Monday, October 26, 2009

First Few Steps Done

I've finished building the first few steps up to the landing. So far everything is working out well... all the steps are the same size and they're square and level.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Building a Set of Stairs

I've started building the main-floor stairs. Although it appears simple enough, building a set of stairs is definitely not an easy task. Getting all of the "underneath" parts to fit together so that the rise (the distance from the top of one step to the top of the next step) and the run (the distance from the front edge of the step to the back edge) are all correct is pretty tricky.

I'm using LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) for the stringers. It's very strong and won't warp or shrink. The steps will be made of two layers of 3/4" plywood. Everything will be glued and screwed together. When they're done, they should be strong and squeak free.

The first task was to build the landing. It's constructed of 2x8's and is supported on the outside walls by the same ledger beam that supports the floor. The inside corner is supported by a stub wall. There is a post in the basement that sits directly below the stub wall; so the corner of the landing is supported all the way down to a concrete footing in the basement. The floor of the landing is made from two layers of 3/4" plywood.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Plumbing Vent Details

This plumbing vent stack is made from 2" ABS pipe that protrudes up through the roof. A plastic and rubber flashing goes over top the vent pipe. The rubber top on the flashing is supposed to be self-sealing around the pipe, but because of the steep angle of the roof, the rubber didn't fit tightly around the vent pipe. I put some silicone around the joint, then put a second rubber flashing over the vent... similar to the storm collar that goes around the chimney.

The vent flashing is also just like the chimney flashing in that the shingles sit on top of the flashing on the upside of the slope, and the flashing sits on top of the shingles on the downside of the slope.

On underside of the roof, the pipe is secured to the roof framing with pipe strapping. The bottom end of the vent stack will eventually connect to the rest of the DWV (drain/waste/vent) system.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Electrical Service Entrance

I've been spending a bit of time building my electrical service entrance. The service entrance consists of the electricity meter and the associated conduit and wire... basically all the electrical stuff that's on the outside of the house.

The meter base is mounted on a piece of treated lumber. It has to be anchored securely to the house, so I drilled holes in the concrete wall and used 1/2" galvanized lag bolts and anchors. The service conduit is a 2.5" galvanized steel pipe, and it's mounted to the wall in a similar fashion.

I was worried that it was going to be a huge, ugly task drilling large holes in the concrete, but I rented a rotary hammer drill and it was a piece of cake. You can drill a 3/4" hole through an 8" concrete wall in under a minute. I used a block of wood attached to the outside of the wall as a guide. It helps to hold the drill bit straight so you don't end up with a wobbly hole in the wall.

I'm having a 200 amp service installed, so the specified wire is 2/0 guage. It's about 7/16" in diameter and very hard to bend. It was quite a task getting it to bend and fit through the weatherhead on the top of the conduit.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Front Windows

A very good friend of mine visited me on the weekend and we put in a couple of the large front windows. They're a bit big for one person to handle, so I really appreciated the help.

They were installed using the same method as previous windows... peel-and-stick flashing goes in the opening first, then a bead of silicone is put on top of that, then the window is nailed into place. Finally, another layer of peel-and-stick flashing is put on top to seal everything up. (I still have to do the last step on these.)