tongue and groove

You know you’ve found a great friend when they actively want to make an interstate trip to help you build. This particular friend, Ben, is a perpetual motion machine – also an Industrial Design graduate, with great hands on ability and up for learning new tricks.

Enter second friend Aron, also an ex-Melbourne transplant who happens to have a heap of experience in building and carpentry. He’s not too bad with design either, it is business and craft – check out his website here. Not only a good friend, he also expressed interest in our build, we’re only too happy to be able to employ friends where we can and learn from the skills they bring.

The scene is set for a couple of days work, the stars align and the weather holds out… mostly.

With the joists finished off we had grand plans of being onto wall framing by the time these two arrived on site – alas, we didn’t quite get there but having the extra help meant we did power through the laying down of tongue and groove flooring. This is a substrate that the walls and everything can be built onto – the common variety is “yellow tongue” chipboard sheets that lock together. Another layer that helps refine and hone the house to be. It has many advantages; being able to walk around in the house while you construct walls is a massive one – previously it would be perilous work dancing across joists while working on all external walls. The other old way was to lay down floorboards as they used to commonly get covered with lino or carpet.
The yellow tongue also helps seal gaps between the finished floor and wall junctions, provide a solid substrate for the future hardwood floorboards and means they can be laid later down the track. The same goes for the compressed cement sheet used in the wet and tiled areas, adding rigidity where there can tend to be flexibility when working with a timber framed house.

Under Aron’s guidance we set to work working in pairs to glue, place and nail down the sheets. Laid lengthwise down the house meant that where the Y splits sheets need to be cut to fit. We did our best to minimise wastage, cutting off and using the cut pieces to fill other gaps. The same process is done for the tiles areas but used the tongue and grooved cement sheet instead. After two days, with a good amount of coffee and lunch breaks not to mention breaking between passing showers on the second day we got it all down. No bad for a bunch of rookies and one professional guiding us!

Addition thanks to Tessa, who rocked up a little late but with a good excuse of landing a new job at the dairy down the road.

Special thanks for Ben for these photos – we forgot to take any when preoccupied by powering through the job at hand! When not helping us out this is one of his many skills, check him out here!


when ear muffs are in short supply, fingers suffice
all done! well… almost. a couple of sheets short! finished those off after a hardware trip that week.

Next up marking out the stud wall locations and all the door and window openings to then start putting up the first walls! Oh and to decide on a million other details…


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