Sunday, October 27, 2013

More lining

A little more lining off done today.

First the walk-in pantry. This will be accessed via a sliding cavity door (which I really do need to buy, as it's now holding me up from doing any more here) and will feature a benchtop at working height with accessible power points for appliances, and shelving on the walls above and below.

Can't have enough pantry space! :)

This next little cupboard is primarily the linen cupboard. It's only about 400mm deep so the space is perfect for that use, but I've also got a little twist planned - hence the cables!

As I've been lining the walls I've also been running CAT-6 networking cable, two per room. While everything is going wireless these days, you can't beat the speed and reliability of hard wired networking and since the cable is cheap and it's easy to drag through the bare walls, in it goes. I may never use much of it, but if it's not there then I can't use any of it if I need it :)

Since I've had the power on I've also had an Internet connection up 24x7 so I can monitor the batteries and solar panels remotely. As part of this equipment I've also got a little WiFi access point built in but I've found that the signal propagation around the building is woeful! I've got concrete floors, a 400mm-thick rammed earth wall, foil sisalation and a tin roof and ceilings, and all of these things are the natural enemy of radio. So most of the time I need to be within a few metres of the access point to get any signal at all. With this in mind, the space above the linen cupboard will be fitted out as a little networking cabinet.

All the CAT-6 runs will terminate here at a patch panel, and I'll also install the networking switch, 3G internet equipment and an access point in here as well. I'll make up a couple of doors in the plywood lining to keep it all hidden, so once it's finished you'd never know it was there. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Interior lining

I have tonnes of other things to be doing, but I've made a start on the lining and so I'm keen to get it finished before I move on.

Lining the walls in plywood is miles, miles easier work than using plasterboard. The trouble with plaster is that it's heavy, fragile, and has to be stopped up with multiple coats of plaster, then sanded smooth, then done again, sanded smooth, etc. I've done that before and it's the sort of job that you do get good at - eventually. And in the meantime, the walls that you've done look like crap. The only positive about working with plasterboard is it's trivial to cut.

The ply is harder work to cut, but I've got it down pretty well. My little cordless circular saw makes easy work of it, and I just clamp a guide fence to the panel and cut it perfectly in next to no time. Accurately, too!
The only down side to the ply is what to do with the joints. I'm being as careful as I can to keep all the joints perfectly flush, but inevitably there are some which don't quite line up or leave a small gap. I'm still not sure how I'm going to deal with these, but it's not a huge problem. I just need a flexible ply-coloured filler I think, which can be painted over.

The walls upstairs are all 2.7m high, which if I was using plasterboard wouldn't be an issue as it is available in sheets 1.35m wide. The ply however, is not - it's 2400x1200 or nothing and so I've got 300mm of wall to finish off above the two full sheets.

I'm using this to my advantage - normally you'd line the ceilings first, and then the walls. This is because it's easier to manoeuvre the ceiling linings when there are no walls to damage, but as usual I'm not as organised as I need to be. I already have the ply on hand, but I've not organised the ceilings which are going to be zinc corrugated, "miniature orb". So the 300mm of bare wall above the plywood will be useful :)

These are built-in robes between the two bedrooms.

Because the kids will probably have these rooms, I'm going to cut a "portal" in the wall between the two wardrobes so they can sneak between the rooms :)
Ugh.. insulation.

I spent the day today putting insulation in the external walls. This place is going to have more insulation than anything else - our specification, against which the energy rating was done (7.6 stars, by the way) specifies that we use R2.5 insulation in the walls, and 2 layers of R2.5 batts in the ceiling.

However, I found a supplier of R3.9 fibreglass batts who only wanted $10 per bag - 8m2  coverage - and so I couldn't resist such a bargain and bought a stack. However, it's cheap for a reason - the loose fibre in this stuff is incredible, and so it's nasty stuff to work with.

Anyway, I'm using these in the walls! They're really too thick for a 90mm cavity, but they're way cheaper than the proper R2.5 stuff and even compressed slightly, they'll still perform the same. It's incredible how quiet it is inside the unit now with the insulation in the walls and the roof structure. It rained earlier today and I didn't hear it!

I don't know how the R3.9's will affect our energy rating - but we'll have R3.9 in the walls (probably R3.0 compressed) and R7.8 in the ceiling, in addition to the R2.0 in the roof structure. I don't think we'll have to worry about heating or cooling :)

I'm nearly finished with the internal lining now - both bedrooms are done, the bathroom and kitchen are done; all I need to do is the walk-in pantry and the rest of the living area. Then it's on to the ceilings!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I'll be giving this to a cabinet maker soon to get the carcasses built up. We already have the sink (thanks Gareth!) and have sussed out the stove & rangehood, so it'll only take a couple of weeks to get the cabinets built and installed.

This is where it'll be going:

Progress! :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Back by popular demand! :)

I have to apologise for being away from the blog for so long. The past few weeks have been .. crazy with life getting in the way!

I managed to spend a whole week on site during the first week of the school holidays... with all three boys! And so naturally I got very, very little building done :(

We do however have the first seal coat on the ground concrete floor, and it looks sensational!

I couldn't be happier with the result, it's easily better than I thought it would be.

In other news, I installed a very important piece of equipment:

Not that I watch very much TV, mind you (who has the time!?).. but I was instructed in no uncertain terms that I had to have the NRL finals available when my brother and father came to visit.

Not to mention:

But with the power on, why chill beer like an animal!?

Not content with cold beer and a TV, we also got busy finishing the installation of the solar hot water service. We've got 30 tubes feeding a 270L storage tank, and after one whole day with only partial sun, the tank reported 45ÂșC. Not bad! So good in fact we've left the gas booster unit switched off.

Which reminds me, we've also got the gas (bottle) on! Not that we really need it just yet, as we don't have a kitchen in yet and the solar hot water seems to be doing a pretty good job all by itself, but it's done and ready.

So with all that hot water and no way to really use it...

Let's line the bathroom!

I'm using ply in the areas which won't see much water, and cement sheet in the shower, sealed with a tanking membrane.

All I need now is a shower head and a screen, and we can have a hot shower!!