The House that Hemp Built – The finishing stages

  Shale TInkler     2014-01-07   View all blog articles

From the Archive: 09-03-2011

Well, I know it has been a while since the last update on the Hemp House, but it is because we have been slowly turning it into a Hemp Home.

Everybody who has ever built or done renovations warned me about the final finishing stages of the process. It seems inevitable that target dates get pushed out as do budgets, as there are always changes and unplanned areas that raise their heads.

Most of the exciting hemp building is done, and this is also the stage where you rely a lot on sub-contractors to finish on time and do their job well.

We have been doing quite well still, and are a few weeks off from a finalised product, and it is looking great.
Since the last update, the internal cladding made up of a 16mm hemp chipboard with an E0 binder has been installed. We used a commercial veneer on it to protect it from moisture and it was installed on all the interior walls that had the hemp insulation inside.

The hempcrete walls were plastered with hempscreed, and left raw. We experimented with different effects, leaving some rough and getting others as smooth as possible, but we found the best one to be somewhere in between, where the hemp stalks are still visible, but the lime is smoothed out.

The interiors have also been painted with eco-paint from B-earth, which is lead/toxic metal free and 0 VOC release. Choosing colours was quite a process too, we needed something to complement the hempscreed but still give a clean classic look, and I think we have succeeded.

In the kitchen, we went for a recycled ceiling board on the doors of the cupboards, mostly pine, and the effect is lovely. The house seems to be full of contrasts between texture and smooth, modern and classic, and the general feeling is already one of comfort.

The insulation is doing its job, and even on the hot summer days here, the temperature inside was moderate for the team to work comfortably with just a few windows open. The double glazing from Massclusivity is also working a treat and complementing the hemp insulation, as even with our howling Cape South Easter wind that blows for a lot of the summer, inside it is quiet.

The staircase has been installed, so no more climbing up and down ladders. It was especially designed for the house, and even though it is still covered with a protective layer, I can see it is going to be a beautiful feature.

Perfect Places has also been hard at work building cupboards and cabinets, often using the hemp chipboards and bamboo, and these are mostly in place now. It is great to see it all coming together.

The LED lights from Earth Power have been installed, the beautiful recycled stone counter tops from Cannata called “Second.Life” are in place, and the plumbing is all being attached this week.
I will be writing a dedicated blog on all our eco-partners and the excellent products soon.

So for now the push is on to finalise the interior and get the cork flooring and hemp carpets installed, and all the bits and pieces finished before moving out to paint the exterior and complete the deck. Work has begun on the landscaping of the garden and we have installed the fencing using recycled fencing and poles from the vineyards at the farm next to Hemporium’s office.

So we are close to completion, but still have a few incomplete aspects to tie up before we can begin with the soft furnishings (hemp of course).

I will keep you posted…