Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

June – July 2012

January 31, 2014

After Elena flew back to Newfoundland I settled down to some serious house completion issues.   First was laying the interlocking brick in the path from entry door under the breezeway to the entry door of the workshop.  I had acquired the bricks in early days of construction in trade for a case of Coors Light 🙂  Now they became my walkway.

I then set about completing work on my patio in front of the south-facing windows of the great room dining area. First I had a truck load of fill sand delivered, and when opportunity arose a fellow with a skid-steer working next door delivered the sand into the retaining wall. I then leveled and compacted it with my gandy dancer dirt tamper (You figure that out:) ) Filled the space up to about 1 1/2 inch of top of retaining wall, so the top of patio blocks would be flush with it.

I decided to manufacture my own patio blocks, since I had some portland cement and a pile of cement gravel and reinforcing mesh left from earlier cement work. I was able to borrow a concrete stamp and releasing liquid from my friend Craig Morley so the top of the block was to be stamped with an Italian Slate pattern. It turned out that the small stamp of his set, was 22 inches square, which coincidentally gave me a perfect fit for 4 blocks to reach from retaining wall to house edge. I built forms on sheets of plywood fastened to pallets which had been under concrete blocks delivered to my site. They were structured so I could remove the end piece, and insert a prybar under the edge to lift the block out of the form when it had cured for 24 hours.

In between batches of cement going into the forms, I kept at other bits that needed to be done. Working on getting the plywood liners into the window wells, and geting them stained and varnished. I also decided to run a pex line from my well pump near the edge of my property up to the edge of the house where I was more a more useful water outlet for lawn and garden and for cement mixing. This was another gift from the guys at CPE, left over from a job they did with a sort of non-standard pex size, 5/8″ instead of 1/2 or 3/4. Anyway I dug the trench, laid the pex and underground rated electrical cable and then covered again with dirt and sod about 8 inches below surface. Not deep enough to escape freezing in the winter but out of the way of lawn mower and other landscaping implements.

Supposedly the VW van in Newfoundland was to have the transplant done by a professional mechanic friend of my son-in-law Dean. Unfortunately this fellow lost one of his regular helpers in the shop, and was no longer able to schedule the job. Hence it was to be just Dean and me to do the honors in completing the transplant of manual transmission and accessories. Anyway on July 22, Kenn Cochrane one of my neighbors took me into London where I caught an airport shuttle to Toronto Pearson and flew from there to St John’s. With a bit of delay we were into it but it took while to get job done. Dean had a recurrence of major muscle spasms in his back when we were about 2/3s done so I had a significant bit where I was mostly on my own to get it finished up. I did feel the need put it together and drive it enough with short haul trips to be sure nothing was going to fall apart before hitting the road for the big jump back to Ontario. I am sorry now but did not take extensive pictures of the transplant operation only one set of the two vehicles sitting side by side in mid operation.

My stay in Newfoundland was prolonged by the freak accident my wife had in which her car was totaled. If it had not been for the airbag she would have been uninjured, but the slide up a guard rail triggered the side airbag which cracked two ribs. If not for that she and her cousin would have emerged shaken but with no physical injuries. So I was involved in helping her get a new car and doing the necessaries which the bad ribs made excruciatingly painful for her till she had healed enough to carry on alone. I finally headed back to Ontario on the last ferry of the season departing September 29 from Argentia to North Sydney which saved me from having to drive the 1000 km to the Port au Basque ferry. I did the trans-border route through Maine and on to New York to save gas money and skirted Montreal in the US crossing the Border from New York state at the Thousand Island bridge. Again dropped some stuff off in Toronto for step-daughter and then home to Newbury.


