Simon R

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Simon R last won the day on February 26

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About Simon R

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  • About Me
    Retired form the computer industry. Like getting involved in projects, between my wife and I we have restored cars, built a boat, a done limited house renovation, new electrics, central heating and plumbing.
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    Lee on Solent - Hampshire

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  1. Yes, they do have representatives in the UK. Gary Peacey is the product manager gary@jub.org.uk. They also have bracing available in the UK for hire. Delivery gets combined with the order if requested.
  2. My HVLP sprayer in the Apollo 150, it's been a useful bit of kit. I've not had problems with it putting a lot of paint into the air. Having setup to try it with emulsion today it's proved a step to far, it simply doesn't generate sufficient pressure to atomise the paint. After a fair bit of trial and error I've decided that it won't work and have bought an Wagner airless sprayer.
  3. Not polished concrete, just a trick of the light on a self levelling screed, we got warned of polished concrete 😉
  4. We've a good HVLP setup that works well with alkyd paints, it'll be interesting to see how it copes with emulsion paint. I expect we may need to try a few different jet sizes.
  5. Well it’s been an exhausting and rewarding three weeks. The plastering work started on the 25th February and finished today the 18th March. Keeping ahead of Shaun our plasterer has been a real challenge and has meant we have not had a day off. Our internal doors arrived from Germany intact which was a welcome diversion, we've stored them safely in the garage until we get the painting done. The heat and humidity that goes with plastering has been interesting to say the least in a relatively air tight house. We don’t have our MVHR balanced yet but it’s been a real life saver being able to increase the fan speed and get a surprisingly comfortable working environment. Getting the MVHR up and running early in the build is not something we had planned, but in practice needs to be done as soon as you start making the structure air tight. The filters will be trashed but it’s a small price to pay for comfort. One things for sure getting plaster board up focuses the mind on the details of first fix work right. We had left plenty of wire at the sockets we thought but some were a close call after cables were fixed into place so they didn’t interfere with boarding. The water pipes were more troublesome. Our build uses wall plates (timber bolted to the ICF concrete) that support the joists. The wall plate is 50mm thick and ends just 30mm before the ceiling, so pipes have be bent round a tight curve, too tight. We ended up notching the bottom of the wall plates and even then some were a really tight fit. One other problem we had to overcome was a curved wall. The curve is a “design feature” and like a lot of things looks great on paper but rather more troublesome to turn into reality. The curve has an outside diameter of 1800mm. We took a look at the options and decided against using doubled up 6mm sheets of mdf as the long term stability invariably results in cracking. After a bit of internet research we found a plasterboard product “V-Cut” that looked an ideal solution. The boards are standard plasterboard cut every 10mm with a fine kerf saw. The result is very flexible in one plane, they were rolled into 400mm tubes. When it came to using them however the very fragile nature of the sheets became very apparent. Plaster board is very friable at the best of times, cut into 10mm strips makes it nigh on unusable. For example the plasterboard screw driver would simply pass straight through it. We ended up using the solvent free version of pink grip to hold it in place. The curve is in our hall so it’s exposed to potential knocks and needed additional protection. After discussing it with Shuan we decided to apply rendering mesh with a base coat plaster and then apply a skim over that to complete it. The end result looks and feels durable. It would have been a far better product if the boards were laminated with an additional layer of mesh and paper before they get cut, as it is I would not recommend V-Cut in it’s present form. On the positive side it’s been immensely rewarding seeing the house turn from a building site into something that looks like living space. It’s quite curious how your perception of the space changes, it looked smaller and the ceilings lower before boarding, then got bigger again once plastered. At times it’s been reminiscent of the track laying sequence in “the wrong trousers”, needless to say we’re going to take a couple of days off to recover. Next on the list of things to do is mist coat the plaster to seal it before applying a spray of latex mat white.
