(Mis)adventures of converting a stone barn to a dwelling


One of the major jobs of this project was the underfloor heating in the concrete slab. A ambitious idea was to make the floor polished concrete, of which I had extremely little experience doing. I’d managed to powerfloat one small patio to a polish, so figured it was worth a try having seen some stunning stuff on the telly. Little did I know then that the stunning finishes were all dye mask work, and nothing to do with polished normal concrete which would give a industrial car park appearance…

First all the rooms were dug out level and blinded, then ran round with a wacker to compress the blinding sand. Here’s me and a mate who’d come over to lend a hand with this job messing up that nice smooth surface…

calm before the storm

Then a dpm was laid, with edge insulation to stop heat leakage into the walls, and the floor covered with polystyrene sheets to isolate the slab from the cold ground underneath.

laying insulation under the slab

Once this was done, the pipework was laid in all three rooms, with blanks for features such as the staircases.

pips room

no heating where the stairs go!

heating pipes down


Then I got togged up in my high tech parisian fashion week outfit. Or more correctly Pip wrapped me in cling film, a neighbor donated us a disposable paper suit to go over it, and someone gave me a cup of tea. Much mickey taking was emitted by everyone else at this sight. I offered the others the spare rolls of cling film but nobody else was convinced it was a good idea  ;)

The new parisian fashion


Then the big moment arrived, the wagon pulled up.

the beast arrives

Wurz got to work, who knew he’d know how to operate a cement mixer?  mispent youth if you ask me!

wurz trying to break something so we got free concrete?

 Amelia gazed on in awe, bob the builder in 1:1 right at her home!

amelia wondering what that truck is for!

The slurm started to verily emit forth from the scoop.

splurges its load

And we started to frantically rake it into the corners, a most knackering exercise!

fighting the slurm

filled and spread

We moved the truck for each room to try and minimise handballing it all round

infill the end room

Finally it was spread round enough and we began to tamp it flat, you can see why I had the cling film getup on. See how brave wurz is kneeling in it direct. Later on he was to start suffering really really bad lime burns. I think the lime content is higher for french readymix than the UK grade of it, but I’d been burnt before doing the previous house so was wise to it, and thanks to the wonder of cling film, I didn’t suffer the same burns.

starting to tamp


Flat enough, lets go have a beer!


Some hours later (but still far far too early) I started to float it. I did my usual trick and fell asleep at about 3am, and it went off a bit too hard to polish properly and here and there it was a little uneven, so we ended up having to tile the floor instead of a polished concrete finish.

Floating it far too wet


June 20, 2009 This post was written by Categories: Building No comments yet

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