Bremer Bay – Of Corten, Gyprock & Windows

Corten Cladding:

Monday 24th October 2016

Then time has finally arrived when we are able to free the corten steel from it’s packaging and begin the exterior cladding of the downstairs “Secret Men’s Business”.

We were instructed to talk to Matt (who came and measured the walls before pressing and cutting the cladding to size) before we started. Doing so cleared up a few queries Nino had and also resulted in a new flashing being sent to seal the join between the Fibre-Cement cladding boards above, and the corten steel.

The profile we had the corten pressed to is as below


The exterior was broken into 5 natural sections. Each section was defined by a window or a door as a boundary. So the first section was from the start of the wall to the beginning of the door, the second was from the other side of the door to the point of the house/end of the wall, and so on.


Section 1: To the door

The shadow line created by the profile needed to remain equal along the entire wall. But as the length of each section was different, and each section was to be made up of whole panels, the width of the panel was changed slightly for each section.


Section 2:  From door to point

i.e.section 1:  290mm, and for section 2:   295mm.  And while you could not pick the difference between the different panel widths you would have been able to if the shadow line was increased to make up for the greater section length. As I said, SIMPLE.


Installing the point

The panels are like a stainless steel colour if kept out of all weather, and start the rusting process as soon as they are exposed

Nino and Ash had to take careful note of which panels were for which section, and keep meticulous coursing measurements as they progressed so that the panels fitted exactly into the section they were cut for. Of course they did, and of course the result is absolutely magnificent. I realise it will not be to everyones taste but it is us they are trying to please, and I am absolutely pleased. After taking some time off to help install the last of the  windows  (Oh yes, and go fishing!! but no pics this time as no fish of consequence were caught.) Ash and Nino are now three quarters of the way through the process, and with a good system of installation in hand, it will not be long into next week before another part of our project is ticked off.

In last week’s entry it was intimated that Nino was a a wee bit shorter than what he thought he was. He was upset to read this and challenged us. Not to upset him further we didn’t tell him that Santa Clause wasn’t real either, but we did relent and told him that if he didn’t believe us he could measure himself against the yardstick. (Which Ash had made previously) We then apologized profusely and said of course he was right as always,  and that he indeed was over 2m tall. The smile was worth it! 😇


A Giant of a Man

Brad arrived from Mandurah on Thursday with most of the remaining glass to be fitted. He also had onboard the front door that he made to our Specs. and the bottom rail for the decking balustrade, some of which which he had to get curved…… of course.

The aluminium bottom rail has a 50mm channel into which we hope to put free-standing glass panels, so that no curved handrail is necessary. It will be fixed to the facia of the walkway and smaller front decks, the length of each pane of the glass  that slots into the channel will be 800mm wide,  so as to sit within the curve.

The big glass windows for both end rooms were fitted, with all hands required to lift and place the 130kg pieces into place from inside out. They were double glazed and butt jointed, so Brad had a task to cut the angle  so as the join was a perfect fit.


Nailed it!

The other end

Last of the butt joints

The front door has been placed & waiting for glassresized2000pimg_1634

As an aside I am impressed with the level of workmanship and detail that Nino and Ash have gone to, to make this place a bit special for us. I’m also sure it shows the pride they have in their finished work.

As an example, note the amount of work involved here to notch out each of these boards as they meet in the corner. Very neat, very tidy, great craftsmanship. So easy to have done it differently, …  and a lot quicker.resized2000pimg_1604

Gyprock continues to be fixed inside, the rooms become more defined and the house is beginning to taking on character.

Next week should see the finish of the Corten, and the final pieces of cladding fixed in the entry void and around the louvres above the bifold doors, now that they are installed and are a defining edge to fix to.

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Bremer Bay – The Agony and the Ecstasy

The Cladding:

The Agony

Monday 3rd of October 2016

As described before, when Nino and Ash were framing the walls they took particular care to ensure the curve remained constant, and accurately followed the template (nicknamed Timothy) which was cut to the circumference profile of the house. To accommodate this the stud frames for the  walls were built in straight sections, varying from 1.2m to 2m, which also allowed consideration for the window placements. Therefore, when the cladding went on, each board had to be packed out, sighted  and conform to “Timothy” so as the curve remained constant and no flat spots occurred as they nailed the timbers home. A time consuming, and very much professional sighting and feel for the job at hand.resized2000pimg_7461And of course as the plinth that Nino had specially routed was attached over the steel beam running around the bottom of the house, they encountered every cleat, nut, bolt and post that man ever made,  which forced yet another plinth modification to get over or around. Certainly a labour of love!!

