Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Roofing has started

The roofers showed up this morning and made good progress. They finished a good portion of the front side of the house:

They said the could finish a roof in three to four days. Here's the section I think they'll start on Friday:

The weather forecast says flurries tomorrow night and Friday morning. Then snow showers on Sunday. Hopefully, the roofers can prioritize the valleys and tarp the ridges on Friday or Saturday to prevent a whole bunch more snow melting into the house.

Some positive progress on other trades. We had some plumbing supplies delivered today: the plumber starts, along with HVAC, on Monday. Pella called to confirm that windows would be delivered on Monday. I talked to the framer, and he'll have the crew at the site on Tuesday to install the windows.

I ordered finish lumber (2500 board feet of cherry) yesterday. They'll have it ready early next week. They called today to see if I had a forklift. There is one at the site, but the carpenter is taking it back tomorrow to use on their next job. So we either have to unload 3 pallets of lumber board by board, or they have to store it at the sawmill for a couple weeks until the carpenters bring the forklift back. Hopefully, they'll be able to store it.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. For those of you who won't be eating dinner at our house--Happy Thanksgiving! For the other 30 or 40 of you, I'll see you tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Now it's a house

Just a couple pieces of fascia that they ran out of today and some other small details, and the framers are done. So the house is now officially 31'-2" tall.  I guess I have to find another way to measure progress now. 

Wait. Where did all that snow come from? Looks like my timing was off a bit. Are you surprised? The snow came today. The roofers don't come until tomorrow. I dropped Zeke off at school the morning and headed to the site, shovel in hand, ready to shovel out the house. Here's what I saw when I got there:

We got about 2 inches of snow last night. Here's the back of the house in the snow (just in case the front wasn't enough):

See how well the Tyvek camouflages the house in the snow? Maybe we should keep it that color. Luckily, it wasn't very windy when the snow fell, so we didn't get much snow inside the house. And it didn't get warm enough to melt, so we don't have a lot of water in the house so far. If the roofers show up tomorrow, they'll sweep the snow off the roof, so we should be in good shape.

We actually have a pretty good view from the front of the house:

And I'm talking about the distant view. Not the view of the car and the basketball hoop.

Here are the final "framing in progress" pictures. The last sheathing panel going up on the wall: 

And finishing up on the roof sheathing:

The roofers should be there tomorrow, depending on how much they had to delay their current job due to the snow. HVAC, rough plumbing, and fireplace all start next Monday. Windows are also delivered next Monday, and the framers will be back to install them on Tuesday--the same day that our next snow storm is predicted.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Almost done with the roof

Just a quick post this time. The framers have been working on the roof, soffits, and fascia yesterday and today. I spoke with one of the carpenters this morning, and he complained that they usually get soffits and fascia done in a day--but it will take more than three on our house. He said, "Most houses have either gables or hips. This one has both. Everywhere." Here's what he was talking about:

When working with on the design with Kerry, I mentioned that I didn't want any "pork chop" eaves.  We could have gone with a simple craftsman-style open eave. But that didn't seem right. So the solution he came up with was to "return" each side of the gable all the way to the other side of the gable. So in keeping with the shingle style we were influenced by, this house will have strong horizontal lines. I'm sure it was a hassle to design, but it's apparently even a bigger hassle to construct. I have to give the carpenters credit: I think it looks great!  But I'll have to be sure the roofer flashes everything correctly, or we'll have all kinds of leaks. 

They also got the third gable up on the front of the house:

They still have a bunch of work to do on the front. They have to finish sheathing that last gable, and build the soffits and fascia for the whole front of the house. I'll try to get better pictures tomorrow and over the weekend when they're further along. They should be finished with sheathing, soffits, and fascia on Saturday. So the roofer can start on Monday. We have a slight chance of rain and snow on Monday, but the rest of the week looks good. Keep your fingers crossed. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's starting to look like a house

After that rainy week last week, I ended the week by doing some cleanup and starting to do some caulking. And we haven't gotten any rain since (knock on OSB), although we did get a little bit of snow yesterday. When I got to the site yesterday, the roof trusses had already been delivered:

That's our roof sitting there. This morning, I got to the site at about 8:00, the crane was there, and they had already raised the first gable:

A beautiful blue sky, with the temperature at about 19 degrees. You can see a little bit of snow that fell yesterday. And a lot less wind than there was yesterday. But the biggest thing to notice is obvious: it no longer looks like a taco bell, it's finally starting to look like a house!

The framing crew got a lot of work done today. They raised about 95% of the trusses, five out of six gables, and even started sheathing the roof. And I stood there and took about 30 pictures. So here goes.

Watching the trusses get placed was great. Two or three guys standing on the second floor walls, one guy controlling the crane, and another guiding the truss into the right location.

