Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sometimes, it’s the little things…

Funny Garage Doors

I stopped by the house on the way home from work yesterday to see how things are progressing. When I pulled up to the yard I noticed that they had built some sort of doors in front of each garage bay. At first I wondered if perhaps they too were tired of everything being soaked and they did this to keep the rain out? Or maybe they were starting to secure the property which is currently wide open, not that there is anything of import to be taken by the wayward of the species.

Sign on Garage

When I got closer I noticed that on the 2x4 somebody had written in black sharpie “Put windows in *House* NOT in Garage”.

Great! Our windows are coming! And they were making darn sure they didn’t leave them in the garage to have to be hauled around to the house. This is great news! That means the windows will be going in next week. Another step to making our house a home. We can’t wait to see what they look like. And that means it’s one more thing going up that will keep the rain out. Double yay!

It may be a small sign on that 2x4, but it’s a very big deal to us.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Roof Peak Inside - How does this even act like a funnel?
Living on the coast, it's not unusual to have the humidity and heat combine to create early morning fog that usually burns off by midmorning. However, on Thursday the fog hung in there all day long like a bad hangover that just wouldn't go away. You could push the humidity around it was so thick. And today, we continue with the intermittent rain that started last night and it's supposed to be like this all weekend. I usually don't mind the rain but these are showers that you can't plan around. Just when you think it's clearing up to do some work outside, it opens up again, soaking everything. Deeply. And of course the water manages to find its way in either through the window openings or the roof peak.

We were hoping that the cellar would dry this week and I left the bulkhead doors open over a couple of days to help with the ventilation. Even though I spread it around with a push broom last weekend figuring if I pushed it to the dry spots, it would dry there again too. But with the humidity and rain, the cellar wasn't in the drying mood and we still have about an inch in places. A shop vac would take care of it but we don't have any power yet.  I have been reluctant to push the water into the sump pump hole because I didn't want the concrete fines (sand and what not from the concrete) blocking the holes in the pit. I may have to rethink that. Maybe I'll hunt down one of those large squeegees and just push the water in anyways. I wonder if a towel in the bottom of the pit would collect the sand?

 I wonder if I'm over thinking this? Probably.




Thursday, June 27, 2013

Starting the Interior Framing

Framing for Two Front Bedrooms and Hallway Closet

Framing for Bathroom Laundry Room (center) & Master Bath (right)

Bedrooms, Closet (center), Bathroom & Laundry Room (right)

Framing Overview

I don’t know if it was the heat or humidity (or both) or they had another job to go to, but Monday was a day of no work on the house. Even though we knew it would happen sooner or later, it was still tough to see (or not see) after so many days of straight progress.
The good thing was that they started framing the rooms on Tuesday which seemed to make up for Monday. They have the two front bedrooms, closets, bathroom, laundry room and Master bath framed! They flew. It was like the elves showed up in the middle of the night when everyone was sleeping (what was the name of that fairy tale?) and worked until dawn. And  then they took over.
It looks great! Now we have a sense of what the rooms will actually look like.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rough Interior - So Far

A few shots of the inside.

Inside the Garage with 15' ceiling. High enough for a Basket Ball Hoop!
(Not that I can play...)

Room over Garage looking towards main house.

Room over Garage

Main Floor looking towards bedrooms

Main Floor looking towards Front Bedrooms with double windows

Looking towards Kitchen & Living Room
Looking towards Master bedroom & Bath
That will be a triple window

Looking towards Living Room & Stairs to Room over Garage
Sliders to deck will have a window on either side.

Dining Room
Each window area will have three windows.

From Dining Room Looking towards Kitchen

Stairs to Room over Garage

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Roofing in front of the Garage

Moving along!

The roofing has begun! This will help keep things dry going forward. It also looks like it’s going to be sunny all week and now that all of the various roofs are sheathed, they should be able to complete it this week coming. Of course, that all depends on the builder and what they have scheduled.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Roof Lines

Looking towards the Roof from the Girl Cave

Adding the Roof
Tying in the Roof Line from the Garage
Roof over the Porch Added
Lots of Roof Lines!

What do you think?

Tons of progress made over this past week. The roof to the Girl Cave (room over the garage) has been completed. The two sky lights and rough framing are all that remain to be done. We decided early on not to finish this for now in order to shave a few dollars (OK, more than a few) off the price of construction. With the addition of the roof over the porch in front of the kitchen, all of the roof lines are now complete. Yay!

We met with Chris and Sue from Meridian and walked through a few things (including rain) that we might change such as opening the doorway from the dining room into the kitchen (we think we might have a problem with refrigerator door not opening all the way because of the wall) and other important items. We need to have soffits added for lighting over the sink in the kitchen and Master Bath (it will also break up the ceiling a bit).

