Sunday, November 2, 2008

Home stretch

We have tons of things to finish up before we are ready to move in, but we just might be ready by the end of the month. Not everything will be done when we move in, but at least we won't have to continue paying rent on our current house. Also, we want time to get settled before the new baby arrives, which is only about 2 months away.

I took the week off of work to finish a couple things this week, but most of the time was spent coordinating the various contractors that were on site. Everybody says the finish work goes slowly, but it seems like things are happening fast to me. So much planning and detail work goes into this final stage, it's really hard to keep up.

Since last month:

Walls were painted.
Gypcrete flooring was poured over radiant heat tubes.
Heat pump was hooked up.
Natural gas lines were run between the street and the house.
Gutters were installed.
Garage doors were installed. We will be painting them next spring.

Cabinet installation began.

Pantry/Laundry (there are more cabinets around the corner):

Master bath:

Tile installation started.
Kids bathroom:

Master steam shower (no tile yet, just mud pan):
Finish electrical. I can't express how nice it is to be able to see without dragging a work light + extension cord around. Having nearby electrical outlets is also very handy. We also have most of our lighting fixtures installed. Here are some in our stairway:

Cedar ceiling liner is complete. Here is my favorite part of the ceiling, above the window in the office.
Maybe I've spent too much time on this project to have a favorite part of the ceiling. Speaking of ceilings, my least favorite part of the ceiling to work on is in the great room. I spent a good portion of the week on top of the scaffolding sanding and sealing posts and beams:

Looking at our calendar, I can see that the next few weeks are going to be crazy with all the work being done. Hopefully everything goes as planned!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Insulation, Drywall and more

For some reason it feels like things are moving slowly, but when I look at my last post I see that a lot of things have gotten done.

The stone work is complete. I thought I had pictures of the new post bases on the front of the house, but I guess not. I do have a picture of the fireplace though.

The deck decking is all down as well. We ended up using a composite material from Monarch Exotics. I am hoping to get started on the railings soon. You can see the outside of the fireplace in this picture as well.
We received the majority of our cabinets and will receive the master bath cabinets on Monday. There are a boatload of them, and it wasn't fun schlepping them down to the basement for storage. They pretty much use up all the space in the basement.

All of the insulation and drywall is complete. We went with a level 4 smooth wall instead of having a texture. That took a little extra time due to the extra sanding and mudding that was required, but it turned out great. Now we just have to be careful not to ding it all up.

All of the in floor radiant heat tubes are in and we will be pouring an inch and a half of gypcrete over the entire floor early next week. This picture shows the tubes in the kitchen part way through installation.

And finally, the cedar ceiling liner is being installed in the great room. Pretty much everyone hates working on the ceiling of our great room because it's so high up, but fortunately our framers don't seem to mind. Instead of tackling this task myself, I decided to hire them to come back and help out.

Since the painters start in about a week, we finalized all the paint colors for each room. Having to pick out room colors for our new daughter due in January reminds me that we really have to get this house done soon!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stone work almost done

Today the masons finished up most of the stone work on the front of the house.

They will also be using the same stone to build a "base" around the bottom of the posts on the porch and on the fireplace.

We have finished the gas plumbing, electrical work, and fire sprinkler tests. I also finished putting in a chandelier lift in the great room which will allow us to raise and lower the chandelier to clean it and change the bulbs. It was a lot of work to install, but I'm not sure how else we would be able to reach that high to change the bulbs after we move in.

I ended up having to reinstall the water lines that run from the street to the house. Our plumber predicted that the standard 1" diameter of pipe we used wouldn't be sufficient to maintain water pressure if we had more than one fixture running at once. Also, the pressure rating on the pipe was less than he recommended and he felt it would give us problems down the road. I felt it was better to redo it now with 1.5" 200 psi line rather than after we have all of our landscaping done. It was a full weekend of work with a rented excavator and another hard lesson learned.