So after nearly three weeks, and “1 million” individually cut wedge shaped packers, they have all but finished the Hardie-board Cladding. All that remains is a bit near the main entry, which they will do when the door arrives and is in place.

The room underneath is to be clad with Cor-ten steel. We had the profile rolled in Perth and it arrived a few weeks ago and has been sitting waiting for the boards to go on. This steel rusts and as it does so a patina covers  it’s surface stopping further rusting. Although the colour will continue to develop and change over time. This is solely our choice of cladding, it is a new material to me and just another architectural/aesthetic gamble for us I suppose. Nothing ventured nothing gained 😀. As some of it is protruding from the packaging it has started to weather unevenly, although I assume over time it will even out.

And The Ecstasy:

The Cladding has turned out magnificently gentlemen. A job well done. I admire your work.

And next the Corten!!resized2000pimg_1518

The Scaffold.

The agony

Scaffold has its place. It is useful. We cannot do without it. But as the build progresses it becomes less so. Just ask Nino.He swears it is because he is so tall that he hits his head more than anyone else. (We know he is only 5’0″ but we would never tell him.) So Nino and the scaffold loved each other when they first met however for quite a while now the partnership has had some stormy moments, with abuse being attributed to both sides. Sore heads, elbows and contorted positions being the abuse inflicted by one of the party, while hammer attacks and name calling seemed to be the main abuse from the other.

And The ecstasy.

Marriage dissolved. Scaffold gone. Nino gets his house back. Nearly an excuse for a “Scaffold gone” Bar-B-Q.

Scaffold gone


The Ecstasy of the Funnels:

During the last few weeks we have also erected the funnels. They are still being temporarily braced at the moment but they will be a centre piece.

The end result


Insulation and Gyprock have begun.

A couple of trips to Albany (400kms round) by Peter Lynch in the little truck and trailer to get our supplies of drywall.resized2000pimg_7476and we were up and running with the internal lining.

The warmboard has come through relatively unscathed. A few dings here and there but nothing serious. The swelling we experienced earlier when it was first laid and exposed to the wettest winter for a while, has all gone. We are getting closer to the custom routing and pipe laying. All electrics for the actuators and thermostats are in and the plumbing seems under control. However I think that there are a couple of sets of gonads sitting slightly higher and tighter than normal as we approach the unknown install and commissioning of the warmboard. There is a lot of interest in this new product here from locals, so lets hope we can pull it off for all concerned.

Next week the Corten and Drywall!!

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Bremer Bay – Slowly but Surely

Back on the Job:

Monday 19th of September

last week I travelled to Perth, (1100km round trip) left my ute there and drove a truckload of window and door frames back, unloaded them, then travelled back to Perth the next day in the empty truck, picked up my ute and towed a trailer full of glass back home. So now all materials will be onsite when the glaziers come today. They can also travel down faster and in more comfort in a ute, fix the glass and frames and be back home on Thursday.



Ash arrived with the funnels in tow along with their downpipes as the main men came back onsite on the 19th of September after attending to duties other than these. Pete and Will, the two glaziers, arrived and immediatly set to work,. While the day was misting a fine drizzle the next few days forecast was for finer weather.

As an aside while in Perth I had the opportunity to see a delivery of glass into Brad’s Mandurah Glass factory. The pictures below tell the story. The deck/tray of the truck has an A frame attached full of glass as normal.  The truck enters the building, lowers the whole deck onto the floor, then drives forward leaving deck with the glass on the A frame sitting on the floor ready to be craned to the waiting racks in the factory. When all the glass has been lifted off and stacked the truck backs back over his deck and hydraulically lifts it back up, closes the back door and drives off.

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Window and door frame fitting is cruising along, Ash and Nino are helping Pete& Will (the glaziers) as well as adding more blue weather proofing  paper to the outside.

The electrician came and we strung the electrical cable to accommodate the thermostats, circulating pump and the heat pump back to the central control for my rezoned heating plan. Next comes the wiring for the actuators back to this control box.

As yet we do not have a manual for the heat pump so we are flying blind a bit as to the best way to wire it in to the system. The manual been promised!!

We are also waiting for the exchange thermostats and control box to arrive, a change from the original quote. Hopefully a full set of wiring and operating instructions are included this time. Also on order is another manifold which seems to have been missed  in the original setup and quote.

