This week on stuff I mentioned that our frames (the external framing not the internal partitions) are slightly thicker than standard: 140mm rather than 90mm. It’s only a marginally different cost for a big impact to our overall plan: it solves both a structural and insulation issue – they can be cantilevered over the edge of the concrete base, and it means we can pack in more insulation to ensure we keep our thermal envelope intact.
Because we have 50mm of XPS on the concrete block walls below the top timber framing walls, we wanted an overhang to make top and bottom sit together like a nice neat box. If we'd had standard 90mm frames, we'd have had no ability for the frames to cantilever out - they wouldn't be structurally strong enough. Having that neat box, where the external skin of both the top (timber) and the bottom (concrete block) parts are flush, allows us to keep our thermal envelope in one clean, easy line.
140mm also allows us to pack more Earthwool/Glasswool insulation
The surprising thing is that it's cheaper to fill this 140mm frame with R3.2 Earthwool/Glasswool than it would be to fill a 90mm frame with R2.8 or even the minimum R2.6. I know, even my eyes are crossed at this point. But it's a win win for us. We can offset the cost of the cheaper insulation against the slightly more expensive cost of the timber and at the same time get a better R value all round. It doesnt quite come out even as the timber is slightly more expensive than the saving on the insulation, but still, it's pretty close and we get a much better insulation solution, especially as we needed the external insulation to dove tail in top to bottom anyway.
For those of you completely lost and not sure how to tell your Rvalue from your XFactor, its simply a matter of numbers. The higher the Rvalue of your insulation (and the same goes for windows if you're looking at double glazing etc), the better the effect. So the 3.2 means we get higher insulation properties from our walls. The reason, Mr Building Boxes tells me, for this seeming discrepancy (usually better is more expensive, right?) is that the lower R value in the 2.6 and 2.8 also comes with a corresponding increase in density for the product, so it can be squeezed into those standard 90mm walls. There's more product, packed into a smaller space. So it's more expensive.
Got it? Good...If you have any questions, feel free to let me know...and I'll get Mr Building Boxes to do his technical arm waving explanation dance for you.
This week on stuff is the follow up about private sales. Happily, our process was a pretty straight forward one and I've had numerous people contact me since with questions. Hopefully this weeks article gives a pretty good idea of the hows and whats. But I thought I'd just add a few details in case anyone else is thinking of selling their house themselves.
There are all sorts of columns about how to style your house for sale, declutter, make it smell good. I am not a stylist, a personal organizer or a culinary genius able to make my home smell like freshly baked bread, coffee, chocolate and caramelized onions all in one. But we did sell the place successfully, so I can tell you what we did.
First - we had one massive sort out. This was helped by the street wide garage sale - in fact we timed putting the house on the market for the week after as we figured we'd have a bunch of people checking out the street that weekend - and we did. We put about three car loads of stuff in storage, sold a lot and gave away everything else that was surplus. In itself that made a big difference to the feel of the house. Cupboards were suddenly "magazine" full rather than crammed and there was plenty of space to show off the beautiful Tawa floors.
Second - we put some stuff back in. It's all very well decluttering, but I think you don't want the place to look empty. We borrowed pot plants, a chair and a few cushions from friends and filled in the gaps. Now that I have given those things back, its obvious just what a difference they made - the house felt dressed (without the cost of a professional stylist)
Third - we got some good photos. We already had a bunch for the fabulous Larnie Nicolson from our time in Your Home and Garden, but the rest Chris from Homesell took for us - it only took an hour - and I think it made a big difference to how many people come through - and traffic means interest - something that helped our auction process I think. If you dont know a professional photographer and you want to get absolute top dollar for your property, especially somewhere like Auckland, I personally think paying to have photos done is worth it (and they come as part of the package with Homesell).
As an aside, if you're not worried how long or how much you're going to get, and you just want to sell with zero effort and zero drama, you can just put a listing on trademe and put up a sign. In fact our neighbor literally put a homemade sign up by a bus stop. That's it. And he sold, easily, for what he wanted.
Fourth - we tried to be super approachable, super nice and super organised. Like I said in the stuff article, we were saving money doing it ourselves so I approached it as a job. I answered ALL the phone calls, ALL the time and had all the documents ready to go. A LIM costs about $265 in Auckland, nothing in the great scheme of things - and something you usually pay for if you have an estate agent anyway (on top of fees etc) so having it ahead of time made things streamlined and easy for potential buyers.
Finally - we were open to approaches from buyers - we would have gone down an offer route if it worked best - but happily for us (not so for some of the buyers obviously) the auction route worked well for us. You definately dont need to go to auction - it might just be an Auckland phenomenon at the moment, but it did give buyers an easy, clear way to buy - and THAT was what we were after.
And so....it's on with the build. Things are hotting up (before they slow down again) so I'll have some serious progress to show you next week!
A family of four: writer, scientist, lego engineer and destruction specialist. Our previous home is featured in New Zealand Interior Style and this new project promises to provide plenty of great, green, smart and maybe madcap solutions to new building in New Zealand.