Thursday, May 24, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Big Fail

Ugh, serves us right for rushing, just making do, using the wrong thing because it was what as quickly available.

See the white painted wall in the utility room at the back left.....well........we were under a tight deadline to get the radiant installed and pressurized prior to the concrete pour and county inspection which required getting the radiant manifold on the wall. Kyle wanted to paint that wall so it was all done once the manifold went up.

So off I went quickly slapping on some primer I had on hand and then a coat of regular paint on top of that. Yes, I used traditional Home Depot latex paint, nothing fancy and was happy enough to get that wall painted, part of the next wall and some ceiling over the manifold done before an itching Kyle came in to start installing it. 

FAIL and not even just failed to adhere to the wall, it peeled off in sheets. I had a feeling it wasn't going to work long term as a quality paint job and that is why we ended up putting the plywood on the walls which turned out to be a much better solution and I figured the paint job that showed around the edges would be good enough. You can see the paint job around the edges of the plywood above.

Once the concrete was poured we decided it would be good to power wash the walls and ceilings (tell me how many people can power the inside of their home). Well, it certainly cleaned the walls very well and took off ALL the paint. Knowing it wasn't a good paint job to start with, though it was a tad demoralizing to see all the paint so easily wash off the walls, I could handle it flying off realizing I had to start all over again. What I didn't expect was those little paint chips getting EVERYWHERE.  So the clean up for this shoddy paint job will take 3x longer than the painting in the first place.

Off to the hardware store again to pick up some quality metal paint primer. What a difference it made. I tested it on a small part of the container and gave an initial coat to the propane tank (more on that makeover soon). And it made ALL the difference. It sticks for one, has great coverage, levels out all the inconsistencies on the surface. So it is back to more cleaning and then I can start on a good initial primer cover. Live and learn, though we should have known better.

Meanwhile Kyle has been busy burying some water lines on the property and the sewer line into the house so we can fill in the back of the foundation and get rid of the drawbridge, as seen below.

Next up is prepping the upstairs for the concrete pour. We are expecting the ICF block delivery in the next week and just got all the bucks for the window. I will post on all those once the blocks are onsite.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Won the Battle but Lost the War

In case you missed it we posted here about our new house guests that came to visit a tad premature, the house isn't even finished. They tried very hard to help us with the building of the house but their addition wasn't on the plans or approved by the county and we sure weren't going to pay the county permits for the extra square footage they had in mind.

So while trying to be the host that Martha Stewart would be proud of, we tactfully tried to convince them that the house plans as is would meet all our needs since these guys were just temporary guests.

Well, we won that battle but ultimately lost the war. They just moved in and added on upstairs and by the time we went up there and cottoned on to what they were building it was too late. They are here to stay and have reproduced to boot. 

I checked, Martha's website has no etiquette guidance for house guests that not only stay too long but decide to procreate. I am NOT babysitting this time! Though that did have a good ending.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Floors

Saturday dawned bright and early with the whole concrete crew cruising in at 5:30am and the first concrete sliding out of the truck before 6.

Eddie, the Pumper Dude, returned to get the concrete out of the trucks and into the house. This job is hard work, you have to move fast and accurately and that concrete hose is very heavy and cumbersome.

The whole team works quickly and in-sync even though they don't always work together, it must be the international language of concrete laying, quite an art.

It took 3 trucks in total and here you can see the next truck waiting in the wings. We used Georgetown Precast which is a local concrete company from up the road. 

This is the big kahuna of Georgetown Precast. The guy on the left is Eddie, The Pumper Dude, he is a more elusive character with the camera.

There is a rough finish applied as the concrete went in and we put a drain in the utility room so they added a slope to the floor on the fly.

The floors in the containers were the hardest as they had all the piping popping through the floor to work around. Once they got into the main slab area it was much easier and faster going.

These guys were not happy campers. They were in doggy jail all day because you know the second they were loose they made a beeline for the concrete and as much as I love to have little footprints in the concrete, straight across the living room wasn't what I had in mind, nor spending the rest of the day washing concrete boots off of big ol' fluffly there.

It was a little nerve wracking as all these walked over the radiant as they poured. We just hoped there would be no little punctures or tears as we went.

We put boards at the end of the containers to edge the concrete.

These zip strips were inserted into key areas of the floor. They are long plastic strips that encourage the concrete to crack there and in a straight line. A concrete floor this size is going to crack. It is unavoidable to be using these strips to control the cracks was great and kept cracks away from high use areas.

These guys work fast and hard. They were all sweating in  no time. Note to all wives, mothers, girlfriends and significant others: Christmas presents should be belts and suspenders for all. I have never seen so much pant hitching in my life!

This center line was an additional footing that tied to the two sections of the foundations together. I think it is an earthquake thing so that the footings move together and don't pull apart.

It was exciting to see the lovely smooth floor all gleaming and lovely. Below you can see where the radiant falls in the slab. The floor in the containers is 3" thick so the radiant tubes are about 2" below the surface and on the slab the concrete is thicker and the radiant falls a little lower.

You can see the forest of pipes sticking up through the floor. We had a last minute panic with fine tuning how we were going to vent the pipes. Ever read a plumbing code book (don't ever if you don't have to, it is actually a secret form of government interrogation that has the highest success rate for garnering secret information). After wiping away the tears from this experience Kyle actually got some input from our building inspector that cleared all our questions up. It was so stressful at the last minute I was ready to nix all the bathrooms and build an outhouse. 

