Year: 2009

Windows shuttered

For as long as we've been planning and designing the conversion of the barn the issue of how to screen the large window on the yard side of the building has been nagging at us. The challenge being to allow as much light in as possible whilst retaining a degree of privacy (although it's hardly Oxford Street out there). We toyed around with various blind, curtain and shutter based options - the favourite always being shutters although the price tag always seemed steep. After a quote for well over £3,000 pounds fitted put me completely off the idea for a…
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Oak floor adrift on the high seas…

I ordered solid European oak flooring and associated underlay, fixings and tools from a flooring company (who will remain nameless for now) back October [Corrected]. The passing of time has made the details somewhat hazy, but I planned to get the floor in, at least on the landing, by Christmas and that included an allowance of three weeks for the wood to acclimatise to it's new surroundings and ideally achieve a moisture content of somewhere around 10% (optimum moisture apparently!) before fitting. Time passed and as of writing (December 24th 2009), my floor has still not arrived... Over the months…
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Building Progress ~ November 2009

Finishing treating the untreated oak stairs and banisters is proving a real pain - the banisters along the landing have all been whitened & waxed, but the stairs themselves along with the banisters running down the stairs still need finishing, they've been whitened but not waxed. The problem is getting the timing right (never my strong point) and being organised enough to be able to wax the stairs as I'm leaving and not returning at least overnight - haven't managed that yet. Skirting boards have now been completed (I managed to source a supply from a different Wickes store in…
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Insulation ~ Extruded Polystyrene

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) is made by mixing polystyrene and a blowing agent under pressure and then forcing the resultant fluid through a die. As it emerges from the die the fluid expands into a foam, which is shaped before it cools. Extruded is stronger than expanded polystyrene and as such is better suited applications where some load bearing is required such as below ground (for example, in providing an insulation layer in a floor). Features Manufactured from petrochemicals so not sustainable and toxic when burnt. High embodied energy. Moisture tolerant and relatively durable. Versatile, strong and relatively easy to fit.…
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Insulation ~ Phenolic foam

Phenolic foam insulation is made by combining phenol-formaldehyde resin (note the presence of formaldehyde, a hazardous chemical and known carcinogen), a foaming agent and a hardener. When all three are mixed an exothermic reaction causes foaming followed by rapid setting. Description Usually now available as rigid boards or panels sometimes as a backing to plaster or chip board. Features Relatively low embodied energy - in comparison to similar products. Good fire performance. Very low flame spread, negligible smoke emission and very low levels of toxic gas emission. Can be cut and shaped accurately. Often used to closely insulate pipes and…
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Insulation ~ Glass Fibre

Similar to mineral wool insulation, glass fibre is one of the most common forms of insulation in the UK - everyone knows that rough, itchy, scratchy feel of glass fibre much beloved in our drafty attics. Whilst it has been installed in many homes for at least of couple of decades, this has not usually been done to the same thickness that would now be recommended so a top-up may be in order. Description Glass fibre manufacture involves melting the raw materials (which typically include around 50% recycled glass) in a furnace at temperatures in excess of 1500ºC. The resultant…
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Living room windows

Picture with measurements of both of the living room windows - one photo two sets of measurements. Only where the two windows vary are both measurements given. Just for the record the picture is of the left side window (I think!) Click on the picture for a larger version hosted by Picasa.
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Building Progress ~ October 2009

Ah, October - seems like a long time ago now... I've stalled in finishing treating the untreated oak stairs and banisters the banisters along the landing have all been whitened & waxed, but the stairs themselves along with the banisters still need finishing. I managed (mistakenly) to wax one of the posts before whitening it and the colour difference was quite noticeable, thankfully a quick sanding brought things back to where I wanted them. In the kitchen the cooker is now in (well almost, the gas just needs connecting) and I've got the cooker hood ready for installation - that…
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Slack

Sorry, I've been very slack in updating the site over the last few weeks - very busy at work (my proper job) at the moment with a system implementation. Rest assured my usual slow and steady service will be resumed shortly...
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