BUILDING A SOLAR HOUSE IN FRANCE - WEEK 12 - 13 - larch cladding, hemp insulating screed »  Viewing IMGP0020     [Image 19 of 29]  :: Jump To  
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Comment: 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 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.

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Nov 13, 2007 - 11:04 AM
Mr Mazières (Marcelin) came back on Wednesday to finish the framing to receive the larch (mèlèze) boarding.  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 boarding in place.

Soldering the zinc flashings around the roof light.

Late friday afternoon they had done nearly all the boarding on the gable and around the roof light.

Album last updated on Nov 09, 2007 - 12:58 PM
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