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Greetings, 


Just checking in with a bit of an update. 

Our four walls and a roof has moved on a bit. We are doing the work ourselves, used only one tradesman (to construct stone wall) and with small two kids to raise, as well as building and various 'interesting' events such as having to replace the roof on our temporary accommodation, I haven't been on here as often as I would have liked. 

We have:

  • cleared the internal space of animal stalls, rooms and concrete render
  • embedded our water and electricity supply pipes
  • levelled the earth inside the building, put down Geocell foamed glass insulation enveloped in a terram, put in UFH system and lime screeded on top. 
  • Lime pointed our window reveals and installed wood framed windows
  • raised the door lintel heights to allow for floor level coming up
  • dug lots of trenches to put in land drain, civil drainage and oil feed pipe
  • scrubbed the roof down ready to spray with woodworm treatment. 
  • millions of all the in-between stuff that uses so much time but doesn't make the headlines

 

We did the lime screed ourselves and it has gone fine, it was a big job but we are pleased with the result as no problems with it despite finishing at half an hour to November and lime being temperature sensitive - we were running a risk with that - but the winter has been kind enough. 

 

So much has gone on there isn't any point going into technical detail on it all in this post, but I am happy to discuss any aspects anyone might find interesting/relevant to their own project

 

 

 

 

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@Snowbeetle How did you find installing the geocell? Any tips / things you would do differently if doing again?

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Looks like a great project in a lovely location.  What is the plan for the walls?

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@kxi - The Geocell was fantastic. We also looked at foamit and glapor which are very similar products. I think we would have gone for Glapor given free rein just because the stats were slightly more favourable - but all three came well within tolerences so happy with the Geocell. The determining factor was the fact that the supplier best able to cope with our access issues (narrow winding lane) only stocked Geocell. 

It was a doddle to install. It is light and easy to handle, non-toxic so no particular PPE except to keep clean. 

 

Tips wise -

 

if you can get a dumper truck or similar machinery to get it tipped into the building it would save time and effort. We couldn't do that for various reasons so had to do it by hand. It took one long day to carry it inside and we had about 9 tonnes. It was delivered in double size dumpies and we slit the bag with a knife from the top to allow it to pour out onto a tarpaulin which we then picked the corners up and carried into the building - easier than a wheelbarrow. 

 

I was glad we deposited the batches as evenly over the floor as we could as we went along, because it has high friction so doesn't push around very easily. 

 

We had pre-marked chalk lines on the wall all around, with the levels we expected the uncompacted product to sit at, and then level of expected compaction - that was really useful for levelling and compacting

 

We raked the mounds of insulation to an overall level before we started compacting - that would be a *must* as the compacting has no/negligible levelling effect as it grips itself so well. We also used a laser level to make sure we were as level as could be *before* compacting we opted for level +/- 10mm as our tolerence - that has worked well. 

 

Watch out for high traffic areas not compacting as much.... having got it level as I mentioned, we knew some areas had been walked over a lot more than others and were already compacted some by that, so we allowed for that in our levelling - glad we did cos the compaction was greater to the tune of approx 20mm in areas we hadn't walked over much. 

 

We used a normal whacker plate machine for compacting - perfect for the job. Once compacted the insulation is stable and you can walk over it without disturbing it thanks to its grippy-ness. 

 

 

 

 

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@Mr Punter Thank you - it is in the lake district.

 

The walls are the next thing to see to. I am going to make good some of the loose / missing stones with the same lime mortar I used on the window reveals. The walls are mostly OK but some patches are more ropey so need some attention before they are covered over forever - there are a couple of chinks of daylight coming through. It won't need to be pretty though so just enough work, as will make it sound. The only dilemma is the temperature as I can't let it freeze - so we'll have to heat the un-insulated barn for a while to stop that - look forward to that electricity bill - ouch! 

 

Then it will be studded out and have cosywool sheepwool insulation all over, then woodwool board and then lime plaster finish. Same for internal partition walls. :)

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the lime screed looks good. What sort of mix did you use and what was your approach to installing it? 

 

 

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@MarkyP - thanks. The job was epic!

There was only myself and husband to do the labour. We had looked at using a firm but the cost was absolutely prohibitive for us for the full 'mix and lay screed' job. We found a firm who would come and mix the lot and leave you to lay it, but glad we didn't do that as we couldn't have laid that much quickly enough - it would have been going off before it was laid!

Luckily lime is a very forgiving material so continuing the following day and successfully fusing to yesterdays work is do-able because you can just rework the edge back up and carry on. Once started you have to finish though as you wouldn't want to leave it much more than 24 hours before joining to it - that's already a tricky-ish fuse. 

 

We used two Baron forced action mixer one E90 and one E200. Keeping those two going constantly was the limit of physical capacity for mixing and laying for two people. 

 

I used NHL-5 supplied by Eden HotLime, mixed with fine sharp sand + gravel at a ratio of 1 lime to 2.5 grit. Adding short fibres too. Mixed with enough water to get a consistency similar to biscuit dough and stirring for minimum 20 minutes after the last bit of water added to make sure the lime was fat before it was laid into the screed. While the twenty minutes was ticking on the clock I would fill the buckets with the next lot of materials ready to get straight on with the next batch. So it was mix, refine mix with water until happy, set timer, fill buckets, unload and deliver... start again... ad inifiitum. 

 

We used a laser level to make sure we got the finish level correct. Each batch was pummelled into shape with a tamper then polished up with a float. 

 

Towards the end (19 days solid - 7am to 11pm in total) we were adding more water to make the mix softer as the punishment on the hands was harder with a firmer mix. This still resulted in a good floor but we got more shrinkage cracks with the wetter mix of course. Nothing some filler couldn't sort out though. 

 

We took a gamble on the temperatures - basically because we had no choice and at a few points it was 3-4 degrees while mixing (outside) which made the ingredients stick to the mixers so I had to scrape it back in by hand to make sure it was all mixed thoroughly - it wasn't ideal (and a pain in the botty) but we got away with it, we were lucky it was no colder though. Inside was warmer 5+ degrees all the time which was good as that was where it mattered more. 

 

When it rained I had to keep the mixers covered so it didn't dilute the mixture to the wrong consistency. I had wanted to mix inside an outbuilding but my cables wouldn't reach, but actually I was glad I didn't in the end, as although it would have been easier in some ways, the dust from the lime would have been worse not dispersing freely outside. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

crikey, what a job. Epic is an understatement! 16 hours a day for 19 days straight, I think that surely must be some sort of build hub record. I've done some big DIY stints on my project but nothing to match that.  I guess it's one bit of your project you'll never forget. Well done. I hope you'll forgive me for saying, I do wonder if you might be slightly insane (just very slightly) 🙂

 

what do you plan to lay as a finished floor covering? It's almost a shame to cover something up that was such a labour of love. Could a lime screed be polished and sealed?

Edited by MarkyP

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Insane or motivated not sure which. 😆 

The lime isn't hard enough to keep as a finish it would get roughed up too easily. With the UFH it would work best with tiles of some sort but what exactly I don't know. See how much money we have left by then. 🤑

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38 minutes ago, Snowbeetle said:

I was getting a little fed up by the end. 🤐

 

Kudos to you both for keeping going! Most people would have been filing for divorce come the new year I imagine! 

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Snowbeetle, I have a similar project in the pipeline. Can you mention the floor structure thicknesses and what floor finish do you have? Also, how has the drainage performed in terms of moisture in the building? Thanks!

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