I had a time lapse camera set up across the street taking pictures every 5 seconds. The batteries lasted from April 12th through June 1st. I got the video (the camera creates an AVI) and edited out all the nights and weekends. It’s almost seven minutes long which is longer than I wanted, but speeding it up in my editor didn’t work too well, so I left it alone.
We’re having a geothermal HVAC system installed and they started drilling the wells a couple weeks ago. The original plan was to have four 250-foot holes for the larger geothermal unit and three 250-foot holes for the smaller unit (because of the length of the house, it’s more efficient and cost effective to have two units like that). However, around 80 feet down, the driller hit a big area of sand and the hole kept collapsing back on itself almost immediately, so the hole plan had to change. There will be twelve 80-foot holes for the larger unit and eight 90-foot holes for the smaller unit. Our whole back yard is currently dotted with holes spouting black tubing!
Once it’s all done, everything will be hidden four feet underground, so it’s no big deal. It will actually be a little easier on the geothermal pump because of the shallower wells. We just have to make sure that any future construction plans don’t dig down deeper than four feet!
It’s amazing the progress that’s been made since my last update (which was, admittedly, a long time ago). We’re still living in the center section (the original house, basically), but both additions are nearing the point where they’re going to be drywalled.
The roofs are done and shingled. The windows (except for one that’s on order) are all installed. The interior framing is (I think) all done except for, perhaps, a few minor things. Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work are done on the garage wing and have been started on the master bedroom wing.
That’s expected to be completed by next Monday or Tuesday so the inspectors can check it out and the insulators can come do their bit. After that, it’s drywall time!
I don’t have a current, full exterior view at the moment and it’s raining right now, so I can’t go take one, but here’s a shot around the back of the master bedroom wing. They just finished roofing the porch out of the master bedroom so I took a picture of that and of the view that we’ll have from the bedroom out onto the porch.
Just had an interesting visit from an older gentleman (probably in his seventies). He was driving by very slowly (which is really common with our construction project looking the way it does) and I was sitting in the garage, so I waved. He stopped, backed up, and pulled into the driveway.
I walked over and he told me he used to know someone who worked at our construction company. I confirmed who it was and said I’d pass along a hello. Then the conversation started to range all over… mostly from his side.
It went from…
- This is quite a project. People are generally building smaller these days, not bigger.
- It seems a shame to do this to a 1950/1960 rancher (ours was built in 1977).
- His brother put an under-powered heating system in his home.
- He just bought his first house last year and it’s very small.
- The soil at his house is all clay and all the trees he planted died.
- The roads these days are paved wrong.
- There’s an oddly placed stop sign where he lives.
Then is started to get odd (odder?). I can’t remember the segue (if there, indeed, actually WAS one), but it went something like…
- We just passed the mark where more of our cars are built in China than in the USA.
- We also passed the mark where more music is downloaded than bought on CD.
- The number of Christians in the US is decreasing more rapidly.
- It won’t be long before God takes his blessing away from this country.
Then he said, gesturing at the house, “You’ll probably only get ten to twenty years out of this house.” Expecting some sort of “end times” religious reason (and kind of looking forward to it), I asked, “Why’s that?”.
He replied, “That’s when the Russian missiles will be coming.”
Then he went on about how we lost our chance to be friends with the Russians a couple decades ago and how they have three times more missiles now than they did five years ago, all trained on the USA. But we did sell them special weapons that fire rubber bullets for crowd control and they were appreciative of that.
That seemed as good a place as any to acknowledge the conversational dead-end that had just occurred, so I politely told him I’d pass along a hello to our builder and wished him a fantastic weekend. We shook hands and off he went.
And I thought, “Crap. It’s probably too late to build an underground bunker here.”
It’s been about two weeks since my last update and a lot has gone on since then. Wayne and his crew have been working crazy fast to get things done and the results are amazing to see every day when I get home from work.
The steel support beam was added to the garage. They started out with the beam sitting on pillars of stacked concrete blocks. That let them get the beam to the right height and steady enough so they could start adding the floor joists on top of it.
Midway through installing the joists, they finished framing the front of the garage, adding the third door (on the left side). They notched part of the existing house roof to accommodate the wall. Eventually, that roof will come off completely, but they didn’t want to do that quite yet in case of foul weather.
A bit after getting all the joists installed and putting the sub-floor down, they added the steel posts and removed the temporary concrete pillars. Now the garage is like an actual room, which was a nice transformation.