Then comes Wednesday

A beautiful day dawns, the first for what seems an age. Nino, who bought his boat onsite a long time ago, thinks that we can’t miss this opportunity to wet a line. He presents a 30 second persuasive argument, then less time than that for Ash & I to agree. So leaving a very conscientious Will & Pete to continue we had the boat in the water in less than half an hour.

A lovely meal of squid, sand whiting and herring was to follow for all.

Monday 26th of September:

Interviewed a couple of gyprock fitters for the internal wall lining. About 1200m2 in all. Ash and Nino Boxed in the plumbing where it came through the “Secret Men’s Business” roof from the above bathroom. Fixed the furring channel for the gyprock. Now we are ready for some internal lining.

The grief we experienced with one of the end posts not being erected in the right place by the steel contractors was addressed with a little cut and paste by Ash and Nino. They corrected another steel problem which we should not have had to deal with in the first place.

Thursday 29th of September;

I travelled to Albany (400km round trip) our closest major centre to pick up some outside cladding and a little bit of inside roof insulation. Nino and Ash started cladding with some boards left from the garage build a few years before. Now we will see if all the effort to make the outside a smooth round wall will pay off. The white (primed) board underneath was to hide the steel beams. Nino routed a groove and chamfered the edge of this board to give the cladding a start and let the water run off.

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Next week should be interesting


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Bremer Bay – The last Three Weeks

Cabinets & Blue Paper

Monday 22nd – Friday 26 August

Cabinet maker Keith Conner, of AOK  Design Service, accompanied by his wife arrived onsite with his caravan, and set about measuring for the manufacture of our cabinets. Having previously met with him to discuss and finalise our plans he is now  onsite to see the build for the first time.

Keith and his wife Cheryl are from Perth and enjoy travelling around our great state, so the 1200km round trip was not as onerous as it would be to some.


Keith at work

After he has measured up it is back to Perth to fabricate the cabinets, which will then be flatpacked and shipped down here for his professional installers to fit.                                              I’m thinking at this stage we will lay the hardwood flooring before we install the cupboards so as to preserve the integrity of the Warmboard tubing.

Corten Steel

We have decided that the  downstairs “Secret Men’s Business” room is to be clad in Cor- ten steel. So at great cost to the management we paid for an estimator from Carter Roofing to come and measure up the wall area so the profile could be pressed and cut to the exact measurements to enable Nino & co. to fix easily. No cutting etc                                          However: That now requires that we fix noggins(trimmers) every 300mm to accommodate the vertical fixing of this cladding

So after cutting and nailing in 75,396 trimmers (maybe a wee exaggeration) we were ready for the Insulation paper, windows and Corten cladding

I have been having many “lightbulb moments” of late concerning the Warmboard and it’s zoning (and later on the commissioning) as set out in our initial layout diagrams from Warmboard. As discussed before I did email Casey Kunselman from Warmboard and for those interested here is his prompt and very helpful reply in answer to my layman’s queries.

Hi Peter, please see my notes regarding your email in red below:

Q.Firstly, if the hardwood flooring surface temperature is not to exceed 80ºF (27ºC) how is this monitored to make sure that that temperature is not exceeded? Do we need a sensor under the hardwood strip flooring?
A. 85 F(30 BTU’s) is fine as a maximum, above that some people experience swelling of the ankles; This is a medical limit that responsible radiant designers will not exceed. I would set the water supply to 110 Fahrenheit, this should put your finish floor to between 80-85 degrees F. You can check the surface temp with a hand-held temp gun.
Q.I am assuming that if furniture (immovable as well as movable) or rugs are placed over the warmboard heated flooring then that would increase the surface temperature of the hardwood floor under that object. How do we overcome that or is it not an issue?
A. Not an issue. People must rearrange their furniture. Please do! Heat goes to cold, if there is no call for heat from above the floor, nothing is affected. Heat is also sensible, and will find the cold areas, and heat them.
Q. Also, in the design drawings that were done for us, Warmboard© divided our house into just two heating Zones, and in each of those zones there are different types of floor coverings, (ie tiles, carpet and hardwood strip flooring) but we are told we only need two thermostats, one for each zone. Again I would assume that because of the different R values for the different floor coverings then each different type of floor cover should be able to be controlled individually with its own thermostat and face plate or be zoned separately.
A. We zoned as requested. The definition of a zone is an area covered by one thermostat. You may loop the tubing in the Warmboard any way you want. As drawn, there are 10 loops of tubing. The flow of each loop of tubing can be controlled at the manifold. You could have up to 10 thermostats if you liked, using this same design. Carpet should be looped separately. Tile and hardwood have very similar heat outputs. Let me know how else I can help!

