Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cut, paint, hang...repeat...

Last Saturday was a good day to work on the house. We lit up the heater and spread plastic to work on painting more of the Hardie panels.

We had previously cut and painted one of the panels for the front. We got that hung, and took measurements for the next set of panels. We cut the panels, primed them, and let them dry while we went for lunch.

Priming in the dining room.

When we got back, we got more panels cut. Then we hung the ones that we had cut earlier in the day.

Here I am pre-drilling for the screws that will be used to hang the panel on the wall.

Three panels up on the front.

We have the other three large panels for the front, cut and primed. We still need to cut openings on two of them for the lights next to the front door, and the outside outlet. The weather forecast isn't looking too good for the rest of this week though, so I am not sure if that will happen this weekend. Trimming the panels for over the windows will present its own set of challenges. Cutting the curves in this stuff could be very slow work. Not that cutting straight lines in it is a piece of cake, but... Well, we shall see.

Monday, February 14, 2011

We have it covered!

It was a productive weekend. On Saturday, we worked in Dad's garage, and fabricated more supports for the electrical and plumbing. We tested out a new purchase of mine.

This can heat things up in a hurry!

Since it has been darn cold, it has limited work on certain things. The Hardie panels are supposed to have primer applied to cut edges, however the primer requires temperatures in the 50's to dry properly. I have not been able to make progress on the siding, since even being mostly buried, my house can't maintain that sort of temperature when it is getting into single digits overnight. Since we can't be out there for an extended period of time, I needed something that could heat up at least part of the house, faster than the radiant heater could manage. This heater shouldn't be operated in a house as well sealed as mine. We took a carbon monoxide detector out with us to make sure we knew if we should shut it down and open the doors. We tested it in dad's garage. Within an hour it had taken the temperature up from 41F to over 72F (i.e. from needing a coat to work comfortably, to room temperature). We worked out there and turned it back on occasionally as the temperature got cool again.

We cut wood and drilled pieces to act as supports for the wiring and plumbing lines that will be up in the joists. We cut more pieces for the columns. Then we turned to the detail pieces that will go behind the lights on the garage wall. These will serve a couple purposes. First I think they will look nice. Second, they will provide more space for wiring behind the lights. We had picked up some pieces of Trex and brought them back to dads garage. We discussed the design and started cutting. We started cutting holes in the pieces to accommodate the electrical boxes. Then the blade on the saw broke. The rest of those blades were out at my house. Hmmm, how to finish the holes. Well, we have this bit that is making good sized holes pretty fast, mounted in the drill press. Lets start there. Then we took dad's router, and finished up the openings. Here you can see where we were part way done, and needed to still finish up the holes with the router.

First pass with the router gave a clean edge, then we needed to use that edge as a guide, and finish the holes.

We used the router to put a nice detail around the edges instead of having the square edges. They were ready to mount on the wall.

Sunday, we got up early, loaded up the truck, and headed out. We got the heater set up and running. Then we looked over the roof leak. The temporary drain was working somewhat. We dumped water that had missed the drain and collected in the buckets, then we got the Hardie panel set up so I could paint the edges with the primer. The heater warmed up the house to a sufficient temperature in a fairly short time. We needed holes for the gas line, hydrogen vent, and water heater air intake, cut into the last Hardie panel. We checked out the hole in the wall where these pipes would come out. We took measurements, then we marked the panel. Then we put the panel up into the correct position, and I checked that the holes would line up with where we wanted the pipes. That was good, so we cut the holes i the panel. I bought a hole saw designed to cut through masonry. It worked very well. I painted all the cut edges on the panel, and dad took some measurements of walls we needed. Things were proceeding fairly well.

After lunch, I positioned the powered scaffold. In other words, dad directed me as I backed the truck up to the house so we could stand in the bed of the truck and work at least for the ones side. We first had to cut an opening for the wire to come out to the light fixture. In some of these pictures you may be able to see where we marked out where we were going to cut and drill on the Hardie panel. We used pencil, but the nice thing is with a Trex board covering the area, we didn't have to be real worried about the marks, as they would all be covered.

Dad stood on the tailgate, and cut the hole for the wire, then drilled pilot holes for where we would mount the electrical box.

 We fished the wire up and through the hole. 

Here dad is mounting the electrical box. We have very little depth to work with.

