July, 2009

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Yes, we have a parapet!

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

We got the first part of the parapet up today.

Looking kind of like an old west saloon facade right now, but it will look great once it’s all stucco’d.

After the other two walls are up, we’ll cover the whole thing with OSB.

Today, we also got trenches dug for plumbing and electrical to the house and greenhouse.

Thankfully this was done with a trench digger not by hand. :)

We have also been looking for “green” alternatives to traditional formaldahyde-processed fiberglass insulation (which, as Brad tells me, every house we’ve ever lived in has had). We found a cotton insulation that is well reviewed and carried by our favorite green building product store, but it is several times more expensive than regular insulation (and there don’t seem to be other similar products). Another alternative is Johns Manville, which is fiberglass but is not processed with formaldahyde. We’re checking on pricing and availability. If anyone has any experience or advice, let us know.

By the way, this is our 100th post on this blog. Wow.

Man, it’s hot here

Monday, July 27th, 2009

We had a good day today. We’re starting on a new project, putting up the parapet. For me, starting new projects is more fun than finishing ones we’ve been working on for a long time (especially ones that I thought were already done like the roof panels. We spent most of the day yesterday putting more screws in the roof. I think it’s really done now.)

The parapet is especially of interest to me because it needs to be done before we can put the waterproof paper up on the roof and walls. (After that, we stucco.) Building the parapet entails putting down a long 2×6 and then putting a 15″ 2×6 perpendicular to that every 16″. Then two more 2×6 longways on top. (I’ll take a picture in the next few days.) The tricky part is that, because our roof is low slope, we first had to rip the bottom 2×6 on an angle so that it ends up laying flat. The parapet runs on three sides of the house. It will take several days to do all this.

On the weather front, it’s been really hot…107 today. One lovely thing is that the inside of the house is quite cool now even in the hottest part of the afternoon. There have been thunderstorms blowing through almost every afternoon, which cools things down a bit. About half the time, it actually rains where we are; the rest of the time we just enjoy the show.

On the wildlife front, we had the pleasure of seeing the baby bobcats (now getting quite a bit bigger) climbing in our big oak at the front gate. We also saw momma bobcat hunt and kill a bunny. Not quite so nice…

A roof

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Most big projects have some big unforeseen challenges that seem overwhelming. This was our week for that, and it left us logistically, financially, and mentally taxed in a big way.

But we got through it, and now our roof panels are finally up. It wasn’t easy, but we are thrilled that it is done, and we are no longer praying for no rain (and feeling panicked when, in fact, it does rain).

The first step was to get the panels up to the roof.

A new kind of bobcat to help with that. (We ended up doing it this way instead of with a crane, which worked out great.)

Then the panels had to be slid into place in their proper position…

and foam cemented into place.

Of course, it was a hot day.

And then the clouds started rolling in….along with looming thunder and lightning…

Fortunately, it all got done before the sky opened up.

Afterwards, Brad and I put up plastic sheeting to keep water out until we get the final roof up. Standing up on the roof with a large sheet of plastic with gale force winds blowing was an experience. Several times I thought I was going to be sailing off to Lordsburg.

What we did this Saturday

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

We got all 32 I-joists up today.

The joists arrived on a truck on Tuesday. (Thank goodness they brought a forklift…unlike the panel folks…video of the cool 4WD forklift to come.)

Before we put up the I-joists (beams that span the width of the house to hold up the roof), Brad put up a 2×6 sill on top of the panels. He also had to level it a bit with a belt sander to even things up. (The panels were not all cut perfectly even.)

Then we put up hangers all around the top of the walls.

Then for the joists…First, we had to trim the joists to be the right length. Then we carried them into the house and walked them up a ladder, one end at a time. (They’re quite heavy but manageable. I think we’re both going to be in better shape at the end of this all.) The beams dropped into the hangers and were pushed down. A couple were a bit too long and had to be trimmed again on top of the roof. (That was fun.)

There is a slight slope to our roof to allow for drainage. The next step will be to put panels on the roof. Then building a parapet, putting on the roof, windows and doors, etc.

We have walls

Monday, July 13th, 2009

four of them…and I’m too exhausted to write anything more right now.

Wall are coming

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

KC Panels is going to deliver our SIP walls tomorrow. The roof panels will be delivered a day later.

We’ve spent the last week preparing for the walls.

  • We finished up the staining and sealing of the slab.
  • We drilled holes in the slab for anchor bolts to hold down the 2×6 sill.
  • We put down sill-seal and the 2×6 sill.
  • We put down plastic to protect the slab while we work on the house.
  • We ordered miscellaneous materials from the lumber company.

Drilling the holes for the anchor bolts was a much bigger deal that I thought. Years ago when I was doing this kind of work we bought a hammer drill that was amazing. When I saw a hammer drill for sale (cheap) at Lowes, I bought it. It was a lot smaller than the one I remembered, but technology moves forward while you’re not looking… err maybe not. It’s a fair hammer drill, but it would never have done the job. It took many minutes to drill one hole; sixty holes would have taken ages. It also started coughing up grease chunks within a few minutes. We had to go clear to Sierra Vista to rent a serious hammer drill. We got a big old Hilti hammer drill (about 15 seconds per hole). It was as just as a remembered.

Here Jonathon drills through the sill plate before drilling into the concrete.

Here Harrison mans the big old Hilti while Jonathon helps keeps it aimed straight.

Karen and I cut the bolts down to make it easier to put up the walls

Karen really took to the grinder!

Here is the slab prepped, covered and ready for walls!

The first order of business tomorrow will be to unload the truck, then we should start putting the walls up! How far we’ll get, I don’t know.

Once the walls are up, we will put hangers for the IJoists followed by the IJpoists and a row of blocking between the Ijoists to firm it up. As soon as this is done, we will schedule a crane/boom to come out and lift the roof panels onto the IJoists. At this point, we’ll have walls and a roof. After this comes details like parapet walls, stucco, metal roofing, etc.


Eight hands are better than four

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

We are getting some good work done this week. Here is the progress report:

  • The septic rework is done.
  • The panels are due here Mon., July 13.
  • IJoists, lumber, and other supplies should be delivered early next week.
  • The floors are finished.
  • The slab has been trimmed, and the sill is going in today.
  • The driveway has been mostly moved to accommodate the new house.
  • The greenhouse is making significant progress and should be done by week’s end.
  • We’ve built a holding pen for cleared brush next to the composter.

We’ve worked out a schedule for while the boys are here that includes all four of us getting to the property by 6:30 or so (thankfully, Brad has taken the task of getting them up) and working until 9:30 or 10 (while it’s still cool). Then Brad runs me home to do my “other job,” and then he and the boys come home around noon or so. After some rest, Brad and I have been going back to the property to do a little more work from about 6 until dark, weather permitting.

I can’t wait until the panels get here. Then we’ll really be moving along.

A big event in town

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

July 4 is a big day in Rodeo. They have a parade, a community barbecue, and a dance. It’s quite an event; they even close down the one paved road here for it. Here are some scenes from the parade.

The boys opted not to go. Here is what they did instead.

Our house now is filled with the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, NBA basketball, and machine gun fire.

They’re here!

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

And work on the new driveway has begun. (Part of the existing driveway goes through where our new house will be so it needs to be moved.)