I've started putting in the low voltage lines (phone/network, cable TV, speaker wire, and alarm system). I'm hoping to finish it up this weekend so that we can get insulation and drywall up soon. It feels like I have a million miscellaneous things to finish up before drywall, so I am spending all of my free time at the site. It will be a lot easier to work late once I get some light fixtures powered up. Supposedly we will have our permanent power in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Framers gone; Electricians hard at work.

The framers have pretty much wrapped up. They have moved on to another job while we wait for a few materials to show up. It feels weird not seeing them every morning. They are like family now ::sniff::. At least it means progress is being made, and we are on to the next phase of the project.

The exterior of the house is all done except for a bit of siding, stone work, a couple doors, and gutters. We are underway with electrical rough ins which should be complete by next week. I am working on finding somebody to do our gas plumbing. I also need to start on all of the low-voltage work. Once that is complete, we can get our inspection then move on to insulation and drywall. I feel like now it's a sprint to the finish, although I know in my head that we have a long way to go.

Shop exterior done. Just need to paint the door, and fascia around the roof line and build a sliding barn door.

Front of house. The area with the white house wrap will be covered in ledge stone at the end of this month.

Back of house. The white wrap on the 2nd floor will be covered with siding. The white wrap on the 1st floor is the back side of our fireplace and will be covered with ledge stone. The deck framing is complete, but we are waiting for the decking boards to come in to finish up the deck.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Windows and siding

The weather has really slowed things down. I can't believe how much rain we are getting. This week more siding has been installed, along with most of the windows on the front side of the house.
Also, the roof over the front porch has been framed up. We are trying to come up with some ideas on how to do the lighting for the entry. Our initial thought was to put recessed lights under the roof area, but after seeing framed up we are thinking that they may not be very effective.
The HVAC ducting is nearly complete, and the fire sprinkler rough in begins on Monday. This weekend is my last weekend with the man lift available. I am going to try and get all of the trim touch up painting and wood sealing done tomorrow, or at least all of the highest peaks which are hard to reach with a ladder.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Under roof. Rough-ins started.

The roof is on, and now everything inside can finally dry out. We also had the concrete porch poured, along with a small patio outside of the basement, and a small pad for the future heat pump and the footings for the future deck.

The sun room has been installed and the siding has started to go up. This weekend I stained the outside of the sun room to match our siding and touched up the charcoal colored trim. I'm glad I'm not afraid of heights, because the peak of this roof is waaaay up there.

View of the trees from the sun room which is where our air tub will sit.

All of the rough plumbing is complete and passed inspection. The in-wall portion of the radiant floor heat is complete, and the AC ducting is underway. It's nice to see progress, but it makes me sad to see all the cuts and holes in the meticulous framing job. I'll get over it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Framing almost done

Most of the framing is complete and we have passed our shear wall inspection. All that is left to do for framing is a couple interior walls, another small roof structure over the porch area, and the deck on the back of the house. There are a few things that need to get done by other trades before we can finish up all of the framing, so meanwhile our framers will start on the siding and window installation.

Front of house:

Back of house:
View from great room:

This weekend we will be busy trying to finish painting hundreds of exterior trim pieces:
And staining thousands of cedar shakes:

While we've been fairly busy with this project all along, things are going to get particularly hectic starting next week. The plumber starts on Monday. The HVAC installer starts on Tuesday. And the roofer starts on Wednesday. The fire sprinkler installer, radiant heat installer, concrete porch installer, and the mason also start in the next few weeks.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Updated pics

There's not a lot of new things to write about, but I have some more photos to share.

Here is a pic of the 2nd floor of the workshop. Jonah likes to run around the temporary brace in the middle.

