Friday 31 December 2010

Day 260

The limecrete sills have set well, with no cracks.  We will continue to protect them for about 2 weeks.  This is the small steel tubular heater (80W) we put inside each straw tunnel to lift the temperature a few degrees.

Thursday 30 December 2010

Day 259-casting limecrete sills

By now, we have learned better than to trust the weather so despite the milder temperatures forecast we are taking no chances!  The sills have been covered with hessian, with a straw bale tunnel built round them and a low wattage (80W) electric greenhouse heater in each one.  We plan to turn the heater on at night to give the temperature a boost to help them dry out faster.

The limecrete should be hard by tomorrow...

The cast limecrete sill.

We used ionic NHL5 lime mixed 1:3 [lime:sand], and kept the mix as dry as possible.

We finally got a break in the weather, and took the opportunity to cast the limecrete sills under the sliding doors in the pre-prepared formwork.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Day 250 - Scaffolding struck

The front elevation

The roof overhang on the west elevation.

The west elevation post scaffolding.

The frozen scaffolding ready to come down...

Sunday 19 December 2010

Day 248

We need to cast a limecrete sill under each of the sets of sliding doors, and the quicker we can get this done the sooner we can order the sliding doors.  The freezing weather has not been very helpful, as lime likes a minimum external temperature of 3degrees C.

To try and get round this we had an idea that we could build a straw bale tunnel over each of the sills and put an electric greenhouse heater in each one, with the aim of keeping the internal temperature above 3deg C.  We constructed one of the tunnels to see what sort of temperature we would be able to maintain within the tunnel, to see if the idea would work...

...we found that the temperature was on average about 4 degrees higher within the tunnel than the external air temperature (there were a few gaps between the bales we couldn't do much about).  This was simply not enough when the external air temperature is between -5 and -10, as it is at the moment!  So we will have to wait until there is a break in the weather before casting the sills.

Friday 17 December 2010

Day 246 - the roof is finally complete!

... the last roof sheets were fitted!
The temperatures are still very low here but as the scaffolding is due to come down next week we were desperate to get the roof finished.  So we dragged up hot water and towels to thaw the ice on the roof and finally... 

Sunday 12 December 2010

Day 241 - clay disaster

Some of the larger cracks and what we think are salts brought to the surface by the cold weather.

If anyone has experience of clay render they can share with us, we would be very interested to listen...

More pictures of the frost damage to the render...

The temperature was forecast to drop to +2 degrees last night, however when we got up this morning it was -3 degrees.  Significantly colder than forecast!  This was not good news.  The render we applied yesterday had frozen already, and the clay in the pit had frozen once again.  One area of render had fallen off, pictured above, so not the best start to the day!  We took the difficult decision not to do anymore rendering today and are questioning whether we leave the rendering until next Spring.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Day 240 - the big rendering weekend!

The weather forecast for this weekend was a break from the extremely cold weather so we planned a big rendering weekend, and called all hands on deck to help!  However, on Saturday morning we did a thorough inspection of the render and discovered some frost damage had occurred, particularly on the north-east elevation which has fronted a lot of the cold weather we have had recently.  The frost appears to have frozen the water in the wet render and expanded it, and then once thawed the clay has stayed expanded leaving it aerated like an aero bar.  The render has also not really dried in places and in others has lost its key.  The good thing we discovered about the clay was that this process was reversable and it could be returned to its original state.

We carried out some remedial work and decided we had nothing to loose by trying to get as much of the remaining high level rendering done (on the north and south elevations) before the scaffolding is struck in about a weeks time.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Day 239

2/3 of the ridge sheets are now fitted. We are nearly there with the roof!  ( I appologise for the night shot!)

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Day 238

Cladding battens set up on the east elevation.

The replacement ridge sheets have arrived and...

... they fit!

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Day 237

Close up of the horizontal cladding around glazing on west elevation.

Horizontal cedar boarding on the west gable is complete and looks really good!

Many thanks to our carpenters, Steve Jarvis & Sons, who have done a fantastic job in very cold conditions (some mornings it was -6 degrees!).  They have also put up the whole timber frame, done all the metal roofing and fitted all the windows.  Their attention to detail is amazing and they have been very enjoyable to work with.  Many thanks to you all.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Day 235

Another weekend when it has been too cold to progressing the clay rendering so...

More cold weather jobs... putting a 15 degree angle on the top edge of the cladding battens...

Friday 3 December 2010

Day 233 - First cedar boards fitted

The first boards...

First cedar boards fitted on west gable around the first floor glazing (above the sliding doors).  These are the only horizontal boards, the rest of the cladding will be vertical.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Day 232

Balustrading fitted on the west gable in front of opening glazing (you won't see the fixings once the cedar cladding is fitted) and cedar lining around sliding doors fitted today.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Day 231

Cladding battens fitted on the west gable.