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As you can see on the photo above, the work on the front of the house has progressed tremendously in the last half year. October last year the local manufacturer Consola replaced all doors and windows with new double glazed ones made from local chestnut. This spring the whole roof and all walls and floors were insulated, mostly with Isocell cellulose (22 cm for the roof, 14 cm for the walls) and perlite and cork for the floors (6 cm). The cellulose insulation comes from a nearby factory in Beziers in l’Herault which uses locally recycled newspapers. As a former environmental journalist it suits me well to have our walls filled with the scraps of the old Languedoc papers Midi-Libre and l’Independant (photo), especially since we were able to inject them behind intelligent and breathable membranes.
The whole building envelope is now very well insulated and made airtight with Intello Plus vapour barriers of Pro Clima, who sell you a whole kit with different tapes, glues and a hefty instruction manual. Not to our surprise it was a lot of preparation to make the ‘compartments’ and put up the membranes before having the cellulose blown in. One wall was too humid and had to be insulated with Amorim cork boards (2 x 4 cm overlapping). Another wall, which is partly sunk into the ground and suffers from rising damp, was insulated with cork chips behind impermeable plasterboard. Indoor walls that adjoin the neighbors’ were insulated acoustically with 10 cm of cellulose and a double layer of plasterboard.
The perlite-crete floor in the big living kitchen was poured onto OSB waterproof boards (19 mm). Unfortunately the massive, old oak floor beams which carried the four-inch dirt floor laid with terracotta tiles were too warped to be leveled. We replaced them with new untreated Douglas-fir floor joists from the local sawmill that gets its wood from the nearby Black Mountains. The old oak beams were sold to a builder in the nearby village of Lautrec, which paid for the new floor (see photos).
After the summer I’ll post some more pictures and a description of the new kitchen, the staircases and the tiled floors. It’s coming along…