BUILDING A SOLAR HOUSE IN FRANCE - WEEK 12 - 13 - larch cladding, hemp insulating screed
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The week began with the carpenters back, lowering the scaffolding they had put up to do the fascias and gutters, in order to fix the tongued and grooved cladding (lambris) under the eaves.
In the afternoon I went to La Coquille in the van to collect the larch cladding from the sawmill of Mr Merle from whom we are buying a lot of the finishing timber.
Mr Merle with the poplar cladding he has planed and grooved for us which we will be using for ceilings.
Finished eaves cladding.
The scaffolding I had ordered for the north west side should have arrived on Monday the 5th, but Gary Maslen misread the plan I emailed him, and spent the afternoon touring the neighbourhood looking for the site ! Mr Mazieres said he could not work without it and so did not come on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, I met Gary at St Pardoux at 8.30 and led them to the site.
By about 3 on Tuesday afternoon the scaffolding was up and I summoned Mr Mazieres back again. I had not allowed for scaffolding in my 'Bill of Quantities' so I had to provide it as the gable was a bit too high for the sort of scaffolding used by Mr Mazieres which is seen on the right. I have to say that the security of Gary Maslen's scaffolding impressed the French builders !
On the other side - the south east - which is not as high, Mr Mazieres' carpenter used a ladder to put up the tongued and grooved cladding under the eaves.
Late on wednesday afternoon they started, at last, to fit the flashing (solin) for the chimney, that I had collected from the suppliers of the Godin wood fire that will be our principal heating. From time to time during the work on the roof, I had suggested that this was q good moment to place the flashing and trim the rafters around it, but was always told that they would do it later. This became a bit of a joke, and I think they were winding me up a bit by postponing it. When they finally came to do it, it emerged that they had never fitted this kind of stainless steel 'solin' before, and tried to persuade me that I had been given the wrong thing. Words were exchanged, and I insisted that it would work if they followed the instruction leaflet.
The 'solin' in place, waiting for the adhesive foam seals around the edges and the tiles to be cut to fit.
The thing that I was most unhappy about was the lead flashing over the tiles below - a pool of water could form behind it and run back into the house. The folds of lead formed a dam higher than the edge of the lead behind. But I think they later corrected that , but I could not confirm exactly what had been done. We shall see what happens when it rains heavily !
Mr Mazières and his men left on wednesday late afternoon and didn't come back for a week. In the meantime I decided to turn the cellar into a secure lockable space for storing materials.
I hung a battened door and fitted a lock.
I bought a De Walt radial saw to help with all the interior joinery I plan to do. It also has a flat adjustable bench above for ripping etc.
So the first thing I did with it was to make a chestnut window for the cellar store room. Here it is being given 3 coats of exterior varnish by Margaret.
Then on Monday the 12th, Thierry Soubrier arrived to do the insulating screed in the basement. He is a specialist in hemp and lime screeds. He also specialises in straw wall construction and in clay / lime floor and wall finishes. He is part of a network of like-minded people promoting ecological construction. Here he is unloading the bags of hemp stalk (chenevotte) and cutting them open. He uses a large capacity conventional concrete mixer, and the proportions are 44 litres of water, 35 kilograms of lime, half a bag of chenevotte. I mixed for him while he laid the screed.
Closeup of the 'chenevotte', which has been traditionally used for bedding for animals. We will also use hemp fibre 'wool' insulation in the roof and walls.
The first wheelbarrow going down in the basement areas that will be tiled.
It is difficult to get a smooth and level surface on which to lay tiles directly, so I opted for a rough finish on which I hope to lay a thin sand / lime levelling screed later. It all takes several months to dry, which is why I'm doing it now.
Mixing and filling the barrow, It took us just a day and a half to lay 25 square metres of screed 8 cm thick. At my age (72) I found it quite hard work, but thanks to the relatively light weight of the mix, not crippling.
Mr Mazières (Marcelin) came back on Wednesday to finish the framing to receive the larch (mèlèze) cladding. There were 4 of them swarming all over the roof and scafolding. I finished off glazing the window in the cellar store room.
On Thursday the framing was finished and covered with the breathable membrane (ecran respirante) and they started nailing on the mèlèze
Mr Mazières having a cigarette and thinking about the lapping of the boards.
Lifting a 15 x 10 cm cill member into place under the roof window / solar collector, over which the zinc flashing is fixed.
During the first day putting up the oak frame, the end truss was not checked carefully enough and was slightly out of postion and not quite vertical, and I did not see the error until all the other trusses were correctly in position and braced to it. I asked for it to be corrected and was told forcefully that it was too late ! The mistake is visible in this picture, but is not very serious as the truss is hidden in the thckness of the insulated wall in the gable end.
Fixing the larch cladding in place.
Soldering the zinc flashings around the roof light.
Late friday afternoon they had done nearly all the cladding on the gable and around the roof light.
I brought my new DeWalt radial bench saw to the site, to cut larch cladding.
View from the bottom of our wood. It has been very cold every morning (-6 degrees Celsius ttoday) but with very bright sunshine it quickly warms up, but the leaves are starting to fall. Mr Mazières is coming on Monday to finish most of his work on the main house.
Album last updated on Nov 09, 2007 - 12:58 PM