Friday, June 30, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 32
Windows and Doors and Decking

Another week of progress!

All the doors and windows are now in place.

Doors and Windows. 10
The French doors leading out on to the front deck along with all the rectangular, quarter-round and semi-circular glass on that gable wall have been installed.

Doors and Windows. 14
The semi-circular window in the upstairs master bedroom is in.

Doors and Windows. 13
As is the one in the attic/storage area over the garage.

Decking. 12
The big deck has been finished (except for the railings) and the little entry way deck has been framed out (not pictured).

Doors and Windows. 11
Even the garage doors have been hung, although one will have to be replaced due to damage in shipping.

Don has also laid out all the plates for the first floor framing and the heating guys have made great strides in installing the radiant floor heat for the first floor. The control panel for that unit is a work of art and will be featured in a future post. (It looks very space age and will probably require a Black Seal to operate! Actually, Ken, the installer, assures me that it won’t take more than a couple of hours of instruction.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 31
Windows and Doors and Decking

As mentioned, Don and Adam were able to finish the roofing last Friday before calling it a week.

Roofing 01
The finished roof as I found it Monday morning.

Jim was called back to his factory job but we picked up a high-school neighbor of Don’s named Kyle. He has worked with Don before and, while quite around us older guys, seems a willing enough laborer/helper.

Windows and doors were the order of the week and lots of progress was made to that end. All but the front door are Anderson products.

Windows and Doors 01a
Kitchen, bath and one bedroom window on the first floor as well as a bath and two bedroom windows on the second floor. All on the west side of the home. (Unfortunately, the upstairs bathroom window was damaged either at the factory or in shipment and will have to be replaced. Both plastic/rubber stops that prevent the upper sash from being banged into the lower sill were broken. One was bent out of shape and the other actually driven right through the vinyl casement and down to the wood beneath. Beaver Mountain will be sending us a new one as soon as they can but it will take several weeks.)

Windows and Doors 01b
Two bedroom windows on the south end of the first floor.

Windows and Doors 01c
One bedroom window, the laundry window and one garage window on the south side of the home.

Windows and Doors 01d
Two garage windows on the east end of the home. A semi-circular window will be installed in the gable end above these to give some light to the "attic" storage area above the garage.

Doors and Windows 02
French doors and a couple of casement windows installed in the basement by Adam and me. We had to frame in the rough opening and sheath it before fitting the door and windows.

Doors and Windows 04
The sliding door to the covered porch installed by Adam and me. (Don and Kyle were working on some of the first floor windows while we were doing this.)

Doors and Windows 03
The front door has been installed. This was a team effort. Adam, me and Kyle did the installation. Don helped carry it from the trailer to this location. That sucker is heavy!

Decking 01
The deck frame was erected on Friday as a team effort. Don, Adam, Kyle and I worked all day to set the posts and get all the floor joists in place for this 10' x 36' open deck that is above the walkout basement and in front of the French doors to be installed in the first floor living area. The floor to be put down on top of this is 2” x 6” pressure treated wood and it will be fastened with specially coated screws because of the new chemicals used in treating “green wood” these days. The screws have square drive heads that provide much better control than a Phillip’s head screw.

We had to wrestle a couple of the concrete piers back into position because the heavy rains had allowed them to shift in the soft earth immediately around them. Then we worked off ladders all of Friday since the deck is a good 9 to 10 feet above the very uneven soil. Let me tell you if you’ve never had to handle it, a 2” x 10” x 10’ pressure treated board can be very heavy. Additionally, it drizzled most of the day making everything muddy and everyone damp.

Friday’s was the only real rain we had all week. As you can see, we made some remarkable progress this week in several areas.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 30
Doors and Decking

Thursday was a door day.

After much searching of different things in the trailer and rearranging of boxes, Adam and I installed the sliding glass door leading out on to the covered porch.

Then we went to work on the front door. With two glass sidelights, this door is very heavy. We hauled it from the trailer and up the slope to the front of the house only to find it was actually 1/8 inch wider than the opening in the panelized section. We needed to widen the opening and succeded in doing so after some furious...thinking.

The last three hours of the day were spent preparing to erect the 10' x 36' deck for the north end of the house.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 29
Windows and Doors

It's Wednesday and we have made some remarkable progress on the home this week.

Monday Adam and I framed out the basement windows and door. We also installed the four double hung windows in the garage and laundry room. It was a simple thing, but coming just two months after delivery of the log package, it really made the place look like a home.

