Our walls are pumped full of recycled newspapers
20th March 2015
This week has been seriously grey. On Monday morning, a lorry turned up with a delivery of hundreds of bags of pulped newspapers, better known as Warmcel insulation. A little later in the day, a three-man team from PYC Systems arrived, having left mid-Wales at 6am, and without stopping to have a cup of tea got straight down to the job of pumping the stuff into our walls.
Warmcel is ideal for our timber frame construction because it fills the cavities in the walls, regardless of their internal shape. It's also hygroscopic, i.e. it conducts moisture, so if any moisture does get into the walls it can find a way out again. It's recycled, obvo. And it does a mighty good job of keeping the heat in, especially when the walls are as thick as ours (300mm).
The only downside is the almighty mess involved in installing it. The guys cut 100mm wide disks out of the plasterboard covering the walls, one for every between-the-studs compartment. Then the big nozzle was wielded into each hole and the Warmcel pumped in down a long tube originating in a hopper in the back of the truck where Chris was unloading the bags. Inevitably, at a pressure of 6 bar, quite a lot didn't go in the walls: the building quickly filled with a grey haze and everything was soon covered in a thickening layer of pulp. The guys did their best to hoover this up, straight back into the walls, but I know it's going to keep turning up for months to come.
Afterwards, we put the disks back in the holes, where they are held in place with little clips and await scrim tape and a good skim coat of plaster. This job clears the way for our journey into the happy valley of second fix and final finishes. Not that we are anywhere near being finally finished, but the prospect of plasterboard, plywood and chipboard disappearing behind, plaster, paint, tiles and beautifully sanded timber is heartening.
Right now, in the cold grey light of a spring that can't quite get going, it's great to be working in a warm interior. Next winter is going to be properly cosy.