Hopefully the inspector will approve of the protection we put on the electrical wire. We didn't have room to put a normal clamp in place to protect the wires, so we added a piece of sheathing from wire that goes down the well to protect the wire from the edges of the box.

Fishing the wires up behind the panels that were already installed, was an aggravation. But we managed.

 A better view of the Trex plate. We put some blocks in so that the wire didn't dangle down like you see here.
Now the last panel has been attached on the garage side.

Next on the garage side, we will probably work on the trim and gaskets around the garage door. We will need to run the pipes out through the holes in the panel on the left, but this side can be left this way for a while. We will probably try to concentrate on getting the siding up on the front now. The weather seems to be giving us a break for now, so we are going to get as much done outside while it lasts.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Slloowww Progress

Well, the weather has continued to present challenges. Snow, ice, mud. That has been the state of the ground since the beginning of December. Between that, and a project at work that has been requiring a lot of attention, progress has been limited.

This last weekend, my dad and I got up, and headed to the property, before the storm got bad. As it turns out, it never got very bad, but we had some snow while we were out there.

In December I had found that I had a leak in the roof, around the roof box. So that needs to be fixed before things like drywall, and other materials can be installed. Well, with almost continually wet conditions on the roof, it has not been possible to fix the leak. I decided that to mitigate the amount of water that came in, I would put a tarp over the area that I thought was causing water to back up the roof and cause a problem. That seems to have helped some. I was still having some water come in, and so my dad came up with a way to hopefully catch most of what comes in. Put a funnel under where it is dripping and drain it over to the clothes washer drain. This last weekend we went out and put that in place.

Up in the joists is a plastic bottle with the bottom cut off to serve as a drip catcher. Then we cut pieces of PVC that will eventually be getting used for the radon vent, and just press fit them together. Then we used bungee cords, a piece of wood, and some wire ties to hold it together. Hopefully this will direct most of what leaks in, down to the septic tank. The garbage bag and the bucket had served to catch quite a bit of what leaked in in the past.

We have been working on getting the one door going into the garage installed. The one with the wrong way door. We needed to extend the floor out from the hallway a bit so the bottom of the door frame could be placed properly. We found a piece of Trex that had been cut and trimmed already. We found that it was pretty close to exactly what we needed. We notched the ends of the furring we were adding to the studs so that it fit well with the Trex. We glued the Trex to the concrete, and then needed to hold it in place while the glue set over the next day. Hmmm, how do you put a clamp over a corner and have it hold the board in place against the concrete? You don't, you need to put a brace in place between something that it can push against, and the board you want to hold in place. We found some long boards, and some shorter boards, and using a couple clamps, we wedged the boards in between the garage wall opposite the place where we needed to hold the Trex board in place, and the Trex board.

We added a second "clamp" and a board at each end to spread out the force.

While we have not been able to do that much out at the house, we have been doing a lot of planning, and fabricating in dad's garage. For supporting the electrical and plumbing runs up in the joist space, we needed to fabricate something that would hold wires and pex tubing in place, but be easy to put into place in the joist space. We came up with designs for a couple different holders, dependent upon if the wire and tubing were running parallel to or across the joists. We started manufacturing the supports to hold wires and tube running across the joists.

Each board that will hold the wire and tubes, needs blocks attached that will hold it in the space in the bars of the joist.

I don't know yet how many I will need, but I will need more than this. This is just a start.

After we had the blocks on, then we needed to put holes in the board where wires could be run though.

We made good use of the drill press again when we bored the holes in all the boards.

Another item that we have been working out the design on, is the columns that will hold lights and outlets on the outside walls. I did not want to cut into the insulating foam, and so I have places where we need to bring wire down the wall to an outlet or light. To do this, with a little more style and class than a chunk of metal conduit, we are making hollow columns. They will house the outlets, and wiring for the outlets, lights, and in the family room they will have speakers mounted on them as well. Dad and I had worked on a few different designs for the columns, and we had finally arrived at a design that looked good. We got pieces cut, and dad got most of the structure of the first one done. Then this weekend we put together the structure for the second one, and got the electrical boxes attached for the lights. We still need to attach the other electrical boxes, and fabricate the materials that will go on the outside of the column.

Dad attaching the back to the blocks.

The first column standing up. It still needs the other electrical boxes attached, and an outside shell. The columns are eight feet tall.

As for the plan for this week? I don't know, a lot depends on what the weather decides to do. That is as predictable as ever!