Sunday, November 18, 2012

Super Psyched About Cedar

I can't get over how much I love this wood! 
I still have some errant nails to fix and caulking to do, but every board is up - and just when I was getting the hang of it. That seems like it's going to be a theme of building this house... that as soon as I learn a new skill or figure out a system that works, it's off to the next challenge. 
At least now I can make miter cuts like nobody's business. 

Got to see the prototype of my tub that Mike is making me- and it's exactly what I was hoping for. Yay!
The final version is going to be made from cypress and have hardware 
(that won't be visible) to hold it together. 

For those interested in wooden bathtubs, I found these "care instructions" on a site that sells them:
(the super expensive versions)

Congratulations on the purchase of your Cypress Bathtub!
Due to the fact that this is a totally organic product, it is very important to maintain the moisture of the wood and follow the maintenance and care instructions.

• For the first three days after installation, Fill the tub half way with cold tap water and allow 
to stand for approximately 8 hours.
• It is recommended that the tub be used at least once weekly.
• Should central heating or under floor heating be used, the tub should be used at least twice weekly.
• Should the tub not be used for a period of more than 10 days, fill the tub half way up with cold water 
and allow to stand overnight.

• ALWAYS run the cold water first, then the hot water.
• To clean the bath tub use a soft cloth or sponge with mild soap diluted with water.
• NEVER use acid based, alkali or ammonia type products to clean the tub

Cypress is found in the region of Northwest Sichuan. This is the preferred material to be used in the manufacturing of fine wooden tubs due to its intense density, long growing period, fine & smooth texture, multicolored & exquisite luster, rich natural fragrance & corrosion protection functions. These tubs are also known for their great water temperature retention. It is finely produced by use of patented techniques of corrosion protection, rot resistance and bacteria protection.

The wood is kiln dried before making the tub. With the kiln dried process, the moisture is taken out of the wood before construction, thus ensuring the stability of the wood and eliminating chances of drying or cracking. The construction of the tub is similar to the way a wooden boat is made with tongue and groove sides. Cypress, one of the most durable of all woods, is historically resistant to decay. This is due to the unique characteristic naturally occurring preservative oil "cypresine."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Exterior... almost there

The weather this weekend was absolutely amazing, up in the 60s. Perfect for siding. 
Now there is just one more drip edge and about 10 boards left to do. 

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Bundled up in preparation for Sandy. I was half expecting it to end up on its side in a field but we were lucky here...
not even a single drop of water inside.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Magic Hour

I haven't posted in a while only because I have been working in small bits of time, in the hour or so I have between when I get home and when I run out of daylight, and then have to get back to work and/or thesis stuff in the evening. This past weekend though I was I able to spend a solid day and a half on the house, with some help from Margaret and Pete. Now visible progress can actually be seen!

Margaret and I realized that this is the first photo of her actually working.
Just to make it clear, she is in reality unbelievable in the way she speeds through things.
And...  she makes sure that I don't spend too much time over thinking things.

The window trim is on, and the window drip edges, if not all installed, are cut and ready to go. Everything is caulked and spray foam insulation is put in around the windows (that stuff is really weird, and kind of fun to play with, by the way).

What is REALLY exciting, however, is the siding. I splurged and got 1/2 inch bevel clear cedar - and am so happy that I did. On the ride home with it in Dad's van I couldn't stop petting and pressing my nose into it. Putting it up was a bit challenging at first since it likes to split often, until I started to pre-drill my holes. More time consuming for sure, but definitely saves a lot of boards in the end.

One side completed... the side I see when I drive up, so can pretend it's all finished.
The other short side is half way done.

At first I thought I was going to use a block to help guide the spacing of the boards, but Lucas recommended I mark the trim instead, and it has been going smoothly (and I think ended up an easier way when working solo). It takes me a long time to put up though, since after every board I have to stand back and contemplate on how pretty it looks. I have to say that it's very rewarding, after working on all the important foundation and internal structure parts, to have something finished that is part of the final look.

Marks as transferred to the trim.
using a cut block for consistency, I marked out my level using tape,
and then transferred those marks to the trim. 

The other VERY exciting thing is the door. On Saturday, while Margaret stained (with penetrating clear oil) the siding and touched up screw holes in the trim (with wood epoxy), Dawn's husband Pete came and put in the doors. For a little while I had been worried that I had underestimated the amount of window space the house needed. Once the doors were in, though, it became clear that there is more than enough. And now the house is almost winter ready- just in time too.

Pete and the doors! A little tricky because they are out-swing... but it will make more sense when I put in the door sweep and the removable awning. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Typar is a definitely a two person endeavor

So unless you want to be giggling and cursing simultaneously, I strongly recommend that you don't attempt wrapping a house solo - especially on a windy day. It is done, however. After a how-to demonstration from Walter on the larger window I was able to install all the others. And the fascia boards are completely up too. I'm actually surprised how much has gotten done with only being able to dedicate a few hours here and there after work, with the occasional Saturday thrown in.

Next is the ice water shield. Lucas helped me install the first strip, which was really intimidating. I got the Grace brand, which is supposed to be one the best. This also means it is one of the stickiest and gooiest. But now I know how to do it... I think. We'll see come Monday.

