Cave House Renovation
Almost all cave houses that have undergone complete renovation have had some form of external building added to the existing front of the cave. At the very least this would include a new kitchen and bathroom and quite often living room of some kind.
Adding additional conventional buildings has a number of advantages. These are:
- It is easier to run the services in and out of kitchens and bathrooms if they are contained in conventionally built rooms.
- The additional rooms can be built with larger windows allowing more light into those rooms.
- The facade of the added building can greatly enhance the external appearance of the home by allowing the incorporation of various features such as false beams or lintels above the windows and doors, decorative tiles and stonework etc.
The greatest problem experienced with additional external buildings has been a reluctance to use appropriate levels of thermal insulation. It would be an ideal situation if any external rooms had a degree of insulation that in some way matched the qualities of the internal cave rooms.
The practice until recently has been to use little or no insulation in the walls, leaving external rooms rather warm in the summer and difficult to heat in the winter. External walls are usually built from 20 cm. hollow concrete blocks which has reasonable thermal insulation properties but some builders are now using a 4 cm. thick expanded polystyrene thermal layer inside the 20 cm. blocks with 6 cm. concrete block inside that again to form the interior wall. This system provides a much improved thermal break.
The thermal insulation on roofs usually consists of a layer of 4 cm. thick polystyrene sandwiched between the ceiling and the roof tiles. This provides some thermal insulation but an improved, although more expensive system is to use an additional roof layer made up of concrete beams with 20 cm. expanded polystyrene fillers in between the beams, this provides much improved thermal insulation.