Continuing on from Part 1, with the completion of the external panels, the internal panelling was another aspect that I dwelled on for some time before starting the project. My first thoughts were to use decorative corrugated iron (the small stuff), but it couldn’t be sourced in one metre width (or height depending on how you look at it), which meant buying two metre width and then cutting it but cutting corrugated iron is an utter pain. The second option was pine lining, but it only came in 4.8m lengths, which meant wasting 15m of lining for what I needed (72 x 1m lengths). So as things coalesced, I decided to use cement sheeting on the inside as well, as it was reasonably cheap, could be easily cut to fit the framework, there’d be minimal waste and we could paint it so that the interior would be as light as possible. Ensuring that we didn’t severely reduce the light was an important aspect of this build.
Once all of this was completed, the next stage was sealing the important exposed parts with suitable material, material that would let in light but keep out the wind, rain and leaves. The western end of the veranda mattered the most and was the more difficult problem to solve, as it once again became a juggling act of suitability vs cost. Availability was another issue as, living in the country, many things that are readily available in metropolitan areas are not so readily available even in the larger regional centres. Many options were bandied about; however, as it happened, I was killing some time in Berwick and went window shopping in Bunnings and came across some polycarbonate twin wall on special. This is a tough, high fire rating, and self-extinguishing material that is easily installed and looks pretty good to boot and was something that I’d been considering. It was perfect for the ends but not ideal for the front, for while the material is clear, it’s not transparent.
For the front ‘rebar’ section, we’d already bought some cafe blinds a few years ago for this very purpose when they were on sale, so that part was solved. The cafe blinds can be rolled up to allow air to circulate in Summer, but keep the cold out in Winter. But now that the twin wall polycarbonate proved not to be suitable for the open front sections, another solution was needed. Cafe blinds that simply extended on what we already had was an obvious choice, but I wasn’t totally wedded to the idea. I didn’t fully like the look of the cafe blinds and wanted something a bit more elegant. I had given thought to wooden blinds, somewhat like louvred bi-fold doors, though there would clearly be a hit on light coming in during Winter. So while I pondered things, I went about finishing off the interior panelling by framing the panels with timber edging.
The two front open ends on the long side of the veranda continued to be a problem, as I just couldn’t decide on the best way to enclose them and still allow light to enter. However, while searching for material to seal the top of the western end, I discovered that Bunnings had rolls of vinyl table cloth that was exactly what I was after. As silly as it sounds, this appears to be exactly the same material that’s used for cafe blinds and the like and comes in varying thicknesses up to 1.0mm. The clear vinyl was actually clearer and cleaner than the cafe blinds located in the mid-sections of the veranda and make for excellent windows on the two end sections. PVC is also a self-extinguishing material, so it’s ideal for these types of uses. All I needed to do was make a frame, attach the vinyl and job done. The windows actually lift out, so they are more akin to a cafe blind in a frame.
So things were finally coming together, but I still needed to enclose the gaps, especially in the western end, from the prevailing weather. First there was the open part near the roof line and then there was the doorway. For the open area at the top, I used the same vinyl that I used to enclose the open ends of the veranda’s long side (leftovers) and to install it, I simply cut a piece to size, fitted it under the roof flashing to ensure that water would run off correctly and nailed it to the lower beam. The covering actually works very well and has sealed off the framework of the veranda so that part has now done. I didn’t have enough leftovers to do the enclosure in one piece, so I used some clear Gorilla tape that I bought through eBay UK (again something that I couldn’t find anywhere in Australia). This tape works a treat and despite a pretty woeful Winter with plenty of rain etc, the tape is holding up like the day it was attached.
Even though it’s not fully completed, with the western end mostly closed off, the change within the veranda has been quite dramatic. It’s now a very pleasant place to be, even when the weather takes a turn for the worse, which it has since last Summer. The next stage will involve setting up the Chiminea and the doorways at either end, and finishing the flooring. I have ideas for the western end, but the eastern end will take some further thought.