More of the main floor framing is complete:
Standing in the great room, looking towards the master suite:

Future home of our bathtub to be enclosed in a sun room:

Future home of the french doors in our master bedroom:
Since we have a lot of family stuff this Easter weekend, I haven't done any work on the house. I have been spending some time designing the sliding door for the shop and making a material list so I can get started on it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Workshop weathered in (mostly)

On Monday the roofers finished up the shingles on the detached workshop. This provides us a dry place to put some of the extra building materials we received that same day. All that space inside the workshop filled up pretty quickly with windows and interior wood trim. Since this picture was taken, the house wrap has been put on.

The building inspector signed off on the shear wall for the shop, but kindly pointed out that our building permit did not include the shop. Yikes! I went to the county office today and figured out that this was an oversight when they issued the paperwork, and they corrected it on the spot.

All that is left to do on the shop exterior is to put windows, doors, and siding on. Depending on what Rich and George want to do, we may end up waiting to put the siding on at the same time as the main part of the house. On the interior we need to finish the stairs and stair railings, and electrical work.

Even with all the distractions with the shop, progress continues on the house. A bunch more first floor walls have been completed.

Here is a picture looking at the kitchen from the front of the house. There are 3 windows in front of where our sink will go, with 3 clerestory windows that are placed directly above them. We just figured out that the clerestory windows we received are bigger than the ones we had ordered, so we are getting those replaced.

Here is a picture taken from our future great room, looking into the dining room. Past the dining room is the laundry/pantry. Sitting on the floor is a very large beam which was accidentally cut too short. Even the pros make mistakes sometimes. We have a new beam on order and it should arrive in a week.

With the latest delivery, we were expecting to get the trusses for the garage. Unfortunately, due to some miscommunication between vendors, they did not show up. This has been straightened out, and we will get the trusses soon too.

Now that we are getting deeper into the first floor framing, the framers have noticed some slight differences between our house plan and what's actually physically possible. Most of these differences are related to window/door sizes and placement. So far we've been able to come up with ways to deal with these differences, but it makes me nervous on what other types of things we may have missed when proofing our house plan.

Compared to how smoothly the last few weeks have gone, this week seemed to bring a lot of issues to work out. None of them were a huge deal, but it did remind me that there are a lot of things that can and will go wrong. It's all part of the construction .... fun. Yeah, that's the word I'm looking for. Fun.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Electricity, elec-tri-city

We finally have electricity! The power company showed up a little earlier than expected, but we had all the holes and trenches ready by the time they were ready to work. It was a bigger production than I expected with 4 large utility trucks and half a dozen crew members. We have the power going to a temporary pole that we can plug our tools into. It is much nicer to work without that generator running all the time.

The first floor subfloor is done and ready for walls. The location of all the walls have been snapped in chalk so we can see a life-sized blueprint of our first floor. It looks just like we pictured it would. I'm sure it will change as we get the walls framed up, drywalled, etc. We've been extremely happy with the work our framers have been doing. Each contractor that stops by comments on how good the framing looks, and even our building inspector was so impressed he wanted to take pictures of the work.

Rich and George have been busy getting the workshop all framed up so we have a safe and dry place to put our window and interior trim delivery next week. Since this photo was taken, half the roof sheeting has been put on as well. Tomorrow they will finish up the roof sheeting and later this week our roofers will start.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Backfill, lumber, framing and slabs.

Oops. I guess it has been a while since I've posted an update, so here's a big one. Since last update:

1) The foundation hole has been backfilled. With the piles of dirt immediately surrounding the house gone, it really opens things up. I can now picture how our house will look with the grading of the soil. It is also nice not having to worry about falling into a deep pit when walking around the site.

2) Lumber has been delivered. Lots of it. I rented an 8000 pound capacity off-road forklift to help us unload the three trucks . The piles of dirt which disappeared when we backfilled, have now been replaced with stacks of lumber.

