Cavalier Homes look at Floors, walls, roofing and joinery

Types of floor

The type of floor put into a house depends on the design and construction methods. The common types are:

  • Concrete pad.
  • Wooden – either suspended timber strip-lined floors or pressed composite materials.

The advantage of a house built with a concrete pad is that the concrete floor can act as a thermal heat storage mass which, if used in conjunction with insulation in the walls and ceilings, keeps that stored heat inside.

In all cases the floor should be insulated

Timber framework

Cavalier Homes builders all know the current timber treatment requirements for the various areas in a house. But if you are doing some alterations and purchasing the timber yourself, make sure you buy the timber treated to the right standard for the situation. For example, framing for enclosed decks and balconies requires a higher treatment level than another wall framing.

Cladding for exterior walls

Common options for exterior cladding include:

  • Brick or masonry veneer – it may have a higher initial cost but the advantage is that it requires virtually no maintenance.
  • Autoclaved aerated concrete which has good insulation properties and comes in blocks, reinforced panels, and lintels. Note: not all products are accepted by some BCAs – check before specifying.
  • Weatherboards which can be made of timber or from composite materials. Some do not need painting. They have very good weather tightness properties. Depending on the weather tightness risk score a cavity may be required behind the weatherboard.
  • Monolithic systems – for example, textured wall surfaces made out of plaster, polystyrene or fibre cement sheet – are promoted as providing a sealed and waterproof outer skin but must be installed strictly to manufacturer’s instructions. The waterproof coating must be carefully maintained to ensure water tightness, and will require a cavity in most applications.
  • Aluminium, for example, extruded aluminium weatherboard.
  • Profiled metal. This requires careful detailing and workmanship.
  • Plywood sheet.
  • Concrete masonry blocks – they don’t rot, can provide good heat storage, but they need to be installed correctly. Note: in some areas additional thermal insulation may be needed. All single skin masonry will require the application of a waterproof coating.

Installing claddings for weather tightness

Whichever cladding you choose, it is only going to be effective in doing its job, which is to keep water out of your home, if it is appropriate for the situation and used correctly. The Cavalier Homes team will be able to give you advice on the best claddings to use in your situation. This decision will depend on many factors but the Acceptable Solution for weather tightness limits the use of some claddings in some circumstances. It also specifies the use of a drainage cavity where the risk score for a building reaches certain limits. Manufacturers also place limits on where and how their materials should be used.

Problems occur when claddings are used outside their specifications or have been installed incorrectly.

Cavalier Homes try to limit the range of different claddings used on one particular building, so reducing the number of unnecessary cladding joints. Joints in cladding systems are its weakest part – increasing the risk of leaking.

Roofing and roofing design

Common types of roofing include:

  • Metal which comes in a variety of shapes, some already finished. Each profile will have specified minimum slopes that it can be used for.
  • Tiles which can be made out of concrete, pressed steel, clay or wood.
  • Synthetic rubber roofing membrane, which must be laid to fall to ensure water will run towards a gutter or drain.

Complicated roof designs, i.e. those with many roof planes at different pitches and levels, require special care when being built. All the junctions need to be properly flashed, and, as flashings don’t tend to last as long as the roof, they will require more maintenance during the life of the roof. This may not be easy or cheap.

To keep maintenance of the roof to a minimum:

  • Have a simple roof shape.
  • Have as few penetrations as possible.
  • Make sure there is enough pitch to allow water to drain and not pool.
  • Check it annually clearing out down pipes and gutters, and making repairs where necessary.

Joinery

When selecting joinery profiles, consider the architectural style of your home, and choose the joinery to complement, or modernize the look. The most common options for joinery around windows and doors include:

  • Aluminium – this is commonly used in New Zealand but has some disadvantages. Low cost sections are thermally inefficient and often result in condensation forming on the frame as well as the glass. Double glazed options are available. There should be vents in the framing to allow for drainage and ventilation.
  • Wood – less common these days because of the cost and the need for regular maintenance.
  • PVC – this is commonly used overseas but is relatively new to New Zealand. Imported sections may suffer under the effects of New Zealand’s strong ultra-violet radiation.