Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The George Family North-Side Saltbox

Four years ago we started to put an addition on our house, then the contractor ran off with all our money. Late this summer we had recovered our finances enough to resume the project, so we did. I kept after him, and he did a year in prison, by the way, and he owes me most of my money back.

Here's where we started (click any of the photos to see full size):
The right side of the panorama is a concrete slab about 27 feet square. The left side of the picture used to be a two-car garage. That phase of the addition is done—Val and I put a lot of sweat equity into it, and we have a nice handicapped-accessible living space there for Val's grandmother. You can't see it, but there's also a pile of timbers in Hugh Lofting's parking lot. (He's the grandson of the author of the Dr. Doolittle books.) Hugh brought the timbers down on his crane-truck, which he had to park right in front of the slab, so I don't have a good picture of the completed timber frame, but here's a shot from on top of the truck of the first set of timbers, called a bent:
That whole downstairs wall, including the front door, is scheduled to be removed, so the addition will about double the size of the living room side of our downstairs. Within two days, the Amish guys had the frame about completed:
They got the roof on and the sheathing in a couple more days, and we passed both building inspections. This shot shows the east side of the addition. That door opening up there will go out onto a small deck, where we plan to put the heat pump compressor.
You can kind of tell that the exposed studs look unevenly spaced. That's because they are staggered 2×4s on a 6-inch plate. When we get to insulating, there won't be many pieces of wood that go all the way through. This produces an insulation value equivalent to SIPs, but at lower cost, and we don't have to wait six weeks for the SIPs. And I don't have to pay for the insulation until we have it foamed in. We're doing the project with cash, so the goal right now it to get it all enclosed, then work on the inside piecemeal as we get the cash. 

Here's a shot of the inside, facing the west wall. You can see the roof of the chicken coop through the opening. Those openings on the bottom will contain 6-foot sliding doors:
We don't have the beams for the upstairs floor yet, so right now you can see clear to the underside of the roof. When the beams arrive, the Amish guys will come back and put in the floor and attach the siding. I have another contractor lined up to install the doors and windows, and he'll do that right before the siding goes on. We got contractor's price on the windows, which are low-E glass, argon-filled, and very resistant to heat loss, and a decent price for the doors. But now I'm broke.  

Remember that little deck I mentioned? Since the floor isn't in yet, it's a 12×5 hole in the roof, and the rain can pour in. We covered it with an old tarp, which leaked so much it was like not having anything there at all. And the wall plates are caulked to the concrete, so I had to vacuum out all the water. Then I covered the opening with some leftover Tyvek, which is waterproof. But it was windy the next time it rained, and the Tyvek tore in half, dumping all the water inside. Today Val warned me that Big Rain was scheduled for tonight, so I repaired the Tyvek job, and so far it's holding up, but it looks like a Rube Goldberg with all the improvised bracing. Here's a view of the underside of the cover. There's more on the outside. 
I have more than 200 photos of the project so far, not counting about 400 from four years ago. If you're curious to see more of this phase, here's a link to all 200 pictures. https://plus.google.com/photos/101364717063049494002/albums/5782457413590914817
Some of the photos look identical. They are stereo pairs. if you arrange them so they are side by side on the computer screen, then cross your eyes so the images superimpose, that middle picture becomes 3-dimensional.

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures of the creation of the George Family North-Side Saltbox.
Post a Comment