|Bathroom external wall rendered
|Rain chain and more finished walls
Having a renderer that has been able to give some full time attention to the house has led to significant progress being made over the last few weeks. The internal walls are finished and there are only three external walls, three upper walls and a small section around the front door to go.
|Freshly rendered back wall
|Front of house freshly rendered
The hemp lime rendering has not been easy. The window headers have been particularly difficult as the render is not very sticky and so tends to fall off the window headers, the render also does not spread very well and so cannot be moved around on the wall, it also tends to get rougher if you go back and try to touch it up. But Brett, the renderer, persevered and has managed to do the window headers by filling any gaps or holes first (particularly any patches where chunks of the hemp wall have broken away or crumbled), then when this is dry he has attached a straight edge to the window and finished the underside of the window header, then when this has gone off a bit he has gone back and done around the face of the window header. The window headers have been done the day before the wall has been rendered. Then when the wall is done the sides of the windows or doors have been done first followed by the face of the wall.
|Patching the worst of the holes in the window header
|Window header rendered
The walls were wetted down before being rendered, then sprayed with a light mist of water on the evening after the wall was done on warmer days or the next day, to slow the drying down.
The hemp render was not suitable for use on the Magnesium Oxide (MgO) board at all. It had to be done in two coats, increasing the cost. The MgO wall could not be wet down first otherwise the render just slid off. Even then the render had great trouble sticking to the wall and if done too thickly would bubble and fall off or crack and just slide. The last MgO walls were done by splattering the first coat on which seemed to work better, but it was a bit late in the project to worth this out. The second coat of render on the MgO was very difficult to work and on most walls the finish was very patchy both in texture and colour.
|Left - Hemp render on MgO Board and right- hemp wall
|Hemp render on MgO Board
With only a few walls left to do the render will be finished in a few weeks after Brett takes a break from the hemp walls, with a few more conventional jobs. The completion of the internal walls and the external walls, that have lights on them (thank you Brett for doing those walls at short notice), meant that the electrics in the house could be finished. Paul and Luke from Solar Connections came down and fitted all the internal and external wall lights and got all the power points working. A small problem arose when the back circuit and stove circuit would not work. I panicked that there may be a problem with the wiring in the wall or roof and I would have to start pulling the ceiling down to find it. Thankfully this was not required, but a mix up of the stove and dishwasher power points will hopefully be resolved by long cords on these appliances or a short extension cord hidden under the cupboards.
|External light installed
|Front of house with external lights installed
I had forgotten about the LED lights under the overhead kitchen cupboards and so spent much of the day putting up the cupboards so the electricians could install the lights. The LED lights were made up to fit the length of the cupboards, leaving a gap for the range hood over the stove.
|Kitchen cupboards and LED lights underneath
Everything happened at once as on the same day the electrics went in, Brett was rendering the external walls and Greg from Alpine Glass put the semi frame less shower screen in the front bathroom. Plus he helped me out by drilling the holes in the tiles for my toilet roll holder, I had been scared to do these for fear of cracking the tiles. With the right drill bit and experience it was no problem.
|Semi frame less shower screen
|Toilet roll holder
The completion of the internal rendering meant that the final finish on the floor could be done. Before this could be done I had to remove all the boards and plastic protecting the floor and remove the tape and clean the excess render from around the edges of the walls. I used vinegar and hard work to clean up the render from the edge of the floors and had to vacuum and mop the floor several times with multiple changes of water to get rid of all the fine dust.
|Floor in need of more mopping
|Cleaned concrete floor
The first coat of finish on the polished concrete had what looked like crazy paving type pattern cracked in the top of it. This was only visible when light hit the floor at an angle but was much more obvious under artificial light. There were also a few patches of white spots and some rough sections where things had fallen on the floor when the first coat was drying as this was done before the windows had been put in.
|Crazy paving cracks in sealer
|White dots on concrete
Henry and Adrian from Dayman Group returned to fix up the floor. It had been two years since they did the first cut on the polished concrete and almost a year since the first sealer went on. The floor was given a light sand which will hopefully resolve the crazy paving cracking and remove the rough sections. A bit more of a sand was required to get out the white spots, which I was told were caused by the floor being covered before the first lot of sealer had fully dried. They also fixed up some patches which would have been covered by the kitchen cupboards, except that the cupboards we are installing are about 30cm off the ground.
I left while the final coat of floor sealer was still wet and so am keen to get back down there and see what the final finish is like.