Sunday, July 31, 2005

Considering fan options

Click for larger picture.

These are the fans that we are thinking about the house. The fans labelled Gx are options for the Great Room, and the fans labelled Sx are options for the Solarium. The option 1 fans are from Home Depot, and the option 2 fans are from a specialty fan store. The G2 and S2 fans are very quiet and don't wobble at all, not sure if the same would be true about the HD fans.

There probably isn't much utility in getting a fan with a light for the great room, as the fan will be fairly high so the light will not be much use. Because the solarium is a smaller room, a light on a fan there will be more useful.

We will defer purchasing the fans until we are closer to completion, as this is an optional finishing touch. In any case, we will have the wiring, etc, installed for the fan, and leave it for later if needed.

I really love S2 - Emerson Kitty Hawk in maple and brushed steel - it really does look like a biplane. The cost for that is 3.5x the cost of S1, however (!). (The cost for G2 is about 2xG1.)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Day 113 - preparing the basement floor

This week the crew spent several days stripping the scaffolding support for the main floor, and stacking up all the roll bars.

These are the stacked up roll bars waiting to be lifted out of the basement with a crane and sent back to Canam-Hambro.

This is what the basement looks like without all the support structure and plywood for holding up the main floor. Some of the reflective bubble wrap is falling down a bit, but that will be fixed later.

The basement is nice and bright with the big windows.

This is what the Insul-tarp looks like.

The exterior is some kind of tough fabric, then there are two layers of thin white foam, then a layer of bubble wrap. Hard to believe this can be equivalent of 2" of styrofoam.

This is the plywood that was previously under the concrete on the main level. It has been removed and is now stacked until it can be reused for the roof sheathing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thank you Kevin & Nancy and Loan and Gerry and Christine!

I have now recovered all of the blog thanks to the following:
- Kevin & Nancy Mayo
(June 30th-July 21st)
- Gerry Kopec (May, June)
- Loan Nguyen (May, June), and last but not least:
- Christine @ Google Blogger Support (the rest of the blog).

Apologies to all those who previously commented - unfortunately your comments were lost with the blog posts... This includes: Aaron the truck driver, Rachel, and others...

Thank you all!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Day 106 - the finished floor

This is Freda standing in the future kitchen eat-in area. I only really have basement floors to compare this to, but I have to say the floor is impeccably finished. Charles says there are some "highs and lows", but I have to say that it sure looks to me like the floor finishing crew really did an awesome job! (This will make it easier when the finish flooring guy comes to do his bit.) On top of it all, it was quite hot and humid yesterday, so it must have been quite unpleasant. On the other hand, it rained yesterday (quite heavily at the start -- the wind and rain were ripping leaves off trees!) which would help keep the concrete damp so it doesn't cure too quickly (and then crack!).

This photo shows the window bucks that the crew put together in preparation for the walls on the main level. There's a lot of wood in them thar bucks (all 2x12 except at the base), which means they are heavy... This photo also shows the concrete floor deck and the Canam-Hambro joists that are holding it all up.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Day 105 - Pouring the main floor

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

Levelling the floor slab.

Pouring the slab

This is the temporary manifold that was set up in order to pressure test the Wirsbo tubing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Day 104 - ready to pour main floor slab

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

Installation and pressure testing of the Wirsbo tubing has been completed. Tomorrow, the main floor slab is poured. 8 days late, according to the day 89 plan. Pictures tomorrow.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Day 99 - critical condition

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

The man who was hit by lightning is in critical condition. Story here.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Day 98 - and so the wire mesh finally arrives

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

We were 6 or 7 sheets short of the wire mesh. This meant the crew could not finish with the Wirsbo tubing and prepping for pouring the floor (which was anticipated to happen on Wednesday). The supplier was short by 3 or 4 sheets of wire mesh when the rest was delivered, unfortunately this delayed the completion of prepping the floor for the concrete pour. As a result, the pour will be delayed until Monday. (We were originally short 3-4 sheets of mesh, but the driver who delivered them wrecked 3 sheets when he dropped off the original order, so we were short a total of 6 or 7.)

