Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The front emerges from the earth

Yesterday, Adam came over with his Bobcat, and did a little earth moving.

The front of the house, emerges from the earth

Marcus and I went out at lunch time, and saw how things were going, and Adam had a couple questions on exactly how I wanted the ground graded in front of the home. He excavated down so there is a step down as you approach the home. There will be a court yard area in front of the home, with probably a one block high wall enclosing it.

I also met a cousin of Adam's who is a firefighter at the local station. He took photos of the inside of the structure, for their records, and we talked about what I was building, and how it was/will be constructed.

One of the next things will be getting the windows in. At least now I can see out of my window openings.

With the dirt moved, there is a better view.

The tarps had popped off of the nails that we used to secure the edge on the front. Marcus had been worried they would just tear out of the foam. Even a gentle breeze exerts a lot of force on those tarp edges. I need to get the work around the outside done soon, so we can get the roof finished. I used some rope, and tied down the tarps with it. I fastened it to the window bracing, and to chunks of re-bar I drove into the ground. However, I am concerned that if we get good gusts in the right direction, the tarps will break the rope, and toss the sand bags like they were nothing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A house of blues

Saturday, we got up early, and headed out to try to finish the insulation and get the tarps on, before the end of the day. Throughout the day, everyone was helping.

Mom helped dad with cutting some of the foam boards.

Matt showed up again, and started by helping me get the cut pieces for the second layer in place. He joked that with the sun reflecting off the roof and cooking us, we should sell tickets for tanning survices. "All natural, tan in half the time!" Between Friday afternoon, and all day on Saturday, I got a bit of sun burn on my arms, and my face and ears.

Newt and his son Eric, showed up. Eric worked on sorting through the scrap material, and putting it into more organized piles, so I could see  what I have to work with. He and Newt got a fire going, and we burned some of the cardboard packing, and small pieces of wood, and the remnants of the hay and straw bales that were used to protect the concrete floor after it was poured.

Newt stokes the fire.

Eric threw a couple spray foam cans into the fire at one point. After they went KABOOM and shot into the air like rockets, Eric had a direct lesson in why you don't dispose of those in a fire. Thankfully, no one was hurt, other than their nerves.

David and Melissa came out, and David helped get more of the foam put in place. Some of the pieces, involved quite a bit of debate as to the best way to place them.

My dad, Matt and David have a discussion about the next piece to go on.

As we got to the last few pieces, we realized we were running a little short. We had a bit more scrap than I had planned for. But we looked at the scrap pieces, and realized that we had pieces that would do fairly well to fill in the remaining spaces. So we just used those pieces.

The final layer is done.

Time for tarps. We weren't sure when we would get rain again, but we wanted to make things as waterproof as we could, and protect the foam from the wind. So we got out the big tarps I had bought. We set them out, overlapped them, and weighted them down.

Racing the sun, once again.

I now had a blue roof. We realized we didn't have enough bags of sand to properly weight things. so we used some of the boxed rolls of plastic that will be the waterproofing, as additional weights.

We were pleased with what we had gotten done, and David was nice enough to take a picture of me and the rest of my family, in front of my blue house.

The first family portrait at the Hobbit Hole

Today, my dad, mom and I went out, and did a few more things before the rain moved in. We got some more stuff cleaned up and organized. My dad and I got some measurements of where the ground is (outside the dirt that is piled up in front and back of the home) relative to the floor and vent pipes in the home. We also marked where I want the excavators to try to move dirt from in front of the home.

Here is what the house looks like now, from the vantage point where I have been taking comparison photos.

Hopefully, the next time I take a photo from here, you will be able to see the full window and door openings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A giant mirror and more sand

I went out to the property today, to try to finish up the second layer as far as I could. I also wanted to talk to an excavator I know, about the earth moving work that still needs to be done.

I met with the excavator and he is going to try to move the dirt away from the front of the house next week, maybe even Monday. It will be nice being able to see the front of the house.

After he left, I heard one of the locals, pounding away at a large tree on my property. I got a good look and decided to take a picture.

Someone else is building a home on my property.

I worked through the afternoon, laying more of the foam for the second layer. Mom and dad showed up, with more nails. Marcus says I am going through them like candy. Boy that would be hard on the teeth!

