Anyone fancy offering some advice (house / barn conversion content)

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  • Anyone fancy offering some advice (house / barn conversion content)
  • alexxx
    Member

    We are going for it… who wants to lend any useful tips on damp, insulation, roofs, wood burners ect…

    It begins here

    crankboy
    Member

    Line up loads of money.

    alexxx
    Member

    “loads” we don’t have – just enthusiasm and a good work ethic.

    b r
    Member

    Based upon our place, build a timber framed house inside 🙂

    And double your budget, before you start.

    Markie
    Member

    Looks great!

    My advice doesn’t perhaps directly relate to your question, but hey, this is STW so…

    Make notes on every (major, for some definition thereof) decision you make. When you come to revisit that decision, to reconsider that part of the project, refer back to these notes.

    We found that it was easy to forget the reasons we had initially made certain decisions, and then to feel that changing our plans was the right thing to do when in fact we were failing to consider points which had been key in the first round of debate.

    Apropos of nothing… the first four or five months of our renovation flew by, but latterly there have been times where my only comfort has been the thought ‘this too shall pass’, and others where I’ve wished that instead of insulating (with wool and then some funny concrete and wood board) and doing new windows I had instead just bought a down mountaineering suit for each of the family and another few for guests – we all would gave been warm and cosy for a tiny fraction of what we’ve spent on the rebuild! However, now we’re in the final months I’m starting to feel excited about what will be our home.

    Good luck.

    Edit: b r, that looks ace!

    alexxx
    Member

    Good advice Markie, thanks.

    BR that looks very nice – when doing the wooden framed house inside do you literally just mean fixing battoning to the walls, insulation then plasterboard or do you build in another protective layer from the stonewalls?

    The budgets nearly already been doubled!

    Thoughts on heating the house and water would be great… it’s in Scotland if that makes a difference to grants available ? I was thinking either electric underfloor with solar might be an ok option but the reality is that we want it was cheap as possible with no 10year payback type setup as we may get booted out in 7 years!

    scruff9252
    Member

    Electric underfloor will be unlikely to work; you want Max output when there is minimal daylight!

    Underfloor heating from a groundsource heat pump however would work, providing you have some outside land to run slinkies under.

    scruff9252
    Member

    Oh, nice looking building BTW. I can see the potential there.

    johndoh
    Member

    Why might you be thrown out in 7 years?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Some family experience with farm building looking a bit like that…

    Get everything structural checked over (Walls, roof etc.) If there is anything wrong then you want to get them sorted first.
    If you want to move any walls it’s the time to do it too.
    Interested in an architect? Useful if you know a good one who can see some potential that you might not see.

    Get all your water, electrics and all that in before you start the rest, put more in that you think you need, consider laying some network cables through the house as wifi might be sketchy.

    Any national parks or conservation areas to deal with? If not consider some serious changes.

    The place we lived in Cumbria was a barn conversion, it was upside down so kitchen and living was up stairs and bedrooms down so there was no attic/loft space and the roof had sky lights so we had a lot of natural light which houses like that don’t normally have. They can be really dark with the small windows.

    pjm84
    Member

    Nice looking building.

    TooTall
    Member

    Reduce the heating requirement before you start thinking about heating it. ‘Fabric first’ and get the walls, roof and floor sorted. Insulation, because stone walls are just thermal mass and that is no substitute for insulation.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    I could write a ream on our barn conversion and heating system, but most or the poor bastards in here have seen it all before.

    But as the smart kids will say, get your insulation planned into the build (think floor slabs: digging down, think cavities and internal fabric, think ceiling heights for roof insulation, think double or triple glazing, think bridging, think air movement – heat recovery and passivhaus etc.) Study and research, there’s loads of places to help you out there, particularly the Self Build permanent exhibition at Swindon and various national events. CAT at Machynlleth too.

    There’s loads of old threads on here with my biomass installation, stuff on the UFH and the solar thermal installation too. But pm me for more, and some links to online photo albums that are best not put in general public release. ANd whatever you do, dont do electric UFH 😉

    PS: we build this on budget and schedule in 11 months and for c.£83psf including treating myself to the beast of the biomass boiler.


    [img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-cFJnFuWUrkQ/TsUwFDBIqeI/AAAAAAAAA4o/Q5Mk6BgcGdI/s640/P1010273.JPG[/img]

    [img]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-gcy-CGie66w/TgjoOz1ztzI/AAAAAAAAAB4/e3oxDqCFge4/s640/P1000710.JPG[/img]

    Wow! (Stoner)

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Nice job stoner but does highlight the point about natural light in old buildings, windows when these things were built were there so you could tell if it was day or night, other than that they just let cold in so were kept to a minimum. That and the animals never complained.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    that’s kind of true mike. But my photos above dont actually show many of the openings. The driftway (big openings through which cattle were drive) is glazed on both elevations – 12′ x 12′ of glass on both fafces 😀

    And each of the five stable doors now has french windows filling them.

    The one place it really could do with a new opening that the planners never allowed is that wall by the table in the photo up there

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    makes more sense! The one we lived in was done under some strict conservation rules so they couldn’t open anything up. The upside down idea worked really well in that place.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    TBH I reckon I could sneak a french window in there without anyone noticing 🙂

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    Mods – I want stoner and mcmoonter banned from any property or lifestyle related threads.

    I feel so inadequate. 😥

    wrightyson
    Member

    Stoner continues to increase my dislike of all things stoner 😉

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    There, there, wrightyson. This’ll make it all better…

    anus
    Member

    Where abouts exactly are you, would be interested to know?

    Also do you plan to use an architect? (I hope so 😀 )

    Also interested to know why you might get booted out in 7yrs… Got to ask what is the point if that is the case?

    wrightyson
    Member

    It is a fine example of a very well done conversion tho stoner!
    Can’t beat a good concrete slab mind.

    alexxx
    Member

    The 7 years thing was really mentioned so that long payback schemes aren’t suggested as we don’t own the building. We are getting an unlimited lease on the property from my misses family but unforseen things like deaths, Scotland going independant ect might crop up and affect it for the worse.

    It’s worth the punt for us as is – nothing ventured nothing gained and all that!

    We are getting a structural survey done of the building and we do have an Architect friend who is helping us along. We’ve got rough floorplans drawn up but trying to do the research on the main source of heating before getting too attached to them.

    It does seem like ground source heat pumps and under floor heating are the way forwards. We’ll probably go for wall mounted electric heaters upstairs and if it all seems good in a few years then we could look at investing in some PV panels.

    The house was lived in around 40 years ago so I don’t believe we need planning permission / change of use for it – just the right side barn (kitchen). I’m assuming we’ll need permission for knocking a few more windows though. I also need to investigate what the deal is with building opposite a listed barn as I hear the building may come under some of the rules of the buildings in close proximity?

    I don’t think we are going for anything that unconventional really – the way we are looking at it is practical and as cheap / upcycled as possible so as long as we are both dry and cosy we are happy.

    I’ve heard mixed opinions about the roof so far… apparently it’s done in the traditional Scottish way with nails into wood holding the slates on and not battoning.. assuming it’s not leaking I hear it could be ok to just insulate with a small cavaty and any small drips will be evaporated by the heat of the insulation? I did think it maybe a roof off job myself and line it with felt / batton / slates but that was just an uneducated guess.

    The timber frame within the building does sound like the best option and I’m waiting back off a joiner mate with his thoughts on it all. The floor is flush with the yard at the moment so we were hoping to just raise it 30cm with concrete and run our waste pipes ect through that.

    Stoner – your place is very nice indeed and not far off what we were hoping of around £100 psf maximum so that certainly gives us hope.

    Please can you give us any more installation of the ufh you used and suppliers for the equipment. Was it easy to install (it looks it!)?

    I don’t think we will go biofuel – but keen on ground source for the ufh.

    We will have more wood than we can burn so I’m planning on going made with the log burners.

    Thanks again – sorry for the essay!.. oh and it’s near the Scottish borders – 40mins from Carlisle – (I’m from SW Cumbria an hour and a half away but been jammy enough to be living in Morzine for the past 3 years)…

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    alexxx – I use http://underfloorheating1.co.uk/ for DIY UFH stuff. Did my own with their kit and have done a mates as well.

    It’s pretty straightforward to do if you read carefully. Plan properly and protect the pipe. Connecting to a heating system is a little more involving – Ive connected mine to a heat store (easiest) and my mates to a Combi (bit trickier).

    The hardest bit though is screeding. We used a company to do the barn as there’s no way I Was going to screed 1,500 sq ft with 3″ of mix on my own. But 4 of us screeded about 800 ft in a day at my mate’s place.

