It’s been several months since I last blogged, the main reason being that I have been busy working with EcoVert Solutions, a sustainable building company that I mentioned in an earlier post (https://renewingmycareer.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/ecovert-solutions-sustainable-and-sympathetic-developments/). So, here is a summary of what I’ve been up to.
Since October we have been working on four projects – one completed and three still ongoing. The first was a 1905 railway cottage on the Wirral that had serious damp issues having been rendered with sand and cement, leading to trapped moisture in the walls and creating problems internally. The solution was to remove the offending cement render and replace with a lime-based render system from Baumit, allowing the walls to breath and also providing flexibility that the cement render never had. The result was a reduction in internal humidity from 60-70% to 40-50%.
Existing render removed, waiting for new lime render
Elsewhere, we also have the following projects ongoing: refurbishment of a 1750’s property in near Chester, also to remedy damp issues caused by cement based flooring and internal render (theme developing here!). The existing concrete floor and internal plaster has been removed and we are awaiting listing building consent for a new limecrete floor, wood fibre insulation and lime render. After digging out the existing floor, we were called back by the owner several days later after he discovered that water was penetrating the walls and pooling in the floor (the inside ground level now being below outside). To remedy this we have had to lay a french drain to the rear of the property to divert water around the front of the house, not an easy task considering the narrow access to the property and the sandstone bedrock that the house sits on!
In the Rossendale valley, we have also been working on a project on a remote former farmhouse in a stunning setting high up on the valley side. This has involved insulation with hempcrete and hemp-lime plaster to retain some warmth in this previously bare-stone building. The property is a hotbed of sustainability, also using biomass and heat pump heating systems and LED lighting (with the owner being a former lecture in sustainability at Salford Uni, I guess this isn’t too much of a surprise!)
Finally, in Frodsham we have been working on a much more modern property – a 70’s house that has been suffering from a lack of adequate insulation. Barely any insulation in the loft and poorly fitted and low quality double glazing as well as cold bridges galore have left it feeling cold and draughty. The solution here is to use Kingspan between the rafters, and also kingspan-backed plasterboard over the top and on the external walls, and also aerogel-backed plasterboard around the windows and where space is tight. The existing double glazed windows and door unit will all be replaced with high-performing triple glazed units, increasing the comfort factor significantly.
All really interesting projects and I look forward to going back and completing them over the coming weeks.