  6. The extension arm takes it to 4.6M. The standard arm is in the region of 3.4M.
  7. The board lifter is not the best engineered bit of kit in the world, but very serviceable and excellent value for money. It lifted 29KG 2.7 boards with no problem, The wheel locks worked well and held the lifter in position well. It was better than I thought it would be. For the collated gun I used the other end of the spectrum, a corded Hilti. I did take a look at a cordless option, but I could get a "like new" driver gun on ebay for £30 and bought the collated head new for £100. Beautifully made and will last a life time, total overkill but I'll probably recoup that cost when I sell it at the end of the build.
  8. In my last blog entry we had done the majority of first fix and were about to tackle the lighting circuits. We had intended to do this in the conventional ring and switch runs. Reading up on our options it soon became obvious this was not the best option and that running radial circuits made much more sense. A radial approach will let us install led drivers and any automation in a central area for ease of maintenance and to allow us too upgrade with wi-fi switches at some point in the future. Initially we are installing RF controlled relays with switches that look like fairly conventional switches stuck on the walls at appropriate places. There are a couple of of lighting circuits where having Shelly controlled switches will be beneficial as we can programme them to come on at sunset for a couple of hours. All has gone reasonably well, our council building controls visited and gave us a clean bill of health and said they didn’t need to come back before completion. They’ve been really good to us drawing our attention to possible problems, so getting the news was a nice vote of confidence. It’s been hard work and we’ve been on site most days, so when it came to the 14th I did little to help my cause by buying Pat a new set of overalls 🙂 … we both had a laugh about it. Our plans were to get the plaster-boarding done by mid March, which is when the plasterer was scheduled to finish a large job. This schedule gave us plenty of time to fit service battens on the vaulted ceiling and get everything as true as we can to give us a nice flat ceiling. Not having plaster-boarded before we decided it was prudent to call in the plasterer to take a look at what we had done and point out anything we needed to do differently. So when Shaun our plasterer came on Tuesday last week and told us it all looked good and the big job he had been due to start had been delayed as the electricians had failed to come on site. Quick discussion and we decided to break our plastering into two pieces of work and start on the 25th a full three weeks before we had planned. It was an all hands to the pumps week to meet the schedule. Our house has a two story stair case in a 1.8M by 2.4M void so when working on the ceiling over the void it looks like a very long drop...a good 8 meters. The boarding above the void is in full view, so we wanted to get a nice straight line on the intersection on the apex. We set up staging in the void on the second floor. Well supported but still knee quaking. Getting the board lifter into the work area was also a problem. Just to help the wall on one side of the area was not true so getting a 2.4M board lined up and fixed true proved a bit of a mission. In the end it took four attempts and some use of packing shims to get it right. Not a good start as it had taken the best part of a day to do a comparatively small area. Our kitchen ceiling is vaulted and we had bought a board lifter and an extension arm to allow us to do it. This extension arm allows the boards to be raised to 4.6M plenty we thought. It turned out to be just 800mm less than we needed so we ended up putting the lifter on blocks to get the additional height. In the end it worked out fairly well with minimal trauma. Can’t imagine how people do it without a lifter. Progress picked up well from this point and we put up the last few sheets with a little time to spare. Plasterer arrived on schedule and got to work fast. Such a transformation.
  9. Beware of the B535, unlike the earlier B593 I'm fairly sure it does not support and external aerial.
  10. The narrow boat hull is a pretty effective Faraday cage so having an external aerial is a must, it also means we can set up the phone to do VOIP when we have no phone signal.
  11. We're using one of these huawei b593 it accepts an external aerial so you can a good signal under most conditions. It's only 4G not 5G but is very easy to setup and as it's old kit it's peanuts. Our dat sim is from 3 mobile and is £15 for 20GB which is enough for us provided we don't binge on TV streaming, however having said that the 3 Go Binge feature means most TV data is not coming out of your data allowance 🙂 We've used this setup on our narrow boat for four years and it's been very reliable...hope I haven't cursed it.
