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Lessons learnt the hard way – squeaky floorboards

Category: Useful Information February 20th, 2012 by mbc

Having spent a few hours cutting out tongues (from floorboards nothing more sinister), lifting boards, rummaging around underneath them, padding and separating copper pipes with insulation, rescrewing and renailing, I discovered that in fact the easiest way to quieten down squeaky floorboards was to simply rehammer the heads of the nails that hold the boards in place. The boards had worked slightly lose over the last 30 years and a tap or two tightens them up by the half a millimetre or so needed to put them back into place.

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The anatomy of a floor

Category: Useful Information December 15th, 2011 by mbc

Laying bare the basics of my floor structure through an annotated diagram that a layman like me can better understand, the aim of this post is to answer the question…what are the component parts of a floor?

The diagram is based on the floor of the barn to the best of my recollection (it’s been a few years since the floor was put in). There’s a fair amount of leeway in terms of the order from bottom to top that the various components of the floor go into it. But the parts – hardcore, topped with a sand blinding, insulation & a damp proof membrane then the concrete slab and a final flooring finish are pretty standard.



The anatomy of a floor

Or view in 3D:

The diagram shows a basic floor structure with embedded damp-proofing and insulation. In certain parts of the UK (as at the barn), you’ll also need to ensure that the damp-proof membrane is also a radon barrier.

You can also download the anatomy of a floor Google Sketchup model. All angles and measurements are for purely illustrative purposes.

As should be blisteringly obvious, this is a purely amateur effort, so please let me know of any additions or corrections that you think I should make.

This is one in a series of posts about the anatomy of various parts of barns & buildings in general.

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Building Progress ~ June 2011

Category: Barn Conversion Journal July 6th, 2011 by mbc

The newly laid lawn is now thick, green and lush, like any overly hirsute youth with a green mop and the need for a good haircut. Shame my lawn mower is currently in pieces and won’t start… I guess the strimmer will have to do.

Pointing is pretty much done – my official announcementis here.

I’ve completed boarding over / boxing in the eaves. I boarded over the gap with black painted plywood screwed to the weather board and wooden blocks that I inserted into the gap between the wall and the weather board. I then filled any large gaps between the boards and the wall with expanding foam and then pointed all along the join between the boards and the wall. I then repainted those areas where the mortar had spilt over onto the boards (although I’m not 100% happy with some areas where the paintwork isn’t so tidy) and put mesh over the open ends of the weather-boards to allow some airflow.

We’ve also completed painting the second bedroom and I’ve laid the oak flooring. At least I know that the flooring was well acclimatised as it’s been sitting around ready to be fitted for 18 months now. I managed to fit it in a day and thanks to my knee protectors all the kneeling didn’t cripple me as fitting the landing floor had with unprotected knees. Quite pleased to have a second bedroom, rather than a one bedroom house with a junk / store room.

At long last I’ve also tidied up the cables from the satellite dish that ran along the foot of the yard side gable-end. I housed the cables in some standard white trunking placed along the space where I’d hacked away the old lime mortar at the bottom of the lime-washed wall then used lime mortar to seal in the trunking and tidy up the bottom of the wall.

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Insulation ~ Foamed Glass

Category: insulation July 7th, 2010 by mbc

A strong yet light insulator, foamed glass is suitable for load bearing applications especially those demanding water and vapour resistance.

insulation

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Description
Foamed glass insulation is made from (usually) recycled glass that is mixed with carbon and then heated to very high temperatures. Upon heating the carbon oxidises and forms bubbles in the resultant stone-like material. It is usually supplied as a gravel, but is also available in (very expensive) batts.

Features

Performance
Typically in the range 0.037 – 0.048 W/m.K. (Watts per meter Kelvin ~ a lower value is a better result)

Cost
With strength comes cost …for gravel at a depth of 100mm, cost is around £15 per square metre or around £150 for a cubic metre bag.

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Step 10 = floor

Category: Steps along the way June 17th, 2010 by mbc

… floor levels are dictated by a heady blend of building reg’s, foundations, ceiling height and final finishes – you need to consider each of these – tricky!

What goes into the floor? Literally – hardcore, sand, insulation, a damp proof membrane – in many parts of the UK this will need to also be a radon barrier membrane, then the concrete or limecrete slab (more below). You should also consider slipping under-floor heating (UFH) cables or piping in there. Admittedly, UFH costs more, but it provides two things I like – no radiators and radiant heat (even heating throughout the room – no hot spots / cool spots and lovely warm floors).

Steps along the way...

When I started MyBarnConversion I meant to share some quick and easy yet hopefully valuable tips in a 'Steps along the way' series of short posts.

That series fell by the wayside, but now I've brought it back. Use the link above for a full list of my tips.


As a slight aside, if you install under-floor heating ensure that you use appropriate materials when installing your finished floor – an appropriate adhesive for tiling or kiln dried (bone dry) wood. This will add extra cost but is essential.

The limecrete or concrete question is still one that is open to debate in my mind. Undoubtedly, there are environmental and ‘healthy house’ benefits from using lime. However, it’s also more tricky and expensive to use, is different from concrete (and therefore needs to be ‘understood’ by those working with it) and is more sensitive to weather conditions. My position is to use lime if the three B’s line up – that is, if the Build, the Builder and the Budget all allow or encourage the use of lime then use it!

For the record, we didn’t use limecrete at the barn.

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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]

Barns

Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”

Design

What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Architecture

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…

News

Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…