Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 53 - SIPs

Yesterday and today we installed a total of 15 SIP panels.  So far it is going pretty smoothly with 3 people. Today it was Dad, Briana and me.  I think it would be doable with 2 people.  The skytrak makes things much easier.  We figured out that we can drill a hole in the panel and put a chain through to pick up the panels with the skytrak, then put the panel in place.  Level, square, nail and screw.  Once we figured out the process it went pretty quickly.

More to come.  Come back and check out our progress frequently.  If anyone is really interested in helping or seeing how these SIPs work, speak up now because it is moving pretty fast.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

delivery day

First of all, a huge thank you to Tony Belmont and Step Morgan. Without their help yesterday, none of this would have been possible. Thank you!
I arrived at the site yesterday with a 18 wheeler with curtained side wall right in front.
I knew right away something wasn't quite right before I got there. It turned out that the SkyTrac "arms" weren't long enough for the 8' panels. They were only 4' long. The rental company had ordered the arm extensions the day before and they didn't have them available. So, with some wrangling and lots of straps, they very carefully unloaded the panels.

I'm pretty sure I didn't breathe until the first set of panels had been set down. I realized, for my sanity and blood pressure, that I couldn't watch. I was a nervous wreck. It took 1.5 hours to unload and about three hours to sort and organize them. Garage panels on the garage slab, upstairs panels are on the back patio, first floor panels are scattered around waiting to be put up. All the panels are numbered and they correspond to the plans. Basically, a giant puzzle.

If you'd like to help out or get a better idea about SIPs, let me know and I'll give you the information to our site. We will be out there this weekend, July 30-31.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

on the truck

There is excitement in the air today, our SIP wall panels are on the truck and will be delivered this afternoon. The skytrack has been delivered this morning and we've got two septic people coming out, as well. A busy day, indeed. Of course, I decided to stay at the shop and make a batch of soap. Now I'm waiting for the temperature of the lye to go down so I can finish up here. I'm so excited, I can't wait to go out and see all 89 (!) panels!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 46 - Sole plates.....

DONE!  Ready for SIPs to arrive.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Getting ready.....

The SIPs will be here Wednesday around 1pm.  I have reserved a SkyTrak to be delivered Wednesday by 10am.  That will give me time to, first, learn how to operate this machine and second, move the lumber around that is currently there.  This is when things start getting very busy.  We will have as much work as we can handle.

The last few work days have been used installing the sole plates.  This morning I got almost all of them bolted down around the house before I ran out of washers and nuts.  I'll finish that up this evening and get starting doing the same thing on the garage/shop.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 39 - Lumber, etc.

No pictures this time, but we have been working on cutting and intalling j-bolts, sole(sill,base) plates.  It's been very hot, so we have been going out for a few hours in the morning and again in the evening.  I feel like we have gotten a lot accomplished, even though it doesn't really look like it.

More later!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 36 - All concrete is poured.....

The slab for the main part of the house was poured Tuesday morning!  That pretty much completes the foundation portion of this project.  We will start installing base plates this weekend and maybe even frame a couple of the interior walls.  Our SIP kit will start arriving at the end of next week, so exterior walls will start going up next weekend!  This is the part where B and I will do most of the labor ourselves.  We will require some extra muscle at times if anyone wants to come play.  Food and beverage will be provided on group friend/family work days.  We will announce work days soon.  We will also provide the menu for the day.  Stay tuned.....


Monday, July 11, 2011

Our first house....

The second picture is the "before" taken about May 2002 and the first picture is the "after" taken April 2007. I still had my Georgia tags on my Passat. We bought the cottage on the hill in April 2002 and lived in it until March 2011. We did so many improvements, but the major addition was completed in the winter of 2005. We added on a laundry room, master bedroom, walk in closet and bath. We also constructed a screened porch, carport and driveway at that same time. The addition was almost like building a new house, on a smaller scale. We did joke at times that it was all we really needed to live in. I think tackling that project, along with all the other projects, has helped prepare ourselves in this home building project. I often find myself thinking about the finishes, cabinets, paint, and tile that we used and how I want to use them again in this house. And I'm o.k. with that, it just shows I really like 1" hexagon tile, the color "Ochre", simple shaker cabinets and beadboard.

