Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Plywood sheathing down! OK, who wants to help place concrete?

What to do with little pieces of I-Joists?

Spot the architect.
The view from up here!

Our framer finished laying down the 2 layers of plywood on top of the floor joists. And the wall locations are placed down with a layer of 1/2" plywood and 2x4s, just like the main floor. We are now ready for the concrete topping of the upper floor! And it's going to be nice this weekend! I will need some helpers on Saturday. So, who's with me? Want some fresh air? Want to hang out with cool people who have only placed concrete once before? It's a brilliant time [just read my previous post!] Food and drink will be provided!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What? Snow? Now? Can't it wait till I have a roof?

The stair opening edge beam being placed.
Joists now placed! Ready for plywood sheathing.
The framed view of Adar's room.
Muddy. Messy.

It snowed today.  A very wet snow.  On Adar's birthday. I was fearing the framer wouldn't show because of it, but I was proved wrong!  Yay- the joists above the ground floor were placed! And so much for a nice clean concrete floor on the ground floor.  How in the world do we ever get that cleaned up?  And when?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Main floor now taking shape!

View from the back door.
I can see through walls!
View from the front door looking down the hall.

I went away for a couple days and it was a delight to see the main floor taking shape when I returned. Now, the spaces are becoming more real.  The wood piles are diminishing fast. I hope the freezing rain doesn't slow the framer down too much!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More material. That's a lot of wood.

wood pile #1

wood pile #2
There was a whole lotta' wood on site when I arrived today!  It's all for starting the main floor framing~ which hopefully begins tomorrow. I have to remember to tell Nelson Lumber not to ship their "standard framing package"- as things like 1 bag of batt insulation, 1 roll of polyethylene and 1 roll of tyvek always show up with their deliveries. We still have poly left over from the first delivery- and I don't need tyvek yet! I don't want things to get lost, and my little garage is getting very full!

sorted small pieces of wood: ready for re-use!
Also, I've sorted out out "scrap wood" into nail-free piles of similar sizes.  I hope this will encourage our framers to re-use the little pieces, rather than ripping down large pieces.

Ground Works plumbing inspection PASSED! Yay!

Green stickers make me happy. This time the green sticker means that the City has passed our ground works plumbing that runs under our basement slab. So basically, all the basement drain lines are in place and are ready to be covered up. So, now we can fill the basement with sand and 4" of under slab rigid insulation!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

low tech labour

My Dad attacking the pile of silt/sand.
and 2 hours later!  It's gone!
Many thanks to my Dad again, who helped me with good ol' fashioned physical labour!  I think this is why houses cost so much:  you have to pay people a high hourly rate for lots and lots of physical labour.

We had to distribute the silty, sandy clay that was dumped down the stair well around the basement floor, as the sewer line was higher than expected, thus our basement slab needs to be higher by a few inches.

The material dug out from our excavation has an almost sand-like consistency, so rather than have it hauled away, we are using it for bringing up the basement interior grade, rather than buying even more new sand.  [we will still need some sand]... And it will be compacted before we pour the concrete slab.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Humbled by Concrete

Here comes the first batch!

Linden tree seeds- some are now embedded.

The very last bit of concrete. We had just enough!

My Dad "floating" the concrete.

Matt workin' the power trowel. Not bad for his 1st time.

I am humbled. I must say, I didn't think it would be that hard to put down a 2" layer of concrete on the plywood main floor. Neither did Matt. We thought it would be 3 hours, max. Well, after a 12 hour day of placing and trowelling concrete, I have a much deeper appreciation of this trade. What a day. Am I ever sore. How do people do this for a living?

Thank goodness we had an extra helpful concrete truck operator who gave us many suggestions and even got in there and showed us how to float, trowel and do stuff. Yay to Rob from Lafarge Concrete!

And a big thanks to my neighbour Ralph, who lives on 103 Avenue that stopped by and provided us further helpful hints as well as a manganese trowel- the proper kind to use when the concrete is still wet. Wow, if it wasn't for kind, intelligent and very helpful people, I think I would be cryin' right now. It really turned out far better with all of the assistance and advice we had from strangers.

Last but not least, we had help from Laura-Lee, my Dad and brother Aly- all who made it easier with moving wheel barrows of concrete around, raking the wet stuff into place and trying their hand with the float tool.

It was a hot day & windy day. Note to self: never pour concrete on hot and windy days, especially near trees that are dropping their leaves!

Prepping the main floor for concrete!

October 8, 2010

wire mesh over plywood.

Tony using his nifty drill for screws.
I helped Matt put down the wire mesh on top of the plywood of the main floor. We are hoping to pour concrete.  The mesh was actually left over from an exhibition in which we used it to hang printed art for a M.A.D.E. in Edmonton show. I'm glad we are re-using it for a new purpose. It was all in small pieces- my job was to tie the pieces together with wire.  Matt nailed the pieces down.  And we ran out, so Matt finished up after running out to get some more mesh.

We also called in our framer Tony from Calibrated Homes to put down the bottom plates for the interior closet walls [which were left out until I could make up my mind on their sizes], as well as for the bathroom, again, an 11th hour change. He also screwed down the top layer of plywood, that lifted in some spots. Our plumber, Jordan, also came in to put in the floor drain for the laundry room and to install a temporary water hose access.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dirty Chores and Neighbourhood Treasures

I'm hoping that a whole lot gets accomplished this weekend and that the weather is perfect for it.

Basement Dirt Pile
The chores list for the weekend include pouring the cement flooring for the main floor, plugging up cracks with insulation, and distributing the hill of dirt in the basement. If all goes well, we will have some great updates soon complete with photos (preferably not iPhone photos, but c'est la vie).

On a very different note, Adar and I were out for a walk from our house-site down to the Rundle Park bridge and found a ladybug...rock! They have strange ways in this neck of the woods and we have much to learn  
Ladybug in its Natural Habitat

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Basement drain rough in almost done!

Main floor toilet drain!
I made it to site today just as dusk was turning to darkness.

It looked like the plumber made some progress on the basement drain rough ins. And he managed to place the drain hole for the main floor toilet too.

Backfill complete. Almost. Kinda' sorta.

The blunt coal scoop I used to scrape away some mud.

We called back Gary Carter Excavating to backfill the basement walls.  So, the big hill of silty-clay is now reduced to several small piles of dirt/clay.

I learned a lesson:  do not get the excavator on site when it is wet/raining.  There is much dirt/mud to scrape off the sidewalk.  I'm gonna' have to bring out the metal shovel and ice scraper to deal will a muddy sidewalk

Another lesson: tell the bobcat operator not to get too close to the basement wall!  There are a few more gashes to the Platon membrane that will need to be sealed.

And finally, peel and stick doesn't really stick that well to concrete. We'll have to find something to adhere this back on.

We have left some dirt stockpiled on site in anticipation that the ground will settle around the house. We will use the stockpile to bring up any settled areas and then we will complete the final grade.
Yet another repair required to the membrane.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Geocaching Fun!

Our house has been honoured with a geocache!

"Net-0" on the River (GC2FQWN)  This cache was set up by Sara and Grant as their very first cache!

Geocaching is a great and flexible outdoor activity which I highly recommend. Whether you're out for some solitude or with the family, there are a multitude of easy and difficult caches to find here in Edmonton... and all over the world. Often geocaches bring you to great locations, some bring you to historical locations, some have specific themes (like Harry Potter), and others are designed to create a challenge. Really, there is something for everyone.

From the official website at geocaching.com:

"Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment."