The picture below shows how the floor joists looked before. Normally, the block work would only be plastered above and below the joists, where the finished wall would be visible. In a Passivhaus refurbishment, the plastering needs to run continuously around the joists.
We had originally intended to keep the plasterwork below, if it was sound enough, but mostly it just fell off with minimal if any encouragement. As discussed in a previous post, water penetration in the cavity, due to poor detailing at the original roof-wall junction, together with some poor choices with the original render and paintwork seemed to have been the cause.
The issue of how to make airtight joist ends has been covered in this AECB YouTube video. One of the key points they mention is that the approach needs to take account of whether the wall is going to be insulated internally or externally. If a wall is to be internally insulated, there will be a significant temperature drop at the end of the joist, which brings a risk of condensation because the joist end sits within the cold wall. In the film, to avoid this, they have mounted the joists on joist hangers on an internally insulated wall. Steps then need to be taken to achieve airtightness around the joist hangers.
In our project, the existing house is being insulated on the outside, so the inner leaf of the existing cavity wall will be the same temperature as the inside - i.e. no condensation risk. This has been our approach to achieving airtightness around the joist ends:
Carlite Bonding parging around the joists onto the original concrete block wall or sometimes new built sections of Thermalite block wall:
The same principle has been applied to a steel girder fabricated with an additional L-shaped piece, welded with the bottom of the L welded to the web of the girder. This means that the profile of the end of the girder is a solid rectangle, like a joist end, rather than an "I" profile, simplifying making it airtight.
Priming around the joist ends with Pro Clima's Tescon Primer adhesive. This helps to make sure the Tescon tape sticks to the plaster.
Taping around the joist and girder ends using Pro Clima's Tescon Profil tape.
Dotting the corners with Pro Clima's Orcon F adhesive. This is a "belt-and-braces" step. We were not absolutely sure that our tape corner junctions would stay completely airtight. We applied dots of Orcon F to be sure!
Apply Unibond to the Tescon tape to provide a key for the second parge layer (next stage).
Apply a second parge layer to seal in the Tescon tape. In the picture below, the joist on the left was originally a double joist. We cut short the thinner of the two rather than try to treat the double joist along its length. Obviously, if the double joint were needed for structural reasons, we would not have been able to cut one joist back.
The joists run north-south in our build. There was no edge joist on the east side due to the run of the original roof rafters, however the edge joist on the west wall was mounted close up against the wall and there wasn't enough space around the joist ends to parge and tape around them. One option was to wrap the entire length of the joist in Intello Plus membrane, then tape it down above and below the joist. We decided it was more practical to cut out the existing joist, reduce its length a few cm and re-attach it with coach bolts along its length of the west wall. We used resin anchor gel to secure the bolts in the wall but also applied a generous ring of Orcon F around each a penetration to provide a flexible airtight seal (picture below).