Boarding is very nearly complete

Completed plaster boarding in our hallway void

We’re only a couple of days away from our plaster boarding being completed, and just wanted to share a photo of the boarding that has been done in our hallway void area to show good quality work.

This area is double height, with a roof light at the top and the intersection of a dormer with the main roof, so it’s a fairly complex area with multiple angles. Luckily, we have a skilled plaster boarder in Tony Mugford, and he’s done a great job of navigating those angles and producing a great-looking base ready for plastering.

Layers upon layers

Spreading adhesive before laying the tile backer boards

Whichever room we next go to, there’s always another layer of material that needs to be attached before we get to the fun bits.

This time, we’re in the main bedroom en-suite. This is the only room that will have tiles on the floor, so it’s always best to make sure whatever the tiles are attached to is waterproof.

We decided to have Jackoboard on the walls since it’s the easiest to work with. It’s a foam board sandwiched between thin sections of cement. It works well but we wanted something a bit more solid for the floors, so we went with Hardibacker, which is a solid cement board. It’s a lot heavier than Jackoboard, but ideal for places that will be walked on a lot.

Installation is actually quite easy – the hardest part is cutting the boards. We used a combination of a knife, handsaw and jigsaw to cut lengths and holes for pipes and cables. Other than that, it was a case of mixing up and spreading some adhesive on the ply floor, then laying the boards and fixing them with screws to make sure they’re fully secure.

Once the boards were laid, we taped the joins with Hardibacker mesh tape and adhesive to prepare it for tiling. The backer boards butt up to our inset shower tray, which will create a seamless transition once tiled between the shower and the rest of the bathroom.

Plaster board = rooms taking shape

Our main bedroom after plaster boarding

Having finally finished most of the glazing and the first fix work, we’ve started with the plaster boarding, and a few days in, what a difference it makes!

For one, the rooms are starting to look more like rooms, and they are also a lot darker!

The plan is to start plastering in the next few days while the boarding continues in the rest of the house, so that maybe in a couple of weeks, our house will look a lot more like home.

Tile backer boarding in the en suite bathroom

Additionally, rendering of the outside has started today with the two apexes being done, after which we will paint those sections so the first section of scaffolding can be taken down. Luckily, the roofing is being finished over the next couple of days and we’re also aiming to finish the guttering at the front.

The roof light is (finally) installed!

The roof light glazing and bars in all their (wet) glory

I’ve mentioned our much-awaited roof light a few times before, but this time I can finally say that the glazing has been installed and we’re in the final straight with getting it fully watertight.

To say it’s been an uphill struggle would be an understatement. There will probably be a more detailed blog post later about our trials and tribulations with this glazing, but for now, suffice to say that the companies involved have finally been able to work out together what needs to be done, and in what order, and get those things done.

The final step is for the roofing company to return and finish the aluminium panels either side of the glazing as well as fitting the ridge trims to finish off our roof and stop any water coming in for good.

On the plus side, it looks amazing from inside and I can’t wait for the scaffolding to come down so we see it properly for the first time.

The bad with the good

When you’re writing a blog about a house build, it’s easy to only write about the good things and everything that’s going well with the process.

In that vein, this post is about something that went wrong in our build.

Cut underfloor heating pipes, and some extra digging to assist with re-connecting them

Our entrance has floor to ceiling glazing, and we were told that our floor screed started too far forward, stopping the bottom section from going in. The solution was to cut back the screed to the back edge of the steel beam that the glazing sits in.

However, what we hadn’t accounted for was the position of the underfloor heating pipes. Inevitably, this led to some of those pipe loops being cut as part of the cutting of the screed.

Luckily, this is not the first time that something like this has happened in the world, and our plumber was able to repair the loops with couplings, taking the opportunity to reduce them back a little so they don’t sit under the glazing. This of course meant we needed to dig out some more screed very carefully to allow enough room for this work to happen.

With a few bags of structural grout (a strong cement mix) we re-filled everything that was dug out after the plumber had done his job. Now, the cut out section is at a lower level to accommodate the glazing, and the extra dug-out parts are level again. We used some Ardex P51 primer around the edges of the existing liquid screed to ensure it bonds properly with the new structural grout.

We’re now back to where we were before this incident, but suffice to say there will always be parts of a build where you wonder whether things could get worse!

Our first window is in!

The view from a first floor window

They always say that getting your windows installed is a major milestone, and it definitely feels like we’ve been waiting our fair share of time!

Luckily, today (also my birthday) saw the first of our windows installed. After weeks of having to mop up puddles and leaks across the house, it is a relief to see them close all the holes in the house.

It’ll take a couple of days to install all the windows, but the doors will be a little longer as well as our fabled roof light (the subject of a whole post by itself).

Insulation all the way

Acoustic insulation and resilient bars on the ground floor ceiling

While our builders have been busy outside finishing off the block work, our carpenter from Maple Leaf Carpentry and Construction has been busy inside with all sorts of first-fix carpentry work.

Alongside the more usual noggins and framing work, he’s also been putting up some acoustic insulation in the ground floor ceiling. As well as keeping in the warmth, this should also reduce the amount of floor noise from above.

To further reduce this noise, we’re also adding resilient bars. These are metal bars that are screwed in on one side and loose on the other. The plasterboard for the ceiling is attached to these bars, and so is actually “floating” and this also reduces noise transfer.

Block work progressing well

External block work on the left-hand side of the house

For the last four week or so, while we’ve been blogging about what’s happening inside the house, a team have been working outside laying our block external wall.

This wall surrounds the timber frame and protects it as well as providing a base for rendering and cladding.

It’s been progressing well and has nearly reached the top of the first floor windows. This is good news since the windows are currently scheduled for installation starting next week!