Archive for September, 2012

November 2011

September 24, 2012

November turned into a strange month in construction operations. I was preparing to drive to Newfoundland to spend the holidays with my wife, and to bring back a bunch of things for the house which had been stored. So in addition to finishing up the solar chimney facing, and making another increment in getting the kitchen cabinets installed, I designed and implemented a scheme for putting a top, and lockable doors on my utility trailer. This was also season for the various choirs in which I sing to have their final preparations for Christmas concerts so some extra out and about for that, the major one singing Messiah with the London Pro Musica and Symphony London the first week in December. As that approached conversations with Elena determined I was not going to Newfoundland for Christmas, but we were trekking to Sarasota, FL for a “white Christmas”, sand not snow ūüôā The van minus trailer but with a bike rack went South rather than East for sun and fun. Below is what I accomplished before the Holiday exodus. Just to make life interesting in addition to a lot of beach time, we also did a sing-along Messiah in Sarasota…. can’t stop singing!

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October 2011

September 24, 2012

October I had the focus on finishing the window trim and the Hardieboard paneling on the solar chimney. I set up a cutting area outside the garage with my trusty diamond blade in the skilsaw. Trim was cut and drilled for long tapcons which went into the stucco surrounding the windows. Actually went pretty quickly once I got into the routine.

The paneling on the solar chimney was a “horse of a different color”. The narrow sections on the south face were easy, and the East and West sides were harder but doable with one set of hands. However the North side was way too risky with just one person and I deferred that for while (see accomplishments for November).

I then started the prep work for the retaining wall planned for building a patio that runs from the outer edge of the screen porch to just past the door emerging from the great room. First step was to dig the trench for the footings and to put the forming boards in place, properly leveled for screeding the concrete when it was poured into the form. I as usual mixed my own concrete and wheel-barrowed to the forms as it was generated, and troweled the footing to give a smooth level base for the wall.

After a day or so of curing, I by now had moved many of my remaining partly damaged cement blocks to pallets adjacent to the footing and began the wall construction. First step as way back in building the main foundation walls, was to level the base layer of blocks, setting them in a mortar bed on the footing. Ater an overnight cure of the mortar, I then stacked the remaining two layers of blocks to get a wall that was 3 courses tall, e.g. 24 inches off the footing.

Now I started up my cement plant again and poured the stacked blocks full of concrete, vibrating it vigorously so no air voids in the wall. This gave me a resultant solid concrete wall. I raked the sand fill that had to be excavated to put in the footings to partially fill the enclosure provided by the retaining wall. Next Summer for the final effort on this. Pictures of the work done in October in the gallery below.

September 2011

September 24, 2012

September goal was to get the roof edge and soffits, done. So the first order of business was to put the soffit material on the framing which I had finished at the end of August. I set up my table saw to cut the sections of soffit to bridge the gap between frame on the top of the wall to the roof edge. They were “hooked” together by the lateral interlock built into the aluminum soffit stock, and then the edges screwed to the wood frame and the roof edge. When the soffits were mounted I then set about putting the fascia in place. They are an “L-shaped” aluminum extrusion, the flat edge slides under the drip-edge of the steel shingles, and the “L” comes down around the bottom of the roof edge and covers the screws on the soffit material. The biggest part of install volume was on the bottom edges of the roof, but the finickiest bit was the fitting the gables with soffit and fascia. They also had to have the cement board panels to approximate the color and texture of the stucco on the ground level walls.

So in total there was a bit of task switching between aluminum work, and cement board work, and then when the roof edges were done start the window trim cutting and installation. And on the rainy days work on finishing the varnish on the kitchen cabinets.

August 2011

September 6, 2012

The wordpress software buggered up, and I lost a lot of work I had put into doing posts.   After a back and forth with the sys admins the problem was solved, but I had got out of the habit of updating as I went along; mea culpa.   I have been queried by friends and family about how things are going, and they have been going slow but steady.   I am now going to try and update the progress on the house, probably not as richly (or verbosely) annotated as when  the work is done but at least a summary of the work and pictures of the progress.

After my son and family visited in early July I got back to working on the cabinets for the kitchen as documented in the last post, and my sisters encouraged me to visit Iowa and see my Mom when sister Trish was visiting, recently moved from Framingham, Mass to Louisville, Kentucky. ¬† Anyway that took a little more than a week out of my work schedule, but family visits are pretty special, and 93 year-old Moms aren’t going to be with us forever.

I made a cross-border trip and came back with the soffits, fascia for the roof edge, and cement board trim for the exterior window frames.  Installing them and completing  kitchen cabinet finishing and installation was my task over the next several weeks, as well as starting work on my patio structure.   The gallery below shows what was accomplished before the end of August.