Category Archives: Techniques

Another Log House – part 3

Nowadays houses must be draft-free and air tight. We used to place foam strips between the logs, this took care of the draft but it was not fully air-tight. Today we take a more rigorous approach: we completely wrap the house in an air-tight foil. Damp-open, but air-tight. We started wrapping yesterday, at the same time we are placing the main beams on the roof. These are maybe a little over-dimensioned, 60 kilos each, fully laminated, they will never bend.

main beams for the roof, air tight foil around the house

main beams for the roof, air tight foil around the house

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Kit Homes

We are being asked regularly if we sell kit homes. For a kit home we would deliver one or more trucks or containers with building materials, a clear manual, and off you go. Like an IKEA-house.

No, we don’t deliver kit homes.

The Sears Catalog Home

But why not? Building a house is not rocket science. In the USA the Sears company has been delivering the Sears Catalog Home for years. Those were not garden sheds, those were full size houses for permanent living.

1922_Sears_Modern_Homes_Catalog

1922_Sears_Modern_Homes_Catalog

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Building Materials

Every now and then we have a client that wants us to build a house and then in the process use product this or that for the purpose of finising the roof, or insulating the walls, or whatever. Usually product “this or that” is supposed to somehow lower the maintenance cost of the new house. For instance: composite materials for covering outside walls.

Alternatives For Wall Cladding And Roof Tiling

Many years ago products based on asbestos were popular for roof tiling and wall cladding. We all know how that one ended, and today it is very difficult to get rid of the stuff without hiring guys in white astronaut suits. In The Netherland we recently had a client who almost landed himself in jail for a weekend when he tried to get rid of 1 m2 of asbestos flooring from his old house, without hiring the astronaut-brigade. We all had to laugh about his story, but still it is a serious environmental offense.

composite cladding

composite cladding

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Damp-Open Or Damp-Closed

Anybody that is in the process of designing and building a new house runs into this discussion: should we build with a damp-open construction, with damp-open walls and roof, or not? Because opinions differ, and the debate is heated, amoung architects and building engineers. One is more energy-efficient, but the other is more ecological… etcetera…

What is this all about? And what is better?

Woden house

Wooden house

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Nationalities On A European Building Site

Since we are working all over Europe, we meet people from different nationalities and different cultures all the time. It makes our job much more fun.

Here we are unloading a truck. The truck driver speaks Polish, our foreman speaks Lithuanian, but together they speak Russian. We speak French with the Manitou driver who also happens to speak Polish, and we speak English with our client and German with the architect. Six languages on one building site, that’s Europe for us.

unloading a wooden house with four nationalities

unloading a wooden house with four nationalities

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Environmental Humidity And Wooden Houses

One of our offices is based in The Netherlands, and The Netherlands can be really chilly and uncomfortable. Wet and humid. And some Dutch clients think that their climate is not very suitable for a wooden house.

Let’s look at the facts. Below are four graphs, with the relative humidities in Utrecht (Netherlands), Ukmerge (Lithuania), and Moscow (Russia).

Humidity

relative humidity Utrecht

relative humidity Utrecht

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