Walter putting the finishing touches on the big window.

In the design I thought I might have too many windows, but now that they are in it seems just right.

Walter is the first to graffiti the house.

It seems like every contractor has their own way of sealing the windows. I may have obsessed over it a bit too much, but went as much by the book as I could.  
To put up the fascia boards without a second pair of hands I just added this aluminum angle pieces to butt up to.

Because there are no eaves to speak of, the fascia boards are beveled along the bottom. This way the siding can sneak under it a little, creating a second kind of drip edge. The side edges are cut at at a 45 angle, this way the bevel can't be seen from the sides.

There's the first strip of ice water shield. The drip edge is installed first, which also makes it very easy to cut off the excess. Lucas also recommended nailing it down a bit so it doesn't move. Not that it would unstick, but it kind of feels like gel shoe inserts. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sheathing finally finished

So Margaret and a new friend, Pete, came out to help me push through the final steps of sheathing.  Everything else thus far I have been able to fumble through or research enough to fake it, but for some reason the door absolutely terrified me. Pete, who was the only one of us with any actual construction experience figured out how to frame the door, made the door jam, and gave me the long awaited rough opening measurement. With that in hand, and the header and cripple studs in hand, I was able to finish all the sheathing and cutting of the windows the next day. So now I have real walls! The next step will be wrapping the house so that I can begin the roof. The weather this weekend is supposed to be spectacular, so it just waits to be seen how much can be completed before work begins again on Tuesday.

Pete chiseling out for the hinges on the new door jam.

My neighbor Lynn donated this weird snake like tie thingy to the cause, which when soaked in water inflates and helps cool you down. Margaret christened it this past weekend.

One of the ways to hold up plywood when working solo was to use a 2x4 with one screw (so it can turn)
to hold it in place.

And there be the rough opening!

Did a classic drop the box of screws down the ladder, tumbling from step to step, cascading screws falling up to 5 feet away. Turns out Maple likes cleaning, chanting "Rowan's mess" the whole time. Thought it might not be a good idea to let her play with sharp metal objects, but she seems to have more control over her movements than I do....

Then she showed her dad what she learned that day- put the screw on herself and, when we did it,
 even pushed the button.

And there she stands- a completed box. Oddly enough the next day when it rained, even with the tarp back on, got the biggest puddle even in the middle of the subfloor. Sure it's due to a rip in the tarp on the roof, but still- more coverage does not usually equal more leakage.

Added some modified drip edge to the bottom of the ply as well. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sheathing finally begins

So after 6 weeks of grad school, and then a few days of sleeping a recuperating, I've finally had the chance to work on the house again. Still, even after about a week of working on it, it doesn't seem like all that much has changed. There was a lot measuring, making decisions, and then re-measuring. Every time I thought I would be able to move on to the sheathing, there would be another thing I would need to add to the to do list before I could move on.

The windows are all finally framed and the hurricane clips are installed. I also bolted the sill plate directly through the floor and to the trailer and bolted the walls together on the ends.

I had to rethink the kitchen windows since the sashes I found would have fit in too snugly to the bathroom wall. Luckily my dad found some old windows in the barn that he graciously framed for me.

Choosing the flooring felt a bit overwhelming. If weight was the sole concern then a laminate of some sort would make the most sense. But I went to a few stores, took the samples down and walked on them barefoot (I'm sure looking a little odd) and nothing felt right. I was considering pine, the douglas fir which is much more durable but is also much more expensive. I ultimately went with bamboo, solid vertical grain with a carbonized finish. Solid enough to reinforce my thinner subfloor and it still possess a warm feeling under toe.

Putting up the sheathing presents a few challenges working solo, but I was able to devise a ways to make it a bit easier. 

At this point there is actually a lot more done, just no pictures yet....

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Plywood on the roof

I have been on hiatus the last few weeks, and will probably be again for the next few as well. Unfortunately. I am currently enrolled in a summer intensive masters program which has me in classes 8:30-8:30 4 days a week, with assignments to be completed on the weekends. I had considered setting up some flood lights, but the next step is to frame out the windows, and I figured I wanted to get that right and not just work on it piecemeal. Where it stands now is that the plywood is on the roof, and a tarp is keeping it all safe until I can get back into it.

I'm so thankful for my dad's shop and his boy toys. My mom ran the forklift, so getting the heaving 1/2 inch ply up to the top was super easy.

I came to the realization that I am not a fan of heights. I was able to do it, but on my knees, or scooting around on my butt. Funny though, because when visiting cn tower in Toronto, I could have literally done a summersault on the glass floor while other people were crawling. It's probably the feeling of (in)stability vs. vertigo. 

Once the plywood was put in place (with spacers screwed along the top plate of the lower wall to ensure uniform overhang) we just propped it up to glue it.

With the tarp on you can actually experience the space. This was the first time that I could actually sense how what I was envisioning my feel like in reality. It was awesome. That, and the ethereal lighting is really calming.

So a for a few years my father has had this big army trailer parked by the shop until he sold it a few months ago. It was supposed to become a mobile storage unit for his rain towers. My mother hated it.... with a passion. Now that the tarp is on my house, it feels like the trailer has made its way back to our yard. Sorry mom.