So armed with that information (dangerous I know) I set about rezoning the house, taking into consideration that the warmboard was already laid with the tubing loops and manifolds set out cater for two heating zones.   This is our re-Zoned wiring diagram,  now incorporating five zones.       heating-diagram                                                                                             Meanwhile Peter Taylor of Australian Sun Energy, who has been our stalwart “go-to-man” and supplier decided we would be better equiped if we changed  the heating  system hardware from Siemens© to Heatmiser © thermostats and control. (Peter has also borne the brunt of my many dumb questions and “lightbulb”moments on the install process over the months, but I seem not to have broken him ……. yet.)

Blue insulation paper & Window Frames

The windows are coming, the windows are coming, ….. well almost. There was an urgent need to get some insulation wrap on as Brad was due to arrive soon with a few frames to start the window install. Not all of them, (and no glass) as construction of some that were out of his control were behind schedule. However a start needed to be made as there was a fair bit of glass to go in, so requiring multiple trips. And at 1200km a round trip it is a big ask.

 Glass Arrives

Install in full swing

Below is our seven door bifold onto the deck, which we hope will be an insect free zone.


Interestingly Brad (Mandurah Glass) has found a way to allow the windows to follow the curve. Most of the single windows are no more than 800 wide, and because they are in groups of three or four in an opening ie: two louvres either side of a fixed panel, the framing he has used allows each window to act a bit independently  from the group and is able to be kicked (angled) slightly without breaking the integrity of the whole window structure. Instead of having two mullions where the windows in a group meet and therefore a wider join he has been able to use a single extrusion to do the same job whilst allowing for each window to be kicked a bit to follow the curve.


Shaun the sparky came on Sunday to catch up and go over the wiring in of the thermostats and actuators, also to wire in the Heatpump which will heat the water for the underfloor system. A few questions I have concerning that also need to be addressed. We do not seem to have any manuals, wiring diagrams or instructions for a lot of the hardware we are using and have onsite already. Maybe it is the way of the world, or maybe hydronic installers and electricians know this, but not many people I can find are experienced in what we are doing. Or my questions are too dumbassed that they shouldn’t  need to be asked, or so obvious have never been encountered.

Plenty Spaghetti

Anyway Nino and Ash away for another week, however I will chase up a few questions I have on the installation and wiring in of the hydronic system, maybe finally choose the decking, Hardwood or engineered, and find some Jarrah flooring which we intend to put over the warmboard.




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Bremer Bay -More Fine Tuning

More of the Same

Monday 15 August

Nino and Ash were back at it again this week.

Another brief respite in the terrible weather gave them a window to apply the roof flashing. However, as usual, it is not the normal cut for the corners, nail & pop rivet in place… all done, walk away whistling type of build. To accomodate the curve of the roof the flashing was cut, on the roof side face, about every 450mm so that it followed the curve of the facia board without kinking.resized 2000pIMG_1397

Nino was there as ever, with straightedge and level in hand, making sure they had it perfectly curved and true to the eye with no discernible kinks. I think they mastered the art!


That done, they continued to move through the house from one end to the other, fixing more packing where the long single windows are to create the curve, more furring channel for the gyprock, more finishing of ceiling heights and more adjusting the internal framing to hide the steel obtrusions in the framework.

The interior is starting to fill up and the space is closing down, becoming more and more like the inside of a house and not just a timber frame standing alone and open.

Thursday 18th

Plumbers are back.

Ty and his two fellow tradesmen Daniel and “Beshy” from “Rones Plumbing” returned to continue their plumbing installation. Digging ditches for the stormwater pipes to carry the water from the roof into our two 100,000l tanks which we will use for all of our water requirements.

More 100mm pipe was installed (underneath) the length of the house to carry the stormwater from the far end  to join with the garage stormwater then on down to our tanks. While the western end will have its own 100mm pipe into the tanks. We think too much water for one 100mm stormwater pipe.

Oops! Caught Ty actually using his shovel.

resized 2000pIMG_7384

Ty and his shovel. Connecting garage to house stormwater

They also pitched the evacuated tubes for for maximum sun capture.

Ty positioned it closer to the box gutter to hide it from view from the ground.

Another short week next week for the builders, as business and personal matters dictate. And here’s hoping the weather turns around for us next week also.

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Bremer Bay – Plumbing & A Short Week

Things That need to be done, get done.

