Tuesday, July 31, 2007

West wall

Put up the west facing t 1-11 today. As there was no convenient place to get a lever positioned to hold the siding up I nailed a 2x4 level across the ends of the flooring beams 9foot and 1/16th of an inch below the top line for the siding. I also nailed scrap wood on top of the top plate with some overhang to give me a "stop" for the top of the siding. I lifted the siding sheets up till they contacted the stop plate and then set the bottom edge on the 2x4. This worked very well and actually made putting up the siding by myself fairly easy.

Monday, July 30, 2007

North wall T1-11

Today I hung the T1-11 on the north wall. Having no helper presented the problem of holding the siding up while running in the first threaded fastener. I solved this by using a length of 2x4 ,wedged into the cross bracing under the structure, as a lever to apply pressure to the bottom of the sheet of ply. I held the end of the lever with one hand while running in the screw with the other.

Monday, July 23, 2007

roof sheathing

Today we finally got to put the roof sheathing on. The first (lower) course on each side we held from the inside and started a nail to hold it while we checked the positioning. A chalk line snapped across the tops of the rafters made this fairly easy. We used toe boards attached with sinkers through the OSB sheathing into the rafters to facilitate nailing on the second and final course of roof sheathing. A 2'x4' opening was left on each side of the roof for access and will be nailed on last using a ladder to get on the roof and the toe boards to stand on. Then the toe boards will come off to allow the roofing felt to be installed. As a course of felt is installed then a row of toe borads will be reinstalled to stand on to then put on the next course of felt. Brian (seen on the roof) will go home tomorrow morning. I think we both will be somewhat glad of that so we can each get some rest. We have really burnt the candle at both ends for the last two weeks. I am sad to see him go though as he is a great friend and co worker. He plans to return in Oct/Nov for another round of work. Before then I have lots to keep me busy.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rafters, flying rafters, tyvek, siding

A heavy-duty work day. All rafters installed this A.M. We managed to get 3 of 4 flying rafters off the gable ends of the building installed - the last one didn't happen due to bad lumber: either a sloppy supplier or incompetent work crew (that would be us) picking out the wood. We'll run to town if possible tomorrow to buy the replacement board. Despite this the frame is quite lovely at this point. Too bad we have to cover it up.

Moving right along, we put up the Tyvek housewrap. Pretty great stuff, a water barrier that lets vapor through, and prevents air infiltration. Of course the wind came up when we started working with the Tyvek, making the job much noiser and difficult, but pressing on we had it up by late afternoon.

Along the way we put up 3 siding panels on the east end, and our beautiful frame is now obscured. Before the end of the day we managed to get one siding panel up on the the North side.
Plan for tomorrow: Put up enough siding to stabilize the building (probably one or two more sheets,) then affix the roof sheathing. If we can get the sheathing on by the end of the day then most of the remaining work can be handled by a single worker without much trouble - the heaviest two-man work will have been accomplished.
We're exhausted, completely spent. Tyvek is way harder to put up then we thought, it took hours, with lots of running the ladders around the exterior to tack it down, tape the seams, and keep it from blowing away in the gusts.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ridge beam, rafters, software saves the day

We had a little bit of a panic (or at least I did) when I checked over the design this morning in anticipation of putting up rafters - with the last re-design I had less than 6' clearance between the bottom of the eaves and the top of the finished floor. In other words you'd be hitting your head on the eaves when walking on the deck outside the building. Furthermore, shortening the eaves to get a proper clearance meant cutting all the metal roofing, which we had already had custom cut to a specific length. On top of all this I suddenly realized that I'd neglected to order the edging pieces for the steel roof (gables, eaves, ridge). Much woe and cursing and gnashing of teeth.

Fortunately a bit of brainstorming and yet another redesign in the software yielded an acceptable solution: the eaves will now sport horizontal cuts.

Now the steel will fit and the clearance is adequate.
Work today (after the intensive drawing session) consisted of cutting the rafters to length with the proper angles, chopping out "birdsmouth" notches on the rafters, fabricating the ridge beam from two 2x10 x 12' boards, putting up temporary ridge beam support, and installing 3 pairs of rafters.
Just 3 rafter sets and it's starting to look like a proper building now...