Dad got out his circular saw, and trimmed up the foam on the east end of the roof. Then the wind came up, and blew some of the pieces in the first layer out of place. I had uncovered them so that I had room to lay the second layer over them. Well, the damage was minimal, so we just put them back in place.

I have had a lot of trouble, getting the edges on the first layer to lay flat. I think the blue side has contracted a bit, and is causing the boards to curl their edges toward the blue side. So all those boards with the blue side up, are giving me problems. I decided on the second layer to just put all of them on, with the silver side up. This way the curling is toward the bottom, and doesn't make the edges stick up. The down side to this, is that it is like working on a very large mirror. When the sun is out, you cook! That has worked quite well overall, and later this afternoon, I got the second layer to the point where we have to finish the first layer before I can lay any more.

Looking over things, I am running out of pallets to use as weight, but we are not ready to put the tarps on yet. So more bags of sand were required. My brother had come out to the property, so we invited him to get in a good bit of exercise, and help us put more bags onto the roof. We ran to the local Lowe's and they had the bags that I had wanted to get originally. These are called sand tubes, and are each 60 pounds. We loaded 12 into the back of the truck, and headed back while the sun was sinking fast. We decided that none of us was crazy enough to try to get these up the makeshift ladder. We re-commissioned the ladder as support under a walking plank. Then I drove the truck around to where it was more convenient to unload the bags.

Dad taking things off the roof after we got the bags on.

Now things are fairly well weighted down around the edges, and hopefully will stay put.

Silver side up, as the sky darkens, looks blue. The second layer still needs strips laid down along the west edge.

View along the front, where we still need to finish the first, and second layers.

A lot of foam, and a lot of nails. Tomorrow, we try to finish before the rain moves in again.

Tomorrow will hopefully the last work for the roof, until we are ready to put the waterproofing in place.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

There is sand on my roof

Well, Marcus and Vic helped me load 600 pounds of sand in the back of the truck at lunch. Thanks guys!

We loaded 12, 50 pound bags in the back. It rode quite nicely with the additional weight back there. I went out after work, and managed to get a couple of the bags up my ladder. I decided it was better to wait until Marcus got there to get the others up on the roof.

I went ahead and finished the last full row on the first layer of insulation, and started working on the first full row of the second layer. The tape is almost useless, and has gotten in the way more than helping I think. Not only is the deck a bit uneven under the insulation, but the insulation boards seem to want to curl up a bit. This won't be an issue when there is 6 inches of dirt sitting on top of it, but it makes trying to lay it down, quite irritating.

With the second layer, it starts with 2 foot wide sheets so that the seams will be shifted from where they are in the first layer. I didn't take the time to try to cut those pieces today. I just measured in 2 feet each direction from the starting corner, and started laying sheets. To hold these sheets in place, I am pushing nails through them, into the sheets bellow. I am also pushing nails into the corners, to hold one sheet in line with the one next to it. This should all work to tie the layers together, and hold the sheets in a layer together as well.

Tonight, the bags of sand and the remaining foam pallets were used to weight down the sheets that have been laid.

Looking closely, you can see the nail heads sticking up. They are driven in at an angle, to help hold them in.

Full sheets in the first row of the second layer are laid, and weighted.

As I got down to the end of the sheets in the second layer, Marcus got there with his ladder. He was wondering why there were only 10 bags in the back of the truck. I think he was a little surprised to see two of them already on the roof. He set up his ladder, and carried the bags up as high as he could, then he lifted them onto the roof, where I then took them and spread them out.

Marcus, thank you for all the help!!

Now tomorrow, I am hoping to get most of the second layer done, so then on Friday and Saturday, we can finish the second, and third layers, and get them covered.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Listening to crickets and laying foam

I left work today, and headed out to the property to get some more of the foam sheets laid. I got out there and saw the top of the home, looked like a shelf in the insulation isle at Home Depot! But it was a pretty sky.

A nice day to be on the roof.

I went up the make shift ladder, and inspected things. All the foam was still right where we had left it. However I did have a problem that the tape hadn't held very well, and the pallets stacked on the foam, tended to cause an edge or corner to lift and pull up the tape.