Monday 8th August:

No builders onsite today as both took the time to attend to other matters. Ash having worked nearly non-stop for the past 10 weeks, and of course Nino is only back home on weekends so life considerations need addressing  at some point.

resized 2000pIMG_1396While they were away however, we took time to prime and then paint the facia board with two top coats as the weather  became mild enough for us to do so. This now allows us to finally fit the roof flashing, and not have to tape it when we paint as it as that has been done. Tick

Tuesday 9th August:

Both builders back onsite and rearing to go.As with last week the finer points in finishing the framework ready for the insulation, cladding and gyprock. All walls are plumbed and straight, but it is the marrying of the curve and the windows, and the hiding of the steelwork ready for the cladding which is occupying most of their working hours.

The ceiling needs to be dropped and a formed around the bottom of the Box Gutter to hide it.

The @warmboard seems to have stood up remarkably well under the builders working on it without protection. I know that Ash and Nino are conscious of looking after it, but they are not the only trades onsite. Although others are told to be careful of damage as soon as they arrive. The Warmboard is regaining its shape as it dries out now that we have a roof over our heads. A day was spent with Nino crawling underneath the house to nail cleats of 180mm x 45mm LVLs under each butt join of the warmboard where they did not meet on a joist. These were then bugle screwed to the warmboard from above.

It’s not bad now and I’m sure as it continues to dry it will continue to return to normal. As it is getting closer to installing the pex piping into the warmboard and not having an experienced hydroponics expert onsite I have been thinking more about the install and trying to learn what I can. On closer study: in the heating plans drawn up and designed by Warmboard we have two heating zones. (as instructed). However I now see that within each temperature zone there are three different floor coverings. Tiles in the wet areas, carpet in master bed, office and WIR, and timber in the living.That to me means that the thermostat that controls the temperature in that zone has to regulate radiant heat in three different materials. This occurs in both of our two zones. I will email Casey Kunselman at Warmboard and discuss. Maybe I can switch the loops around to overcome the problem,  maybe add another heat zone and thermostat. Interesting times. The artificial heating of natural hardwood timber floors in Australia is still a very hard topic to get any specific data on from the industry, and any advice they do dispense is usually “Don’t do it.”


Thursday & Friday

The plumbers came and stayed for a couple of days.

Leaving their mark as they installed all the internal pipework, the evacuated tube solar hot water tubes, (which need to be raised another 20˚ to get maximum sunlight as our roof has only has a 5˚ pitch) and some of the sewage pipes under the house. They will be back at the end of next week.











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Bremer Bay – The Roof is Upon Us


In the times between waiting for the box gutter to be manufactured, and the roof iron to be cut and delivered, the last few weeks have been spent fine tuning, straightening, bracing, aligning, forming around the protruding steel and inserting trimmers in the internal walls. All necessary parts to form an accurate plumb, level and straight surface for the internal lining to be fixed. The eaves were  lined and the facia given an undercoat.

Lining the eaves

Monday 21st July

An intricate mathematical set of numbers to transcribe the eaves was made a lot simpler by the use of “Evie” & “Timothy”, the two templates, working in conjunction to enable the numbers to be put down on the eaves sheets to be cut. However it didn’t stop Ash having to get into some undignified positions with Nino to fix them into position on the underside of the eaves!!  All done magnificently, and it now gives our lady some very distinct curves.

The box gutter arrives:

Tuesday 23rd July

Lynchie took the trailer into Albany and collected our Box Gutter.

Now we can install it, get our roof on and stay dry while we work. Also the warmboard will thank us for keeping it out of the weather and our wettest winter for some time. I think we have had around 35 days of wet weather and 230mm (just over 9″) of rain since our floor went down. Swelling has occurred but we will wait until it drys completely to see what, if anything, needs to be done to rectify any problems.

The gutter is in so bring on the monument coloured colourbond roof.

Roofing material arrives

Wednesday 27th July:  

Now to install.

Jarod returns with a building mate Rowan and together with Nino, Ash & Lynchy they proceed to fix the roof.

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The days were kind to us, very little wind cool and sunny, the roof is on in two days. And the wash down gave us a look at how or box gutter will work. Seeing that, now builds the anticipation to see the funnels installed and working. You will be able to see water falling into the funnel rainheads from the living area if the hallway door is open.

Nino is a happy camper, having wanted the roof on from the beginning of the build. (Joking Nino) So he decided to cook us a “Roof Finish Bar-B-Q ” and we invited Ronnie & Alan to help us celebrate a milestone in our build that they have been part of.

Nino and Pete Lynch are happy to share a joke ……

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