Strawbale House

This blog is intended to chart our progress through the self-build process, from half-hearted plot-hunting through to completion of the build. The twist is that we're building the house from timber and straw (hence the blog title).

Click on the image at the end of each post to see that day's photos.

Monday, 25 June 2007

June 25th - Solum

Solum - now there's a new word for you. It was for me, at any rate. In this context it refers to the top layer of ground bounded by the foundation walls we've spent the last week or so building. The requirement is to make it as impervious to damp and burrowing beasties as possible, to stop both from causing problems under the floor. This is done by filling in around the walls, bringing it all to a level similar to the land outside the walls, then compacting it, laying a damp-proof membrane over the whole area and topping it with a couple of inches of concrete.

I had a digger booked for first thing, and met it on site shortly after 8am. Ten and a half hours later I finally left the site, well-knackered and yet again pissed of with another day of revolting weather. Through it all, with Mal and Boston between 9:30 and 3, we dug a trench and laid the soil pipe with risers for the kitchen, bathroom and utility areas at the back of the house and the WC at the front, created a services entry-point through the block walls, shifted humungous amounts of hardcore, levelled it, flattened it all with a whacker plate (see pictures below) and eventually had it ready for the damp-proof membrane, which I picked up from Walker Groundworks on the way home. I'd always thought using a whacker plate looks like a bit of a gas, but it's a real pig of a job. Steering it over rough ground is a constant battle, as it leaps around with a mind of its own, and the continual vibration rattles everything from your wrists to your teeth.

A long and very arduous day, but we're gradually getting closer to the fun parts - starting with the carpentry. A bit of a head-melt to see about £5000-worth of work being buried, never to be seen again, but satisfying in a strange way. Wish we could bury the bloody weather too.

Solum 250607

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