Archive for the ‘Solar’ Category

We got the second floor all stood up and locked together. Lots of splices, lots of angles. You have to be prepared to make slight “field adjustments” here and there, but for the most part it goes pretty well. A nice thing is when the wall is stood and nailed off, you don’t need to put a lot of braces on to keep them from falling over. At the corners and where framed walls intersect, we are using 9″ screws to cinch it all together and plenty of steel ties where necessary.

We stood the first walls on both the west and east, and then tied them together with a conventionally framed 2 x6 wall.

Having a framed wall between the SIPS gave us all the bracing we needed to run the walls down the sides.

Walls down both sides to the back wall.

The Back wall is SIPS and all the remaining interior walls will be conventional framing. Getting all the walls up included setting in some pretty massive beams along the back wall for picture and clerestory windows. You have to really plan it out to get it done safely and they are too heavy to horse around after you get them set, not to mention all slathered up with green mastic! We also built the wall from the corners into the center, which allowed us to get all the metal ties in place on the beams before setting the center panels under and over the windows.

We're up around 14' with this top plate.

The interesting thing, if I haven’t already mentioned it, is you put trimmers under the beams, but the SIPS act as the king studs!  That takes getting used to. In the case of the back wall, there are 6×6 splines on both sides of the clerestory, a 6×8 header over the picture window, and a flat 4×6 top plate all across the top and tied together with Simpson A35 ties. It will also get metal straps all across the outside and along the window header….massive!

Making one of those "field adjustments".

Wall panel #79! the last one, going straight up into that hole in the background.

Heave away!

All screwed together, now we are ready to frame the interior walls.

In the pictures, you may notice where we marked the electrical and low-voltage chases with red and blue paint. Next to the windows the yellow marked chase is 2″ chase for fire sprinklers.

So this week we will split the crew and have one crew frame the interior walls of the second floor and the other setting ledgers and installing the roof panels over the living room and kitchen. Then hopefully, we can set the second story panels and close it in before it rains again!

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After getting all the walls stood for the first floor perimeter, we framed in the partition and bearing walls in the conventional manner, 2×4 non-bearing, 2×6 and 2×8 bearing walls that will extend up and carry the second floor roofs.

Doesn't that say "not a step" on the top of the ladder??

You can see the strong wall in the back of the picture above.

Me and Bob after framing in the 100 degree heat.

Of course it was 100 degrees most of the week and with the walls stood there was no air circulation inside the structure, needless to say we consumed mass quantities of water! With all the interior walls framed, it was time to run the second story rim joists and then roll out the floor joists! This is definitely not like framing in the “old days” with all engineered wood, check out the length of some of these joists…..

25' and 29' lengths on some of these!

We had to make a quick trip to LA to get the exterior doors ordered and Darryl our neighbor kept everyone hopping  until we got back. We got all the joists run on Friday and will start sheeting the second floor this Monday.

Darryl "gettin' her done!".... it's good to have a neighbor who is an excellent contractor as well.

And now, the whole thing looks like this, ready for sheeting….

Simultaneously, Andy and his crew poured the walkway and back courtyard area this week as well.

Walkway, landing, drainage....what a great job they did!

So it is starting to move quickly and we gotta hustle and beat the rain if we can, so this next week is going to be all out!

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We have been too busy to post any information up until now, so there is a whole lot of progress. Once the plates had been SDS screwed to the floor Andy and his crew came in and poured the concrete floor over the whole first floor. The weather was in the 100’s so we postponed the pour for a few days until it cooled off a bit and then set up lights and started pouring at 6:00 a.m. We made sure to tell all the neighbors in advance…..

pouring the floor and using the vibra-scree on the 3" plates.

This pour was a lot of concrete and a very exotic mix. Originally we were going to color the concrete, but Andy was concerned with efflorescence because of the mix so we decided to stain it later instead. Besides, the adding color to the mix would have added $1000 to the price of concrete.

Having a good concrete pumper is essential

All finished......

It might seem counter-intuitive to pour the finished floor before standing walls, but it was so much easier to pour and finish without the walls and we can try and protect the concrete with plywood. After a couple of days curing, we shot down 2×6 plates around the perimeter to set the SIPS panels on, and then stood the first panel.

Setting the first panel.

Make sure you mark the location and number of each panel on the bottom plate, along with locations of doors, windows etc. We also drilled each electrical chase down through the subfloor in case the electrician needs to route wire up from the sub floor.

First wall stacked and connected. Making the corner first braced the wall in two directions

We laid OSB down over the floor to protect the concrete from getting damaged.

We took marking paint and marked all the chases, red for electrical, and yellow for low voltage.

I thought that was a clever idea, except the electrician is red/green color blind!.. He said “why did you only mark one chase?” But after telling him they were all marked he could make them out. Next time use blue and  black I guess. I punched a cat door into through the wall by the doorway. So now it’s a matter of glueing in splines between the panels, setting them up and fitting and adjusting them as necessary, but it fits together pretty well.

The Queen of Green! All joints get 3/8" beads of special non-VOC mastic.

All the seams are shot in with 8d nails where there is a spline between panels. The top, sides, and bottom are recessed to receive, splines, headers or top plates, binding it all together.

Ariane shooting in the panel.

Don't piss this woman off!

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It’s been a while since I posted, and we got a lot done, although it may not look like it, but we finished the first floor, insulated it, decked it, installed the under-floor utilities, poured the front porch, and screwed down the “bottom plates”. I put the bottom plates in quotes because they are actually 3×6″ and 3 x4’s that were milled. Because we are going to pour a finished concrete floor , we need to hold the walls up to the finished height and that is what the 3×6’s do. Here are the progress pictures:

Framed floor with insulation installed.