3) Finally got the power company to pass our conduit depth. This was a huge relief. It wasn't a huge deal, but for some reason this was aggravating me more than it should have. The third time the inspector came out to inspect the depth (after the two no-shows) the conduit wasn't deep enough. All the heavy truck and equipment traffic had packed down the road and we didn't have enough depth covering the conduit. We brought in yet more material for the road, had it inspected a fourth time, and finally passed. Now we will get the transformer install scheduled hopefully in the next couple of weeks. This will give us temporary power so we don't have to use generators.

4) Started framing. There are only two framers, Rich and George, but they seem to be going quickly. As of today they have the basement and crawlspace framed and have started putting in the floor joists for the first floor.

5) Passed our first electrical inspection. We put up the temporary power pole which houses the power meter and circuit breakers to be used until the house is all framed up. This power pole needs to be inspected before the power company will supply power to it. Everything looked great with the power pole, but he did notice that the ground rod we installed for the eventual permanent power had not been inspected before we poured the concrete foundation around it. Thank god I took pictures of it before they poured the concrete! I showed him the pictures on my computer and signed off on it. Phfew!

6) Poured concrete slabs for the basement, garage, and workshop. My Dad left me a bunch of insulating foam sheeting and old steel pallets from the grocery warehouse he worked at. I decided it would be a good idea to put the foam under the slabs for better insulation and to use the steel pallets as a reinforcing mesh. Last weekend my brother helped me put all of this in place in the shop. It was a lot of hard work as we had to cut all of the "feet" off the pallets so that they would lay flat on the foam. Once that was done, we tied PEX tubing down to the pallets to be used for radiant heating in the future. I intended to do the same thing to the basement, but we ran out of time and could only finish the shop.

Another thing we decided to do was use a fiber additive in the concrete. This adds strength to the concrete and will hopefully minimize the number of cracks in the slab.

Workshop before the concrete pour:And after:

Garage (with first few floor joists in background):
Basement (the pipe sticking out will be a floor drain):
I had them dump the remaining concrete in our crawlspace. Since the crawlspace is over-sized we are planning on using it for storage and it will be nice to have some solid floor:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ready for backfill

I was hoping to have the majority of the backfill completed this week, but we had to delay the waterproofing due to the weather. We tried drying off the foundation with large torches, but every time the waterproofers showed up it would start raining or snowing which prevented them from applying the material. We finally were able to get the waterproofing applied on Friday which means we can start backfill on Monday.

The waterproofing itself is a thick rubber membrane which is sprayed on the foundation walls and the top of the footers. We covered the walls surrounding the basement and crawlspace with this to keep the water from seeping in.

On the tall foundation walls we also used a special drain mat which gives water a path to travel down the wall to the footing drains. This will keep most of the water away from the concrete. The footing drains will be installed on Monday before backfill.
While we were waiting for an opportunity to apply the waterproofing, we were able to backfill the inside of the garage. We will finish this off by placing a layer of pea gravel to pour the concrete slab over.
Besides the uncooperative weather, a couple other crappy things happened this week.

1) The power company's contractor who is responsible for installing our transformer stood us up for a second time. Our power conduit runs underneath our driveway because we did not have room to install it along side of it. Before they can provide power, they need to inspect to see that the conduit was installed deep enough. This means we need to dig holes in our driveway every 75 feet for them to verify the depth. Of course this interrupts work since trucks cannot drive down the driveway with the holes dug up. The first time I was given a 2 day window of when he would be out to inspect the conduit. We had the holes open for 3 days and he did not show up. This time he gave me a 3 hour window of when he would be out to inspect. He didn't show up, so we had to fill in the holes so the waterproofers could get in to do work. An hour later he showed up with similar excuses he had the first time. Our next appointment is Wednesday at 10am. As you might imagine, this is really ticking me off. I'm not sure what I will do if he's a no-show again. The excavators are going to be wrapping up this week, so it's my last opportunity to do this.

2) Somebody ripped off my chipper/shredder. While it sucks to have this stolen, it really sucks knowing that the jerk could come back and try to steal other things we might have around during construction. We will have to be more careful about locking things up.