Archive for October, 2009

September 28, Preparing wall surface, applying SBC, and House Roof Trusses.

October 12, 2009

Unfortunately, I was only able to get old stock of the drystack blocks from Santerra because the block design had been changed by the patent holder (Azar), and new design blocks did not mate with old blocks in my foundation. The blocks I received had obviously been “around” for quite a while, and there was a lot of breakage, damage of joints and soil contamination in the pallets. 120 (1 2/3 pallets) blocks were so bad, they could not be used, and many that were used had smaller defects in the joining boundaries which then had to be repaired with mortar to give an even surface for applying surface bonding cement. Because of the amount dirt on the blocks, and the fact that there were large mismatches between the joining surface for stacking, I am convinced that many were blocks that were returned by other contractors as unsuable. I had no choice, and with at least 2/3 of the order had to use my right angle grinder with a diamond wheel carving the joining surfaces to get solid level, plumb seating of the blocks. In comparison to my experience last summer with fresh production blocks, it doubled or tripled my stacking time, which was not nearly compensated by the 9% discount I was given on the order. That did not take into account the extra days of work and materials needed to repair the “wounded” but not mortally damaged blocks.

When I finished the cement pours in the reinforcing columns, I hit a period which continues even now of unseasonably cool and rainy weather with occasional sunny breaks. I slogged on and by Thursday October 1 had finished the preparation of walls for SBC. I had ordered the roof trusses when I finished the last wall pour, since I knew from the garage that it would be at least 2 weeks to delivery (October 14 is D-Day).

Also began to sort out the ordering of roofing materials. My preferred product is Wakefield Bridge steel shingles, and they have a new color this year, Classic Copper which has the highest solar reflectance. I had initially chosen the Terra Red shingle which was the highest before the new product and the one that appealed to me visually in relation to the “stucco” exterior wall finish I intend to use. So you will see samples of the two shingles against the block wall in bright sun to compare. I found that the nice copper shingle, also has a nice price 30% more than red, and visually I prefer the red; so a small sacrifice on efficiency for aesthetics and price.

October 1, Bedroom/Great Room wall with patches.

October 1, Bedroom/Great Room wall with patches.

Guest bedroom wall with patches complete

Guest bedroom wall with patches complete

North wall patches finished.

North wall patches finished.

Inside of North wall patches finished.

Inside of North wall patches finished.

Classic Copper and Terra Red Wakefield Bridge shingle samples.

Classic Copper and Terra Red Wakefield Bridge shingle samples.

October 7, Great room wall, unused pallet of blocks taken away by Santerra.

October 7, Great room wall, unused pallet of blocks taken away by Santerra.

October 7, SBC complete on north wall of garage/workshop.

October 7, SBC complete on north wall of garage/workshop.

SBC complete on outer south wall of Garage/Workshop.

SBC complete on outer south wall of Garage/Workshop.

SBC complete, west wall garage workshop.

SBC complete, west wall garage workshop.

 October 8. SBC Complete on outside of north house wall.

October 8. SBC Complete on outside of north house wall.

October 9, SBC complete west outer wall of house.

October 9, SBC complete west outer wall of house.

October 10, SBC complete outer south wall of house.

October 10, SBC complete outer south wall of house.

Sunday October 11, last section of outer house wall completed SBC.

Sunday October 11, last section of outer house wall completed SBC.

On Wednesday October 14 the trusses for the house arrived and were deposited in the front yard, and I put the SBC on the first interior walls of the garage. This was regular SBC made with gray portland on the actual garage section. All the people occupied spaces will have SBC made with white portland. On Thursday afternoon the cement finisher and excavator with a 2 ft auger arrived to drill holes for sonotubes that are to be filled with concrete to support the posts on the screen porch that are under the edge of the roof, and for the covered walkway between house and garage/workshop. Once the holes were drilled I mixed cement, and they put a mixer load in the bottom of each hole, set the sonotubes in the base, and then we filled them to the level needed to support the posts. Actually in the case of the screen porch, to the level where the slab will be poured above them, which will be where the posts will really sit. Made a bunch of cement in a hurry, and had to dash off to McNaughtons and get more portland to finish the task.

That night the temperature went down to freezing and we had our first sprinkling of snow 😦

I had checked with the electrical inspector as to the code for wiring within concrete block walls, and determined that I needed to use BX armoured cable. So bought a spool of BX and boxes and clamps I needed to install the cable. Put in the cable stubs with the 4 outlets that are in the outer walls of the workshop so they could be embedded in the SBC. Another 8 outlets in walls of the house.

October 14, First interior wall of garage coated with SBC.

October 14, First interior wall of garage coated with SBC.

Garage wall with SBC.

