Progress has been good onsite since the October blog. Christmas and New Year are distant faded memories and Easter fast approaches. We have continued to concentrate largely on internal works however some external work has been achieved. The initial drive was to complete the upstairs so it was ready to be plastered.
One big step forward in the appearance of the house was the external lime rendering. Chris Allen and his team from Emsworth Plastering managed to complete the external rendering just before the weather turned. It has transformed the exterior of the house but it was a little sad to cover up the grainy texture of the hempcrete.
There were several different options for the external lime rendering. I contacted The Lime Centre in Winchester for advice and guidance. Nigel Wright and his team at The Lime Centre were very helpful indeed. Nigel discussed with me the various options I could use and explained the materials that were suitable for use over the hempcrete. The conclusion was to use a range of products from a company called Lime Green. For the base coat we would use ultra – an insulating lime render with greater than 50% of its bulk formed from recycled hollow glass beads. For the topcoat self-coloured water resistant but fully breathable lime render was specified. The Lime Centre also kindly introduced me to Emsworth Plastering a local lime specialist.
Internally upstairs seemed nearly ready for plastering but it soon became apparent to me that there were a huge number of details to be completed. My builders Jack and Oliver Webb of JC Renovations pulled out all the stops to get the work done. The details around the windows and oak beams were complex and time consuming with lighting cabling adding to the complexity. Though as the house continued to swallow alarming amounts of boards, screws and wooden batten slowly the tide began to turn. Finally the oak window boards were installed and the upstairs was ready to be plastered.
Further advice was taken from The Lime Centre about the internal plastering. It was decided to use Lime Green ultra as a basecoat on the hempcrete walls. Then Solo one coat lime plaster as a finishing coat over the ultra and on other surfaces. Jack and Oliver’s many hours of toil and attention to detail was to be covered forever. Though their workmanship shines through in finished spaces. Chris of Emsworth Plastering has been very diplomatic about the plastering challenges of the oak framing – suggesting that it makes a change from the usual square box!
The upstairs plastering looks great, as I am sure you will agree, though is very different to the smooth gypsum plasters that many of us are used too. It is surprising the huge difference this makes to the feel of the spaces. The texture gives a wonderful soft-tone and feel and is a perfect partner for the oak frame.
As the build pushes forwards I think back and reflect on how much has been done but there is no time to rest on my laurels. As the ground floor plastering begins and building works continue I am somehow finding the energy to forge ahead! This is the big push now when it all starts to come together.