April-May 2012

January 22, 2014

After Dean headed off to Newfoundland with the donor van, I continued to slog away at the window liners and bits of the finish of the solar chimney interior. I also did some caulking and painting on the top that I put on my utility trailer in preparation for the trek to Newfoundland and back. The initial plan was for me to go with my MPV and trailer to pick up a load of stored stuff to bring back to Ontario, and also to engage in helping with the transplant process on replacing the automatic (dead) transmission with the good clutch and transmission from the donor van. There was the possibility of both the VW camper and the MPV plus trailer would be moving west together, with a recruited additional driver. However that was not to happen. I headed to Newfoundland on April 3 with trailer in tow. Dropped down through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and then to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to take advantage of cheaper gas, and got to the ferry on the night of April 4, sailed at 6:30 the next morning and drove across the island arriving in St. John’s just before midnight.

Unfortunately the work on van conversion was not possible at that time, and the extra driver not possible either, so I loaded up the stuff in the trailer and headed back West on May 5. As before first the approximately 1000 km across the island, then the 6+ hr ferry ride, this time overnight trip, and hit the ground on the far side in the morning running. This trip I chose to stay north of the border the whole trip, did not relish the idea of having the entire trailer load of stuff torn apart by US customs looking for whatever. I made it to Montreal the second day on the mainland and Elena joined me by air. We spent a day visiting my daughter and Elena’s cousin, and then we drove together to Toronto, where we unloaded some items for my step-daughter. Then I went on to Newbury to unload the rest while she stayed for a visit with daughter and a HS friend from Buenos Aires.

After unloading the trailer and catching up on stuff around the house (grass etc) back to Toronto on the 18th, and a visit to the Picasso exhibit at the AGO.  After that  Elena was in Newbury for a several days and I showed her a bit of the countryside around the region as well as the lay of the land in London.   Then  up to Kitchener to visit friends, on the way to drop her off in Guelph for a conference at the University.   After the conference back to Toronto and on June 13 she flew back to Newfoundand.

March 2012

August 6, 2013

March I continued work on the interior window trim, and also set about retrieving the donor van from Kitchener.   My friend Don took me up to Kitchener where the money was transferred, and we got the transit licence I needed to move the van, to Newbury and eventually to Newfoundland.   Dean, my son-in-law had a trip scheduled to join some of his friends living in Toronto, and go to a rock concert (Van Halen).   When that was completed he took the train to Glencoe, where I picked him up and I had company for a few days, and we got the  interior of the solar chimney lined with whiteboard.  We checked out the van thoroughly and I loaned him a tool set just in case, and he was off.   Everything went very smoothly, he made it to the Ferrry  terminal in North Sydney in 29 hours.

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.

Bathrooms and Doors

June 9, 2011


Spring has sprung!

April 16, 2010

The unseasonal warmth has persisted with brief interludes of more typical early Spring temperatures for the region. The result is that I have been able to finish the putting the steel shingles on my roof. The last part of that was shingling the top of the solar chimney. I delayed going up there after discovering that all the pollen, and leaf bud fallout from the big trees around my lot rendered the roof quite slippy, which was a significant deterrent. After a couple good rains, the traction on the roof was acceptable, and I had at it. I had also been ruminating about a safe way to get from the roof ridge up onto the top of the solar chimney, and the final successful plan was to screw 3 2×4 pieces to the corner of the chimney to form a sort of ladder so I could climb up onto the flat top. It worked well, and I got the shingles on, and caulked around the edges and back down as it was getting to quitting time. So I left my ladder in place, knowing I would need to remove it later. I decided it would be fun to get pictures of me up there at the top turret of my castle, so got my neighbor down the street to come and photograph me as I was up there to take down the ladder steps. Below are pix showing the roof finished status and me on top.

April 15, On the roof, to remove the temporary ladder.


Beginning interior framing, temporary windows, and shingles, shingles, shingles.

November 14, 2009

On Wednesday November 11 the framing crew finished what I had contracted them to do. The deck was complete on the breezeway, and interior framing of the solar chimney and the ends of the cathedral ceiling was complete. I had started the shingle preparation, putting the starter edge on the south face of the garage roof, installing the ridge caps for the hips on its edges, and putting the EaveGuard on the south edge of the roof. Then began screw shingles into place. Slow process as I am learning the procedure and with expensive materials don’t want to make mistakes. Pretty much every morning has been a slow start for roof work this week, with frost or dew on the roof that has to dry off before it is safe to be on the surface, and with the short daylight hours too dark to work safely past 5:30PM.