  12. We got it direct from Blauberg. The unit is the SB550 and our house volume is just under 500m3 from our SAP calculations. Blauberg offer a free system design service which was useful. We bought their large 4 bed house kit which comes in under 3k if you register as a builder (salesman told me to honest). We've had the unit ticking over while we've been working on the house and it's very quiet. The unit interface is from a smart phone app and makes operation nice and simple. We won't know how well the unit work in terms of heat recovery until we're done though.
  13. What's the difference between a Bison and a buffalo? answer: you can't wash your hands in a buffalo...
  14. Hi Patrick, us boaters know this as Bison board (phenolic ply) and it's used for exposed decks on narrow boats. Last for years in the open. A much better product than OSB both in durability and strength. Get as much of it as you can!
  15. After a summer spent cruising the canals we arrived back on site with a little trepidation and a lot of enthusiasm. When we left the build we had just got the scaffold down and had a lockable water tight shell,. Well almost water tight, we still have two leaks. One where our roof lights join and another on a roof seam that abuts the wall on the house gable. Fortunately neither were bad enough to have caused any damage over what has been a pretty dry summer. The internals of our ICF build required no supporting walls making it a nice big unencumbered space to start installing the MVHR, electrics and plumbing. We had decided to get the MVHR installed first as the pipes are the largest and least flexible. The system design for our MVHR had been provided by Blaugberg making it a fairly straight forward install. Of course the design hadn’t taken into account joist spacing or any other details of the construction. Taking the joists into account etc we ended up mounting the two manifolds next to the MVHR unit raised for the floor to allow access. Getting the MVHR into position involved getting a bulky 80KG box to the roof area of the house, a task made pretty simple with the aid of an electric winch. With the manifolds raised off the floor and two of us feeding the pipes through the aero joist webbing we managed to get all the pipes in with minimal loss of skin. The manifolds have large removable panels that allow access to install flow constrictors. Our intent is to get the MVHR setup as soon as we can to help keep heat in the house and to get the humidity down from the 65-70 percent it’s currently at. One other job we wanted to get done early was an initial air tightness test. Although we are not building for passive certification we want to make sure we are as close to the 0.6 passive house level. We needed to get the roof VCL installed, in our case this is just a plastic membrane. Getting the membrane in place where we have vaulted ceilings was time consuming as it involved step ladder, a ladder and staging to get to the top of 5M high. With the membrane in place we called in a local firm to do the air test. With the fan drawing air into the house detecting leaks was straight forward as the air was much cooler outside than in. We had a few leaks virtually all at the junctions of the VCL with the roof purlins. The guy doing the test recommended trowelling mastic over the spray foam which had been used to seal the junction of the purlins and the ICF. Having identified the areas we needed to fix we got on with the air test proper. As the test proceeded restrictor rings were fitted to the fan until the required air pressure was stable. The initial figures are excellent down at 1.08 ARCH which given we have a bare structure and know leaks around the purlins mean we should be able to meet the 0.6 ARCH. Interesting form me was the degree to which the fan got restricted, you can see from the photo that just a 15mm ring was left exposed. For a normal build this would be the case for a small single bedroom flat. With the MVHR tubes in place we set to installing the water pipes. It’s surprising just how much having to make decisions about tap positions can exercise your patience. We had opted to use a water softener and after a bit of searching around decided to use a Monarch Solo, a non electric water softener that gives ample flow rates for our house size. Compared to re-plumbing a house starting out from scratch made it a simple and quick. Again having two people to feed the pipes makes the job a lot simpler and saves shaving the pipes through the ceiling webbing. We will pressure test all the water circuits prior to do any plasterboarding. Along side the water pipe installation we also installed the electrical ring mains. With ICF it’s important that the wires don’t come into contact with the polystyrene as it leaches the plasticiser from the cable insulation making it brittle over time. Lighting rings will follow. We have a fairly good idea of where we want lights but it’s difficult to be sure so we plan to put in a lot of redundancy so we can change lighting as required once living in the space. We have also installed stud walls for the two bedrooms and bathrooms. The seemingly huge space soon shrinks! Having said that the rooms are generous. In the entrance hall one wall has a curved corner, a little more fiddly to construct but well worth the effort making the hall/stair area look really good.