There has not been a lot to report of any real interest of late, hence an article about drips. However, before getting into the drips, I should record what I have been up to. This almost exclusively concerns the roof: finishing of the roof plate (cutting holes and driving down hazel pins, inserting noggins and insulation, glueing and nailing down the top plate), and putting in place the remaining roof frame elements (the purlins on the ridged element, securing the rafters on the lean-to element, exending the ridge rafters on the side where they have to overhang the walls). This has all been rather boring work.
The roof itself has arrived, although not without problems as some of it fell off the forklift when being taken from the lorry to site. I am using basic pre-insulated box profile steel sheeting – so it is very simple to install, albeit not a one-man job hence why I am waiting for Builder Tim to have a couple of spare days. I am very much looking foward to the security of having a permanent roof on.
This brings me onto drips. For the last few months I have had a temporary roof in place – i.e. tarpaulins fixed onto the basic roof frame. I had to do this, rather than install the roof sheeting earlier beause of the need to access the top of the walls to drive pins down through the bales. Having tarps is a bit risky because they are always prone to being torn-off by heavy winds and when there are winds there is usually also rain. It is easy to get to a point where you have fixed the tarps and then stand beneath them on a rainy day and feel comfortable with the fact that no rain appears to hitting the straw. However, this can cause you to overlook the issue of drips. It is almost certain that there will be some small holes somewhere in your tarpaulin, possibly where you may have hammered some battoning onto it to hold it down. Water will probably be getting through these holes – maybe only a very small amount, but as you know from what happens if you put a bowl under a dripping tap or leaking pipe, this can very quickly mount up. You therefore have the potential to be channeling a very large amount of water into a very concentrated area, yet not be able to see this happening.
I fact, I found three areas where this had been happening which I only noticed because grass was starting to sprout from the straw. In these places a narrow strip of straw, only two or three inches wide had become saturated to a depth of about 5 or 6 inches into the straw, down to a depth of around five bales. In all instances I was able to track this back to a small hole in the tarp. Fortunately I don’t think this is a major problem because the dampness is very localised, should dry out now the leak has been plugged and I could probably pull-out and replace the straw if necessary.
However, this is something that it is worth paying attention to if you are likely to have a temporary roof up for any period of time. Also bear in mind that a tarp will channel water and if you are not careful in how you secure it (or if it breaks loose from its ties) it does have the potential in a heavy shower or storm to direct a lot of water into a place where it can cause real damage in a very short time.
I have also had some issues where windblown rain has got into the face of a wall, but this hasn’t got to any great depth. However, I will make sure that before I put render on I have checked to make sure that walls are completely dry.
Here endeth the precautionary lesson about drips.