Llettyshenkin House in Aberdare has begun in earnest with Ainsley contractors making a good start in spite of the weather. There needed to be extensive initial work to make the house safe and to ensure the bat population had some alternative habitats whilst work was carried out.
Working on an old building brings some interesting issues, particularly where a client wants the building to be brought up to current day comfort levels.
Old stone buildings with sold walls, are ‘breathable’ this means that any moisture created inside (or out) can be allowed to slowly pass through the walls which keeps mould from forming and the stone healthy. When refurbishing old properties it is important to keep this characteristics, so new insulation and plasterwork needs to be breathable and any repointing should be done in lime mortar to allow the stone to move and not crack as originally intended. The plan with Llettyshenkin is to remove all the timberwork (which unfortunately was suffering from both wet and dry rot) and replace with new treated wood. We will be putting in new insulated concrete ground bearing slabs with underfloor heating to all floors as well as making the refurbished building more airtight. All the windows will be replaced with triple glazed sash windows and a whole house ventilation system will ensure that fresh air is maintained throughout. There are a number of zero or low carbon technologies being included as well such as solar Photovoltaic slates and heat pumps.
The build will take about a year