Tag Archives: insulation

Paying the tradesmen

Last week, husbands got the worst jobs.

This week, tradesmen get even worse ones. We just pay them – easy!


Today is the beginning of autumn (or fall) here in NZ. In our house, we’ve marked the occasion with the installation of underfloor and ceiling insulation. Quite appropriate.


I’m excited to have this done – it’s been quoted, and requoted and put on the backburner. Then, after a chat with a friend last November who agreed that our quoted prices seemed a bit high (just over $2k, for 77sqm) I got one last round of quotes from Placemakers and Bunnings.

Et voila! $1500 or thereabouts. The difference was not in the provider, or the product quoted. It was the time of year. Summer discount? Yes, I’ll take it. So, a tip for anyone looking to insulate – it’s about 25% cheaper to have it done in the summer.

Because we are DIYers, we did actually look into doing this ourselves. However, with the Energywise funding it barely saves any dollars, and you have the nasty task of installing it. Trust me – sometimes it’s best to pay someone else.

We went with NZ Insulation as the contractor. I believe they operate on behalf of the Autex Greenstuf Insulation Programme, under The Insulation Company. The system is a little confusing – there are suppliers (ie. Greenstuf, Pink Batts), and providers (ie. Bunnings, The Insulation Company), and contractors/installers (ie. NZ Insulation) – and became even more so when there was a change to how they all matched up between getting our quote and the installation done. We started the process with NZ Insulation who were the installers for Bunnings at quote stage. The sole reason for our choice was that we like Bunnings – they give us discounts. But in the end, all my dealings were with NZ Insulation, the payment went to The Insulation Company and Greenstuf was the product installed. On top of that I booked an installation over the phone, for last Friday, but a phone call at 9am on the day confirmed my suspicion it wasn’t going to happen. Crossed wires? I rebooked for today, and they turned up right after I got dressed at 8am. Perfect!

Here’s to a warm autumn and a cosy winter!



Husbands DO get the worst jobs

We’re getting insulated! Fingers crossed for a cosier third winter in this l’il home of ours. Like the exterior painting, and trim touching up, we’re not doing it ourselves. Hooray for that.

But… before the new insulation can be put in “we” had to deal with the DIY job under the house. A previous owner had spent a horrendous amount of time in the depths of dark beyond fixing polystyrene between all the joists. I’m sure it helped, but here’s hoping some GreenStuf will do a better job.

I played the “I’m better at putting the kids to bed” card (desperate measures!) while Andre braved the rats and crawled away into the underbelly of our house. I made sure to give him a goodbye kiss.



He’s the bestest.

And he made it out but had to wait until he had a shower before he got a thank you hug!


Ode to Office Nook

Oh office nook
You are dear to my heart
My desire for organisation
And my love of stationery
Will you be mine?

Call it cheesy, odd or just plain geeky – I don’t mind, because I am getting an office nook!

Now that the form is there I can visualise so much easier and those visualisations involve “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”… I….  W…I..L…L…  B..E…  ORGANISED! And it will be pretty as well as functional! Well, maybe not pretty, but it will be hot!

Like this, as looked at daily on my Pinterest office moodboard:

Right now, this is what we have, so all power to visualisation!

It’s not exactly an “Oh wow!” moment, but things are happening here faster than they ever have before and I’m loving it! So fast that I have little time to get in and get photos!

As you can see we’ve insulated these internal walls with the Pink Batts left over from here in order to provide a sound barrier for the bedroom which is surrounded by potentially noisy areas like the kitchen, office and laundry. A sleeping toddler (and baby??) is worth every bit of extra effort!

We have also lined these walls with customwood instead of Gib, which allows for faster prep for painting, and the real bonus of fixing shelving however we decide without having to locate studs.

Most of the electrical work is done in this area as well as the laundry also. And we’ve got 3 double power points in the office nook alone – yes! No more multiboxes underfoot!

We’re scratching our heads a little over the flooring… where walls have been cut out the flooring is thankfully still the rimu floorboards, but in a much different condition than the rest of the floor. There are also some areas (ie. the doorway to the bedroom) which at some point were holes for various things and were patched badly years ago. Ideally we’d sand the whole house and get it all consistent, but that’s not happening! Hopefully a patch sand will do the trick and look fine, albeit with a little more character!

More on that when it happens…

For now, here’s something to keep the excitement up:

Absolutely floored!

Wow… here is the mammoth post that I promised way back here (I said a week??!) and you’ve had hints of here and here.

As of last night (or this morning really if you want to count the drying time and holding our breath all night that in the morning all would look fabulous) the floor is finished. Complete. Finito. Done.

I’ll try and let the pictures do the talking, otherwise I’ll get sore fingers and you’ll get sore eyes.