Tuesday was a wet, wet day. It didn't rain but we appled Mill Glaze and bleach to the interior walls and beams to clean up the water stains that had formed before we had the roof in place along with the spray from the application of those products, we pressure washed all the interior wood surfaces. All day long I was sweeping water out of the house. (When "work" was over, I spent 3 hours with a chainsaw cleaning up some of the trees that had been bulldozed over by the previous owner to created a driveway and several trees that had been ice damaged last winter.)

Wednesday was window day. Early on Don finished the last little bit of roofing as he shingled the small fly off the south end of the gable. It doesn't really cover anything and serves as a decorative element to set off the shed dormer. Adam and I installed the French door and two windows in the walk-out basement. Then we all started on the windows in the living area. We did seven windows on the first floor and then three windows in the dormer wall on the second floor.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 28
Up on the roof:
sheathing and shingles: Part 3

Roofing was the project of the week.

Roofing the front 01
Tuesday we worked on the front roof of the house.

Roofing the front 02
Despite losing three hours due to rain on Wednesday, all of the front was finished and it was on to the back of the garage.

Roofing the back
When we knocked off on Thursday afternoon, the rear of the garage was shingled and all that remained was the top six feet of the house roof.

Friday morning we were down to just Adam, Don and I...and I was leaving at noon. Even so, Adam (seen here applying the ridge vent and cap shingles) and Don report they were able to complete the roofing. That means no more water inside when it rains. Wahooh!

The "bare" spot seen on the right side is where the chimney will be located.

The LoadAll provided a huge help in lifting the roofing materials to the roof. Unfortunately, Rob came for his machine at the end of Friday to take it to a different job. Everyone was sorry to see it go. With the heavy windows and doors on the gable ends yet to be installed and the chimney work to be done…well, we’re hoping to get it back for a day or two some time in the future.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 27
Up on the roof:
sheathing and shingles: Part 2

We've made steady progress at the shingling of the roof at The Aerie this week.

Monday and Tuesday were beautiful days that allowed us (Don, Adam, Jim and me) to finish the plywooding of the dormer roof and shingle it before moving around to the roof over the front of the garage.

Unfortunately, our luck with the weather didn't hold and a series of showers--some of them quite heavy--swept through the area on Wednesday morning halting all work on the roof. Instead, we headed down to town to have a hearty brunch. After three hours, the rain had stopped and we could get back to work.

As things stand, about two thirds of the roof is done and pump jacks and such have been positioned so we'll make a real big dent in that remaining third Thursday. The entire roof should be done by Friday afternoon.

An advance man for the heating contractor showed up this afternoon and started setting things up for a crew to install the remaining PEX tubing for the first floor heating system tomorrow and Friday soon.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 26
Up on the roof:
sheathing and shingles: Part 1

This was another long and busy week.

It started on a drizzly Sunday with a barbeque and golf tournament sponsored by Beaver Mountain Log Homes for invited contractors and their guests. Other participants included the Beaver Mountain workers and owners and suppliers of BMLH. Don Adam and I attended. I don’t play golf, but Don and Adam teamed up with a pair of folks from BMLH and finished 8th out of 13 teams in the best ball tournament. The food was great and the French Woods Country Club was a beautiful place with several BMLH structures along the course and a clubhouse also manufactured by BMLH.

Then Monday rolled along and we were back to work. Jim rejoined us. The four of us made quick work of the remaining plywood roofing.

Plywood 01
Monday was spent finishing the plywood sheathing on the roof. The place is very definitely starting to look like a home.

Gable with window framing 02
You can get a feel for the window placement in this view. The 1/2 inch sheathing still needs to be applied to the gable end.

Western elevation 03
A before view of the western elevation taken on Tuesday afternoon before we began constructing the covered porch.

On Tuesday we were back to just three of us as Jim had some business to attend to. We started on the construction of the deck of the covered porch. After wrestling with a concrete pier or two to get it in the correct position, we framed out the deck’s floor joists.

Tuesday night, Don and I spent some time dismantling a bunch of pump jacks and loading them in Don’s trailer for use on the log home. We had the help of Troy, Don’s older son since the jacks were at a neighbor’s home.

When Jimmer returned on Wednesday, we laid the deck floor, erected the posts, header and rafters. We even got a start on the 2x6 tongue and groove roofing. I did most of the cutting while Jim and Adam positioned and nailed or screwed everything together.

Western elevation 04
The covered porch nears completion as Jim and Adam install the last of the 2x6 tongue and groove roofing on Thursday morning.

Thursday morning Adam, Jim and I finished the wood roof on the porch and moved on to the final roof. This involves drip edge, ice and water shield, felt paper and finally shingles.
Don erected the pump jacks on the front of the garage and the east side of the house. He then put up the drip edging all along that part of the house so it is now ready for the final roof. We got chased off the job a little early due to a chilly rain that interrupted us twice in the afternoon. When we left, it was drizzling but just a few miles down the road, there was no rain at all.

