Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Plastering finished

Last week the plasterers finished and the scaffolding and covers are now gone. It now starts to look as a real house. With the outside finished the focus is now on the inside. Esther did the staining of the floor, which is looking good, and we started with the internal lining. The bathroom done, half the kids bedroom and the loft area. Still a lot of work needs to be done before moving in, which is not far away. Have to keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Finished bookshelfs

We have some exciting times at the moment with the finishing of the internal plaster. The second, and final coat, was applied late last week and it looks fantastic. The top coat is called "adobe finish ", but it is actually a plaster with white cement. The walls are still drying so we have to wait a couple of days for the final results but it is looking good.
Some hard work has gone this week but all the interior has been finalised. The plastering crew has gone home to get some rest after two weeks on the job and we are preparing for the next big job (for us), the staining of the floor. Plasterers will be back next week to finish the outside.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bedroom plastering

This week the plasterers moved inside and started with the girls bedrooms. Here are Jeremy and Evan at work adding fibreglas netting to the first coat to strengthen the plaster. The plasterers are making long days and we see some impressive progress. The inside is getting two coats with the 2nd coat labelled "adobe finish". This is not a clay or loam finish but a coat containing "white" cement and with a smaller grain size than the first coat creating a smoother (and white) finish.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Scratch coat

Some great progress this week. Evan and his crew of plasterers arrived on Monday and they cracked on with it. Monday afternoon taping of the windows and doors. Tuesday and Wednesday first coat of plaster (scratch coat) on the outside. Everything is now covered on the outside and the tarpaulins could be lifted. Main purpose is to create a breeze for drying of the plaster but it also allows us to have a good look at the plaster. And it looks good.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oiling the rafters

We are a bit behind with updating the blog. Busy, busy busy. Lots to do at work and also working on the house in the evening hours and the weekend.
Detailing and netting is now in full swing and we are making good progress. Added quite a few pictures to our flickr.com photo site - just double click on one of pics in the blog and follow the link. Have a look for some of the details.
The house is now also connected to the electricity, water and phone network. Quite a big job as far as digging and dirt is concerned but it was all done in one day.
Esther is also oiling the rafters as did needs to be done before plastering and before the builders move the scaffolding out of the house. It is now hands on deck for the whole family and everybody is doing a bit.
We are still two weeks of plastering but we are getting pretty close now. Really looking forward to that stage.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Originally uploaded by Strawbale house Carterton
Have been busy with organizing and discussing all kinds of stuff and forgot uploading photo's. But here it is - lots of progress and baling almost finished. Expect this to be the last week baling and netting is next.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finished wall (almost)

Got something to write about again. The first bales went up last week (20 August). The previous weekend we emptied out the garage and shifted the bales into the new house. This was just under a third of the total bales and should be enough to do the girls bedrooms on the eastern side and the hallway. Pim had a go baling with the builders on friday and together we did some more over the weekend.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Finished roof - view from east

Some tangible results this week: a completed roof. The builders made lot of progress, despite at times horrible weather. We are very pleased with the result.We also found a home for the polystyrene waste from the roof. It can all go to PolyPalace in Poirirua were it will be recycled into underfloor board insulation. Pretty neat as we had only a small amount of waste until know. With the polystyrene being recycled we are keeping it that way. Not sure what will happen next week but we are getting pretty close to the bales now.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

West facing roof

The last two weeks have been a bit of a challenge. Soon after the arrival of the roof panels (two weeks ago), the builder with help of the manufacturer of the roof panels started installation. However, after a couple of hours they discovered the panels didn't fit and couldn't be made to fit. Apparantly, something had gone wrong during production resulting in the top layer being 1 cm to wide. As a consequence the insulation and bottom layer didn't connect with the next roof panel.
The supplier of the roof responded very well and arrangement for supply of a new roof. The builder also arranged for compensation from the supplier for all additional cost resulting from this.
Although we came to a good arrangement we "lost" a week and with the weather pretty crappy not a lot of progress until early this week.
It was also a logistical challenge (on our driveway) to get the big crane in again and the truck to pick the faulty panels and drop off the new ones. The neighbours must have had an entertaining week.
At the end, the real work started again on Wednesday with putting the roof panels over the carport and bedrooms. The roof supplier provided support for the installation. Yesterday the builders started with the west facing part of the roof.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