We had a tremendous lightning storm yesterday, unfortunately for this guy who was struck by lightning. (He's in critical condition.) Charles was on the floor deck when there was distant thunder and he felt the hair raising on his arms, so he got off there quickly (very wise move!). Since our house will be the tallest thing around (until a neighbour builds a 2-story house), I talked with Charles about getting a lightning rod or something like that. This isn't in the budget, but we are thinking this is something we really need to do. A few thousand...

Received the "customer service contract" from Hydro One. This is to open an account and connect the house to the hydro grid. I have to sign the contract and return with payment before they will do anything.

And now for something completely different...

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

Here's something a little puzzling to amuse you for a minute... (You need to have Flash installed.)

A construction joke

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

A guy at work told me this joke yesterday:

Q. What's the one question you can ask to find out if a construction project is over budget and behind schedule?
A. Have you started yet?

Hahahah - ouch, the truth hurts!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Day 65 - ready for the concrete pour #2 (basement walls)...

Post recovered by Gerry! Many thanks, Gerry!!

Friday June 10th, 2005

The scaffolding system. The string is to align the walls, keep them straight. The scaffolding reminds me of the battlements on castles, specifically the parapet...

Looking at the garage and master bedroom suite from the rear.

The Hambro steel joists

Friday, July 08, 2005

Day 92 - Installation of Wirsbo tubing

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

Tawny found this water within a minute of us arriving at the land. This water is in the trench by our well. It was really funny watching her frolic in the water, sticking her head under the water to get the Kong, etc.

Just a quick reminder - you can click on any photo to see it full size.

Friday was a hot day, but not brutally hot (unlike the forecast for the coming week) as there was a nice breeze. Freda made some shortcakes and prepared some strawberry shortcakes for the crew (L-R: Chris, Dave, Steve) as a little break in the afternoon. These guys were slathering on sunscreen liberally when working on the foil bubble wrap, but Steve got a sunburn around his eyes as he didn't have any sunglasses.

Here the sheets of wire mesh have been wire-wrapped together already. Now Chris is fastening the Wirsbo tubing, for the radiant heating, to the mesh. Chris bends a straight piece of wire around the mesh and the tube, hooks the two circles on the end of that wire onto the tool, and a few quick turns of the wrist - presto, the wire is tied off neatly.

Here Dave is measuring out the run of the Wirsbo tubing. Each run must be no more than a total of 300 feet. Hey Wirsbo, here's a suggestion to reduce installation time -- print a thick band around the tube every 10 feet, then measuring the length of the run would be a simple matter of counting the thick bands.

Here is what it looks like when the heating tube installation is completed. This shows the heating tubes that are installed in the master suite and part of the kitchen.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Day 90 - Installation of boots and bubble wrap insulation

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

This is a view of the main floor with the reflective foil insulation partially installed, and the "boots" (the black cones) installed for the plumbing. A double layer of the wire mesh will be installed and tie-wrapped together, and then the Wirsbo tubing will be fastened to it. The electrician will be coming on Friday to install the boots he needs for the electrical, etc.

It was really surprising how effective that reflective foil is. It was a decent day - not too hot - but if you stood on top of the foil bubble wrap, it instantly felt like it was about 10 degrees hotter!

This is a photo of the crew preparing to put the wire mesh down. Steve, for example, is tucking the foil backed bubble wrap between the plywood and the steel joists. This is so the concrete will not stick to the plywood at the edge and to help seal that joint to prevent any leaks.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Day 89 - schedule revisited...

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

We've had several cracks at the schedule (the last time being day 42, May 18th). According to that view, the truss installation would have been completed on June 28th. Given that the prep work for the main floor is still in progress, that is clearly not the case.

We sat down today and worked out the plan with Charles. We need to know the construction schedule in order to negotiate a closing date with any buyer for our current house. If the construction schedule does not follow this plan reasonably closely, then that could cause us a major problem.

So this is now the plan:
now to July 13th
Prep for main floor pour: install boots for electrical, plumbing, etc; install and tie double layer of wire mesh and Wirsbo heating tubing (more than 5 billion feet installed). In the basement, complete and inspect subfloor services (plumbing) in preparation for basement floor.

July 15
Order trusses (need 50% deposit)

July 14-22
In basement, install Insultarp over crushed rock, single layer of wire mesh, and Wirsbro tubing, pour concrete (pump hose will go through stairwell hole.

July 25-27
Complete backfill and rough grading, make plans to get rid of excess fill material.

July 28-August 12
Install ICF walls on main level.

August 15-September 2
Install wall plates (on top of walls as prep for trusses). Install trusses with hurricane ties, and roof sheathing installed. (The plywood we are reusing for the roof sheathing will cover about half the roof.)

September 6
Start shingling and interior work

September 12
Start installation of interior partitions and rough-in for mechanicals (electrical, plumbing).

September 23
Shingling complete, window and door installation complete -- now ready to drywall. After this, the exterior finishing work can proceed independently from the interior. This includes the following activities: installation of stone, stucco, soffits/fascia, septic, etc.

September 26-30
Pre-drywall inspections and final touches (e.g. sound insulation around bedrooms, laundry room, and bathrooms).

October 3-21
Install drywall. "Prime check" around Oct 19/20 to ensure no obvious issues with drywall installation. There is no stipple on the ceilings, so imperfections will be easily visible.
The cabinet supplier can come in and take final measurements at this stage.

October 24-28
Painting - except trim.

October 31-November 18
Installation of trim and flooring.

November 21-25
Installation of finish work for electrical and plumbing.

November 28th
We move in!!!!

Actually, that's just there to kid Charles.

November 28-January 13
Complete punch list.

January 20
Move date - yippee!!!

Well, now we shall see...

Finishing early is likely not a problem. Coming in late, however, would be a major problem, especially if we sell our house with a mid-January closing date.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Science of Thermal Mass Effect

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

Understanding Thermal Mass Effect: The science of why ICF is so energy efficient.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Doors: why is this hard? (or: is Home Depot stupid???)

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

Masonite Palazzo series, Bellagio doorLast winter, Freda and I found a classy but contemporary looking door on the Masonite web site. We thought this Bellagio door (from the Palazzo series) would look really nice in our new house.

We knew Home Depot (HD) carried Masonite exterior doors, so we went to the nearest HD store and asked about it. Seargent Shultz was working that day and he responded "we know nothing"...

So I called the 800 number for Masonite - and was told that these doors are carried by HD and Rona. Went to HD again, same Sergeant Schultz story! This was frustrating! Masonite was telling us the doors were available at HD but the local store continued to disavow all knowledge.

Tawny JUne 28/05One of the advantages of having a dog is that you meet a lot of other people who have dogs. We remembered that we met a person, Robin, who worked in the Widows and Doors section at a nearby HD store (not the closest one), so we made a trek out to that location. Robin said yes, he had heard about these doors (finally!) and they were supposed to be available in Canada in May (this was back in March). Okay we said, we will come back in June (in case there is a delay).

Well, this was the last week of June so we decided to check out the local HD again. Again, Seargent Shultz was there and said they weren't available. We called Robin, and he said they should have some in the store but they were misplaced (unbelievable!) and we should call back in a few days so he could try to track them down.

By this point, I'm not much interested in giving Home Depot more business. (I should mention that I also called Rona but nobody ever called me back.) So I call Masonite again to confirm that HD and Rona are the suppliers, affirmative. Then I ask for the number of the actual distributor so I can find out who sells the product in the Ottawa area. The Masonite call centre lady was really nice but didn't want to give that information out, although she eventually was persuaded after I told her this tale of ineptitude with HD.

So then I call the distributor who, it turns out, covers eastern Ontario but not Ottawa (covered out of the Montreal office). Nevertheless, in about three minutes I have the names of 4 suppliers in Ottawa. I call the two closest ones and find that yes, they do sell these Masonite Palazzo series of doors although they do not stock them. One of these suppliers said they can supply the doors pre-mounted, with three hinges/door and a good quality jamb and stop (not the fast-fit junk), so we are going to drop by that place on Monday to check it out.

Bubble wrap == easy peasy

Post recovered by Kevin! Many thanks, Kevin!!

These are the gigantic rolls of bubble wrap. This is used to make it easy to remove the plywood after the main floor is poured. As previously noted, the plywood will be reused as roof sheathing.