By Friday shutdown time I had nearly completed the shingles on the south face of the garage, and had starter edge on the east roof face and the EaveGuard in place too. More sunny days forecast, so hoping to move right along, and pick up speed as my confidence in managing the steel shingles builds.

The interior of the house is now starting to look and feel like a house. I am very pleased that sun patterns are happening exactly as designed. FIrst light in late Fall winter comes into the dining area, and warms up the whole great room all the way to where the back wall will be. The solar chimney has been framed inside, and has plywood panels in place defining how it will bring light into the back of the great room, and exhaust hot air in summer. Pictures below show light patterns early morning, and again about noon.


Dining room, great room sun at 8:00 AM.


Master bedroom, sun at 8:00 AM


Great room, sun at about noon. Note the solar chimney above the sweeper.


East face of garage roof, starter edge and EaveGuard in place.


Friday, November 13, South face of garage shingles nearly complete.

I continued to work systematically whenever the roof was safe, to install the shingles. Unfortunately the occurrence of either frost or dew on most mornings, meant that I could not be on the roof till near noon and some real rain also slowed things down. With the short days, the effective work day was cut in half. In the mornings when the roof was not accessible I put my plastic window substitutes in place, to keep the wind and weather out of of the interior. Now have all except the entry door in the house, and the two doors in the garage covered tightly. The lower temperatures also take their toll on my hands and joints, hot showers help but summer is much more fun!

November 23, Garage roof south, east, and north faces complete, ridge vent installed.

View of roof from the north, garage roof shingles and breezeway underlayment.

FIrst shingles on the house roof, west face of roof begun.

Still working away as the weather permits on the shingles, a good day’s output after the roof drys off, is three courses before it is too dark. The set of pictures below are status completed just before the snow and rain came through on December 8 and the cold and wind set upon me. I have continued to work at getting the garage door framing completed for installation of the insulated overhead door, and reframing the small garage door so it will accommodate a 36 inch door. Praying for a warming trend with sun and low wind 🙂

December 8, South face of house roof. This side dries off fastest in the morning, so it is where most progress is made.

Shingle status on the north face of the house roof.

Looking past the NE corner of the house at the breezeway and garage. Note the plywood sheets keeping snow out of the garage bay.

Shingle status on the west face of the house roof.

Continued to plug away, at roof when it was dry and to hang the entry doors to the house and garage. The overhead door will wait till after New Year. I now have the south face of the roof complete except for the last course of shingles from the solar chimney to the east. This is because I have flashing to install around the chimney base, then the last of those shingles will go on. Yesterday (December 18) I got a good session in the afternoon on the north face of the roof. Unfortunately overnight there was light snow so waiting for melting and drying to see when I get on the roof again. Pictures of progress below.

December 19, South face of house roof complete to the ridge except for one course from solar chimney to the east end.

Entry door to the house, hung and sealed.

Looking down the breezeway at the garage entry door, hung and sealed.

North face of house roof, shingles up to the top of the hip on the east end.

I was offered a good price on a kerosene construction heater by my friend Ron who built the strawbale house just down the street from me. I fired it up in hopes that the heat would warm the roof and speed the melting and drying. Unfortunately the efficacy was minimal, but the sun came out and I systematically used a broom with an extension handle to brush the snow off. The sun then did its thing, and I was able first to get more shingles on West face, which got direct sunlight. The north face dried and the humidity was such that Wednesday morning December 23, it was safe to get on the roof before 10 AM. so I got a lot of shingles on. Christmas Eve day was similarly good conditions and I was on the roof by 9 AM, and finished (with suitable breaks for food and warmth) a 5:30PM when it was too dark to be safe and accurate. Driving rain and wind overnight and all day on Christmas, a dusting of snow by Boxing Day morning. Pictures of the progress below.

December 23, South face of house roof complete to the ridge.

More progress on the west face of the roof.

North face of roof, shingles up to the top of hip on the East end, most of the overnight snow swept of to let the shingles dry off.