    Im not really a fan of any heat pumps unless rigged to a renewable supply as I dont believe the performance of the pump circuits is good enough to guarantee to cancel out the extra CO2 generation (and cost) of electricity at the grid compared to biomass or even oil.

    Why are you determined to look at an electrical heating system? It’s by far and away the most expensive way of doing things unless you link it to a massive PV array like one of my neighbours (something like a 12kWp monster in his field)

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
    Subscriber

    Stoner – your home is indeed stunning, however somewhat lacking in soft furnishings 😉
    Although I think I may have spied a cushion on a couple of dining room chairs (was nosey and just had another peek at the photos).

    mefty
    Member

    Insulation is your first port of call.

    Electric heating would cost a huge amount to run I would have thought a conventional system (oil) would be cheaper over a seven year period. Ground source heat pumps, if they achieve a cop (heat energy out/electric energy in) of more than 2.5 save money and CO2, which is eminently doable but finding a good installer can be difficult – controls are the key factor in good performance. However, a seven year payback would be unlikely.

    Solar thermal is generally a better investment than pv over the short term.

    Biomass, either a distributed woodburner system, or a more sophisticated system like Stoner’s would be worth looking at. Over seven years I think the more sophisticated system would be tight on payback.

    alexxx
    Member

    Well as you’ve all probably guessed I’m still up in the air on what to heat the house but we initially shyed away from biomass heaters as our friend had an expensive problem with his… so maybe worth a relook now after you guys saying the perks of it..

    I will do my research but do you / anyone have an opinion on what sort of size to get to heat a 150m2 house and would you just heat the downstairs with it underfloor or do you think it’s worth running heating upstairs from it also?

    I’m guessing a distributed wood burner system would be cheapest but probably more of a pain to maintain than the biomass burner… a quick glance on ebay thinks you can get biomass boilers for around 2500-3000

    Noobie question.. are they also used for the hot water supply / showers taps ect?

    thanks for the links stoner – I’ll look at the ufh site now.

    mefty
    Member

    Noobie question.. are they also used for the hot water supply / showers taps ect?

    Yes, they heat a hot water tank. Another option which some friends use is a Pither Stove.

    b r
    Member

    BR that looks very nice – when doing the wooden framed house inside do you literally just mean fixing battoning to the walls, insulation then plasterboard or do you build in another protective layer from the stonewalls?

    Nothing really fixed to the walls (except 1st floor joists); the ground floor is joist/insulation/chipboard as it was done +20 y/o so pretty much pre-underfloor and fancy systems.

    I’ve heard mixed opinions about the roof so far… apparently it’s done in the traditional Scottish way with nails into wood holding the slates on and not battoning.. assuming it’s not leaking I hear it could be ok to just insulate with a small cavaty and any small drips will be evaporated by the heat of the insulation? I did think it maybe a roof off job myself and line it with felt / batton / slates but that was just an uneducated guess.

    Sarking is the word you are looking for, and originally there to stop the snow blowing under the slates. Ours was re-sarked where the slates had failed (in the 50 years it was un-maintained), but the rest is +100 y/o and also on all may outbuildings.

    Heating-wise we’ve only an oil-fired AGA and a wood stove, house is warm although not very economic – but no fancy systems to fail/maintain/pay-for.

    Scottish Borders too 🙂

    Edukator
    Member

    The payback on my solar thermal is about 11 years in SW France and the pv somewhat less. Solar thermal for heating in Scotland in Winter isn’t going to work but for domestic hot water in Summer would save a little, not enough compared with other investments IMO. The roof insulation paid for itself in about three years, the walls will be under ten, under the floor I have no idea and the triple glazing about 30 years (if it lasts that long).

    Can the family be persuaded to gift the place with you buying out others that stand to inherit? A lease puts you in a lousy position in the event of divorce as the value your couple adds to the property won’t be yours to split. Just a thought having seen a couple of couples divorce just as the restoration project finished.

    richc
    Member

    “loads” we don’t have – just enthusiasm and a good work ethic.

    My house renovation has ran about 50% over budget, so if you don’t have a decent buffer of cash and/or a realistic idea of how much things cost I would have a serious think about it.

    Also kiss goodbye to your bike/free time. I have spent the past two years working on mine including 6 months @ 7 days a week from when it go light to when it go dark.

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