We also wanted to make sure that the furnace won’t be located in the middle of the basement where it would interfere with my 60 foot long man cave(uh huh, like I’m going to get one of those). And of course I asked that the 2x4 which was used as part of the garage floor form didn’t get removed to keep the lip of the floor from being chipped by equipment before the driveway is installed. Some call it being anal. I like to think of it as being linear.

We talked about electrical and lighting and switches and what not. Having a switch in the right place is critical for a good flow. We’re going to use the paddle type switches (modern style) and outlets. Additionally, our plan is to put all of the utilities underground so there won’t be any wires hanging from the house. This will help keep the house lines clean.

It was great to walk around with the two of them and throw some ideas back and forth and listen to their experience with different things.
It was time well spent.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Foundation Walls

Foundation Forms - Dining Room Area
Foundation Forms - Back of House

Removing the Forms after the pour

We have walls!

Foundation wall with Tuff -N-Dri Waterproofing

Dig the hole. Add foundation footings. Pour the concrete foundation walls. It was all moving rapidly.
Once the footings were all set, the forms were setup and leveled. The forms are actually two panels that face each other with a space in between for the concrete. The panels, which are coated with a biodegradable oil to keep the concrete from sticking, are held together with pins (I’m sure there’s some other construction term for them) which you’ll see on basement walls. Having these panels square and level is critical to having straight and level walls.

I wish I could have been there when they did the pour just to watch but I had to work. Lucky them.
Fortunately, I had taken day off when they removed the panels so I got to ask questions and an ever patient Ronnie who was removing them answered everything. I made a point of not asking too many (too many is more in the eyes of the answerer though isn’t it?) but learned a lot how it was all done. I had a general idea, but he helped fill in the gaps. I did learn that there are different  types of panels and that the ones they were using were the easiest to work with. They were held on a tray and lifted into place using a crane. This enabled the forms to be spread around the job which in turn minimized lifting. He also warned me that the pins used in these forms were as sharp as razor blades and to be careful when walking by them (which he said he knew I would be doing later to check things out). He also explained to me when I asked when they would be pouring the floors (always looking for the next step) that generally a different than the foundation company would do the floors. I guess they different enough that each has an expertise in their area. I never knew that.

Once the forms were off it was interesting to see the concrete a shade of green. We always think of it as gray, but that doesn’t come until later when the concrete starts to cure (dries).
Even though the soil was gravelly and well drained, we had the foundation coated with Tuff-N-Dri , which is a rubbery coating, to ensure that it stayed dry.

We now had walls and could see the exact layout of the house which was very cool.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Girl Cave

Roof Being Added for Girl Cave

How's That for a Roof Line?

From the Back of the House

Looking Down from the Girl Cave

The Girl Cave (room over the garage) continues to make progress. The roof joists are up and being tied into the main house. The entire roof line is beginning to really take shape and the house is starting to really look like a house. It had a chance to dry out briefly before the next set of thunder showers rolled through late in the day on Monday. I hope we see some clear skies over the next few days so they can wrap up the framing for the roof and get the shingles on to keep the rain out.

The good thing is even with all of the rain and resulting mud there hasn’t been any runoff into the street or my neighbor’s yard whose yard is lower than our lot. The other good thing is there was a double rainbow so it makes the rainy weather worth it.
Things are moving rapidly and we’re told we need to start thinking about things like location of switches and lighting. Like the girl cave or the kitchen or the bathrooms, I know I don’t have any vote in any of it.

I’ll just pretend like I do though.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Footings looking north

Looking north from the other corner

Footings looking south

Garage footing - Note the drop in the front middle (read the story)
Crushed stone spread out - Sump pump goes in the black tube on left
Ramp for Concrete Truck
Once the foundation hole was complete, Two Brothers Foundation Corporation arrived and began laying out the forms for the foundation footings. Footings, which are about 2 feet wide, are used as a base for the concrete foundation wall to help prevent settling. At the recommendation of the builder, rebar (steel rods) were added in the area where the old foundation was. While they didn’t think there was going to be any problem, they felt that because the material in the area had been disturbed (they like dirt that hasn’t been dug up), it would be best to ensure that the footings were stable. They weren’t going to get any objections from us.

I did get a little concerned about the footings in the garage(it looked like it was not going to fit a car, OK, it was my side so my car) and sent a text off to Meridian asking about them about it. I followed up with a never mind shortly later when I found out that Abby had already asked the form guys the same question. Yes, it was going to be fine.