That funny looking truss is part of our roof. Actually, it serves as a girder truss, taking the load from other, more visible parts of the roof. I'm amazed at how precise these guys can be with these huge trusses: they place them within an 1/8 of an inch of where the plan says they're supposed to go.

In the next picture, they just finished placing that girder truss:

One more picture from a funky angle. This time, it's Tim, the lead carpenter positioning one of the trusses for placement.

The crane sure comes in handy. Here's the crane lifting the south gable into place:

I guess it's pretty important to keep the crane level. Here it sits with its wheels off the ground:

While the trusses were being installed, the gas company showed up to connect the gas. So we now have a gas meter. I'm ready to turn the furnace on, but I guess we'll need a furnace first.

They finished with the crane around noon, having lifted most of the trusses into place. When I got there in the afternoon. Here's what it looked like from the front of the house:

You can see they started sheating the front roof. There will be one more gable to the right. They ran out of 2x6s, so they couldn't finish building that last gable. They'll get a delivery from the lumberyard in the morning and should be able to finish it then.

Here's the southwest corner of the house:

And the northwest corner. This is the elevation we were most worried about. I think I posted this concern in one of the earlier blog entries: it's hard to make a garage wall look good. I think Kerry did a good job with the design:

And finally, one of the other things we were worried about was that we didn't want the house to look too big. Here's a picture of the back of the house from near our neighbor's house to the southeast. I think it looks fine. It really doesn't look much taller than either of the ranch houses on either side. I think it even looks smaller (but Megan doesn't agree):

Tomorrow, they'll hopefully finish up that last gable, and get more sheathing done. So I'll have even more pictures. Unfortunately, it's supposed to be windy tomorrow. I sure hope the wind doesn't wreak havoc with the roof (knock on OSB, again).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just waiting for the roof

The framers pretty much finished the second floor walls, added soffits on the first floor in the kitchen and laundry room. They also lowered the ceiling in the front hallway. So they're essentially finished until the trusses--which were delayed by another day--are delivered on Monday.

This weekend, I'll start caulking. I'll be filling every gap I can find in the framing, making sure that I eliminate every air gap that I can even before the insulation goes in. We'll also try to figure out how we're going to store the interior doors. We got a good price on flat panel cherry doors made by the Wausau Door Company here in Wisconsin. We'll use five panel doors that are similar to those on our old house. We ordered them from Home Depot, hoping it would take them a while longer to get them to us.

They arrived yesterday--two weeks ahead of schedule. We could store them in the workshop, but it's still pretty wet down there--the slabs above and below are still drying out. So we'll have to find a conditioned storage unit to store them in for a month or two.

I'll be glad when the house is fully enclosed with a roof, windows, exterior doors, etc. But that's still a few weeks off. It's been raining pretty consistently: every day for the last week. When I checked things with a moisture meter last weekend, the walls were pretty good--about 10% to 12% moisture content. The subfloors? Not so good. They soak up water like a sponge, so they are at 25% and up. The ideal here in the winter is 7%. If things are much wetter than that, I'll risk cracks in the drywall and cupped floors. So it looks like I'll have to get the heat turned on as soon as I can just to start drying things out before the insulation goes in.

Next week will hopefully be much better in terms of weather. Not much rain expected, just a little bit of snow early in the week. By this time next week, the roof should be framed. Roofers should be able to start late next week or early the week after, along with the mechanicals.

The power company was out to mark for the gas line and to install the electric meter today. Hopefully, they'll start digging for the lines tomorrow. But with my luck, they'll arrive at the same time as the trusses or the crane early next week.

Here are a few new pictures. Here's how the front of the house looks. The walls that look incomplete on the right side second floor are actually interior walls. The trusses have to go in before they can finish the exterior:

Here's another view from the northwest corner that shows the garage:

The second floor interior walls are done too. We showed Zeke his new bedroom for the first time. Here's one with Linda's room at the front, Zeke's room on the right side, and Danny's room on the left:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Second floor walls are going up

Just a quick one this time. I stopped by the site yesterday with the intention of cleaning up a little. The sawdust--and the broom--was frozen to the subfloor. Didn't get much cleaned up. The framing crew has been good about keeping the site relatively clean anyway. 

Today the second floor exterior walls started going up. When I got to the site this morning, it was about 26 degrees outside and windy. It didn't seem to slow the framers too much. By 9am, they had a couple of walls up and were constructing others: 

By the time I got back in the afternoon, the exterior walls on three sides of the house were done:

It looks even better from the outside. Here's the east wall of the house at about 5pm:

They also put in the workshop stairs:

Now I won't have to climb into the basement through the window! Tomorrow they'll finish the second floor exterior walls, and maybe even the interior walls. Roof trusses are scheduled for Friday, and the exterior stone should come this week too. 