Lots of foam boards to lay yet.

Time to unstack some of this, and start the next row.

I started laying the next row, as I listened to the crickets play their songs. I got one row laid down, and was starting on the next, when Marcus came walking up the drive. He thought he would help, but he wasn't sure that our ladder met the proper safety guidelines (i.e. he was concerned he would break it). So he stayed on the ground. We talked about the plans for the roof, and the layers that will be going up. He went around to the east side, where he could see up onto the roof from the ground. He thought the progress was pretty good. He also found a small sledge hammer.

We talked about the fact that if I got a couple more good days, I wouldn't have much foam left to hold down the sheets that had been laid. So we talked about going to get some bags of sand tomorrow, so those can be used to keep the foam in place. I think there will be some heavy lifting tomorrow.

Marcus went home, and I finished the row I was working on. There are about 11 rows for each layer (I say about because the front one will be trimmed quite a bit to fit correctly) and I now have 9 of the 11 rows done on the first layer.

Another two rows completed...

Except the piece that needs to be cut.

I re-arrange some of the pallets to keep weight on the sheets along the edges. Moving a heavy, but smaller bag of sand, should be easier.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What do you do with over a ton of foam?

Last Friday was insulation delivery day. Home Depot was delivering about 1 1/4 tons of foam insulation, and almost 700 pounds of plastic sheeting. They were scheduled to deliver between 8 and noon. My dad and I wanted to be ready for the delivery whenever they showed up. So mom, dad and I got up early, loaded the truck, and their car with all sorts of tools and headed out.

The first order of business was to set up a shop, so that we could easily trim the foam to the exact sizes we would need. We set up a tarp suspended from the joists and framing, so that we could be sure that rain leaking through the steel deck, wouldn't damage the saw. Then we setup some light, and the table saw.

Ready to cut foam boards down to size

I called Home Depot to see when to expect the foam. The delivery guy was out making a run, and they were expecting him back around 9:30. So that meant we were looking at 10:30 to 11 till he would be able to arrive. Fine, time to do something about all the water sitting in the valleys on the roof. The steel roof decking isn't perfectly flat from east to west, so it has places where rain water had collected. We thought it would be good to remove as much as we could before we started covering it up. In hind sight, it was a waste of time, since the roof is no where near water proof or air tight. So water is going to get in, and air is going to be able to evaporate the water out. Oh well, we did get quite a bit if dirt cleaned off with the water we removed.

The floor downstairs is a muddy mess, and here dad is vacuuming the roof, whats wrong with this picture?

We also worked on removing the boards that had been attached to the foam forms to reinforce them, including back where the concrete blow out had happened. My dad and I made a muddy mess out of ourselves with that.

I gave Newt a call, and he had some errands to run, then he was coming over. It was now around noon, and no word from Home Depot. So I called again to see what the status was. They told me the driver was just finishing up strapping down my load and would be leaving momentarily. While I was on the phone with them, the driver called me to get details about where he was delivering to. I described where I was. He headed for my place.

Newt showed up, and while we waited for the delivery, I showed him some items that I had questions about with the construction. We talked about the excavation work that will be needed, and some items with the framing that has been done, as well as some plumbing questions. Then we heard a truck coming.

The tractor trailer pulled up at the end of my driveway, then he drove on. Hey, where is he going with my insulation! Newt went after him, and I guess gave him advice on where to turn around. The truck came back the other direction, and he pulled off the side of the road so he could unload.

My order filled the truck!

The driver got out, and after he unstrapped the load, he got his fork lift unloaded from the back (it is a Moffett). It has three wide big tread tires, and it is a good thing, since he had to deal with mud and loose gravel to deliver up to the house. First he delivered the pallet with my plastic sheeting, right into the garage.

The Hobbit watches the waterproofing for his hole being delivered.

The forks could slide forwards and backwards. He used that to deliver the plastic into the garage, even though he couldn't drive the Moffett into it. That also allowed him to drive the Moffett up to the garage, and then slide the forks forward and get the insulation pallets positioned over the roof, where we could lift them off.

Here comes the foam up the drive

Can you get it closer? We can't reach it out there!