Once the footings were poured and the forms removed, JM Equipment added crushed stone to the area where the basement floor was going to be. Not only does it provide a solid base for the concrete floor, it also allows water to move around under the floor and not pool up (hopefully leading to a dry basement). They also built up the material (dirt) that had been excavated in high ramps so that the concrete trucks can drive up on them and pour the concrete down.

It was exciting to see the outline of our new house and we walked around marveling at its size and layout. This was really going to be ours?

Now it is on to the foundation walls!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rain, Rain Go Away

Front Wall for Room over Garage

Wall for the Girl Cave

Strapping on Main Floor

Water, water everywhere…
So, that’s pretty much how the week went. The cellar would dry out and then it would rain again (torrentially of course, no light showers here…) so now we have an inch or so in the basement (not that it’s going to hurt anything). The floors and everything else were soaked. And of course mud everywhere. The rain prevented the framers from working a full week but progress was still made. They were able to get the walls up for the garage and start on the walls for the Room over the Garage (Girl Cave). They were also able to get the strapping, which is used to as a base for the ceiling sheet rock, installed on the main level. This is great because now they’ll be able to start on interior walls.
The weather is looking promising for the upcoming week. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Foundation Excavation

Marking and Double Checking the Lines

First Shovel Full - We're on our way!

Looking South - About 6 feet deep on the right.


Looking North - Garage will be on the right

End of Day 1 - Ready for footings!

Now that the old house was down and the location where the foundation was filled all that remained was an empty lot. With nothing else there we were granted our building permit (can't have two houses on one lot). Finally we would be building a house. And we were more than ready to go.  Yay!
Our site surveyor, Turningpoint, went out and staked out the location of the new foundation as we were filing for the permit. One of the things the surveyor also did was to mark out 10 foot over dig lines. These lines were the real dig lines because digging ten feet over the line provided room for the concrete form guys to work between the walls of the cellar hole and the concrete forms themselves. Having room to spare to maneuver around makes the work quicker and easier.
Mike was the excavator operator for the foundation hole. Like Lou (the equipment operator on the house demo), I've known Mike for years and have the greatest respect for him. I can't imagine that between he and Lou there is anyone that can operate an excavator better.
The weather was perfect (didn't have to worry about the rain breaking down the dirt walls) and Mike got right to work early. I watched as he checked and rechecked all of the measurements and added dig lines with orange paint where necessary. He also set up his laser which he would use to make sure that his depths were correct. The surveyor had provided elevation marks on the trees and Mike used these as his base for his laser. Interestingly during the dig, he had an instrument called a grade control laser that he attached to the arm of the excavator. Using the laser on the side of the hole, this instrument indicated whether the hole need to be deeper or shallower using lighted arrows that pointed up or down. This had to have made digging a lot easier. Even with this though, Mike would jump out periodically and double check depths using the stick with the laser.
Having everything right (levels, widths & depths) in the foundation hole was critical to the foundation work and of course the rest of the house. You didn’t want to have to make corrections later.
Once the set up was complete, the digging began. It moved very quickly with the material piled away from the sides for use as backfilling later. It would also be useful because the current grade, which dropped about 5 feet from one side to the other and front to back, meant that a lot of fill would be needed to smooth out the grade. It was interesting to watch a professional at work. The soil was nice and gravely throughout which meant it would have good drainage.
The only buried treasure we found was the sewer line whose exact location was not known because of the way it ran out of the old house. When the house had a cesspool (another buried treasure found by accident later) the line ran out of the back of the house. When they brought in Town sewerage, they connected to the old line and ran it around the house and somewhere up the driveway. We now knew exactly where it was.
During this we saved (we hope) a large dogwood and a couple of rose-of-sharon bushes for later replanting. It took a couple of days to complete the work but when it was done we now knew even better where our house was going.
We now had our foundation hole and were ready for the footings to go in. It had been a long process (16 months at this point) but we were finally seeing the start of our new home. We couldn’t have been happier.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Starting on the Garage

Framing the Front Garage Wall
 Temporary Staging- Note the Laminated beam
Back wall - Sheathing being added
Front wall - Ready for the Room over Garage Floor
The work on the garage has started. The walls are up and you can see where the floor for the room over the garage will be. They even built temporary staging in order to install the large laminated joist. This will ensure that we don’t need any support columns in the garage for the car doors to bang against. The front wall between the garage doors and roof looks large but we’re going to break it up with a small roof over the garage doors.
Once the garage roof is on, they’ll be able to tie the roof lines all together and the house will take on its street look.

More rain is in the forecast so our basement which was starting to dry out will be filling back up again.

Oh yay…