Constructing houses on reclaimed land (polder) usually means: mud. Lots of mud. Mud up to your knees, mud on the roof of your car, mud on your sandwich.
Materials arrive and house assembly starts
Foundation is ready, crane to unload and install panels in the place. Time for the materials to arrive. With the first truck arrived panels for the ground floor and overlay structure. Next day after unloading we began to install panels. First we laid bitumen hydro insulation layer on the concrete surface and fixed wooden beams. On top of the beams will go panels.
We build wooden houses in many countries. Every country has it’s own exceptions, rules and peculiarities. This time let’s talk about the Netherlands.
We are quite busy building houses in the Netherlands at the moment. Many areas in this country are reclaimed land areas: originally North Sea, but then the Dutch build dikes, pump out the water and build houses on the sea bed. In such areas top layer of ground is very soft and if you build on a regular foundation, your house will sink into the mud.
For this reason, the Dutch have developed a special technique to build foundations in those reclaimed land areas. It is called “paalfundering”. First comes a specialist engineer who does ground tests. They check how deep is the solid ground. If you are lucky it will be at approximately 8-12 meters deep, but in some areas it might be up to 30 meters deep.
We skipped a few steps: drilling the 11 meter foundation poles, and then adding the concrete beams. All that has been done, and the foundation floor is ready to be placed on top. This is what the building site looks like today:
- listings around windows
- staircase and balustrade
- and then there is a long list of all kinds of details that take time and attention.
We received the staircase by special delivery, and shipped it to the island, by boat. Small boat this time.
With the roof done, and while we can’t finish the gutter because the materials are still somewhere in a truck, we finish the outside of the house. The insulation was placed already last week, with a black water shield, and now we add the final layer: larch.
While the cement guys are busy with the floor heating and the cement top layer, we continue working on the roof. This house gets a metal roof. Metal roofs used to have a somewhat mixed reputation. Cool and techy, but also a little, well, shoddy.
We place our wooden walls straight on the concrete foundation, and then, between our walls, the cement & concrete guys add a few extra layers:
- floor heating
- chape, or cement
- optionally: tiles, or a wooden floor.
In this house we don’t do layer 4. No tiles, no wood, just cement on top. Looks cool and modern, and contrasts nicely with the wooden walls. Just a matter of preference. The combination of floor heating and a wooden floor is a little unusual, but we have wooden floors that are specially engineered to be combined with floor heating.
The main problem with this floor? Layer 3: the cement. We need to bring a 35 tonnes cement mixer to the island, on a pontoon. Today was pontoon day.
We start with a floor like this: concrete load bearing base, then insulation, floor heating (that’s the yellow lines), steel grid.
Adding the insulation on the outside has started. We are lucky with the weather, no rain at all. Having rain while doing the insulation works is not impossible and the insulation will dry without any problem, but it is easier to install it in dry conditions.
With the nice weather works are progressing very rapidly. The roof is closed, no more rain inside the house. Not that it rains anyways, we haven’t seen any rain in the last three weeks. Next week we will put the Ruukki metal roof on top. First however we will finish the roof bottom, and we will place the insulation on the outside, and then cover with larch. Zero maintenance, lasts a lifetime.