We have started Plastering!

Its been a long time coming, but its finally here!

We have started plastering!

lime plastered larder

Our larder with part of its first coat of lime plaster.

We have done the first layer of plaster on some of the walls.  Our walls are anything but flat so it will take a couple of layers to get it looking…. rustic..

After a lot of research, a couple of courses and lots of umm’ing and ahh’ing we have decide to go with a base layer of lime and very fine gravel known locally as “cero”.

Benefits of Using Lime Instead of Cement

Our walls are made of a very porous sandstone (called “mares”) that acts like a sponge and sucks up water. If you cover this stone with a non breathable material (like cement)it will end up getting saturated, rotting and the result will be large parts of your plaster falling off.

Lime plaster is breathable, meaning that it lets vapour pass through it.  This allows your walls to regulate not only the amount of humidity in the actual wall itself, but also the level of humidity in the room. So, in theory we shouldn’t have the typical humidity problems that plague old houses on the island.

Another great benefit of lime is that its antibacterial and anti-fungal and so its a lot harder for mold and any other unwanted fungus’s and bacteria to grow in rooms that are plastered with it.

Lime is also thought to be more “eco” friendly as it takes less energy to make and emits less CO2 into the atmosphere than cement.  In the long run it actually absorbs more CO2 (from the atmosphere as it “carbonates”, which is the process which makes lime harden) than is used to make it.

Here are a couple more pics:

Master Bedroom
lime plaster wall with window and wooden beams

Kitchen/Front Door

kitchen door lime plaster

 

Its really nice to have some of the walls plastered as you can start to see glimpses of the house emerging from the barn.

If you are interested in learning how to plaster with lime and clay, Miquel Ramis does a 2 day course here on the island which is very good and cheap too!  He also speaks very good English for those of you with Spanish problems.

We saved a lot of money by going on that course as before it we were going to buy all of our plaster “ready made” and now we are making it ourselves at a fraction of the cost.

Construcción bioclimática y tradicional: Morteros de cal y morteros de tierra / Lime and earth mortars

http://www.artifexbalear.org/cursos.htm

Building Update Aug 2014

Link to Miquel Ramis website where you can see all of his work and the courses he has available:
http://www.artifexbalear.org/

We will be doing a pebble mosaic course with him over the weekend which we will use to make the floor in the shower.
Link to the course:
http://www.artifexbalear.org/curs2010e.htm

Introduction to Passive Solar Design

After yesterdays video I thought I would make a more specific introduction to Passive Solar design in Google Sketchup.

Here are some links from the content in the video:

In my first blog post I explain how I used the passive solar design principles in designing our outhouse:
Click here to read the blog entry

http://www.sunsurveyor.com/

The Solar House Book

 

Passive Solar Composting Toilet Part 1- The Design Process

We will finally (after almost two years waiting for paper work to come through) be starting work on our barn conversion next week!

We decided that we needed a toilet on the land so that the builders who are coming to demolish the inside don’t leave little presents all over the place for us.  I thought that this would be a good opportunity to try out “Light Straw Clay” also known as “Slip Straw” as we want to make the interior walls this way.  We dont have any previous experience with this type of building (or any type of building for that matter) so it will be fun and we can get a feel for technique.

Light Straw Clay is a system that was originally used in Germany.  I really like the sound of it because it looks really easy.  All you have to do is make some “clay slip”(clay mixed with water), toss it over some straw like if you were dressing a salad and then pack it into a form.  Repeat the process until your  wall is finished, leave to dry, remove the forms and presto!  You have a wall that is ready for plastering and is well insulated.

Passive Solar Design

I have been studying passive solar design for a couple of years now and our composting toilepassive solar imaget project is a great excuse to put all of the theory into practise.  It will be an exterior loo, so it could get chilly in the winter and probably not the nicest place to be in if its just a dark and sombre outhouse.  I have designed it so that the sun will shine in and heat it up in the winter, making it a comfortable, warm and bright place to do your duties.

For those of you that are still wondering what Passive Solar Design is; it is basically the use of the heat of the sun shining onto something that will store that heat (mass, normally stone, brick, adobe, etc) to warm  a space.

The Design

I first designed the porta potty in a program called Google Sketchup as it lets me make a scale model and then place it in the exact virtual geographical location to see how the light and shadows react at different times of day and throughout the year.  This is great because it allows you to make changes, try out different configurations until you have something that works.

Our passive solar composting toilet design.

Here it is!

This is the design that I came up with for the shed that will house our composting toilet.  Its form is dictated purely by function.
The roof is slanted at 21.6 degrees which is the angle of the sun at solar noon on the winter solstice (21st of December) in our region.  I have set the roof at that angle so that the sun shines directly inside through the large window at the top giving light and heat which will be captured by the light straw clay and earthen plaster (mass) and then released slowly as night falls.  The light straw clay also acts as insulation which will help to maintain the temperatures fairly constant on the inside.

The overhang is designed so that as the sun gets higher in the sky (closer to summer) it will stop shining straight in and  wont heat the space any more.   If I have done everything correctly the space will be warm and bright in the winter and cool and shady in the summer.

In my next post I will show you my progress with making the frame.

I am hoping that we will be ready for the winter solstice so that I can see if my maths (which is rubbish) is correct and feel the warm sun on my face while depositing a little packet of future fertility for our fruit trees.