On top of the world 06
Don applies some drip edging to the peak of the gable.

Friday also promised rain and we got some early that chased us off the roof for a bit. (Plywood gets mighty slippery when wet. Not that I would know, Don, Adam and Jim were on the roof while I did cutting of shingles on a table under the roof.)

Roofing 08
Ice-and-water, felt paper and shingles get applied to the porch roof and one quarter of the house roof.

After a half hour delay, we were able to get back to work with the sound of thunderstorms all around us. Eventually, we even had a couple of hours of sunlight. Regardless, we worked through lunch and finished about a quarter of the house’s roof before quitting around 4 in the afternoon. (Those thunderstorms were bringing torrential rains to the valley just to our west. I know because I had to drive through them on my way back to NJ.)

End of the week 12
One quarter of the house is roofed.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sweep, sweep

Cutting lots of plywood, 1x8 and 1x3 has produced copious amounts of sawdust and little pieces of wood ends. When I’m not cutting, I’m cleaning up the workstation. (Sawdust on your sheet of plywood when you try to stand on a sloping roof is quite slippery and small chunks of wood can easily turn an ankle.) Having a broom in your hands, rather than being idle, is something I learned back in high school when working at Burns Hardware on West Oakland Avenue and relearned at the Arrow Metals warehouse in Wanaque.

Mr. Burns hired me on as a store clerk and general helper around the store. His Dad, the elder Mr. Burns was in his 70s at the time and a veteran of WWI who had lost a leg in his life’s sojourn. The store was small and the garden supplies in the garage filled it to the rafters and wall to wall so there was hardly any floor space. Nevertheless, I was instructed that should there be no customers in the store and should I have no other instructions I was to grab a broom and sweep. Sweeping would keep me busy and make the store look cleaner to the customers when they did arrive. Once the sweeping was done and if no customers had come in or instructions had been issued, then I could sit back and relax.

The foreman at Arrow Metals’ warehouse gave much the same speech—without the customer being included. His concern was to justify four of us on the payroll during slow nights knowing full well there would come nights when we were going to work our butts off loading tractor trailers. Dirt and grim came from the forklifts going back and forth out into the yard to drop off empty pallets. Stones, sand and grit could make moving a forklift around on the concrete floor a little tricky—especially at the speeds college kids could attain. On really slow nights we might be told to sweep the warehouse two or three times. Or we could be told to get lost in the stacks of product after the first sweeping.

Like a man with a clipboard under his arm, a man with a broom is never questioned—and seldom approached to be given a new task. After all, he’s already busy.

The Good Enough Construction, Corporation

Working at ground level and cutting pieces of wood for Don and Adam to install provides me with time to think (and sweep—but more about that later).

While asking whether a piece was cut correctly, Don responded, “It’s good enough.” That phrase, “it’s good enough,”—a phrase heard frequently around a construction site during the rough construction stages—struck a spark of inspiration.

Suppose there you were starting up a new construction company called the Good Enough Construction, Corporation, what could you use as a slogan? We started tossing around that idea and came up with the following list:

“If it works, it’s Good Enough!”

“Nobody’s perfect, but we’re Good Enough.”

“If it’s Good Enough, it can’t be wrong.”

“It’s not right, but it’s close.”

“It’s not perfect, but it’s not wrong.”

Friday, June 02, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 25
Concrete floors and Plywood roofs

Despite the Memorial Day holiday on Monday and construction limited to just four days, considerable progress occurred.

Concrete gets poured. 01
Early Tuesday morning the crew showed up to pour the floor for the basement. After hauling the concrete to all corners of the area, only two men remained to put in the final touches. And they did a great job—working the power trowel over and over and over through the long, hot afternoon.

While the concrete crew worked downstairs, Don, Adam and I worked to install the 1x8 and 1x3 fascia trim to the eaves of the roof. We continued to install fascia and some roof sheathing in the afternoon and on Wednesday when they poured floor for the garage.

Concrete gets poured. 02

By Wednesday afternoon, the garage floor was curing nicely.

Concrete pour. 03

And by Thursday, it was hard as a rock and smooth as glass.

With the concrete pouring finished, the LoadAll came into use again to install the plywood sheathing to the roof.

Roof sheathing

While Adam and Don installed the sheathing upon the roof, I manned the cutting stations on the ground.

Cutting stations

Don installs plywood on garage roof.

Roof sheathing.

Adam helps Don install roof sheathing.

Roof sheathing.
By midday Friday, plywood sheathing had been installed upon half the house roof and nearly all of the garage. (Only the west side of the house and a few panels on the back of the garage remained.)

Roof sheathing