We have gas!

Wales & West Utilities installing our gas service

After months of delays, today we finally had our gas service installed, with the utility digging our trench and connecting us up. The next step is to get a meter installed and then we can finally think about having some heating (of course, after the electricity and water have also been installed).

Tiling a wet room

Feature wall tiles in the wet room shower

Tiling started a couple of weeks ago and is about to finish with the last tiles going up in the main en-suite today.

We’ve decided to make this a wet room which means there is no shower tray and we need to assume that most parts of the room may get wet. Most of the walls are tiled with a large format grey tile (which you can see on the left- and right-hand side walls). For the main wall in the shower, we decided to go with a lightly-patterned feature tile to create a bit more interest.

Happily, this is the last part of tiling that needs to be done, and then we’ll be ready to go with installing all the sanitary ware.

Tiling has started

Herringbone tiling going up in the shower cubicle of the main bathroom

Tiling in our bathrooms started yesterday and progress is going well. We’ve started with the main bathroom and one of the en-suites, tiling the shower cubicles with two different tiles.

Tiling will then move to some of the other areas of those bathrooms before finishing off with the second en-suite, which will be a wet room.

Tiling in the shower cubicle of the en-suite for bedroom 2

Boarding out the garage

18mm OSB on the garage wall

Our plaster boarder has been back this week, finishing off the plaster boarding of the bifold door area in the dining room.

He’s also started boarding out the garage, and here we’ve decided to go for a layer of 18mm OSB underneath the plasterboard. This will provide a solid base layer that we can use for shelving or hanging things.

Once that’s finished, everything will be plaster boarded and plastered ready for painting.

Adding the final trims

Our entrance glazing with the newly-installed aluminium trims between each section

It’s always nice to be able to add finishing touches to something that’s been worked on for a little while, and a couple of days ago, we were able to do just that with our entrance glazing.

The glazing came in three parts, separated by steel beams to take the weight. However, this left the beams on display after the glazing was fitted, which as well as not looking the best, could also allow water in.

The nice people at PR Laffin made four aluminium trims in the same colour as the frames and installed them on top of some plastic that we attached to the steel beam to prevent cold bridging and condensation.

It’s a small tweak, but it finishes the entrance really nicely and ensures it looks like one single unit and not three separate sections.

No more water through the balcony

Fibreglass sheeting ready to be laid

Today we at long last had the balcony sealed with fibreglass. Last time, we discussed the balcony build-up with all the various layers.

Now we have the first layer of fibreglass laid on top of all that build-up. While this is not the final finish, it seals the balcony and stops the water that has been incessantly dripping into our dining room every time it rains.

We now have a bit more time to think about what balustrade and final finish we’d like to have. Once that is done, we’ll get the final layer laid which also has a non-slip finish and can come in pretty much any colour.

For now, we can just rejoice that we’ve stopped the water.

Fibreglass undercoat finished and ready for balustrading

The right kind of cladding

Cedar cladding started at the front right

This week, the cladding has started going up. We’ve gone with a cedar cladding with modern, sleek lines covering the top half of the front of the house, to add a bit more detail and break up large sections of white render.

If you look closely, you’ll also see that we’ve started lining the inside of the entrance area either side of the glazing. We’re using Stucanet, which is a metal mesh (lath) attached to timber battens. This can then be rendered over in the same way as the block work without having to use any special techniques.

Stucanet stainless steel lath

Using Stucanet means we don’t have to have thick block work which would take up a lot of space in our entrance area.

Building a balcony

All the layers that make up our balcony

We’ve been building our balcony today, and that involves a number of layers of various materials that all come together to make a nice “whole”.

Our timber frame started off with a number of joists supporting an 18mm OSB board. We painted this with bitumen paint to attempt to stop the constant rain drips from the Cornish summer (which mostly worked).

Before building up the layers, we bolted large blocks of timber around the three outside edges of the balcony to provide the border, which will also stop water running off the end of the balcony.

To make sure the water runs off our balcony rather than pooling there, we started the build-up by installing firrings, which are basically timber wedges. The fall isn’t much, but it makes sure that water runs down. The firrings are attached through the bitumen-painted OSB into the joists below.

On top of this, we installed 18mm WBP plywood. This is a waterproof board designed for outside use (we also used this as the base layer of our roof) and this provides the main strength to everything on top of it. Again like the roof, the plywood is topped with breather membrane which stops most water but allows the layers underneath to breathe and stops condensation.

Next up is two layers of insulation. This brings up the level and also stops cold bridging, where cold materials meet warm materials and form condensation in between. The insulation sits in-between and stops this interaction.

Finally, we have 18mm tongue-and-groove OSB layed on top of the insulation, and screwed through it into the plywood below. This is the ideal base to fibreglass onto. The fibreglassing will finally make the balcony waterproof and give us some time to work out our next steps, such as what balustrades we want to have.

We decided to keep the fascias clean by going for a hidden gutter. That means making space inside the balcony itself for the water to run down and off. We cut back the top two layers by about 15cm to create a channel, and then installed a couple of long firrings running from side-to-side, to create a gentle slope to the right-hand side of the balcony. Here, we have a gap in the edge block which leads to the outside edge of the balcony, where a hopper will catch the water.

We’re on track to have all of this covered in fibreglass in the next few weeks, and we’ll post again once it’s done with the result!