Sunday, 18 December 2011

So what does it look like?

A lot of people have been asking, for the past year or two, what the house is going to look like. And they're talking about the colour and finish of the exterior walls.

Now we're in the lucky position of being able to tell them. To be honest, it hasn't been my highest concern, and I've usually just said "white", then added "ish".

Structurally speaking, the outside of the wall is made up of strips of wood, covered with a layer of tar sheet, then chicken mesh, then some kind of cement, then another piece of state-of-the-art mesh that will inhibit cracks, and then plaster on top. Sorry for all the technical terms and trade names.

The choice with the top layer was between painters and plasterers. The painters use spray guns and are cheaper, while the plasters do it by hand and cost a little more. We were all set to get the painters with their spray guns, but in the end they were all very busy, so we were lucky enough to get plasterers. 

This is a good thing, by all accounts, as plaster is more resistant to cracks and lasts longer. And we seem to have got the best plasters in the area.

As well as the state-of-the-art mesh just under the top layer of plaster, this was the first time they had worked on top of plastic brackets. There is 100 mm of insulation outside the structural frame of the house, and the insulator wanted to use plastic brackets to keep the insulation in place and mount the wooden frame for the external wall. Being a lot smaller than any kind of wooden structure, the plastic brackets improve the thermal performance. Hopefully they were all put on correctly and will be strong enough so it all holds in place! 

The other choice to all this is ready-made sidings, which I can't help feeling would have been cheaper and quicker. If we had used highly insulating sidings, it may have contributed to the thermal performance of the house, and possibly saved some headaches or costs somewhere else. Also sidings would presumably be relatively easy to replace after they have absorbed a few years of weather.

Also, I'm sure there is some way of having double wall layers, with an air gap in the middle fitted into the ventilation circuit in some way. The idea is a little vague though.

Anyway, now you can see what the house looks like from the outside, and it's white. ish.