Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An unexpected inspector stops by

Now that I have a roof on, I wanted to get most of the snow cleared out, so that I wouldn't have the framing sitting in puddles of water when it melted. Marcus offered to help, so we went to Walmart, and got some plastic snow shovels. The only plastic snow shovels they had that didn't have metal on the edges, look to have been made for kids. Oh, well, I didn't want to put any more marks on the floor, so we got two, and headed out.

When we walked inside, I noticed tracks in the snow. Apparently there was an inspection done last evening after I left. The inspector checked around the various rooms, looked over the studs, and checked along the north wall. I am not sure what the inspector was looking for, since all that was left were tracks in the snow...

Local inspector wandering through the family room

I wonder if it is the same raccoon that checked on my well after it was put in. Some were thinking as I designed the home, that if I put in skylights, I might have had deer peer in. I think it is much more likely that the raccoons would have been the ones to look into the skylights at night.

Marcus helped me clear snow, and we got all the front rooms cleared. Marcus was a little surprised by how quick the sun warmed up the floor, and started melting and drying the remaining snow.

 Remaining snow was melting within minutes.

The home was not built with a large emphasis on passive solar heating, but it should help. I had calculated my overhang, so it should shade the windows most of the time in the summer, and during the winter it should let in the sun quite a bit. In the early afternoon, the sun was shining in most of the way across the floor in the bedrooms, and over half way across the floor in the dining room/kitchen.

It didn't look like they had done any more with the steel since yesterday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nearly a roof...

Yesterday was very overcast, and I didn't get out to the property quiet as soon as I wanted. The steel workers had made some progress, but it was getting a bit too dark to try to take photos, and have them turn out OK. So today, I got out of work a bit earlier, and the weather was a bit more favorable. The roof is almost complete...

It will look more inviting when I have some lights in there.

The front has the plates on where they are supposed to be, just need the steel put up on the east side.

They did quite a bit of welding today to get to this point. There is metal sheet that still needs to go on the east side to close that in. The steel sheets on top, are all in place, and look to be welded up. The plates are back on the ends of the joists where they should be. They got the large angle steel put up along the front. They made it just like my drawing.

The angle that is sticking up, will go in front of the big insulation layer and help provide attachment points for the facia.

Although the steel sheets have corrugations, you can see that I have a very even roof.

Looking toward the south west

I wanted so much to put a board over there and try walking on my roof.

They put in the holes over the garage. I realized I should have been a bit more specific in marking the dryer vent. Looking at it from the ground, it looks like they thought my mark was for the one side, but I had marked where it was to be centered. Oh well, if I have too, I think I can adjust that hole enough.

Three holes in the steel end sheet

The small hole to the left, in the steel, is for the hydrogen to vent from the batteries (part of the solar power system). The hole toward the middle, is for the dryer to exhaust through. There is a hole to the right of the hobby room window. That is for the radon vent. Hmmm, I had intended for that to go out over the garage. Newt must have had another thought about the placement.

It looks like they need to trim it down to the roof line, and they still need to put the steel sheet on the end opposite the garage.

I went in. Hopefully this is the last time that my whole floor is covered in snow.

View from the family room, into the dining room

It looks like we might have some sun tomorrow. I may try to run out there after lunch, to see what is looks like inside, when there is more light outside. I also want to see if the overhang is working the way I wanted. Although, if it doesn't work right, I will just have to deal with it at this point. I may want to get a snow shovel to clear off the floor, before it all melts and make large puddles that would have to evaporate.

Friday, January 22, 2010

How to put on a roof, part 2

When one makes adjustments to steel, one gets to watch fireworks! I hope you enjoy the photos.

Today the issues continued. While there was some cursing at the things that have gone wrong, the steel installers handled the issues with calm and cool work. They should finish on Monday. I will hopefully be able to get out there after work to take pictures of how it turned out, so I can show you.

