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souls33k3r

Brick wall observatories?

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Hi All,

I was wondering, why do people not build observatory walls using bricks as opposed to using the 2x4's usual standard? Is it because bricks cost more or is it due to dampness? Just trying to wrap my head around the idea really.

Only playing with the ideas right now to be better prepared for when i finally start off with the build.

Thanks

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I would have thought that it was heat retention – the last thing you want is residual heat wafting across your line of vision when observing.  Concrete patios and solid walls hold the heat for a good long time.  What you want is for it all to cool down, and stay at ambient temperature, as quickly as possible.

Edited by AKB
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You won't remove heat from walls very quickly with an extractor fan.  Think of them as a storage heater.

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Nice one, got it. 

Another idea, how about insulate the walls? Would that help?

Apart from that, is there a reason why we can't go with it?

The whole idea cropped up from where i live right now where my back garden is super exposed to the back street and a wooden observatory is nothing but a major risk with regards to break-ins (i know someone who wants to get in WILL get in) so at least a bricked wall observatory would give an extra leverage. 

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Planning permission - Timber garden buildings typically don't need it. Brick built things typically do.

cheers,

Robin

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But the planning permission is required if you go over a certain height correct? I can't remember the exact height.

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2.5m height close to a boundary. I think you are allowed more (3m?) further from the boundary.

cheers,

Robin

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I have brick built walls and was really worried about thermal currents as it does retail the heat. Also my terrace surrounding the Obs is many cubic metres of concrete and slabbing... oh and the obs is on a flat roof of a building. Probably a match made in hell if the purists get hold of it, but it seems to work without hitch. I am happy enough with the brick walls to be getting an extension done soon.... using more bricks!!

So in my experience, there's no issue with bricks, neither do I have the recommended 1 cubic metre of concrete buried into the ground...... 

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18 minutes ago, swag72 said:

I have brick built walls and was really worried about thermal currents as it does retail the heat. Also my terrace surrounding the Obs is many cubic metres of concrete and slabbing... oh and the obs is on a flat roof of a building. Probably a match made in hell if the purists get hold of it, but it seems to work without hitch. I am happy enough with the brick walls to be getting an extension done soon.... using more bricks!!

So in my experience, there's no issue with bricks, neither do I have the recommended 1 cubic metre of concrete buried into the ground...... 

Thank you Sara for giving us your input. If Spain can handle the brick walls then i'm sure anywhere in Europe will be a breeze :)

Can i ask, have you insulated the walls or just bare-bone bricks?

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No the walls are single skin without any insulation.... the only insulation is sandwich material on the roof. It gets damn hot in there in the summer - Too hot to sit in and fiddle about with things during the day.

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26 minutes ago, swag72 said:

Probably a match made in hell if the purists get hold of it, but it seems to work without hitch.

Well, of course, Sara, the proof of the pudding is in the images, as with everything we you do!

I do wonder, though, whether perhaps your swings of temperature are maybe less extreme than those elsewhere? Perhaps not – just a thought.  Rate of loss of heat is proportional to excess temperature.  If there's not much difference, you're not shedding much heat.

Edited by AKB
changed 'we' to 'you' !

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3 minutes ago, AKB said:

I do wonder, though, whether perhaps your swings of temperature are maybe less extreme than those elsewhere? Perhaps not – just a thought.  Rate of loss of heat is proportional to excess temperature.  If there's not much difference, you're not shedding much heat.

In the summer month I have taken the temperature in the obs and surrounding terraces at 40 degrees and then at night it goes down to about 25....... I think that in the winter the temperatures swings can be about the same Mid twenties (perhaps even thirties) and then at night this goes down to lower single figures..... But of course this is all air temperature, I don't know how that relates to bricks, mortar and concrete temperatures.

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2 minutes ago, swag72 said:

But of course this is all air temperature, I don't know how that relates to bricks, mortar and concrete temperatures.

Well, this just confirms to me that you are using some other sort of magic to generate your fabulous images.  It's just not fair.  :sad:

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34 minutes ago, swag72 said:

No the walls are single skin without any insulation.... the only insulation is sandwich material on the roof. It gets damn hot in there in the summer - Too hot to sit in and fiddle about with things during the day.

Might i ask what you mean by sandwich material on the roof? Is it like the Celotex type boards?

Is your roof made out of metal or wood?

 

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1 minute ago, souls33k3r said:

Might i ask what you mean by sandwich material on the roof? Is it like the Celotex type boards?

Is your roof made out of metal or wood?

 

I'm sure there's a proper name for it....... but thin tin top and underside and then about 13mm of insulation in between. At the moment the roof frame is wooden, but the new roof will be a metal frame with the same roofing sandwich material.

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1 hour ago, rwg said:

Planning permission - Timber garden buildings typically don't need it. Brick built things typically do.

I don't believe this is true any more.  There are restrictions on height, positioning, number of floors and the area of land that may be covered by outbuildings, but I don't think the permitted development rights specify anything about the material used for construction of outbuildings.

