Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On the Road with Gigacrete

Last night we returned from a quick trip down to Las Vegas to pick up the PlasterMax and StuccoMax from Gigacrete. We left early on Saturday with Mom Jo, the pickup truck and the Rascal trailer and headed through South Lake Tahoe over to Carson City and headed down the Eastern Sierras on Rte 395, one of my favorite places in the world.

We took a quick side trip to Bodie State Park at 8,375 ft elevation which is a ghost town that is very well preserved to the point of being eerie, it is untouched since the last resident hoofed it outta town. A booming mining town over the turn of the century, Bodie produced over $100 million of gold before the over 5,000 residents of Bodie decided it was a tad too lawless and a smidgen too far off the beaten track and relocated  (or got shot).

From here we kept going south on Rte 395 to Bishop where we tried to get a hotel room but it was booked solid so we took a left on Rte 168 and headed across the White Mountains and the Bristle-cone Pine Forest (home of the oldest tree in the world). By this time it was pitch-black but we got the feeling we were on a very cool road that included quite a few peaks, a one lane canyon and some fantastic nighttime wildlife viewing; 2 owls, coyote, fox and some field mice. Three hours later we pulled into Beatty, NV and were able to settle in to our hotel room.

We drove the short drive to Las Vegas the next morning and after a long three hours walking around some casinos we got checked into our hotel, grabbed dinner and looked forward to high-tailing it outta there first thing in the morning. After our lungs and ears had recovered from the insanity in the desert we pulled into the Gigacrete HQ ready to pick up some tips and tricks and load  the trailer.

We are using PlasterMax by Gigacrete to cover the interior ICF walls in place of drywall and using the StuccoMax by Gigacrete to cover the exterior ICF walls. Both are incredibly strong products with immense structural value as well as high fire rating. 

The Gigacrete crew couldn't have been nicer and Adam (shown above) spent a few hours with us going through the whole process of mixing the products, applying the first coat, embedding the mesh and then the final coat.

It will definitely take some practice to perfect the art, working on a vertical surface with the hawk and trowel is trickier than the flat surfaces I am used to working on with the concrete. The process is straightforward but I did have a tough time making sure my application was thick enough, and if it isn't and you don't catch it quick enough you can be in trouble.
After the second coat you can continue to trowel till you get the smooth surface you want or you can finish with a sponge effect or use a patterned roller. I love the sponge finish.
While we were going through the training with Adam for both the interior and exterior application, the other guys completely loaded the pallets of wall covering and mesh onto the trailer and truck so we were ready to roll quickly.
Now the hard part, starting on our walls and getting the outside covered and sealed before the rain comes. The trip home was uneventful, we had a few stops to check the load and re-set some of the tie-downs. With over 8,000 lbs of material, we took it a little slower but did get to see that Rte 168 west from Nevada to California in the daytime and what an amazing road, it was stunning. Three mountain peaks with fantastic, peaceful valleys in between nestling quiet, sleepy farms, it is a gorgeous route and so remote. Can't wait to get back there to explore some more as soon as this house is done.

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