So, back to the beginning:

Followed by destruction:

Marking out the new floor level (about where the white paint is on the walls):

Adding polystyrene around the edges for an insulation break:

Formwork at the back door:

Polythene, polystyrene (creating an insulation break from the existing concrete floor) and reinforcing steel laid out ready for the pour:

And planks laid for access during the laying process:

The truck arrives:

The pour begins:


And finishes:

The next evening, a cut made to prevent cracking:

The sheets on the floor are to keep it damp so it doesn’t dry too quickly:

And then the awful, messy, noisy job of grinding… we (much more of the him and very little of me!) hired a grinder for a day and got to it:

As you can see there is a lot of nasty grey sludge created which drained out the back door, across the driveway and kept clogging our drain… yuck!

Grinding the edges with a hand grinder:

And now for the polishing… just a test patch first (under the kitchen cabinets):

A few more test patches were done… and over a week of going back to it and then rethinking, back again, rethinking again… the polishing process was abandoned. The thought of going over the whole floor with a hand grinder at least once for each of these discs…:

… was a little too daunting, particularly when there was mixed success with the test patches.

Plan B involved researching the sealing process (see this post for more) and trying more test patches before finally deciding on the Peter Fell products.

First though, there was the issue of the “little, tiny holes”. These may have come about from air bubbles, or from small stones being pulled out in the grinding process. However, something “had to be done”!

This was what we (yes, I got down on my hands and knees and filled and scraped with my very own putty knife) did one Saturday while the little one was sleeping:

And then just for fun (and to be sure the holes were well filled) we did it again one night the following week.

Of course, that then had to be gently ground off. It’s ok if you’ve lost count of how many times this floor has been ground – we have no idea either.

Finally after cleaning, vacuuming, sweeping and vacuuming we’re ready for sealing:

Two coats of that, then there we left it for while, while more building work went on. Andre decided it would be best to finish it once there would be less mess, scuffing and potential spills during the building process.

I love this image – it pretty well portrays our life these last six months… renovating and living in constant untidiness while juggling the everyday demands of work and a toddler, with little glimpses of the finished renovation to keep the motivation up!

Weeks (months more likely) of just ignoring the floor, then a flurry of activity this last week (and lots of sweeping, vacuuming and sweeping again) brings us to a light sanding, scrubbing of paint spots, another couple of sealer coats, and finally a top coat of something a bit glossy and non-slip.

Or supposedly… this is me on my knees with a rag buffing/washing the first top coat off because it went wrong:

And this is Andre mopping the floor with soapy water because my buffing didn’t quite do it:

Then I was back on my hands and knees with an old towel to dry it off, and finally Andre got down on his hands and knees to apply another top coat, with a wallpaper brush rather than the mop as recommended but which failed the first time.

And now, a finished floor and a very large to do item crossed off the list!

Loving it! But I have to say the motivation to make a concrete benchtop for the new laundry has waned significantly. I think we’ll be looking at laminates!

Time for a floor shout!




Fluffy goodness

With all the warnings about insulation being a nasty, nasty job, I certainly wasn’t expecting to enjoy it. But indeed I did! When I saw all that fluffy goodness filling out my walls I got warm fuzzies! (And I don’t even mean the itchy kind!) Plus it didn’t take as long as I thought – a few hours while the little one slept in the afternoon, then another hour or so that night and voila! Done!

To refresh your memory, here’s a nice tidy “I can see your rafters” shot:

And then another job ticked off the list (I was on walls – the pink stuff, Andre had the ceiling – the yellow):

Look at the lovely fluffiness – like a little fluffy chicken!

Sleep tight rafters!:

Essential protective gear (along with long pants and sleeves!):

The room was noticeably warmer immediately and I’m picking it will become my favourite room in our house. It gets a lot of sun, and with the concrete floor to hold the heat we’re hoping it’ll help the rest of the house too once it’s opened up to the lounge again. (You can see where it is currently walled off to the left of the photos above.)

Even more exciting is this is now all covered up with Gib… but I have to get some more photos first. Come back for that in a couple of days!

To London, to London, to buy some Pink Batts

It’s a long way to go to get Pink Batts, but essentially that’s what we’ve just done!

On the big OE a few years back we flew Emirates to London and got some points that were expiring right about now. After determining there were no “free” trips to Oz to be had we turned to the shopping rewards instead. With a handful of useless items available and anything marginally interesting not available for shipping to NZ we opted for the Mitre 10 gift cards. One measly $50 gift card each after something like $2500 spent – I don’t even want to work out the percentage.

R2.2 – we opted for a higher rating, but cheaper quality. Being an old house there is little (assuming no) insulation in the other walls so while we’d love to go all out and get natural wool insulation it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend extra money when it’s not going to be a completely insulated shell anyway.

So all the way to London for (not even a whole bag… there was a cash top up) Pink Batts to insulate the exterior walls of just one room in the house. That’s dedication!

Side note: Ooooh nice floor (more to come on that, but just wanted to get the suspense levels up!)