The stone has started going on the front of the building and it is an enormous relief. For a long time, our self build looked like a giant blue Portakabin (so many of our friends dubiously asked if the finished house was going to be, in fact, blue) which wasn’t the intention.
We’re using locally-quarried Cotswold ironstone that has been cut by a local stonemason so it fits with the local vernacular really well. It has been sawn and once-rolled giving it a beautiful riven, split face (this is a textured, more natural appearance) and the stone is then bedded with a minimal jointing.
Instead of building the stone outer skin over a layer of blockwork, we’re building up over Surecav panels (Surecav is a moulded, polypropylene panel that allows cladding such as stone and brick to be built without an additional block leaf, and in this case, also enables us to fully fill the cement behind the stone and keeps a ventilated, dry surface against the building).
Without the Surecav we’d have to put another backing block leaf in, so we’d be building an extra wall we didn’t need (and potentially adding extra foundations).
The stonework will eventually clad the whole facade, and we’ll use Corten panels over the heads of the windows.
The stonework has felt like a long time coming for us, we started before Christmas, but met many weather-related delays. Stonework is difficult to complete in winter months as it is impossible to control the conditions. You can’t lay stone when it’s wet and you can’t lay when it’s too cold. If it’s dry in winter, it’s often cold, and if it’s warmer, it’s often wet – so we were kind of stuffed!
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for some warmer, dryer weather so we can complete the outer skin.