Monday, May 26, 2008

The East Roof and East Windows

This is a special holiday sized post. We worked for an hour or so on Friday night, most of Saturday, and until early afternoon on Monday. It was a gorgeous weekend.

Andy and Chris finished the East roof on Saturday morning, then put up the ridge peak. They may look quite comfortable, but that roof is pretty tough on knees and ankles. There are just a few screws left to finish, and then we won't need to be back up there until we put in the vent stack for plumbing and the chimney pipe for the wood stove. It cleans up a bit of space in the backyard, too - it's nice to see the roof up and installed instead of laying around.

Karen took these pictures, and this one gives a better sense of scale. It's a long way up there. We had some rope tied off to a tree and the Subaru, but it kept getting in the way. We only used the rope after we had put the last piece of roofing up, and no longer had the lathing strips to walk along.
The rarely photographed East side, just after the roof was finished.It's a good feeling to know that we won't need to mess around with tarps anymore. They kept a lot of moisture out of the house, but they are a real hassle.

Karen is working on some bits between the dining room. I had a great close-up shot of her swinging the hammer, with insulation particles in the sunlight, a woman very focused on her work. She made me promise not to publish it, but this one's good, too.
Eli was helping to measure. He's quite happy to pose for pictures. Andy replaced our temporary stair treads with the actual 2x12 treads we'll use permanently. He's cutting a piece of sheathing for Karen now.
The new stair treads are installed here. We don't have the kick boards put up yet, but since that will require a lot of ripping with the table saw, we'll wait until we have that up at the house before we do all of them.
Wow... all clean! We had some company over to the house on Monday for a Memorial Day BBQ, and while I'd like to say that we cleaned the house before they arrived, we didn't. There's always so much to do! So yes, our guests cleaned our house for us. Yep, we'll have them over again. :) Note our shrinking stack of windows here, too. Our window count is as follows: 18 standard size, 2 kitchen size, and 4 egress sliders. That's a lot of windows to install, but we have 7 standard windows under our belt now. Not quite on the home stretch, but no longer beginners.
These two are in the North end of the loft, in a bedroom.
These three are in the living room, and look East. They'll let lots of morning sun into the house.
This is the East side of the house, and from this angle, you can see all the windows we've put in so far; two in the upper level on the North side, two in the Northeast corner, and three in the Southeast corner.The parting shot for the day. Karen, Chris, and Brian, a local friend, have all done some work on moving the kitchen window. You can see where Karen has sheathed up the hole for one window, and two bents further South, you can see where Chris and Brian sheathed around the future window. Some trimming of the insulation, then that will come out. The sheathing will be a bit more tricky to trim out, but we'll let you know how that goes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The West Roof

Friday evening was a complete downpour. Hours and hours of steady rain. Saturday, on the other hand, turned out absolutely beautiful. Sunny, low 70's, low humidity, and that perfect crystal clear air that you only see right after a storm. A great day for building.

We worked on three main things on Saturday; installing the roof, installing more insulation, and cleaning out the house. Andy and Chris were there first, then a local friend came by to help for a few hours. Mindy and the boys showed up a couple hours before lunch, and Karen came by just after lunch, when she got out of work. Eventually we were all there, and all busy.

We had never installed a metal roof before, so there was a bit of fiddling as we learned what to do with it all. Chris spoke with John at FirstDay during the week about overhang, cutting the metal, how to carry it, and a few other things.

A few things to note: our Canadian model has nearly 1,600 sq. ft. of roofing area. Each roof piece is 3' wide and 24' long. They are heavy, awkward, and in the sun they get hot. Seriously hot. Too hot to touch, in fact, and we learned to move our hands quickly. Even so, we both ended up with sore spots on our left hands where we braced against the roof. John recommends a cordless drill for this job. We agree that it would be slightly easier without cords, but we chose to spend $4 on gas rather than $100 for two inexpensive cordless drills.

This is how we began:

1) Measure the roof to see if it's square. It was pretty close, and the roof peak was about 1/4" longer than the bottom edge of the roof.

2) Carry a roof piece to the corner of the house that will be seen first. This was a tip from John, and since that corner happens to be on the right hand side of the roof, it worked out well.

3) Place the roof piece with the correct amount of overhang, as measured from the roof peak.

4) Punch a hole in the roof with a 20d nail, then screw the roof piece in place in that one spot only.

