The external cladding of the cottage proved very satisfying. After going backwards for what seemed like an age, the positive work of putting the cottage back together again was very pleasing, though not without its challenges.
Given the added exterior structure boards and insulation, fixing the slender corner posts back to the frame within posed a little design conundrum – nothing that a good carpenter, some sound new timber and long screws couldn’t fix though! The new corner posts are fashioned from iroko, the sectional detail being cut to replicate the original.
The photograph above illustrates (apart from a happy carpenter) the ventilated void behind the cladding. This void is required to be open to the atmosphere top and bottom so as to permit free air flow and the drying of the air space within should any water penetrate the cladding. This void is closed with insect mesh at the top and bottom, to prevent little beasties from making an unwanted home for themselves. The gable ends presented a challenge though. I did not want to see any propriety / off-the-shelf wall vents intruding into the cladding. There are any number on the market and they all look horrible! They are also a potential source of water ingress and thus future rot. An alternative had to be found. After a lot of chin-wagging and teeth sucking we alighted upon the very elegant solution illustrated in the photos below. The slot vents in the thick edge of one of the apex boards, closed with insect mesh, has proved to be a very successful detail. It is possible to feel the convection draught exiting the facade on hot days, so the void and vent are working exactly as they should.