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Project data 

Size: One of London’s smallest, and sustainable, two-bedroom homes 

Products: Knauf AQUAPANEL Cement Board Indoor and Outdoor, Airless Finish, Brio, Fill & Finish, Wallboard and Soundshield Plus

Project detail

A combination of passion from the homeowners and experience from suppliers has helped London couple Joe and Lina to build one of London’s smallest, and sustainable, two-bedroom homes near Canary Wharf.

Viewers of Channel 4’s Grand Designs in September will have seen a wide variety of Knauf products in action with Joe and Lina relying on experts to see them through the design and build process.

In desperate need of support and guidance (and under financial strain) Joe called on the experienced Knauf Technical Services Team to help him realise his dream of creating a sustainable home for himself and his partner, built to strict Passivhaus standards.

“I approached Knauf after speaking with Knauf Technical Development Manager Richard Lord and discussing the use of Knauf AQUAPANEL® as an exterior render carrier board for my façade system,” Joe explains. “The team helped with the detailing for all applications where Knauf products were used and gave full product support as well.”

Alongside its technical design guidance, Knauf supplied flooring and drywall components as well as its range of Readymix Finishing Plasters, and Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Indoor and Outdoor panels.

Knauf Aquapanel Cement Board Outdoor proved to be the ideal render carrier board, enabling Joe to accomplish his vision for the façade. Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor provides a solid, dry base that can withstand the extreme weathering effects of wind and rain, and creates the perfect base for renders.

Joe designed his home to have suspended floors, enabling a gap between the walls and floor surface to be filled with insulation. Knauf Brio, Knauf’s gypsum-based dry floor screed panels provide a robust monolithic floor system which in this case was pre-bonded to a wood fibre resilient layer which reduces impact as well as airborne sound transmission.

“We used Knauf Brio for acoustic performance and because we needed to create a floating floor surface to sit on this screed. The flooring system meant that any movement in the house wouldn’t crack the floor finishes,” says Joe.

The finish of the internal walls and ceilings was another issue for Joe to worry about, but Knauf helped to solve this as well. Knauf’s Readymix Finishing (RMF) range of spray plasters, an alternative solution to the traditional methods of plastering, helped to minimise the risk of cracks appearing due to movement. Because Knauf RMF is pre-prepared in factory conditions and supplied ready-to-use, its consistency is unrivalled.

“I didn’t know anything about the spray plaster range until speaking with the team at Knauf. It’s provided a great finish which is smooth and uniform, and because it gives a white finish, rather than pink or brown like traditional plaster, it’s easier to paint,” Joe explains.

Simple to use, Knauf RMF Plasters are ideal for self-build projects like Joe’s. So simple in fact that Joe, a DIY enthusiast, was able to assist with the plastering himself when required. Its smooth finish, prior to painting, was vital as Joe required a light, white painted finish to the walls to enhance the natural light and brighten up and enlarge the small spaces.

Sub-contractor, Currier Plastering, was on hand to spray the bulk of the 200sqm wall and ceiling area and is no stranger to the benefits of the RMF range. First using Knauf Fill and Finish as a jointing compound, Steven Currier and his team then sprayed Knauf Airless Finish.

“Knauf Airless Finish is the perfect solution for small spaces like on this project. Typically, the spray solution saves time when working on larger scale projects but on smaller jobs it’s the finish quality that really comes to the front,” Steve explains.

“The white finish means a mist coat of paint isn’t required and the smooth finish makes for less preparation before painting. It’s also far cleaner to apply than traditional plaster and because there is no powder involved, it becomes a safer job in those tight spaces.”

Knauf Airless Finish was applied directly onto Knauf Wallboard and Knauf Soundshield Plus, a high performance acoustic partition board designed to give enhanced sound absorption.