Friday, July 8, 2011

fun light fixture

I've been scouring the internet looking for light fixtures lately. Not quite obssesed but I've been checking out e-bay, craiglist, lighting universe and the big box guys regularly. We've picked up lights here and there and I found this cutie at Home Depot. I love the color and the simple, vintage look. It will be going in the boy's bathroom over the vanity. The price isn't too bad, either! It is $24.57, marked down from $70.20. I also purchased the matching ceiling mounted fixture on clearance. The best part.... is that the boys loved it! Sandler thought it was so cool that it was red, because you know, it's his favorite color!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 29 - Concrete

Concrete was poured on the garage and shop today.  The back patio was also formed up to get ready to pour that and the breezeway tomorrow.  We are still working on the house area getting all the insulation in place.  It will be ready to pour early next week.

I tasted our well water today.  It tastes a lot like the water in town, only without the hint of chlorine.  So I guess that makes it even better. AND I don't have any GI problems yet as a result.  We are going to have it tested to see what kind of filtration we will need.

I also finished installing all the radiant heat floor PEX pipe.

Pictures of today's activities:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 27 - Almost ready to pour concrete.....

It was a busy and productive 4th of July weekend at Larkmartin Farms.  Sunday & yesterday B & I installed most of  the radiant heat flooring PEX.  So we have these staples that came with the radiant floor kit that are supposed to attach the pex to the insulation.  Apparently there is a special tool that makes inserting these little staples easy.  We don't have that special tool, so now we have very sore fingers from pushing these devil staples into the foam.  That's not even the best part!  We have one more roll of PEX to install.  Our poor thumbs might just fall off unless we can find steel thumbed gloves or something.  Milo (3) went out to the property with us last night to work.  We were working on the nice smooth insulation that has a vapor barrier on bottom and top.  Vapor barrier actually makes the perfect "slip-n-slide"! Milo was down to his undies and was running and sliding through puddles.  So funny!  Wish I had some video, but we were too busy installing PEX for any of that nonsense.  I really wanted to join him in the fun, but I couldn't leave B doing all the work.  

We worked Saturday morning putting down the insulation.  Sunday morning we went out to work a while, went to home warehouse store and back out to work.  When we went back out to work later in the morning, it was so hot on that white plastic covered insulation!  Bright hot sun beating down from above and the reflection of it working on us from below.  Needless to say, we didn't last very long.  So we decided to be smart and go out that evening, bring some lights and work for a while.  It was actually nice until we had to turn on the lights!  One word, BUGS!!!  Wow.  Monday morning we both had a little motivation difficulty and didn't work before the 4th of July parade that we planned on going to.  A beautiful thing happened that afternoon.  It rained!  And we went out to work that evening and the temperature was perfect, still a little overcast and Milo had a blast.  We got a lot done.  
Anyway, here are some pictures of the last couple of days work.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 24 - Water, Water everywhere.....

.....but I can't pump any.  Yet!  Only because there isn't any power hooked up to it.
The well was drilled today.  The well driller guy said it is the best well he has drilled in a long time.  Plenty of water (>40gpm capability), cleared up quickly and was in an aquifer under quartz.  Which I guess is a good thing.

There was a little hiccup the other day with the plumber knocking a few block down.  We informed the block mason (Virgil) , and he came out this morning and repaired it.  56 blocks were disturbed!  It's  Virgil's birthday today and being the 4th of July weekend, I was shocked when he told me he would repair it today.  AND the plumber that bumped the block is coming out tomorrow (SUNDAY) morning to install the last thing he needs to install.  SUNDAY!  Where in the word did I find these guys? (Thanks Larry Wagner w/ Top Notch Construction for sharing your sources).


Master bath plumbing...

 More master bath plumbing....

Powder room plumbing.....

The plan for the weekend and coming week is:
  • Put insulation down and lay out pex for radiant floor (weekend)
  • Pour concrete in garage and shop area. (Tuesday)
  • Electrician to install some conduit and electrical box that is to be in the slab, and run temporary power to the well pump so we can keep concrete cool. (Tuesday?)
That's all I know for now.
Happy Independence weekend!

Friday, July 1, 2011


The well guy called today and said they would drill our well tomorrow instead of Tuesday. Someone is going to work on Saturday of a three day 4th of July weekend. Imagine that. I guess it is July Fools Day, right? Maybe he was just kidding. We'll see in the morning I guess.

Good night.