So today, they needed to shorten about half the remaining joists so they didn't overhang the front wall. They asked for a measurement from the steel designer. They weren't satisfied that the length was correct, so we measured the dimensions between walls on site, and discussed where I wanted the joists to end up, and the range of flexibility on it. We finaly decided on the proper measurement, and the cutting commenced. First they got out the gas powered saw with a cutoff wheel. Sparks were soon flying.

Cutting the one cord

Working on cutting a bar that runs between the top and bottom of the joist

Well the cutoff wheel needed to be replaced, and the one that was in the truck had some issue (I didn't ask). So then it was time for the cutting torch. This was even more fun to watch, and a heck of a lot quieter.

Like the proverbial hot knife through butter

Sending molten steel flying

As the ends were cut off, I was accumulating a collection of short steel joists.

Hmmm, really strong shelf supports?

As the ends were trimmed off, they were going through, and bending the end of the bar, back up in between the angle steel on the top cord. This put an end back on the joist that was the same form as what had been cut off. After they bent the bar into position, then it was time to weld it in place. Out came the arc welder.

Welding the bar in place

Hmmm, glare in the camera lens like the sun

This made the ends look like this:

Welded up, ready for one last trim

There was one last detail. They trimmed off the ends of the bars that were up past the top of the joist.

So now they could get the joists put up in place. They started with some of the joists that were part of the overhang.

First set layed for the front

Now some time lapse:

All the steel is now up there, and the crane has left.

Not quite ready for deer to walk on it

Oh, the next snag...well you see, the ends of the joists couldn't be placed in line on the center support wall. They needed to sit all the way across the top of the wall. This meant they needed to be offset along the wall.

Set next to one another on the center wall

That would not really be a problem, except that the plates on the front and back walls had been set, assuming that the joists would be in line, from front to back. Fortunately, the plates were wide enough, that they were still going to be able to weld the fronts of the joists to them. However, the end result was that they could not actually fit all 60 joists in the front half. From a weight support standpoint it should not be a problem. However, it does mean that dealing with closing in the ends of the home, could be a little more complicated. It also means I have a steel joist sitting on the front lawn.

After all the joists were positioned, they went through on the front joists, and added braces. They did this, since they are resting on the bottom cord, and are more likely to wobble, than the ones that are sitting on the top cords.

X shaped bracing between joists. These are just bolted to plates that were part of the joist.

I looked around at things, and seeing how the angle will look on the inside, I finally decided how I want the ceiling.

Looking at the slope

I decided there is enough slope, that we will run the ceiling parallel to the joists instead of flat. So there will be a slight slope to the ceiling. This should add an interesting character to the larger rooms.

With the joists up there, it can now be seen how the overhang looks.

Just like a bill on a baseball cap keeps the sun out of your eyes, the overhang, will keep the summer sun from pouring heat in through the south windows.

One of the installers knows someone who has a fully earth sheltered house. He warned me, that I may have to run the heat in the summer! Well, I hope my design works that well. It is far easier to deal with a house that is too cool in the summer, than one that needs cooling.

They will finish things up on Monday. There is just one more item I am concerned about. They will need to cut holes in the plates they are going to put on the ends, and I need to figure out exactly where those should go. Time to work with the drawings again so that I can get a measurement, or I may just take my tape measure out, and check some things at the top of the garage wall.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to put on a roof, part 1

Today was the day. The steel was ready for the roof, and it was to be delivered today. Before we began, there were just the walls standing there in the grey dawn.

Walls of a house dug into a knoll

Part of the crew that was going to install the steel, was there already waiting at 7:30. We all waited, to see whether the crane, or the steel would show up first.

Waiting to see if the steel truck would find us

The steel arrived first. When we saw it, we all asked, how the heck are we getting that in and up my driveway?

They brought my steel on a full size tractor and trailer, what were they thinking?

