Strawbale House

This blog is intended to chart our progress through the self-build process, from half-hearted plot-hunting through to completion of the build. The twist is that we're building the house from timber and straw (hence the blog title).

Click on the image at the end of each post to see that day's photos.

Monday, 4 February 2008

February 4th - Architraves and oiling

A very short day on site for me, as I had a dozen parcels to ship in the morning and a school-run in the afternoon. Anne came over to lend a hand and she, Hamish (bunking off school) and Anna oiled internal doors with Danish oil. MUCH nicer finish than the varnish we've been using for the upstairs doors, and I've half a mind to strip them and oil them instead. I finished the architraves around the loft-hatch and used the remaining timber to finish the architraves around some of the upstairs doors.
Anna re-varnished the back door, which was already looking a bit sad and weathered, having had just a single coat in the Autumn.
I spent a completely fruitless and infuriating 40 minutes being shunted from one BT department to another, with lengthy periods on hold between each, trying to sort out the phone connection. Eventually hung up in an incandescant rage and fired off an email to Ian Shanks, the Scottish Head of Operations. By early afternoon he'd phoned back and was on the case. Even he is being fobbed off by the supervising engineer, who told him that the cable-laying is complete. I told him that, quite to the contrary, I could see from the end of the road the two coils of cable - one at each end of the bridge - which have yet to be taken overhead and connected. He said he'd look into it further. I wait with baited breath... (must stop eating lug-worms!)
Hamish also did a quick tour of the house with a little socket tester I bought for a quid, and almost immediately found a fault in a socket in the living room, where it reckons I've reversed live and neutral. He was very pleased with himself. Will fix it tomorrow.
I've had a comment from someone called Janet asking why we didn't install under-floor heating. A good question. At one point I seriously considered it, and I suspect it's on the drawings (along with several dozen other abberations which aren't reflected in the house). Eventually it was discounted for a few reasons:
Initial cost - would have been probably a grand or two more than the radiators.
Efficacy - not sure how effective it would have been with a suspended timber floor. It really comes into its own in a concrete floor, where the thermal mass of the concrete stores the heat and acts like a giant storage heater. The much less massive suspended floor would have heated up and cooled down much faster, and the heat given off would have probably been a lot less uniform, being concentrated around the pipes rather than diffused through the floor.
Effect on flooring - Several of the suppliers of hardwood flooring stipulated that their product wasn't suitable for underfloor heating, presumably because of excessive drying and warping.
Inertia - I just didn't get around to learning enough to make an informed decision before it was time to lay the pipes, and the radiators were and easy cop-out.

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