Monday, 18 March 2013

insulating the floor ... or keeping your feet warm

The floor can be one of the coldest parts of a house.

And if feet are cold we are cold. Just so with a house - if the floor is cold, the rest of the house is likely to be cold.

It is now time for us to ensure that our new build has very warm socks and so we are laying 250mm polystyrene insulation onto which will be fixed underfloor heating. The race is really on to get this insulation work finished as the underfloor heating goes in next week.

As with all our work it is completely new to us and so progress is initially slow as we master methods and skills. Or should I say 'I' master methods and skills because Roger takes to all of this like a duck to flamin' water!

membrane is taped
So, first, a thick plastic sheet (damp proof membrane) is laid to prevent damp entering from below. On external walls the membrane is taped high to the wall. Joints in the membrane are taped and pipes that enter through the concrete raft are taped to ensure that the membrane is tight around these.

joints taped
And then onto cutting the massive polystyrene slabs. Initially we used a hand saw but progress was slow. Then we moved to an electric reciprocal saw to speed progress but the blade wobbled as it cut through the polystyrene making for eccentric edges. I'm collecting a different tool tomorrow which is like a large, electrical carving knife. Boys toys!!

When the polystyrene is cut, it is forced into its allotted space - frequently by me jumping on it. gaps between slabs potentially let cold in and must be avoided....

Finally gaps created by operator error are stuffed with offcuts and then joints taped.

But not finally really because you have to go home peppered with polystyrene. Which sheds in the car and then around the house. It creeps into pockets and emerges in the shower and bedroom floor. But only after bags of the waste split and spill across the road on being taken from the car in the pouring rain as you get home tired out and grumpy.

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