The way things were designed out, we avoided having really long joists, however this is still quite a bit of steel. They told me some of the weights when they looked at the tags on the various bundles, and my estimate is that they brought in about 8 tons of steel joists and decking. The specification for the roof though is for it to be able to hold up 130 tons of weight sitting on top of it.

A good bit of steel sitting there

Unfortunately, there was a little too much steel there. I'll explain later.

They tried taking the rig up my driveway, from a couple different directions, but that truck, was not getting onto my property.

No, forwards won't work...
Backwards didn't help either.

Once the crane truck got there, they ended up transferring the steel to that truck, and using the crane truck, to haul the steel up the hill.

Move the steel from one truck to the other...

Unload the steel beside the home

Since I have already had questions from a couple people on what the joists would look like, here are some obligatory closeups :-) Please also pardon the technical talk about what they are doing with the joists. I need notes for when I am asked questions.

South end of the J2 joists, this is the end that will be in the overhang, and will be cantilevered out over the south wall.

Bearing point for the J2 and J2A joists. This is where they will be attached to plates that will be welded to the south wall.

North end of the J2 and J2A joists. These will be bolted to the top of the 2x6 framed support wall, with lag screws. They had to get different lag screws than the ones they were given. The ones they were given, would have gone all the way through the top plate of the wall, and would have only ended up with about an inch of thread in the wood since they had over and inch of shank. The joists are upside down on the ground. The plates that will be bolted down, are on the top cord of the joist, which is on the bottom in the photo.

South end of the J2A joists, the plate will be used to attach materials for the fascia on the overhang.

Another look at the north ends

More of the J2A joists sitting next to some of the J2 joists.

The J1 joists are the ones that went on the north/back half of the home, and I don't have closeups of them. Both ends on the J1 joists, look like the north end of the J2 and J2A joists.

OK, back to the story.

We were looking over the plans, and I didn't see where the overhang was supposed to extend out from the main roof. They explained that all the joists along the front half, were extending over this bearing point to form an overhang on the whole length of the front. UH, OH!! Thats not right. I explained how the overhang was only supposed to cover from one end of the windows, to the other. We had some extra steel on some of the joists. Hmmm, time to contact the folks who were providing the joists.

While they waited for a different box of lag screws to arrive, and for the steel folks to help decide what we were doing with the extra overhang, they started lifting the joists for the back half up onto the walls.

Picking up a bundle of joists

First bundle delivered to the top of the walls

Joists are starting to show through the windows

That is a bunch of joists to set

The walls now have joists. On the back half at least.

Setting the last joist for the back.

The two on the ends, are not at 1 foot intervals like the rest. They sort of fill in the space on the ends. They hold a smaller amount of roof, but this avoided having to craft special joists to go on top of the side walls.

After a lunch break, they started welding the joists to the plates in the top of the concrete wall, and putting in the lag screws to anchor them on the center support wall.

Arc welding is bright!

I am starting to actually have a roof structure over my head.

Looking from garage, along center support wall

Looking from garage, along north wall

We talked to the steel folks about the extra overhang. They said that since the overhanging portion did not affect the bearing point, we could just cut off the ends of the offending joists. They were going to go draw some plans for that. The one fellow installing the steel said, he has been doing this work for 31 years. He knew where they would need to be cut, but he didn't have his saw with him today. So tomorrow there will be some joist truncating. At least it wasn't a case that they were too short. That is much more difficult to fix. I am glad I was there today so that I spotted this.

They were moving right along on getting the joists welded in place, and looked to be about ready to start lifting some of the other joists, when it started to rain. They had to stop welding with the rain. Arc welding in wet conditions can give the welder, one heck of a shock (The crane operator used more colorful language to describe the experience). So they stopped for the day. Since they have the steel on site, and the crane is already set up, they should be able to get a good start tomorrow. It looks like they should be able to finish tomorrow, unless we run into another snag.

I hope I can get a refund on some of the cost of the extra joist length, since I can't come up with a use for what will probably be 28 pieces of 2 foot joist.