5) Measure the bottom of the roof piece to ensure it is aligned with the same amount of overhang as the top.

6) Punch a hole and screw the bottom in place.

7) Andy then worked from the top, and punched a hole at each lathing strip location in the middle of the metal roof's valleys.

8) Chris worked from the top with a drill, and screwed the roof in place, working each row from right to left.

9) When Andy had punched every hole, he began from the bottom of the roof piece with his own drill and screws.

In this picture, you can also see a bit more insulation put up on the South wall. We dropped quite a few screws off the roof as we were working, and we were impressed with how far away from the house they landed. More than six feet!

This view will change soon... Karen and Mindy want to move one of the kitchen windows. Andy and Chris don't. So we've all agreed on a compromise: Andy and Chris will move the window.

Remember way back to a few months ago, when I used to post a shot from this location at the end of every day? That seems like a long time ago... in a galaxy far, far away. Anyway, here's the roof from that spot against the cherry tree. The roof comes to within about 2" of the peak of insulation. The ridge peak will overlap several inches on both sides of the roof.

The roof droops a bit on the North side. We'll correct that when we finish the exterior siding and frame the lip under the metal eaves. Until then, maybe we'll put up something so it doesn't look like it's going to flop over.

Saturday's work ended with darkening clouds and the sound of thunder. The West roof is nearly done, and two strips are up on the East roof, too. The rest of it is tarped until we get back up there next weekend.

Mindy and the boys cleaned the house out beautifully - every wood scrap and every bit of sawdust is out of the house, and boy does it look good. They also cleaned out a bird's nest. Yes, another one... this one was in Chris and Karen's bedroom, and had a couple eggs in it. Too bad for the birds, and we're sorry we didn't see it sooner.

Karen helped Benson moving wood around outside and on insulation. We'll all be happy when the insulation is finished. It's stinky, noisy to cut, and tastes bad. Yeah. Don't ask.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Tools

We were all out of town this weekend for Andy and Chris' younger brother's wedding. Congratulations to Russell and Amy!

So yeah, nothing was done on the house. We did think ahead, though, and took this picture last weekend so we would still have a useful post for the blog. This is a one-stop picture of nearly all the tools we've used so far to build the house.

John at FirstDay has a good list of recommended tools, and many of them are pictured here.

I won't itemize each tool individually, but if you have any questions, I'll try to answer specific questions as best I can.

The only two high-dollar items are the generator and the Makita circular saw. They're both worth it, and we wouldn't hesitate to buy the same models again. The generator is a 2200 watt unit with a Honda engine, purchased for $500 from Northern Tool. The Makita is the model mentioned on John's list, and cost about $150 from Home Depot. Everything else cost less than $200 combined, and is really all you need. When we build our next FirstDay, we won't need to add another tool, and there isn't anything we wished we had this time.

We appreciate good tools, and generally try to buy the best we can. To that end, we never really felt like spending enough on a cordless drill to add it to our shop. We've been happy with our manual bit and brace, and only used a traditional corded drill for the sill plates.
Ok... no more fluffy posts. Time for some meat and potatoes progress next week.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Logs

It was a wet day up at the house on Saturday. We didn't like the idea of putting caulk around the windows right before another rainstorm, and putting wet insulation on a wet wall didn't exactly thrill us, either. Fortunately, we found some other things to do - we prepped a few window holes on the East wall, skidded some logs with Andy's Subaru, and moved some of the gravel we dug out of the basement.

Here's the Subaru, about to pull the first log. We harvested some cherry down in the house site awhile ago, and it's about time we stored it somewhere properly. The logs were 6 ft. long and about a foot in diameter. Nothing too big, but it will make some nice furniture one day. With a timber hitch around the log and two half hitches around the tow ball on the car, the logs pulled right out. We'll buy a length of chain this week , since we plan to do some more pulling in the future; logs, stone, an unruly pig, who knows what else...
Yes, this is still a lot of gravel. We started to move it out of the way on Saturday, and have begun a new pile where the garden used to be. Eventually we'll have it all out of the way. Just in time to move it again! We plan to use this gravel under the stone path we'll have on the West side of the house, leading to the main door of the house.

This link below is a video of the first log being pulled. We've found that sometimes you need to click more than once on the play button. Sorry about the breathing in the background... that was Chris. Apparently he was winded after climbing a 5' pile of dirt to watch the show.