Excuse the rat's nest here, Kyle refers to it as "Cousin It", hey, it was 6am. That thing in the middle of the this lovely bouffant is a concrete nail, they are really cool looking with funny heads on them. I am thinking of marketing the look.

This is the aggregate that is in the concrete, it is locally quarried and is actually really pretty in its own right. It is much lighter in color than most I have seen.

There were a few structural pieces that went into the slab as we poured and obviously their placement was critical to the rest of the house going up. Above is a bolted plate that got set in to the concrete and this will hold the post that will support the staircase. Below are two brackets (hard to see the second one up against the container wall) that will hold posts that support the loft area above.

This is Tim, owner of Precision Concrete, getting down and dirty on his concrete skates putting the final finish on the floor. Below is explaining his plans for World Peace, he is actually onto something.

You can see below the glass fibers that we put in the concrete for added strength. It makes for a furry finish that requires regular mowing. Kidding, these fibers that rose to the top will fall off as we walk on it and clean it. There is a lot of work to do along the walls of the containers to clean up the concrete splashes - sounds like hours of fun ahead for me:-)

We are taking a big deep breath that this part is over. Next is the floor upstairs that couldn't be poured at the same time as it requires a different type of concrete, a lightweight mix. And we have ordered the ICF wall rest for the weary insane.

Monday, May 14, 2012


After the vapor barrier, horizontal and vertical insulation went in, Tim and Jim from Precision came back to put in the rebar on the pad area.

Once that was in place, Kyle and I could start laying the pex tubing for the radiant heating. And like everything else, the first section took a few "redos" but after that it was pretty smooth sailing.

It is not terribly difficult to install. We had a radiant expert design the layout and the lengths of each run. Of course when we got the design we realized it was all wrong. He had designed for two manifolds, which we have one. He had the tubing in the containers running through the container walls, which can't happen. So we need to do a little alteration on the fly while keeping the lengths somewhat the same and the runs even.

It worked out pretty well and it is great because the tubing is marked each foot with the length so you can judge where you are in the run and how much you can go to the end. 

The radiant in the containers were screwed directly to the wooden floor using little snaps that hold the tubing and  have holes on the side for screws.

The tubing on the slab area got zip tied straight to the rebar and was a little trickier because you wanted to follow the rebar as much as possible to stabilize the loops but the spacing didn't always allow for that.

There are 10 runs total with 4 heating zones. This means that there are 10 lengths of tubing ranging from 220' to 270' in length and we will have 4 separately controlled zones for adjusting the heat. There are 4 runs through the slab area and 3 runs through the containers and then 3 more runs upstairs through the containers. It is great because you don't have to run heat where you don't need it. So we didn't run tubing under the kitchen cabinets or in the pantry, to be able to control where you put heat and where you don't is fantastic. On the flip side we tightened up the loops in the living area as that is where we would probably spend most of our awake time and it has the highest ceiling so we wanted to concentrate more heat in that region.

Kyle got the last of the tubing connected to the manifold at 2:30am on Friday morning and pressurized it on Friday morning (at a normal hour) in preparation for the building inspection. Friday we had both the building inspector and the bank inspection, hectic day on little sleep. All went well and we got the go ahead to pour the slab the next day so it was all systems go to get the guys lined up and the concrete trucks ready.

You learn a lot as you go like when the manifold was losing 8psi in the first few minutes of pressurizing the tubes but then holding steady. Kyle was pulling his hair out to figure why the pressure gauge constantly dropped upon adding pressure. Then the sun went down and the pressure went back up, huh, that is reverse of what should happen with heating and cooling until we figured it out. The sun was softening the tubing and thus expanding and reducing the pressure and then when it cooled down and the tubing went more rigid the pressure would rise. Go figure.....and yes, figuring this out was the highlight of our day. We need to get out more.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Good to Know

So I have used a lot of polyurethane in my time and always despise the orange/yellow hue it leaves. When Kyle wanted to put up plywood panels in the utility I wanted to quickly seal them just so they were a bit more finished and were protected should we ever spring a leak in there.

I grabbed some remnant cans of poly that I had and inadvertently ended up doing a little finish test. I started off with Behr Crystal Clear Poly in satin and did one piece. After running out of that I switched to Ace Regular Poly in gloss. You can see from the pics that the Behr really is a lovely clear finish and the old school Ace is very orange.

So next shopping trip stocking up on the Behr and will see if the do the clear in a gloss finish. What a difference. Of course this is not a reflection of ACE products, just what traditional poly comes out like, they are all like this.

Slab Insulation

Nothing like working on a blinding white surface on a sunny day. Kyle and Jim from Precision Concrete put down all the vapor barrier and slab insulation on Friday and then Kyle and I added the pieces on foundation wall. This puppy will be sealed up the wazoo.

Now if only my eye site would return after this blinding experience.

Tomorrow the rebar for the slab goes in and then we attach the pex tubing for the radiant heat, finish up the thousand holes for plumbing and electrical and then pour the slab.

The big yellow pipe is the electrical floor box for our kitchen island, the utility room is packed and we are installing plywood panels on the wall to hold all the fittings, electrical panels and manifold for the radiant.

Tthe concrete floor will be flush level with the top of the foundation here and that will be the final floor we will have so it has gotta be perfect;-)

The floor electrical outlet for the kitchen island. Was a doozy to get situated as it is right up again that rail and the concrete footing underneath. This will allow us to unplug the island and move it if we need to as it will be on wheels.

Pipes and holes, I really can't believe how many you need for a house.