Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Building in NZ - Wrapping your house

This post looks at getting your house to the weatherproof stage. Your framing is up and your roof is on so it's time to start covering it with windows, doors and cladding. You'll discover that your joinery will go in just after the framing  and then therre's the building paper (remarkably thin) and thicker weatherproof stuff that will be put around your windows and under any doors and French doors to keep the weather off the wood. The soffits (eaves) get done too.

Like me you'll probably be very excited to catch your first glimpse of your new front door and door hardware. Have they installed what you ordered? Check.                                                  I discovered there had been a mixup with the layout of the French doors with one side window for the third bedroom. Despite my signing off on the joinery schedule and the notes on it to get the window on the correct side to match the building plans someone had made a cockup ordering it and the builder hadn't even noticed it was not like in the plans and installed it anyway. 
Do not underestimate how easily, and sometimes carelessly, trades get things wrong. Common sense doesn't come into it. There are so many indians involved in a house build that it's hard to know where to pin the blame. I studied the mistake and decided I would just have to live with it. I couldn't face holding up the build so that it could be replaced with the correct layout and in fact no one was offering that as an option. I suspect they were hoping I'd live with it. I gave a big internal sigh and decided I'd just have to get used to the way it was. It does, however, give pause and reminds me that vigilance is necessary and, like giving birth, we must question everything the so-called experts do or say because the buck stops with us, the owner.

After the paper is on gaps are filled with expanding foam and battens are attached to the outside of the house. These are to create a gap between the paper and the aerated concrete panels. I'm using celcrete but there are other brands of this type of cladding. The aerated concrete panels are light and the air gap behind them allows moisture to descend and leave the building.
This stage took forever and it shouldn't have. I also felt the celcrete guys were a bit slap dash leaving huge chunks out of corners and other edges for the plasterer to fill. More expanded foam was evident which, to my eyes, wasn't well applied. I queried it. The next time I saw the building plastic mesh corners had been applied to give shape and a bit of strength and plastered over.
You can see the supports for the pergolas attached to the framing. The plastering dries out and undercoat and two top coats are applied. You just have to trust that two coats really are applied. At this stage the house is weatherproof but the soffits are not yet painted.
The next stage involves the interior and this is where traffic jams and holdups can easily happen with the sub-trades. Next blogpost - the complications of interior fitouts as the excitement tries to mount.