You can see all the water and sewer pipes sticking up through, as well as any hold-down bolts.

Decking off the floor with 1 1/8" tongue and groove plywood.

The 1 1/8″ plywood and 12″ floor joists should provide a pretty stout subfloor for the concrete to pour over.

Here is the floor decked over. The 3" material marks out where the walls will set. Beside raising the walls to the finish height, they provide scree boards for pouring the concrete floor.

We put in about 12 square feet of vents for subfloor ventilation, and installed an attic fan in the crawlspace for moving the air around so it will stay as dry as possible in the future.

Subfloor with ventilation installed.

We also had some of the finish grading started, especially between the existing garage and the new structure, we want to get it leveled off and any drainage put in before it rains.  Speaking of which, we are pretty anxious to get to setting the panels in place, but  for better of worse decided to pour the concrete floor first, just so it will be easier to access and finish. As soon as it is hard enough to walk on, we will cover it with plywood to protect it and then frame the interior walls.

We also had the front porch poured.

This is the front porch, the blocked out area is where Ariane will build a fountain.

Ok…concrete floor here we go!

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We finished framing in the floor.

All framed and blocked and the vents installed.

And now the installation of the utilities under the floor space.

All the sewer and drainpipe installed. Next the water, gas, and electrical

Cutting and fitting conduit for the electrical service

I hope I have this set in right, but I am sure the electrician will let me know!.. and yes I do miss the old basement.

So we have the plumber, electrician and the HVAC all coming this week, trying to get everything we can think of installed before we deck off the floor, because we are pouring a concrete floor on top of all this, we are trying to be as precise as possible for obvious reasons. Soon as the utilities are buttoned up, we insulate the floor and nail off the decking.

I am getting nervous,   there is a lot to do and we have got to start standing walls,  I am worried about having a rainy fall……..

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Well, quite a bit has happened since the last posting. Having stripped the foundation, we spent some time shooting in the elevations and cleaning up the foundation walls. Simultaneously, we installed a new septic system and received the shipment of SIPS panels. Here is a picture of the tank installation and following will be some about the SIPS…. I have a bit to say about that……

Dropping the tank into the hole...

While this was going on, we spent time getting the foundation ready for the sill plates, shooting all the locations of the anchor bolts and determining high and low spots. Because the walls are already pre-cut we have to take extra time making sure things are dead on square and level, and time taken at this point getting it right will pay off big when we start standing and framing walls.

Are you sure that is where the wall is going to be?

With the walls located and the perimeter lines snapped on the foundation, we laid the sill plates. Then set the rim joists, again being very careful to make them square, level and to the exterior dimensions of the walls, using a sheet provided by the panel company (Pacific Post and Beam) that gave exact outside measurements.

Setting rim joists using timberstrand engineered lumber.

And then the panels arrived!….. oh boy, did they arrive! Two truck loads and a day full of frustration and danger.

First truck full of wall panels...8:10 in the a.m.

Once the panels are unstrapped, do not for any reason move the truck!…I can not emphasize this enough!  The panels are lightweight and very slippery as you will soon see……

This gives new meaning to having the panels "dropped off". I am sure my neighbor was pleased to have these lying in the driveway!

By the way, you would think that there would be a reasonable effort to loading the panels on the truck in sequential order….that would seem to make sense …. but who said things have to make sense?

W stands for wall, check out the numbering!....W8 on top of W38, oh yeah, slide in W73 between W45 and W33. If you ask yourself,"what were they thinking?" ...better to answer..."sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits..."

So we get that truck unloaded, and wait for the next load….and wait, and wait……. finally around 2 in afternoon it rolls in looking like this….

As you can plainly see, this load has shifted during transit and is dangerously listing to the right. This called for some very careful unloading.

We had to re-band the lower layers and remove the top layers by hand, coming down both sides evenly. Throw in a stiff afternoon wind, and it was a dicey couple of hours.

So now we have a giant game of 52 pickup in our yard, only the cards are much larger and there are at least two decks. This is something we are going to have to straighten out because you can’t just shuffle through the panels to find the wall panel you need. Either way, this cost money….

Hand me panel 23 will you?

So while all that remains to be done, we got after framing the first floor and we should be done with that this coming Monday.

You gotta love a girl who can drive a backhoe and swing a framing hammer!

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It’s been busy since the last post. We got the foundation formed and poured. Andy DeVillers and his construction crew have been doing all the dirt work and foundation work and we highly recommend them for any work you may need doing, they work hard and get it done right! They got the skills to pay the bills.

Certain of the SIPS panels will be shearwalls. Here we are setting straps to tie the 4x6 splines to the foundation.

Andy, Randy, Zach and Matt gettin' it done

Once it was all formed and the steel laid in, we got it inspected, made a few minor changes and then on to pouring the foundation.

Getting set up for the pour.

Wetting down the footers

The pour kept everyone busy until 47 yards were put down!  Of course it kept getting hotter and everyone was jamming to get it vibrated and smoothed off. No time for pictures!

Ariane finishing off around the foundation bolts.

All done.

Much deserved beers, in a pocket of shade

Once everything was done we got a lesson in operating the excavator. It is similar to operating the ladder truck.

Do not let this person anywhere near your building!

Been all around the world with a backhoe driving girl!

So here is the end result, and the first load of lumber is due to arrive today..it’s on!

Ready for first floor framing! yeah!


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