Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Up and up we go...

So, our next floor of ICF was ready to go. Again this was a busy time, hence I have very few pictures. At first it seemed as though we were moving faster than before, and I thought we had really figured out a great system. Soon, we had many more window and door bucks that did slow us down a little. We were moving along so quickly at first that we had 4 feet in what seemed like no time at all. With blue skies we were eager to keep going and try to get as much ICF laid as possible. The rule is however that once you have 4 feet of ICF laid, you need to start bracing the walls. With such a beautiful day and great progress being made we completely overlooked this rule. Come mid afternoon, I looked at the sky to the east and saw complete blackness. A storm was rolling in and it was coming fast. Before long, our calm, clear day, was suddenly extremely windy, with lightning and rain. The wind actually blew down the 4 feet of our North wall and was working hard to undo all of our efforts on the East wall. We scrambled to get the braces up and in place in time to save the rest of our ICF walls from blowing over. Luckily, though hectic and insane, it was all saved and we managed to repair our North wall without to much effort (thanks to our overzealous use of zip ties, the wall stayed pretty much together when it fell down and only a few pieces had to be repaired. Things were moving along. Around this time D. had recommended a local young fellow to help us with the ICF. Dan had done a little ICF work before and D. thought it would help us move things a long. Jeremy, was happy for the extra set of hands, and I was happy to have someone else around to help with the ICF, especially when we got above 5 feet and needed the scaffolding up again. As mentioned earlier, not being a fan of heights, looking over the edge of the top of the house while standing on the scaffolding was not my favourite feeling. He was a welcome addition to our little crew…bringing it from 2 to 3. The last concrete pour for the walls was completed just before the end of the summer. Soon Jeremy would be returning to school and the hours we were going to be able to commit to the site was going to drastically decrease. D. came on board with us for the Month of September. He and Dan were able to put on the roof system and trusses in a few days and finally our house was starting to come together. Around the same time another fellow named Joe came on board with us. His job was to help wrap the house in the EPS sheets (extra 4 inches of styrofoam) and then he was going to do the stucco. Things were still moving forward. In the summer we had spent a few days digging a trench for the electrical lines to the house, and laying the large wire so it was ready for the electrician to set up our electrical boxes and help us get electricity to the site. Jeremy also spent several days working with the plumber and the backhoe operator installing our septic system. The money he was able to save doing this job instead of having someone else do it was incredible and well worth his efforts. On days when heavy equipment was on site (such as the back ho) it really did not make any sense for the boys to be around so we had a "free day" on those days. That being said, it usually was a day to catch up on the very neglected chores and work that was required at home at the place we were living (or at least sleeping at). Looking back though I appreciate Jeremy's can-do attitude and his interest to do and brave any task. With his attention to detail I am confident that many of these jobs were only made better by having Jeremy so involved in each and every step of the house. It really seemed as though things began to derail a little when it was time for him to go back to work (another story for another post). At any rate, we had dug a hole and placed our cistern, Jeremy had spent a few days installing our septic field, we had electricity, the walls of our house were up, and the summer was over. Not to bad for 2 months work. We spent the evenings at the site, prepping for the basement and garage slab pours. We had hired a company to do 6 inches of 2 lb closed cell spray foam for insulation underneath the basement slab. Once the spray foam was in place we snapped the lines for our in-floor heating (radiant heating) and while the boys watched a movie, Jeremy and I spent a few evenings laying the in floor heating lines in our basement and garage. Once this was done, D. was ready to do our last and final concrete pour, our basement slab and our garage slab. At this stage, the weather was starting to turn. We needed heaters to help dry the concrete. It was a long long day for D. but he did great work and we had an actual basement floor and garage floor. Because we were doing the labor ourselves for so many of these tasks, at times this would frustrate D. as I think it held him up a little on certain tasks. It is not like there was not other jobs to complete while he waited for us to finish ours, but for a busy contractor who is used to cranking out the houses in record time, our involvement began to become a bit of a source of frustration for him at times. He often questioned and disagreed or discouraged our reasoning for certain choices…the extra 4 inches of EPS around the whole house made absolutely no sense to him (as with most people…He was not shy about saying what a stupid idea it was and he felt that we were going to run into all sorts of problems with it, one of which was going to be that it would not pass inspection. Worried, I called the inspector who came out, looked at it and had no qualms about what we were doing. But D. found other things to gripe about and generally did not seem to happy with our site anymore. One of those things was our Heating System. We were really hoping to stay completely away from gas hookups entirely. We had explored several heating options but as we were so consumed with the tasks and work each day at the site during the summer, we had not committed or completely figured out how we were actually going to heat our house…(admittedly not a minor detail to leave for the last moment). As such, while we figured some of our details out, D. started building another house in town and was off our site. Not to big of a deal as we had electrical and plumbing to tackle anyway. And of course…what to do about our heating…..

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