Dad and Newt discuss the plan

We started getting the pallets stacked up on the roof so we could get some work done. We had him leave some down on the ground, where we could take them in to the saw to trim up the smaller pieces we would need in places. It was going on 3 before the delivery was all finished, then we went and got lunch. We came back and worked the rest of the afternoon, getting the first layer started.

We started by gluing down some narrow pieces that dad cut. These went on top of the concrete wall on the north side. I used more than two tubes of the contractor size liquid nails, to make sure we would have glue in contact with the uneven concrete, and the foam boards.Actually the concrete is quite level and even, but with the metal plates that are sitting in it that the joists are welded to, it makes the surface uneven. Then I finished off the third tube laying down a bead on the first layer of foam, to help adhere the second layer of narrow pieces. We also put nails down through the top foam pieces into the lower pieces to help them stay in place. The roof has a very low slope, but we wanted to try to provide a good start at the bottom of the slope. One that would resist sliding out of place. With the second layer of narrow pieces we were now pretty much even with the top surface of the steel roof deck. Now it was time to start laying the full sheets.

For the first layer, on each row we put down 7 whole sheets, and then a half sheet. We started them in a little from the west side, and they overhang on the east side. They will be trimmed back later, and insulation will be put in under them to fill the spaces on the east and west sides, between the concrete, and the top of the steel deck. We put tape on the seams between the sheets, with the idea that this would hold them together as if they were all one big sheet. We thought this would also prevent rain getting down between them, and coming through the seams in the roof deck. While I think the taping of the seams will be good, it had problems where the steel sheets overlapped, and made for an uneven top surface level.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of our progress. As it got dark we moved the remaining pallets up onto the sheets we had laid down, to hold them in place. We knew there was a chance of thunderstorms, and I worried that even some of the pallets might get blown off the roof and damaged. As we headed for dinner, we could see lightning flashing off in the distance. Then we drove into the rain. As we got back to my apartment, the heavens opened up, and sent forth a torrent of water from the sky. The sort of downpour where you are soaked in seconds. The storm abated, but I took a look at the radar, and it was ugly.

Saturday, we went out after lunch to see if everything was still in place, and to see if it was dry enough inside to cut some of the foam pieces. We got there, and the foam was all still in place, but we had a lot of water inside. The tape had places where gaps had opened up, and certain spots had water just running in. We decided that it would be a waste of time to try to get any work done there in those conditions. We packed up stuff that dad was going to take back home, and left some things there so we wouldn't have to haul them out the next time.

Sunday it was still drizzling the whole day, we didn't even stop out at the property. Today was at least dry. Tomorrow, we are supposed to actually have some sun, and I am hoping to get out after work and lay some more of the first layer of foam. Later in the week, I am hoping to get some help laying the foam and hopefully by the end of next weekend, we will have the foam in place with the tarps over it, so the inside will stay dry and I can then do some work on the inside, while I wait for a good opportunity to get the waterproofing layers on.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The design didn't specify an indoor pool!

I went out this evening, to see how things were melting. Next week I am going to have the insulation and waterproofing materials delivered so that I can get the home closed in.

When I got to the property, there was still snow covering most of my "lawn". However, there was no longer a mound of snow stacked up on the roof. I could hear the drainage creek that runs through the property, gurgling away. Then I walked into the home, and it sounded like a cave, a wet cave! The snow was melting off the roof, and draining down onto the floor. That would have been OK, it is a concrete floor after all, except for two things.

First, with the weather we have had, the floor had gotten to well below freezing. Now there was a sheet of ice covering a good portion of it, where the sun hadn't hit it to warm it up. The snow melted, dripped down, and formed a wonderful ice rink, inside my home.

Second, I found that my office not only had a sheet of ice, but standing water! The floor of the home, isn't completely level, so there was going to be some pooling in spots, but the main problem with the office, is that the doorway has not been cut out of the 2x4 at the bottom of the wall. The result was a pool wall was formed by the 2x4s on all sides, and the melting snow had filled it up to the top of the 2x4s.

While I still had light, I worked with the snow shovel, to push water out of there, and get it to drain out into the garage, through the utility room. I am hoping to remove some more water and ice tomorrow, and hopefully with a few days above freezing, and some sun, maybe things will dry out.