I took Megan up on top of it to get a feel for her soon-to-be living space. I think she’ll have plenty of room. Right now, it’s just a nice place to get some sun and enjoy the view.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the house, they’ve been working on the master bedroom wing. The concrete floor was poured and they had the basement level framed out in less than a week. The transformation was pretty amazing, especially from the inside where it suddenly got real seeing how the whole floor was going to be laid out. It’s much more exciting seeing it in real life than it is visualizing it from a paper drawing.
They ended last week having all but one wall of the first floor framed out, which includes the master bedroom, the closets, and the master bathroom. As with the basement level, it was great getting to physically walk through the “rooms” rather than just visualizing them from the drawings. Lori and I walked through it a number of times, probably with facial expressions similar to all the golden-ticket-winning kids from Willy Wonka when they first saw the inside of the factory.
Looking from the master bathroom through the closet hallway into the master bedroom and out to the porch.
The framing of the garage started on Thursday and continued through Friday. After a bunch of prep work and measuring, they framed up the back wall of the garage which has a door and three windows. They built the main part of the wall flat on the floor and then used their forklift to hoist it into place, nailing it to the sill plate.
The weather really treated us well and the rain stopped before 6:00 am on Friday morning. The day turned beautiful and the framing started up again around 7:30. They framed up the end exterior wall and then continued around the corner to the entry door and two of the three garage doors. They couldn’t do the last door yet (the one closest to the house) because they’ll have to remove the roof of the existing garage for that to happen and they weren’t ready to do that yet.
Some time around noon, the beam was delivered that will span the garage. Wayne (Co-Del Construction) found a used beam from a building that was getting ripped apart in Red Lion, and he saved us a bunch of money by doing that. They’re planning on putting the beam up Monday or Tuesday, I think.
After lunch, they framed up the internal walls and then started putting the sheathing on the exterior walls and it really started to look like an actual building. By the time they left for the day, they had all the exterior walls covered and had framed around as far as they could go at this stage.
Our garage doors are oversized and standing next to one made that quite evident. I should have no trouble parking my M1 Abrams tank in the garage, which is good because I hate leaving it out in the rain.
Last week was a busy week. I didn’t do any updates because a lot of the work was not particularly interesting from a picture standpoint. Now that it’s all done and some additional foundation work was done, there are plenty of pictures that show the progress much better.
They finished all the block work for both the garage wing and the master bedroom wing. In the process, we had to lose one of our garage doors because they had to cut a huge chunk out of the concrete floor to run some pipes and tie in that part of the existing floor to the new floor of the new garage. The second picture is on the other side of the no-longer-existing garage door.
As you can see, they also removed the bottom half of the wall at the end of the existing garage. That was a really bizarre sight to see when I got home that day. They didn’t remove the entire wall for a couple reasons, one of them being weather. The other reason is that the electrical panel is on that wall and they’re not ready to have that moved yet.
The master bedroom wing block walls are all done as well. In this picture, they’re not quite done, but they were the next day. They ran short of the right kind of block for the rest of the top row (on the right side of the picture). They only needed about twelve more blocks. Doh! But now that is all done and it’s about ready to have the floor poured as soon as some electrical fixtures are set up for an in-floor outlet in the library.
Back inside the garage they also removed all the drywall and the plywood from the attic space. They knocked out the back wall and framed it out for the pocket door that will lead from a hallway into the computer room. That was another disconcerting scene to see when I got home, though I didn’t notice it when I walked past the first time. The second time, I did a jump-back, wide-eyed double-take when I noticed it!
They poured the entire new garage floor on Monday, April 13th starting very early in the morning. The floor took just over two truck loads of concrete. For the third load, they got enough to pour the computer room floor as well, so now two out of three foundation floors are all poured and ready to go!
Lori engraved our names in one corner of the garage floor, including a 2014 penny for the year we bought the property and a paw print for the cats. I told Lori I thought it was a good idea to have our names engraved on it so nobody could steal the house.
Just for good measure, Yoda inspected the new garage floor and seemed to approve. Time to frame it up!
The block walls around the garage and the computer room are all finished. The masons were working on the master bedroom wing walls today and are almost finished there as well. They won’t be around on Thursday and it’s supposed to rain on Friday, so we may have to wait until next week to see all the walls completed.
Other things will probably happen during that time, but we don’t know exactly what yet.
Today is the first day we were building up rather than down. The block arrived this morning and the masons all but finished laying the block for the garage wing. It was exciting seeing the beginning stages of the walls, including the locations of the doors. Up until this point, all this stuff could only be seen using the power of… imagination.
Never having been through this process, I was amazed at how many different sizes and shapes of block they use. There were special corner blocks, different size blocks for different height walls, different widths and thicknesses.
Tomorrow, they’ll work on the master bedroom wing and the computer room extension.