HOLIDAY SEASON AND UNDERFLOOR HEATING.

HOLIDAY SEASON AND UNDERFLOOR HEATING.

 

We’ve had a mini holiday too and set off to visit the Grandparents at a lovely little holiday cottage near Loch Morlich with multiple trips to the Nairn and Loch Morlich beaches for sand obsessed Rosie. It was great to get away from the building site for a bit and spend some family time together.

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In the meantime we have had some good progress in other areas. Our slate roof is complete and we finally have a wind and watertight house with loads of insulation. Our dormer windows have been clad with log profile timber and we have an electricity connection!

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Our windows also have some lovely new framing. It’s looking beautiful and it’s great to see the exterior nearing completion. All that’s left is the frames on the big glass wall, guttering and doors. I’ve been giving the windows their first coat of Osmo UV protection oil today. It’s pretty much non stop painting here at the moment!

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We have also had a visit from fantastic local heating company Black Isle Renewables who came by to install the pipes and manifold for our underfloor heating system. As a family who have lived in a caravan for six years with only a wood burning stove to keep it cosy, a central heating system was definitely one of the most important things to consider when building a house. Black Isle Renewables have been fantastic at offering advice and options and designing a heating system that works with our house and will keep us toasty all winter long.

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We have chosen an air source heat pump to supply us with hot water and power the underfloor heating. The air source heat pump works kind of like a fridge in reverse. It extracts energy from the air outside the house and the heat from the air is absorbed by a fluid which is pumped through a heat exchanger. This fluid passes through a compressor, and is concentrated into a higher temperature, capable of heating water for the underfloor heating and hot water circuits of the house. The pump can extract heat from the air even when the outside temperature is below freezing so it should work really efficiently  even in the depths of a Highland winter.

The heat pump won’t get installed for quite a few weeks but the pipes have to be in place so the floor can be built on top. The pipes are then covered with a dry screed mixture of sand and concrete which protects them and helps distribute the heat. This is then sealed under a chipboard floor and then eventually a lovely engineered oak floor.

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Below is a super nerdy video for anyone interested. It was really satisfying to watch the underfloor heating pipes being filled and tested. The liquid is a mixture of antifreeze and water and is coloured green so you can make sure there are no air bubbles.

This week our window framing will be finished off and I heard a rumour that the front and back door might be going in! As for me, I’ll be doing more painting and collecting a beautiful specially made slate hearth for our wood burning stove.

Slates, floors, windows and The Wizard of Osmo-ing

Slates, floors, windows and The Wizard of Osmo-ing

Ailsa has been busy making sure all the guests at Big Sky Lodges are well looked after and juggling all the details of the house build so this post is brought to you by Jonny (or Ailsa’s husband as the builders refer to me.) The house build has been flying along since the last post. We now have floors, although our underfloor heating is still to go in so it is just a plywood base downstairs. However, the wooden floor upstairs looks amazing and Rosie thoroughly enjoys the bouncy dance-floor like quality of the ply. There has also been a lot of insulation going in. This is going to be one seriously cosy house, especially when compared to our caravan!

Having just finished my first year of teaching I was looking forward to relaxing in the hammock watching the builders… Alas it was not to be, as Ailsa soon had me hard at work, making sure our house was properly protected under two coats of Osmo UV protection oil. The Osmo will protect the logs from the sun and moisture, and preserve the beautiful natural colour of the timber.

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The windows are pretty much all in now and it is really starting to feel like a house inside. The big glass wall is my favourite, and is the central feature of the house. The view out from the gallery is really impressive. I can’t wait to sit up there on a moody winters day and take in the view out to the hills.

Our Slater Paul has also been hard at work and the roof is quickly taking shape. Most of the lead-work is on and the slating is under way. The dark colour works really well with the golden wood finish of the house, and it looks lovely from across the field, where it peeks through the trees. The joiners also did an impressively smooth job of laying the rubber roofing on the upstairs bathroom dormer, where the angle is too shallow for slate. Big thanks to our neighbour Gary and his tractor who helped Ailsa move three pallets of slates to the front of the house (and his nephew Ian who happened to be visiting.) I arrived just in time to help with the last handful. Daddy duty definitely has its advantages!

This week the underfloor heating pipes will be laid and the electricians will be here to do the first fix wiring. The roof should be completed by the end of the week (and Ailsa will hopefully have time to post!)