Monday, March 21, 2016


The house and shop are being covered with fire-resistant Hardie Plank siding.  The stuff is basically concrete in plank form, it weighs a ton and requires special sawblades to cut. But hopefully it will resist flying embers from one of our famous brush fires.

Simple Pleasures

(For you, John...)

Cold oranges

Cinnamon raisin English muffins

A big pot of room temperature
real butter

And of course. Good coffee!

I dug down in the wood pile an came up with the last remaining scraps of "Humpert wood" to build the little hatch doors for both gable ends of the shop.  They're located just above the rafters, so in addition to letting a little air flow through the building, I can use them to access any long lumber pieces I want to store on top of the rafters.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Snowman Cometh

I don't think the insulation contractor made much money on this job....

His experienced sprayer guy was not willing to drive out here, because he would have to go through a Border Patrol checkpoint on his way back.  I'll let you draw your own conclusions about that...

Instead, we got a guy who was used to using a different product, different equipment, and in an entirely different application.  I have a feeling this was the first house he ever sprayed foam in..

Spray foam insulation is a great alternative to that pink fiberglass stuff.  Once in place, it stays there, and it completely seals air leakage as well as heat transfer through the walls.  This makes it much more effective, since it doesn't do much good to put a blanket on the house if cold air is sneaking in the cracks.

Also, by using this foam, which swells several times in size and then sets up like styrofoam, we could put the insulation directly under the roof instead of the attic floor, where most folks insulate.  The benefit of that is that the attic is also insulated, and I won't have a hot box over my head all summer.

At first, it looked pretty tidy, but that insulation has to completely fill the wall cavity, the full depth of the studs.

I pointed that out to SprayMan.

Even more so with the roof deck.  I said "Dude, up there it's supposed to be an inch thicker than the rafters.  We shouldn't be seeing rafters peeking through the foam.

So... he filled the cavities.  Big time.

Hoo boy!  Snow cave!


Bless his heart though, he even shot foam under the cast iron bathtub, which will help keep the water hot for those long winter baths

The roof deck eventually got a luxurious coating.  The boss had to drive another drum of foam out here from 80 miles away late Friday evening.

You can see how thick it is where he carved out around the chimney.

The actual ceiling drywall will attach to those lower rafters, so you won't see any of the foam.

After a couple of days, SprayMan went away.  The picture at left is to show time passing. Have I mentioned that I love me some flapjacks?

The poor underpaid assistant (and his assistant) came back on Saturday to trim.  He uses a long saw blade to cut off all the excess foam that swelled up beyond the studs.  Obviously it has to be flat so they can install drywall.

And boy did he trim!


This is why I said I don't think he made much money on the job.  They hauled away almost as much as they left in the walls! Plus, it was supposed to be a one day job that turned into a three day job.  Oh well.  It didn't cost me any extra.  

The walls are all trimmed now, and they cleaned up all their mess, so drywall can begin this week.

Siding has been delivered!

Huge stack of drywall in the middle of the living room.
They were supposed to be done, so 70 sheets of drywall got delivered right in the middle of foaming!

There will also be another crew here hanging siding on the outside, while the drywallers are working inside, so there should be lots to report next time.

Stay tuned!

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Big Day (with nothing to show for it)

It was a big day - huge.  Momentous even. But no colorful photos of a pile of sticks becoming a home, because what we did today was pass inspection.

This was a milestone inspection, of the framing, the plumbing, the electrical, the mechanical - in short just about everything the guys have done since the concrete was poured.

Because we passed (I should be saying "they" passed - I just pretty much try to stay out of the way), we can move on to "closing up" which means siding on the outside and drywall on the inside. That will be the real tipping point of a pile of sticks becoming a home.  After that, it's downhill.. paint, trim, flooring... and a million little details that will frustrate my urge to move in, but will have to be attended to before that last  big inspection - the final.  Once past that, I expect to be handed a key.

There are still more minor inspections before the final, but today's was a catchall - he could have failed us on any number of different things.  In fact, we had a potentially disastrous hiccup this morning that I'll tell you about someday maybe, when all inspectors and other bureaucrats are out of my life. Fate was on our side, however, because he was scheduled to be here first thing this morning, but got an unexpected call to be elsewhere until early afternoon.  Time enough to sort out the snafu.

For my part, staying out of the way consisted of cleaning up and re-arranging the shop in preparation for my next contribution; the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.  I've started making some temporary shop furniture - benches for the saw and other equipment.  I'll only allow a couple of days for that project, and then get serious about the kitchen.

There was one thing that happened today that I can show a snapshot of.  Not related to the house really. I sent in a "tip" to Fine Homebuilding Magazine.  Not even really a tip - more of a minor product endorsement.  And darned if they didn't decide to print it in the latest (May) issue and sent me a check for 75 bucks!

Must have been a slow publishing day.