Archive for March, 2014

March 2014 – Part 1

Quite a lot going on this month (now writing in present tense!) As I write this we’re just over halfway through the month. It’s all going on, inside and outside the house. I’ll split March into several blog posts. This post, I’ll split into two sections – inside and outside.

Inside the house

The screed is drying nicely so it’s now ok to walk on. The stud work for the downstairs study, cloakroom and utility has gone up, so we can now get an idea of the final layout of the house. We made a couple of tweaks to one of the sections of stud work, to improve the flow through the house. In the entrance hallway, we were all in agreement to take a corner of the stud work of the cloakroom off. It makes the space a lot more useable, without really sacrificing any space in the cloakroom. I think it’s important to be on site to see these things, as it didn’t seem an issue looking at the plans, but when on site, we mocked up the planned position of the wall, and it just didn’t look right.

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Sean, the electrician was on site doing his first fix, running all the necessary cables. I think even Sean was surprised at the amount of cable that went into the house for the first fix. We’ve opted for LED down lighters in the kitchen, bathrooms and man cave, and standard lighting everywhere else, to try and keep the cost down a bit. We also had a meet up with the guys from Aperio Audio Visual, Craig and Chris and talked through my requirements for the home cinema set up. The set up will also include all the cabling to each TV, along with a speaker system in certain areas of the house that can be zoned.  I’ll try my best to make sure this is all rigged up ready for the house warming party!

More insulation to be done, in all the roof spaces with fibreglass insulation, a horrible task, so I thought it best to delegate that part to my trusty right hand man (thanks Colin!).  Because we’re having open eaves, we had to stuff the insulation into all of those gaps as well. Back up on the top floor, we finished off fixing the ply to the inside of the trusses, this acts as extra bracing, then another 50mm of Recticel insulation was fixed to that ply, ready for the plasterboard.

We ‘dry fitted’ the shower trays so we could fit the waste pipe work to each of them. We’ve just got a days work left doing all the odds and ends ready for it to be dry lined. Hopefully by the time I next write, the rain water harvesting system would’ve been delivered then that’s everything done for the first fix plumbing.

Outside the house

A good tidy up was needed out the front of the property to clear space for the ground workers to return to dig the trenches for the BT and electricity cables to be run. This required moving another few tons of stone out of the way that we’ve got remaining to build our retaining wall out the back.

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The second pic (believe it or not) is the ‘after’ clean up shot. There were a few pallets of stone there before we got stuck in! Our little helper getting stuck in as well.

Once the trench was back filled we could get it looking a little bit more like a house, and get shot of some of the unsightly fencing.

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The drive got it’s layer of scalpings, which made parking a lot less muddy!

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The garage floor was also completed at the same time, so that’ll come in handy as bit of extra storage. It’s slowly starting to look like our home!

Next time – more work on the first fix inside for the cabling for all the TVs and the conservatory gets fitted too.

If you’re interested in building your own home, or need any advice from planning issues to renewable energy, be sure to check out

Thanks for reading – see you next time.



February 2014

Time to insulate the ground floor in preparation for fitting the underfloor pipe work. This turned into quite a lengthy process, as it involved fitting the following:-

  • 1200 gauge damp proof membrane (that had to be taped round every edge of the room to the existing dpc)
  • 150mm Recticel insulation (this was slightly warped, which made the fitting tricky!)
  • taping the insulation joins with foil tape
  • fitting a foam expansion strip around the insulation against the walls
  • fitting a 500 gauge vapour check barrier over the insulation

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After finally getting the whole of the downstairs prepped (we lost count of how many times we had to move all the insulation around to clear the room we were working on!) We could then start insulating it with the 150mm (slightly bent) Recticel.

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Once we’d insulated the floor in every room, we could then lay the vapour check barrier and the expansion strip.  A little tip here – try and leave  a tiny gap from the insulation to the wall, to fit the expansion strip in, this’ll save you a lot of time when you come to fit the strip (as we found out the hard way!)

It was then finally time to lay the UFH pipe work, supplied by ‘Wundafloor’ this was a doddle to fit, and will definitely be using them again on client’s properties.

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Just the conservatory floor to prepare and lay the UFH pipe work down on now. The conservatory isn’t actually there yet, so we had to knock something up to keep the area dry ready for the screed. I’m sure you’ll agree from the picture below – it’s a beauty, we’re thinking about keeping it to save a few quid! I joke, I joke.



Nailed it!!

Having that sheet up allowed us to get the floor sorted in the dry (it’s still there as I type, as we’re waiting for the conservatory to be fitted in a couple of weeks.)

All the underfloor heating system was now pressure tested for leaks. None were found so we could now get the screed down – which was a small milestone as once that had dried, we could then get the staircase manufacturer out for his final measurements. That means we won’t have to keep going up the never ending ladder very soon – result! We’ll also be able to start the dry lining – so it’s really starting to feel more and more like a house, as opposed to a building site! A couple of pics of the screed finish – very smooth, the screeder (made up word?!) was recommended to us by Tom our chippie, so we knew we would be getting a good finish.

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What’s next? Wait for the screed to dry before we can get back in. A blessing in disguise I think, as it gives me chance to concentrate on my business for a week. Then back to connect up the heat recovery ducts.

Thanks for reading. Just a quick note to say I have a bit of exciting news – a new venture that I’m working on it’s a site I’m creating to help self builders save money and find everything they need to help them with their build in one place. It’s currently under construction, but if you’re interested in self building, or any aspects of renovation or construction, be sure to go to the site to register your interest for the upcoming launch date.

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