James

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I cannot imagine that there would any tangible negative effect whatsoever in using brick. For the UK our temperature differentials are not that significant, certainly not compared to that experienced by Sara in Spain. Moreover, a single brick construction will very quickly reach equilibrium with its night time surroundings.  You only need to look at the many professional observatories around the UK made from stone, brick and iron. This type of consideration is understandable though; we all seem to do it when building an observatory. We fret and research these things beyond their potential impact  (pier foundations for example) - we just want it all to be as perfect as we can.  I did exactly the same with mine but now I realise that the British weather will have a far greater impact on whatever imaging I will ever do than my observatory construction, equipment or technique.  I would go for it, if it makes the observatory more secure, which it must surely do, then that will give you confidence. Knowing your equipment is safe will in turn give you more enjoyment out of the observatory that will far offset the temporary presence of any rising thermal. Just apply the same rule about circulation of air as you would in a wooden construction  - maximise air circulation with high and low level vents; damp proof course on the lower course of bricks.  I think the reason most folk, including myself, go for a wooden construction is simply due to ease of construction within our common skill sets.  It will be interesting to see what you eventually go for, keep us posted please :) 

 

Jim  

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It's really just about cost, time and the ability to do it yourself mate.  To build it from brick is harder and typically will need you employ a bricklayer as it will make a mess if it falls over, takes quite a while to do and will need foundations etc.  Wood is pretty cheap, easy to work with and make it up as you go along, and you can pretty much just plop it on some blocks on firmed soil.  

Thermal retention is there with bricks, that's undeniable, and depending on the type and colour some worse than others.  If you feel bricks of an evening when the sun has gone down after a hot day they will feel warm, but the radiated heat is unlikely to be sufficient to affect you once the roof is off and the evening has cooled, as proven well and truly by @swag72 whose images aren't too shabby.

I am currently starting my obsy build in Spain and have to build it out of blocks as I am not allowed to have wooden outbuildings because of the fire risk, and I certainly don't feel overly concerned.

 

Edited by RayD
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39 minutes ago, saac said:

I cannot imagine that there would any tangible negative effect whatsoever in using brick. For the UK our temperature differentials are not that significant, certainly not compared to that experienced by Sara in Spain. Moreover, a single brick construction will very quickly reach equilibrium with its night time surroundings.  You only need to look at the many professional observatories around the UK made from stone, brick and iron. This type of consideration is understandable though; we all seem to do it when building an observatory. We fret and research these things beyond their potential impact  (pier foundations for example) - we just want it all to be as perfect as we can.  I did exactly the same with mine but now I realise that the British weather will have a far greater impact on whatever imaging I will ever do than my observatory construction, equipment or technique.  I would go for it, if it makes the observatory more secure, which it must surely do, then that will give you confidence. Knowing your equipment is safe will in turn give you more enjoyment out of the observatory that will far offset the temporary presence of any rising thermal. Just apply the same rule about circulation of air as you would in a wooden construction  - maximise air circulation with high and low level vents; damp proof course on the lower course of bricks.  I think the reason most folk, including myself, go for a wooden construction is simply due to ease of construction within our common skill sets.  It will be interesting to see what you eventually go for, keep us posted please :) 

 

Jim  

Wise words Jim. You're absolutely spot on with the fact that the our beautiful British weather will have a far greater impact on our imaging than the type of build. Will surely keep you all posted mate :) Right now i'm in the "Let's gather all the sensible information first" phase. 

10 minutes ago, RayD said:

It's really just about cost, time and the ability to do it yourself mate.  To build it from brick is harder and typically will need you employ a bricklayer as it will make a mess if it falls over, takes quite a while to do and will need foundations etc.  Wood is pretty cheap, easy to work with and make it up as you go along, and you can pretty much just plop it on some blocks on firmed soil.  

Thermal retention is there with bricks, that's not deniable, and depending on the type and colour some worse than others.  If you feel bricks of an evening when the sun has gone down after a hot day they will feel warm, but the radiated heat is unlikely to be sufficient to affect you once the roof is off and the evening has cooled, as proven well and truly by @swag72 whose images aren't too shabby.

I am currently starting my obsy build in Spain and have to build it out of blocks as I am not allowed to have wooden outbuildings because of the fire risk, and I certainly don't feel overly concerned.

 

Ah ok, so cost does come in to play then. I really wasn't too sure what would cost more, whether a good timber or bricks. My skill sets are next to nothing and with a bad back, i will end up getting someone to help me build. Already have spoken to a friend who's in to construction to lend me one of his minions to help me build. Now it will either be a bricklayer or a woodworker :D Mate, i hope you're doing to be documenting that build as well? Would love to see it build and if you need an extra pair of hands, do let me know Por Favor :)

My YouTube recommendations is full of either Astronomy related videos or Tools involved in building not only an Obsy but also double them up with household work :D 

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1 hour ago, swag72 said:

I'm sure there's a proper name for it....... but thin tin top and underside and then about 13mm of insulation in between. At the moment the roof frame is wooden, but the new roof will be a metal frame with the same roofing sandwich material.

I'm sure there is a proper name for it but that's the only name i have for it or at least know of :D

Got it, makes complete sense. Thank you Sara and all the best with your new build :)

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29 minutes ago, souls33k3r said:

I'm sure there is a proper name for it but that's the only name i have for it or at least know of :D

 

Celotex is just a brand name for a range of non-structural polyisocyanurate insulation boards and panels, some bonded to plasterboard one side and with an aluminium foil skin the other, some with aluminium foil skins on both sides. The Celotex range is quite large with many specific uses but they don't make a bonded roofing panel per-see.

I think Sara probably has a roof built from purpose made structural insulated roofing panels or roofing sheets like these:

https://www.panelsell.co.uk/insulated-roof-panels

 

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36 minutes ago, Oddsocks said:

Celotex is just a brand name for a range of non-structural polyisocyanurate insulation boards and panels, some bonded to plasterboard one side and with an aluminium foil skin the other, some with aluminium foil skins on both sides. The Celotex range is quite large with many specific uses but they don't make a bonded roofing panel per-see.

I think Sara probably has a roof built from purpose made structural insulated roofing panels or roofing sheets like these:

https://www.panelsell.co.uk/insulated-roof-panels

 

Ahhhhhhh ... makes super sense. Thanks for the share mate.

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