Today also we discovered a neighboring property is for sale and had a longish discussion about easements and views and rural economics. We could hear the annual stock car races roaring tinnily in the distance. We chased a herd of open range cows from the property, Snoozer was quite annoyed with them. Hermitages can be complicated.
Lesson of the day: Check headroom early and often in software, and especially before ordering materials. Plan in haste, regret at liesure.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Remaining walls, loft

The last two walls went up today, and after squaring the frame we put on the joists for the loft.
The two of us managed assemble and erect to put up a 12-foot wall with 1 window in about an hour, with the pieces all pre-cut. Squaring the whole building took about 3 hours as we fumbled between trying to get it square and trying to get the walls plumb. All the compromises eventually ended up within reasonable tolerances.

If fortune continues to smile upon us tomorrow we'll proceed with tossing up a temporary loft deck and putting on the ridge and rafters. The main goal is to have the roof on before end of day Monday - which gives us three work days.

Snoozer apparently ate too many wood chips and gave us a surprise delivery on the deck this afternoon. He prefers to conduct such business on freshly cut or painted lumber rather than lowly dirt or grass.
Rain puddled in the SW corner of the deck and so we're planning to put in a small floor drain to carry away any future water buildups that might occur.
Today's lesson: Measure twice, cut once. I made a $8 board into a $4 board by mis-cutting this afternoon.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rain, more shopping

It's been raining on and off for the last several days. Seems a bit wet for July.
Today we made another trip to town for materials. Lots of talking to lumber-yard personnel, store owners, clerks and so forth. Eventually we got it all loaded and back to the site.

At this point we have everything to get the building dried in. Budget-wise we're at about $5900, and we have foundation, floor, frame, siding, roof, and top-bottom insulation. Yet to come: doors & windows, interior finish, counters and cabinets, appliances and furnishings. We're unlikely to make our original $10K budget, but we might hit the recently revised $12K number.
When we got back on site it started raining again so we set up in the barn and cut pieces for walls for tomorrow. Snoozer decided to take a nap beneath the saw table as he's happiest underfoot.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Raising Walls

Our wonderful visitors departed this morning and after a big lunch we went back to the site with hammers in hand, pounded togther and raised the two long walls. It rained all morning, and several times in the afternoon. Temperatures ranged from mid-80's to maybe low 70's - a very beautiful day.
With help from Snoozer we got it done.

After deciding to end the work day after the 2nd wall was up, a hummingbird came and hovered over the deck for a few seconds - clearly a blessing.
Today's screwup: Interior wall nailing surfaces don't actually face each other. Easy to fix, but a bit of a puzzle how it crept into the drawings.

Today's Lessons Learned:
  • Avoid warped lumber on top or bottom plates. You can crank out the warp with pressure, but it creates a lot of work places for errors to creep in.
  • Laying out top & bottom plates can be done in a single pass with plates aligned face up on the deck.
  • Be careful to get the wall oriented correctly before doing layout ( I had inside/outside reversed)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Quick re-design

No photo today, not much to show.
Spent most of today on the computer redesigning the North and West walls, at my Dad's observation that the view would be better if we made the entrance on the North side and put a view window into the West window. So, the re-designed North wall is all that got started today, and not finished enough to stand it up. Finished the last of the deck and ran a bead of caulk in all seams.
Also we had to order the metal roofing today in order to have it on hand for this weekend, and the process of detailing the roof to get the exact measurements took a couple of hours this morning. Hopefully I've ordered the right stuff. Made another design decision to make the eaves vertical rather than square for the sake of hanging future rain gutters. Included in the order enough accessory metal (trim around the gable and eaves, and ridge cover) pipe boots, sealant, and fasteners to tie it all down. Putting the order together took another 2 hours to figure out what was needed and how much. Fabral, the metal roof manufacturer, appears to make a good product but their installation guide could use a bit more editorial polishing.
Cooler today, only 89 max, and a few actual sprinkles of rain.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Decking Installed (mostly)

1 1/4" tounge & groove plywood subfloor installed on top of the joists. Another tough day. Got on site at 5:00 and primed the plywood, then took a breakfast break. When we tried to assemble the deck we discovered that the T&G didn't mate properly, leaving a 1/2" gap between sheets. So, we had to pull them apart and shave off an 1/8" of shoulder from the tounges to get them to fit. At the end of the day we had all but one sheet installed, at 49 screws per sheet. My dear old dad dropped in to oversee the operation for a couple of days.
Lessons of the day:
  • Don't trust T&G, measure the tounges and grooves to see if they'll actually fit.
  • Just because your diagonals between corners are equal and thus your perimeter is square, doesn't mean your joists are also square and parallel. ( I had to sister a 2x4 to one of the joists to get the edge of one sheet on a nailing surface due to a non-parallel joist).
  • Align subfloor at a snapped chalk line at some reliably straight/square edge.
  • Bessey clamps rule.