roof panels arrive

Another milestone this week with the arrival of the roof panels. The roof panels are of a "sandwich" construction. The outside steel layer, insulation layer and inner ceiling all in a single package. The total thickness is approximate 15 centimeter. The insulation material is polystyreen. Not that "natural" but sometimes a few concessions are necessary. The panels are tailor made and 11 meter or 4.5 meter. It was a bit of a challenge for the truck driver to get his unit down the driveway. Lifting the panels of the truck also required a special framework to make sure the panels didn't brake up in mid-air.

The builders also progressed with placement of the rafters and the framework for the deck. The macrocarpa beams are starting to smell nice too.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Originally uploaded by Strawbale house Carterton
Friday, we reached the highest point with the building. A big crane was hired to lift and place the steel beam spanning the lounge area. The macrocarpa beams for the other parts were also lifted in place. The macrocarpa stud in the kitchen was also placed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A nice winter day

This week some steady progress. The weather has been kind to us and the builders and as a result the framing has gone up for the second floor. It is starting to feel like a house and we are getting a feel for the dimensions. Fingers crossed the weather keeps up and the builders can start with the apex. The ridge beams (see last weeks update) are ready and we are looking forward having them on site.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Macrocarpa beams

Yesterday was an exciting day as we went to see our macrocarpa timber beams being sawn. It is one of our objectives to source as much as possible materials locally and it is pretty cool to have a sawmill 500 metres "down the road" (Ticehurst).
The macrocarpa beams are used for the apex and other parts of the roof structure. The same timber is also used for external posts for the verandah/deck. The macrocarpa will not require chemical treatment and the finish will be natural oils.

Friday, May 29, 2009

More framing

We are back in business. After last week's storm the builders made some good progress. The blog is less frequently updated because it is getting wintery and now arriving home from work in the dark. No good for taking pictures. Anyway, internal framing completed and the loft is in. Quite nice to have a look around from the second floor although it will be a different look and feel after the roof goes on.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Framing internal walls goes up

It has been a bit quite during the last couple of weeks - mainly due the weather and now we are in a bit of a pickle too. Also due to the weather.
The last two weeks the weather was very unreliable with most of the days either rainy or forecasted rain. This caused more than a week of delays as the builder couldn't finish the sealing of the concrete (where the walls will be placed).
This week we saw some good progress with the internal wall framing going up (bathroom, laundry etc.). The builder started also with building the scaffold to support the placement of the ridge beam - a 10 m piece of steel.
Unfortunately, the bad weather continued and it went from windy to storm last week. The scaffold was not prepared for that and decided to take a walk across the concrete floor last night. In doing so it took the bracing of the internal walls with it. What looked as great progress on Friday afternoon looked suddenly very sad on Sunday morning. Luckily the builder responded quick and saved the internal walls from further damage. It can all be fixed easily and the damage is limited. The scaffold needs to be rebuild though. At the end we are lucky that the steel ridge beam was not sitting on the scaffold.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Concrete floor

All the concrete has been poured this week and it looks all very smooth. The boxing is removed and the builders will start with the framing the coming week. People that have seen it are all very impressed with the round corners and the smoothness of the concrete. Today it was sunny weather and nice to be able to walk bare feet on the concrete.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Concrete pumping

Today another milestone - the concrete slab is poured. It was a bit rainy today but this didn't stop the action and the concrete pump and first concrete truck arrived 7.30 in the morning. In total 8 trucks with concrete. The slab is relatively thin - only 6 cm thick. Without the underfloor heating the slab would have been only 4 cm thick.
In the afternoon the concrete was smoothed (screeting?) and it looks pretty good. Unfortunately the contractor clipped 3 of pipes from the underfloor heating system with the screeting machine. Luckily the damage is done above the concrete and should be easy repairable. A bit of a scare.