Whilst we were on holiday the second air test was performed on the house. This came back with the extremely impressive figure of 0.13 ach ( air changes per hour), which is well within the passivhaus requirements of 0.6 ach. In fact this is the lowest that Mike and his team has achieved and is even more impressive given the house is not a single rectangular unit. This would not have been possible without the attention to detail by the whole team – so a big Thank You and congratulations to the team.
Outside, the garage now has its windows and the cladding is progressing. Inside the house, all the rooms have now had a couple of coats of paint, but as the floors are still covered up we have yet to see the full impact. However we have seen the shower room floor uncovered for the first time, which is a black limestone with the surplus tiles cut to produce a very neat skirting. The photo is of the basin on its birch stand.The plumbers and electricians have also been back to do some commissioning, including testing the heating system for the first time.
The builders have recently see the need for the intricate insect mesh that was installed behind the wood cladding, as a swarm of wasps decided to make a home about 2m inside their long work bench in the photo. Not that I am a great one for killing wildlife, this was a case for Pestkill.
Most things have gone smoothly with this build, except we have had a couple of teething problems this week. The shower-room light came with a diffracter that gives alternating dark and light bands around the room and a white garage door was delivered instead of the grey that was ordered.
Your first question is most probably what is “Tadelakt”? Tadelakt is a polished plaster based on the original Moroccan plaster meaning ‘to rub’ or ‘knead’ in Arabic and we are using it to give a waterproof finish to our shower room.The main ingredients are natural hydraulic lime, selected sands and marble powder with a pigment to give it some colour.Once the coat of plaster has been applied it is sprayed with an olive oil soap and is polished with a stone. The olive oil soap chemically reacts with the lime to form calcium stearate, which results in a surface that is both water resistant as well as hard and durable.
We have chosen the parchment colour, which starts of as the bright yellow pigment in the previous photo. The inset photo below is nearer to the colour it will dry to. What the photo can not show is the beautiful smooth texture of the finish. Nor does it show the final subtle colours that come with the final polish.
Last week the grey painting was completed on the outside and so we are now ready for the scaffolding to come down. Upstairs is now nearly completely painted, but downstairs is still too much of a workshop for the painters to start. The tiler has laid the black limestone tiles in the wet room, which means the plasterers can start next on the tadelakt plaster.
Henry and Dan finished mounting the kitchen doors and appliances, whilst this weekend Peter came home to help with putting together the drawers.Just the worktops to sort out now.
Surprisingly Ella ( the cat ) finally decided to do a thorough explore of the house whilst we were making the drawers. Upstairs, downstairs and on the scaffolding – before she decided it was time to find a comfy place to sleep.
Lots going on again this week, though the outside painting has been held up waiting for more paint. The garage now has window frames and the back layer of the cladding has been started.Inside, the kitchen units are now up on the walls, though the appliances, doors and drawers are still to be added. But visually the biggest difference has been the arrival of the oak staircase. The handrail and glass panels will be added in the next couple of weeks.