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Things are starting to speed up now!  The plumbing is all done and the electricity will be done soon. This involves about a million decisions on lights, plugs, switches, and generally trying to figure out all the potential future needs and installations…..yikes. Ariane has been up to the task on the lighting and is handling that crucial aspect. Meanwhile, we set the ledgers for the upper and lower decks and started running the metal roofing panels. The plasterer Felipe is barreling through and has the first story wrapped in paper and wire for stucco. He will be back Monday with a crew to set all the scaffolding for getting the whole thing wrapped… a huge undertaking. I have a crew coming on Monday to help us with the roofing and we should have that done next week, then the whole thing will be completely waterproof….yeah!

So here are some updated pictures:

East side wrapping

South side , with first roof panels installed!

The roofing should go fast, each panel is 38″ wide and after overlapping, you cover a 3′ by whatever length the roof is with one piece…sweet!  Metal roofs are great, they do not have the thermal mass of shingles or tiles which radiate  heat back into the structure, so you stay cooler in summer, warmer in winter. Plus with baked on finish the metal roof lasts 40 yrs. The underlayment is special too as it is also rated for 40 yrs, unlike felt paper which is about 15. So you end up with a pretty maintenance free roof for a  long time.

You lay the roof panels on so the overlap faces away from the main direction of rain and bad weather. In our case that is from the northwest, so all the overlaps face east.

The installation of electricity and plumbing is unique for these structures as well, here are some details.

You have to block out areas where plumbing goes like this. The red spray paint marks the electrical chases. To pull wire or move it through the chases, you can make a 4" hole and then feed wire.

Fire sprinkler riser.....

Here you can see a switch box and the circle cut for feeding wire to a light outlet..

Here are some random photos of the interior space:

Ariane, James and I built the stairs!...no more ladders!

Office with clerestory windows.

Upstairs bedroom.

Hallway, and light cans

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Much has happened since the last postings. Roof on, facia on, front porch roof and metal work. The windows are in. The fire sprinklers are in and passed the test. The plumbing is essentially finished and most of the electrical. Still a bunch to go but there has been a lot of progress.

Setting the porch roof on the steel frame work.

We fabricated a steel post and beam to support the front porch roof. Then we had it powder coated…… we are in to low maintenance and it has that industrial look we like.

post and beam detail

So the house is pretty well closed in and dry. We have been busy assisting the plumber and electrician and working on  details, routing pipes, electricity, building the stairs, lots of things that take time. The metal roof panels have arrived and we will be laying them next week.

there will be a two-story deck under the picture windows

and here is the rear of the structure.

Putting in the utilities poses some unique problems with this construction and I will post details soon. I am going to run the piping for the solar hot water collectors soon and tie it in to the hot water tank, details to follow. Hopefully this cold weather will break soon! There has been hard freezes and too much ice on the roof to get up there before 10:00a.m. !  Got to love trailer living in these conditions…….

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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 have a family of foxes that come to the site every day. They are very bold. Here are some pictures of one.

Pretty relaxed fox.

checking out some deer

They sure make a lot of noise at night!

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