Saturday, November 8, 2008

First floor is all framed

Got a lot done this week. The house is now 12 feet, 4 inches high! The first floor is all framed. The framers even got a good start on the second floor: the second floor joists are in, and so is the second floor subfloor. They even got a start on the second floor walls. The porch was poured in time to miss the freeze that we're getting right now.

But there were also some unavoidable delays. The roof trusses, which I had hoped would be ready Tuesday, won't be delivered until Friday. That moves everything out by about a week. The windows won't be delivered until December 1st. But I did order the thin stone veneer for the front of the house to get delivered next week, so I'll be able to get a head start on that. I'll be setting the stone myself, so I'll finally be able to do something concrete (no pun intended).

We've had some weather delays, but not too bad yet. Just a day or two. The biggest delay is the roof trusses. Tim, the framer, waited until after we had garage walls up to verify the truss measurements. It was necessary because the foundation walls in the basement were poured out of square. He wanted to be sure that he could correct that error without having to increase the size of the trusses. He could. Luckily, I spec'd energy heels on the trusses, and I have 2x6 walls, so we have some room to play. They'll just have to shim the siding when they install it so it lines up with the foundation below.

The second delay was around the windows. I called in a change to Pella to increase the size of the basement windows and to upgrade the doors to use decorative glass. The sales rep told me I called the change in just in time. But then somebody from Pella called me and told me I missed the deadline and they were going to charge me a 50% restocking fee for the door (about $1000). It also delayed the whole window order by 10 days. I'm fighting the extra charge. But I'm not worried about the delay--it will allow me time to get the roof on before the windows are delivered. Since the windows are a "finish" item, it will be much better if I don't get them wet.

Here are some pictures of the work done so far. First some pictures of the garage. The walls are all up, and they started on the roof above the window bump out:

Here's a view from the inside. Looks like we'll have enough room for all of our junk, and maybe even be able to park one of the cars here:

The second floor joists and subfloor are up (for the most part):

And they've started on the second floor walls:

Here's another:

A view of the stairs from the second floor:

I was hoping that we'd be able to get all the way to the roof without any rain. That sure didn't happen. We got hit with the same storm that dumped four feet of snow on South Dakota in the last couple of days. Although by the time it got to us, it was mostly rain. So everything has been washed clean of sawdust, even the basement floor:

Despite the rain, they did get a start on the workshop stairs:

I'm buying a moisture meter from Woodcraft this morning. I want to be sure things are dry enough before we put the insulation and drywall up.

Finally, here's a picture of the Northeast corner of the house that shows we are actually closed in on all four sides

This weekend, I'll do some cleanup. Next week the framers will finish with the second floor walls, and hopefully get started on the roof on Friday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Second floor joists started

The framers were able to get the the garage walls raised, first floor stairs almost done, most of the second floor joists in, and sheathing on the second floor before it started raining. So I've only got a few pictures to show today.

To start with, when we arrived at the site, the rain was just about past, and we had another great rainbow:

Followed by a pretty good sunset. This time we caught it from the front porch:

See, sometimes it does pay to be a flatlander. The stairs are in, and it was quite a view at the top of the stairs:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Walked through the house today

Megan and I walked through the house today. Most of the exterior walls are up, and the interior walls on the first floor are done. Of course, as soon as the walls were up, Megan started rearranging the furniture. It was great to actually be able to walk through the house and see the plans start coming to life. It was even better that I didn't have to physically move the furniture.

I have quite a few pictures to show, but none of them really does justice to how much has been accomplished. Here's what the interior looks like when you walk through the front door. A closet to the right, stairs will eventually be placed to the left, and that's the family room to the rear.

The dining room opens into the kitchen, which opens into a breakfast nook or sitting area (We haven't yet been able to decide what we're going to use this room for).

The exterior view is better. Here's a view of the rear (east wall) of the house:

It doesn't look quite as good from the front:

It will look better from the front once the trusses are up. And if you look closely, you can see that we now have a front porch. Here's a better view:

The porch was formed and poured today. This was all I was waiting on to be able to apply for the first draw on the construction loan. So I can pay the excavator, foundation guys, and plumber.
The carpenters worked all day on squaring and bracing the first floor walls, and raising beams that will support the first floor. Here, they're lifting the biggest beam (a 35' x 14" high by 7 inch thick made out of four laminated LVLs). Instead of assembling the beam in position, they nailed it all together on the ground (actually on the street in front of the house) and hoisted it with the forklift. Probably a good idea since it weighs about 600 pounds:

Here are a few of the beams in place. The second floor is quite a bit more complicated than the first floor because it is fairly open, and because the walls on the second floor don't necessarily line up directly with the walls on the first floor.
The only walls left to finish on the first floor are a couple of garage walls. Here's the long one:

They're just about done constructing it and will raise it in the morning. So tomorrow--if the weather cooperates--they'll finish the garage and start on the second floor joists.