  • Chalklines are quick and easy for aligning arrays of screws.
  • Edge stapling the fibreglass insulation backing paper to the floor joist edges just makes installation of the subfloor harder, and gets all torn up when shifting sheets around, may not be really worthwhile.
  • The squareness of every step (e.g. the posts, beams, joists, rims, etc.) adds up and contributes to the sqareness of subsequent steps. Corrections become more difficult as you go along
  • Start square, strive for square, stay square as much as possible. Don't compromise your square. Think square, live square, be square. Square is good.
Tomorrow: Walls, with any luck.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Deck Rat wire, tyvek, insulation

Spent an entire day installing hardware cloth on the underside of the deck, then a lining of tyvek housewrap, then R21 insulation. Tomorrow maybe we'll start with the actual decking.
Lessons of the day:
  • Rat wire takes much more effort and time to install than seems reasonable.
  • Everything takes longer than you expect. Four hours always turns out to be eight hours, if it's the first time you're doing something.
  • Opening up a bale of fibreglass insulation by cutting the plastic cover with a knife involves a sudden explosive expansion of volume, resulting in bats of insulation lying face down in the dirt, unless one is quite careful and anticipates the popcorn effect.
  • Puppies are very cute and playful and fun, but at a work site they get bored and start stealing your work gloves and chewing on aluminum cans and generally getting underfoot. Bear this in mind and allow for it.

The Work Crew

On site, early in the morning: Brian, Roger, Snoozer

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rim Joists

Rim joists attached after a bit of struggle and another trip to the lumber yard. Fortunately we had two big Bessey clamps and could convince our warpy-waney joist lumber to create an even perimeter.
Next up: Bracing and cross bracing, attach rat wire to the underside, insulate, and deck.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Joists completed


There was a little trouble getting the joists square - we laid out the spacing on one beam, but couldn't get the diagonals to match at first without the possibly shortening the building by an inch. Lesson: Don't trim the beams until after the joists are squared up.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Big Shopping Trip

Drove 250 miles and dropped $1300 on materials at Home Depot and several other lumber yards. Driving out and back and pulling all the material (96 studs, 35 sheets of plywood, 3 bales of insulation, 5 rolls of rat wire, and on and on...) was a big work day, we're wiped out after getting it to the site. Very hot day, around 103 F / 39 C.
Nothing to show but a big pile of materials. Some proper building to start tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Beams installed, footings ready for backfill

Visiting crewmember arrived on site, very hot, 102 Farenheit / 39 Celcius. Much dirt to move. Lucky for us we have a backhoe handy...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Posts and beams installed

Today I built the beams using 2x10 pressure treated wood with a sandwich filling of 1/2" exterior grade plywood. The beams are exactly 18' long. The two layers of pressure treated 2x10 have coated screws every one foot and then 10d galvinized sinkers every 6" in two rows on each side. The seams are off set as I used a ten foot and an eight foot board on each side. Look for the crown on the beam when layed on end and place it up when installing on the posts.

I also cut the posts for the eight footings today. Using a string and string level I determined the difference in elevation between each footing top using the highest one as the standard. I then determined how high I wanted the Kuti off the ground at the lowest point ( remember you will ALWAYS want to get under the building at some point ) and factored that into my equation. I then installed the posts on the footings using treated 3" screws doing my best to get them plumb and level in relation to all of the others.

Next using galvanized clamps I installed the 4x10x18' beams on top of the posts, again using coated screws made for use in pressure treated wood.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

First lumber purchase.

Today I drove to Spokane, 250 miles round trip, and went to Home Depot to buy the first load of lumber. My Dodge is a Ram 2500 with a cummins diesel engine and I have installed after market airbags on the supension so I am able to haul a load near three tons.