December 24, progress mid-day when I broke to warm up and have lunch.

Status at end of daylight on Christmas Eve, finished to ridge on the East end, 6 courses from top on the West end.

I continued to pick away at the west face of the roof when the snow melted, but kept getting more to torment me. Yesterday December 29, was dry and sunny, but very cold and windy. I brushed off snow with my extension broom, and let things dry off. Today it was dry, warmer and much less wind. I got on the roof for several hours and finished the north face of the roof to the ridge all the way to the west end, and all but one course of shingles on the west face up to the gable face. Will see what the weather brings tomorrow, supposed to be mild, but likely snow 😦 Pictures below of the latest status of north and west faces.

December 30, North face of roof finished to the ridge completely.

West face of house roof, one course left to the gable face.

Installing house trusses and finishing the roofs.

November 6, 2009

I picked up the Triflex roofing underlayment and Eavguard ice shield on Halloween, expecting I might be able to prepare the roof on the garage for the steel shingles which were ordered on Tuesday, and maybe arriving on following Tuesday. Then went over the installation manual from Wakefield Bridge, and it was not clear the sequence of applying Triflex and Eaveguard. So had to wait till Monday to get clarification from the roofing guy before moving ahead. It turns out that the Triflex is installed first, then the starter shingles, and over that the Eaveguard. So set up my ladders and scaffolds around the garage, peeled off the tarpaulin and started putting on the Triflex. My neighbor across the street Richard, came over and gave me a hand, and we got the north and south faces of the roof covered and then the rains came chasing us wet and bedraggled off the roof.

Tuesday morning, Nov 3 the crew to intall the trusses arrived, but the big crane was not available that day, so they put the master truss in place by hand, aligned it vertically as the reference plane, installed the hips and jacks on the west end of the house, and put the plywood deck on that small section of the roof. Then we went to the east end of the house and set about construction the beam array which will support the roof over the screen porch. This consisted of 4 6×6 treated wood posts supporting firbrolam beams that are the base for the jacks which form the corner and eastern edge of the roof. The engineered beams are enormously strong, but also very heavy, the long one weighed nearly 400 lbs. We got it finished and properly braced, and the rains arrived again and the crew dispersed, but with the promise to be there at 7 AM with the crane to put up the rest of the big trusses.

A point of pride; Tom Ritchie the framer complimented me on my wall and nailing plate alignments. The north and west wall were less than 1/16 inch out of perfect square on the long diagonal. As we did the whole set of big trusses, the heels were within 1/4″ of aligning perfectly to the edge of the nailing plate on the 30 foot span, so all my attention to detail in building the wall paid off.


November 3, Lifting the master truss into place on the nailing plate.


Bracing the master truss in the true vertical position, all the rest are referenced to this truss.


Finishing up the alignment of the master truss.


Setting and nailing the "jacks" on the west side of the master truss.


Jacks and hips in place, starting the plywood deck.


More work on the deck.


Most of the deck in place.


Deck and the fascia on the gable complete.


Fibrolam beams and 6x6 posts set in place and braced on the screen porch slab, ready for the jacks to complete the roof profile.

Wednesday, November 4, The crane arrived minutes before 7 AM, set up and the crew was at it at full speed. Since the crane gets $200/hr, it was very useful that the trusses were going into place virtually perfectly with no need for any fiddles to make them right. When they were all in place and minimally cross-braced, the crane packed up and left and the crew set about getting the more permanent bracing in place and putting the plywood deck on the north face of the roof. Things were going great guns, until about 10:30 AM, when the rains descended upon us again. It was dangerous to be on the roof, and the crew had a job down the street, that was inside, so they went there, hoping the weather would break, but it was not to be.


Wednesday, November 4, Picking up the first truss of the day.


Headed for the nailing plate.


Putting the first one in place.


Set on the nailing plates.


Moving along with the trusses.


The last big truss in place, disconnecting the cable.


Tying in the last truss, and the crane getting ready to go away.


A bit of a curve in the bottom chord of the last truss, some adjustment required.


My neighbor Lloyd surveying the work.


Looking up at the cathedral trusses.


