Houses built: 0.20
Injuries: Alteration to my DNA. Any child of mine would come out looking all prickly now. Some profound emotional scarring. Possible PTSD.
Alcohol consumed: Now let me see. Already a couple of bags of bottles have gone to the recyclers, but I can still see two bottles of Blackhead, one vinho verde and one big superbock. Nothing really, considering. No accounting for the diazepam though. :/
The CIA should give up on waterboarding and sleep deprivation and just submit the bad guys/mistaken-identity-innocent-citizen to a day of installing rockwool.
Pardon me while my pure idealistic environmental consciousness passes in the wind. (Mmm smells like a good compost).
OK the story starts like this. I have been researching TO DEATH the best, kindest and cheapest insulating solution since the dawn of this terrible House In Portugal idea. ROCK WOOL was the answer, and lots of it too. It insulates, it’s cheap, it’s made from recycled stuff. That’s all still true. What they don’t tell you is that rock wool and humans should not mix. Oh yeah apparently there’s no harm in breathing this stuff in… oh so how come when it gets in your eyes you feel like giving up all your friends and family to the Gestapo?
Not just the eyes – it gets in everywhere. And no we weren’t installing the stuff in the nude – we were wearing, like, deep sea diving suits circa 1910. Nonetheless, rock wool will infiltrate your shirt, goggles, mask, trousers and underpants, and it’s excruciatingly uncomfortable. Try washing your face. I voluntarily succumb to a rather harsh facial exfoliant BUT GETTING ROCK WOOL OFF YOUR FACE MAKES MICRODERMABRASION FEEL LIKE A SMOOCHING A CASHMERE BUNNY.
If you still can’t imagine it then go smash a wine glass on the kitchen floor and then get the rolling pin and ground it up some some and then get a big handful and rub it all over – in your eyes, ears, forearms especially, and then swallow some. That’s approximately what it feels like.
Furthermore the product itself was rubbish. Thermo-something was the brand and as we tried to handle it delicately it simply fell to pieces in our hands. It actually fell off the ceiling even after being tied in – oh and this was the paper backed “quality”. Are you getting the impression I bought the wrong stuff? Yeah me too. These rolls of thermoblahblah might, at a scratch, be suitable for laying on a flat ceiling or loft floor or for advanced torture techniques but it is obviously not appropriate for erecting under a cathedral ceiling. We got there in the end, with 2 fat layers of 6cm gumf (and 3 in some places) but I implore you not to try to do the same. If you really want rockwool pay the extra and buy the batts. Going by their solid appearance they are probably a better insulator too.
Nor do I suggest to do what I did next. I sold my soul to the devil and bought Dow wallmate. YES, I AM A HYPOCRITE. I have been harping on about this, in my opinion, EVIL company and its products to anyone who will listen (and others who will not) for the last 4 years. I dunno about Dow’s presence elsewhere in the construction world but they seem to be the first stop for every builder in Portugal. I was horrified when I first saw their branding everywhere and I am still sickened by it.
My Reasons Not To Use Dow.
1. In 2001 Dow purchased the Union Carbide Company who were responsible for the 1984 Bhopal Disaster, at the time the world’s worst industrial accident ever. You can read all the horrific details here on wikipedia. Dow’s denial of responsibility, delay in settlement and inadequacy of compensation leads to my conclusion that this is a corporation that does not care about human lives.
The only light moment in this very disturbing story was when The Yes Men got on the BBC and demonstrated to Dow what ethics are.
2. In 1989 all European countries signed the Montreal Protocol which banned the use of CFCs which, since the 1970’s, were known to be causing the depletion of the ozone layer and exposing certain countries, like Australia, to extremely harmful levels of UV radiation. So we all got cancer, and I am the only member of my family not to have had large chunks of my skin cut out or burnt off. Inevitably I will. Dow contined to use CFCs in their Portuguese market products until 2010, using a loophole that permitted DEVELOPING NATIONS a delay in the implementation of the ban. Dow considers Portugal to be a developing nation. Feeling insulted? And what has Dow substituted as a blowing agent in their blue boards? CO2. Yes, that’s the carbon dioxide that makes the news every day because it is responsible for climate change. Dow is a company that does not care about the planet, about Portugal or about you.
So, back to me being a hypocrite. There is an alternative product, does the same thing as the blue boards and is called Iberfibran. It is more expensive and less easily available in remote areas. Please use it if you can. If you can’t, then at least be comforted that any insulation will reduce your heating requirements, thus less electricity used, less transport to bring your gas, pellets or wood, and less trees to be cut down.
Thank you to Simon Sharp for saying the above to me.
Thank you to The One for doing the work and putting up with me on one of the Top 10 Worst Days Ever. And then laughing afterwards. You are tough.