Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chilling out on the roof, and sweating the "little things"

Well the last week has been very productive. It has made it a challenge to write about it, since I was coming home late and pretty tired.


I have still been contemplating the roof leak issue. The latest thought on the matter, is that what I am still getting in, is either from the dryer vent, or it is actually condensation forming on the inside of the flashing and running down inside all the waterproofing. To try to test the condensation idea, I needed to make the roof box chill. Like a cold drink on a humid summer day.
Ice packs around the roof box.

By the end of the evening, I had condensation running down the outside of the box, but I didn't get any water inside. I had plastic over the dryer vent as you can see, but that night, a pretty good storm blew through, and we got about half an inch of rain. When I went out to check on things, everything was still dry inside, and the plastic was gone. So, I couldn't reproduce the leak. At this point, I am done spending time trying to figure it out. I have a plastic dish washing basin weighted down with bricks over the dryer vent, and I am going to seal up the inside of the roof box so humid air can't get to the inside of the flashing to condense. Eventually I will put some other type of hood over the dryer vent to prevent it leaking if that is the problem, but for now, I just want it protected so I can continue the rest of the construction.

I had been unable to start my generator since Saturday, I pulled the spark plug, and found that it had a crack. Time to get a new one. I also worked on the radon vent.


Adam wasn't available to work on the retaining walls, so I worked inside. I replaced the spark plug and then the generator worked again. I worked on getting my radon vent finished. It now runs from under the floor to out through the overhang.


We got the second retaining wall done on the front.

We also got started on the first wall on the garage side.


Adam wanted some of the weeds cut down on the slopes so he had a better view of what he was doing as he went up them with the Bobcat. My trimmer doesn't want to start, so Matt brought up my dad's. Dad's trimmer is a little light for cutting down the heavier stuff but it made short work of the thinner weeds. I used a manual cutting tool that you swing like a golf club, to chop down the big stuff up higher on the slopes. It is very effective, but it gives you a very strenuous workout.


Dad, Adam and I got an early start last Friday. We wanted to finish the first wall on the garage side, and get a good portion of the second wall done. Dad had to run into town to get a couple new chains for the chain saw. The ties were just dulling the chains very quickly. While he was gone, Adam and I continued working, using the reciprocating saw, and my circular saw. We got the first garage wall done.

After dad got back with a new chain the work went much faster. We got started on the second wall, and got part way up before we ran out of rebar. It was getting pretty hot by that point so we stopped on the retaining wall.
 Here we had just gotten started on the second one.

Dad and I went into town, and got more rebar, and some other supplies. We took some measurements, dad scared a mouse up in my joists, and we did some planning then we headed home.


Saturday, dad and I continued to work on the second retaining wall. We needed some smaller pieces for the first bit of work, which we could manage without needing the Bobcat to haul them over from the pile.

I decided we weren't quite ready to stop when we needed some bigger pieces. We cut one that was about 5 feet long. In the process, we dulled the one new chain that dad had just bought, when we found a rock embedded in the tie. I finished the cut with the reciprocating saw, and moved the tie into place by myself! Dad had been changing the chain, and didn't see how I had done it. This piece was over a hundred pounds I am sure, and I don't lift weights. Dad had a concerned tone in his voice when he asked me if I had carried it over. I told him no I hadn't (with a grin). I can't carry a hundred pound piece of wood, but I can lift one end at a time, and flip it end over end across the ground. We managed to cut a few more pieces and get them in position, before it got too hot to work outside. 

There were a few things to start on inside. First I wanted to add more support to the beam over the entry to the family room. One stud under each end of the beam didn't seem like enough. It may be, but I didn't have the engineering papers for that beam, so I wanted to reinforce it. We cut treated lumber 2x6 pieces to go at the bottom and sit on the floor. Then we cut other 2x6 boards, to fit right between the treated lumber, and the beam. We nailed the new boards in place with nails that went almost through all three boards. That should add a substantial amount of support.

The other framing issue I had noticed, was that the stud on the end, up against the foam, had developed a horrible bow away from the wall. We found a 2x8 board and attached it to the stud next to the one that was bowed to reinforce it. Then we used clamps to push between the two studs and force the bow out of the end one. We then cut boards to fit between the two, and fastened them in place. After we removed the clamps, the boards all stayed where we had put them.

Next we started on some of the duct work. First though, we had to put on our hard hats and pose for mom.

I had learned early on, that I needed a hard hat for working with the ventilation and utilities up in the joists. I had banged my head against steel multiple times. We started with the run that goes to the hobby room, and the master bedroom.

 Outside the utility room, in the hall.

 In the hobby room, looking down the hall, past the master bedroom on the right, and the utility room on the left.


We worked in the afternoon to get the duct to the guest bedroom, and the kitchen/dining room done. We also had to get the vent for the guest bathroom run out to its vent on the overhang. It was not easy running these two across one another, but I think we pulled it off.


Monday night, Matt came out, and Adam came back, and we finished the second garage side retaining wall. There were some big pieces to move and get lifted up pretty high, and we dulled another chain when Adam hit rocks in a tie. It was hot and humid, and we were all dripping wet with sweat by the time we finished. But we got it finished, and no one actually collapsed.

There will be more earth moving work to finish this up, but that needs to wait until the ground settles again. Now back to inside work. Duct work will continue, and hopefully gas pipe will be getting started and maybe some electrical work as well for the next update.

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