary wall.

 A section of the front wall.
The back of the garage.
He then started the scratch coat on the garage.

The north side of the garage.

Front of the garage between the garage doors.

While the plasterer was getting on with scratch coat of the garage we started putting on the pier and wall caps for all the walls. This had to be finished before the plasterer applied his final coat which went up to the caps.

Lots of pictures of walls and piers with caps on them.

The very first pier cap going on.

The very first wall cap going on.

Retaining or west side of the wall finished.

The first section of the south wall.

The east side wall with the second section of the south side wall in the background.

A section of the front wall.