Garage wall with SBC.

October 16, First snow!

October 16, First snow!

House roof trusses under the tarp in the front yard.

House roof trusses under the tarp in the front yard.

October 18, interior walls of garage complete with white SBC.

October 18, interior walls of garage complete with white SBC.

South wall of garage/workshop with white SBC.

South wall of garage/workshop with white SBC.

Friday I did more prep work on the screen porch. Have shaved down the sand to the level where insulation will rest with concrete poured over it. This will prevent any frost heaving of the slab, and also act as a thermal buffer between the house and outside ground. Was not a pretty day, gray and cold, also now working to keep leaves off the wet floor in the house to prevent staining of the concrete. The final task for the day was in the shed, mixed up 14 batches of SBC for the interior walls of the house. Again rain overnight, so some sweeping and scooping of water off the floor on Saturday morning with leaf removal. Then put down tarps along the entire east wall from the entry hall to the southeast corner. Saturday afternoon was SBC mixing, spraying and troweling. By 6PM had the east wall a part of the north wall of the entry hall covered and cleaned up the tools. The walls look very nice, should be very white when the cement is fully cured, already looks quite bright.

October 24, East wall of kitchen and door frame to the screen porch SBC done.

October 24, East wall of kitchen and door frame to the screen porch SBC done.

Entry hallway, SBC complete on east, partial on north wall.

Entry hallway, SBC complete on east, partial on north wall.

Screen portch sand bed preparation.  Note sonotubes in foreground for support posts.

Screen portch sand bed preparation. Note sonotubes in foreground for support posts.

This week I have been working methodically to finish the SBC application to the interior walls of the house. On Monday morning I got a callback from my cement finisher promising that his crew would show up on Tuesday to form and pour the screen porch floor.

My cement mixer, showing the wear and tear of all the cement and and mortar mixing for the last year and more, was starting to have major deterioration of the big ring gear on the mixer tub, and I decided to deactivate it for repairs before it really broke badly. Rick my neighbor across the back fence had offered to loan me his cement mixer earlier in the summer, so I walked over and asked if I could use it now, and also asked if he could maybe help repair the gear. He has welding gear, and is a experienced welder for doing body work. So I have been using his mixer which came from the same store Harbor Freight, in the USA, but is electric rather than gas engine I have. It has been working quite nicely and has let me finish up my SBC work this week. I have taken off the mixer tub, and deposited it over by his shop so he can work on it at his leisure. I will need it again, since I have decided to apply stucco as the finish surface over the polyurethane foam using a version of surface bonding cement which will be sprayed and troweled into stucco mesh fastened to the foam. I have done a test panel and it is strong and attractive.

Tuesday morning, as promised, the cement crew showed up and I spent a good part of the morning helping them fitting the 4″ styrofoam in the form for the slab. The cement truck arrive about 1 PM, and the finishing work was done mid afternoon . I set back to work on my SBC, and finished another wall section before dark. On Wednesday, finished the west wall and bedroom section of south wall. One more full day to finish the interior wall.

Thursday morning, did the prep work putting the tarps down to catch the splatter, and taking off most of the rough spots from patching plaster on the remaining walls. Got hard at it and a little after noon became aware there was a backhoe trucks and people in my front yard. Lo and behold the Union Gas crew was there to install my gas line and regulator. My plumbing contractor had predicted 5-6 weeks after filing a request for service, and secretary processing my form said 4-5 weeks, they actually arrived after 3 weeks, a bit of a surprise. After a bit of discussion they agreed to put the installation approximately where I wanted it. Something about the regulator had to be at least 36 inches away from an openable window. Then they had at it with the backhoe, and very shortly had dug into my sew line, and taken the top off the cleanout cap on the village sewer line. It cost me about an hour and half getting the repair bits from the leftovers from my earthtubes. So they got it all patched together and then covered it up and were gone, and I got back to my mixer and mortar sprayer. Because of the time lost, I had to get out my worklight, but finished the last of the interior wall and cleaned up my tools by about 8 PM.

Friday morning it rained. but I was out doing cleanup of the splatters and getting the tarps off the floor. Picked up the ice guard and Triflex roof membrane from McNaughtons, thinking I could get started on the garage roof, but discovered on reading the installation manual, that I need the starter shingles first, so will be next week when the shingles arrive. That is when it is likely the trusses and deck for the house will also go up. Then we measure and order the shingles for that roof.

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October 26, Screen porch floor formed, insulation in place and rebar in place.

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Starting the cement pour.

Almost done, leveling it out.

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First fine troweling done, looking like a floor.

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October 28, Finished screen porch floor with form removed.

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SBC finished in master bedroom.

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SBC finished in great room, south wall.

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