Sunday, April 27, 2008

Now We're Cookin'

Another productive day today. The ICFs are finished in the bedroom area and I have the window bucks in place for the bottom half of the windows. The top half of the windows will extend up into the 2x6 framed gable wall.

I've also got some of the bracing and scaffolding up in the front half of the house. The ICFs are done on this end of the house as well. The cutout portion you see in wall (right side of photo below) is for the future door into the master bedroom above the garage; which is the next phase of construction, hopefully scheduled for 2009. In the meantime, I'll put a half-buck in the cutout, and then I'll frame it in with 2x6s and finish it with the rest of the wall.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Progress On The ICFs

The weather has been just beautiful the last couple of days and I've got a lot accomplished. Today I got most of the remaining ICFs up in the bedroom area. The ICFs in this area go to a height of four feet above the floor. Above that there will be a 2x6 framed gable wall on the end of the house (east), and the roof trusses will sit on top of the ICFs on the front (south) and back (north) walls.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Floor Joists Above Main Floor

The floor joists are up over the west side of the main floor now. This is the area over top of the pantry, half-bath, and mudroom. I've covered half of them with plastic so that I've got an area underneath that will stay somewhat dry. (More on that later.)

Where the floor joists attach to the outside wall, they sit inside a steel joist hanger. This prevents them from moving or tipping over. However, on the end of the joists that sits over the center beam, there is nothing to stop the joists from falling over sideways or twisting. They will get attached with permanent blocking later, but in the meantime I've put some temporary blocking between them and some bracing on the tops to stop them from tipping over.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finished Interior Framing On Main Floor

I've finished framing all the walls on the main floor. Now I can start installing the floor joists above.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Skinny Guy With Jackhammer

Here's some pictures that were taken last summer but were never put on the blog... (long story). This is when I was using the rock drill (like a jackhammer, only harder to control) to drill holes in some boulders that had to be broken apart to make room for the footings. What a body-punishing experience that was.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Old Saying Is True

We're all familiar with the old saying: "Neccesity is the mother of invention" (apparently attibuted to Plato).

I needed to get several sheets of plywood up on top of the floor joists above the dining room area. A sheet of 3/4" plywood probably weighs about 50 pounds. Not overly heavy, but definitely very awkward to handle, especially when you're trying to lift it nine feet up in the air. So, I made a little ramp of sorts. Here's how it works.

I screwed two - 2x6x8s together for each side of the ramp. The bottom one overlaps the top one.

First, you stand the plywood on end and lean it against the ramp.

Next, you lift the plywood and slide it up the ramp until the bottom edge rests on the overlapped portion of the 2x6s.

Thirdly, you get underneath it and give it a big shove upwards. When you let go, it falls nicely onto the upstairs floor joists. Simple as that.

Now all I had to do was climb up top and slide the plywood into place. At this point the plywood is only temporarily screwed to the floor joists. This gives me a platform to work on so that I finish installing the ICFs. Once the concrete has been poured, I can then attach the ledger boards to the walls permanently, and subsequently attach the subfloor permanently.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Drainage Rock

Last fall I had started laying some crushed rock over top of the foundation drainage pipe; but once the snow started to fall, I had to stop until spring. Now I've spent a day doing some work on this again because some of the clay has started to cave in around the footings. I've shoveled the loose clay and mud out, and put another six inches of crushed rock down. I need to have between 12 and 18 inches of rock on top of the pipe before I backfill, so I've got about another 6 inches to go.

The black hose you see coming out of the bottom corner of the basement is connected to a sump pump. There is still a fair amount of snow and ice in the basement that had accumulated over the winter, and as it melts I'm pumping it out.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Framing Progress

I've made a bit of progress in the last couple of days with the interior framing. I've got the headers up over the doorways and I've got some of the walls done for the back entrance, the pantry, and the half-bath.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The mud around the property has gone from being a minor annoyance to a major problem. I got stuck up to my axles yesterday and had to get a tow truck to pull me out. Today I brought in 12 yards of gravel and it barely made a dent in the problem.

I don't mind waiting for everything to dry out, but the worst thing is; I can't get any materials in to the building site. And guess what... there's more rain and snow in the forecast.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bedroom Floor Joists Up

The bedroom floor joists are up, so now I can go ahead and finish the ICFs in the dining room area. You can see that there are a few joists missing because the wall bracing is in the way. Once the wall bracing has been removed, I can install the remaining joists.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Foundation Perimeter Drainage

The snow has been melting steadily over the past few days. As the basement hasn't been backfilled yet, a lot of snow has accumulated in the trench around the basement. However, as it melts, it's being drained away as it should be.

This is the foundation drainage pipe where it exits the ground about 40 feet away from the back side of the house. This is strictly a gravity fed system; the end of the pipe that sticks out of the ground here is lower than the perforated pipes that surround the basement, so the water simply flows downhill and away from the basement.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Installing Upstairs Ledger Boards

I'm back to work after a few days off and I've started putting up the ledger boards on top of the temporary walls in the dining room area.

Let me try to explain what I'm doing with these temporary walls. In the final state, the ledger boards are held to the concrete walls with two-piece steel brackets. The first piece gets embedded in the ICF wall before the concrete is poured. After the concrete is poured, the second piece of the bracket gets bolted to the first piece; with the ledger board sandwiched in between. Once that is done, the floor joists can be hung off the ledger boards.

Being that I won't be able to get concrete trucks onto the property for another few weeks because of the snow and mud, I'm going to put up the ledger boards and floor joists before the concrete is poured. The temporary walls that I've built will support the weight of the ledger boards and floor joists until that time.

I've put both halves of the steel brackets in place, but haven't bolted them together. Once the concrete is done, I'll bolt everything together and then pull out the temporary walls from underneath the ledger boards. I can reuse the lumber when I'm doing the framing for the upstairs dormer windows.

The other benefit of doing this is that it will give me a platform to stand on so that I can finish the ICFs on the upper parts of the walls. Otherwise I would have to put up scaffolding; finish the walls; pour the concrete, and then tear down the scaffolding. Too much extra work if you ask me.