November 5, Putting on the roof deck on the south face of the roof.


Working on the deck, jacks over screen porch still visible.


Gable on the west end of the roof complete.

Thursday morning dawned grey and threatening more rain, but by 10 AM it cleared and the crew showed up and went to work. They first installed the jacks over the east end of the house and built out the hips. Then they set about putting the deck on the south face of the roof. Not all done by the time they quit around 5 PM, but not much left to do. I worked through the morning measuring and cutting firring strips to attach 6 mil clear plastic over windows. This is to protect against overspraying of the polyurethane foam into the house and on the floor, and also to keep the wind and weather out. After lunch the wind was down a bit, so I was up onto the garage roof applying Triflex to the uncovered surfaces. Had to run over to McNaughtons and get more since I ran out, and now have enough to at least get a good start on the house roof as well. Finished the garage roof as it was getting dark, about 6PM. Good weather predicted for the next 3 days, so hopefully will get the Triflex on the house roof to keep the water out, and get a good start on the shingles for the garage.

Friday morning dawned cold and sunny. Frost on the ground, and on the roof. The crew arrived bright and early and set about putting deck on over the screen porch and working on the gable above it where they could put dry plywood. After the sun had been out a while they were able to finish the upper east end of the north face of the roof. When that was done they went at building the solar chimney, which which will give passive ventilation in the summer. They finished about 3 PM and I got started on putting the triflex on the north face of the deck.

All day lots folks driving past VERY slowly looking and wondering. Tom decided to pull peoples chain a little, asked if he could put a cross on the back of the chimney, and I suggested, put a phony machine gun on top. The final result was a silhouette of a soldier with a rifle, and a label “Lest we forget” since it is Remembrance Day this weekend.

When the crew dispersed, I headed up on the roof and before dark got Triflex on the first 12 ft of the north face. Good weather predicted tomorrow so maybe get the whole roof done if all goes well. Shingles for the garage will be delivered tomorrow, so maybe as start on them too. Need to work when the sun shines!


Friday, November 6, most of the east end of the house has deck complete.


Filling in the last bit of deck on the trusses.


The last section of the deck going on.


Putting the last piece of plywood in place.


Laying the foundation for the solar chimney.


Setting the corners on the framing of the chimney.


The temporary bracing on the south side to keep the corners true.


Putting the plywood deck on the top of the solar chimney.


The framing of the chimney from the northeast corner.


Nearing completion, putting the plywood fascia in place.


FInished solar chimney viewed from the north, note the outline of soldier and gun on top.


View of solar chimney from the south, with the window frame which will allow hot air to be vented.

Saturday was a mild sunny day and I got in a long day applying Triflex. Finished three of the four faces of the roof by dark, and was ready to rest my weary bones. Sunday morning was sunny but started with a thick ground fog which took a while to burn off. Headed off to church, and came back in the afternoon to dry roof and mild sunny weather again. Got up on the roof and by dark finished the remaining face of the roof. Was hearing the bagpiper playing down the street at the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the cenotaph.


Sunday November 8, FInished putting Triflex underlayment on house roof view from the north side.


View from the south side of the house.


Remembrance Day recognition on the solar chimney.


View from the north, house and garage with Triflex in place.

Monday morning bright and early the crew showed up and started work on the breezeway beam structure. A lot of thinking and discussion since only the rough outlines were on the truss plan. Really glad I had a person in charge with a lot of experience and a sense of pride in doing a good job.


Monday, November 9, the first fibrolam beam in place for the covered walkway between house and garage.


Second beam of breezeway in place.


Setting the trusses on the breezeway.


Attaching the fascia to the truss tails.


Doing the creative framing to blend the two roofs gracefully.


Putting the first plywood sheet on the breezeway.


Much of the deck in place, the crew gone for the day.


View from the south, most of plywood in place on the breezeway.

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.


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


Starting the cement pour.

Almost done, leveling it out.


First fine troweling done, looking like a floor.


October 28, Finished screen porch floor with form removed.


SBC finished in master bedroom.


SBC finished in great room, south wall.