House on Stilts
LOCATION: Manorhamilton Co. Leitrim
PROJECT TYPE: Self-Build
HOMEOWNERS: Max Brosi & Anna Marie
PHOTOGRAPHER: Steve Rogers
PRODUCTS USED: pro clima Intello Plus, Spano Durelis Vapour Block
Ecological Building Systems were delighted our products were used on this unique self- build project, which was undertaken by Max Brosi and his now-wife Anna Marie. The house has a very personal style with an eclectic mix of Japanese, colonial and Scandinavian influences.
The Early Days
Max and Anna Marie lived on the site before the planning stage, this allowed them to get to know the wind directions, where the sun moves and this verified their thoughts on the orientation of the house.
Max recounts “The geographic orientation of the design was inspired by the Newgrange principle. The central space is aligned with the centre of Glenade valley; in midsummer the sun sets in the middle of this valley and shines straight through the centre of the house, illuminating the back of the front door.” In fact, the overall form of the house is “a culmination of design ideas, material considerations, and functional layouts”
Such a customised design required exceptional attention to detail. For instance, for the suspended timber floor Max opted for 9x2s with herringbone bridging. “This takes most of the bounce out of the floor and gives it great strength and rigidity”.
Steel reinforced concrete stilts support a galvanised steel girder frame onto which the house is bolted.
One unusual feature – by Irish standards – is that there is no back door but there are French doors to the south which will eventually lead onto a patio that’s due to be built this summer. “Convention says a house needs a back door, but for us, there was no reason for one,” adds Max
Ecological Building Systems Products Used
The Intello plus Intelligent airtightness membrane was used in the roof build up. The advantages of using Intello Plus is that it offers high diffusion tightness in winter and maximum diffusion openness in summer. From a practical point of view, the membrane has a very high nail tear resistance and is easy to install.
As an internal wall lining Spano Durelis Vapour Block was used. Durelis VapourBlock contains a designated airtightness and vapour control layer on the internal surface, guaranteeing a reliable airtight seal. Joints and penetrations of the VapourBlock were sealed with pro clima tapes and seals.
VapourBlock eliminates the requirement for additional vapour control membranes to be applied on the internal side. This structural board has the advantage in that it fulfils three primary requirements in one step
1) Vapor Control
2) Structural requirements
Max states that on the southern end there is no problem with condensation, but the bedroom and bathroom that are north facing are showing small patches of mould on the bottom of the window reveals even though there’s the same amount of heating throughout the house. This is likely due to a lack of controlled ventilation of the living space, in particular, wet rooms. To combat this Max plans to retrofit a mechanical ventilation system and replace the plaster slabs in the reveals.”
What Steps Can Be Taken To Help Prevent Mould Growth?
One of the key factors which dictate whether mould growth can occur or not is the presence of moisture. Not only in its liquid form but also in its gaseous form, where the relative humidity on internal surfaces rises to above 80% for prolonged periods of time.
Ensuring the living space is effectively ventilated can drastically reduce the risk of mould growth within buildings. Avoiding thermal bridges and air leakage also greatly reduces the risk of mould growth. Thermal bridges and the resulting reduced surface temperature and an increase in relative humidity are also conducive to mould growth. Air infiltration of cold external air and the resulting internal surface condensation on warm surfaces also contributes to increased mould growth risk.
Mould can grow on almost any surface, even tiles, and PVC. However, some surfaces are more conducive to mould than others (e.g. wallpaper, gypsum based plasters, paper faced gypsum plasterboards).
Some materials are inherently more resistant to mould growth though due to their higher PH, humidity regulating properties and their molecular structure. For example, mould struggles to grow on Calcium Silicate insulation such as CALSITHERM, or on lime based plasters
Ecological Building Systems supply PUR San Anti Mould System
To Read a more detailed account of the project, Please click below