Sunday, February 25, 2007

Such a tool

So I just thought I'd post a list of tools we could use since I want to mooch off as many people as possible. Here's the list, with existing doners listed parenthetically. We could use extras of most everything too. Some things I expect we'll have to rent or buy. As you can see, some things are very basic but people who have rented or lived in dorms thus far don't tend to own shovels.
  • Wheelbarrow (Craig)
  • Shovels (Craig)
  • ATV with trailer plow and winch would be awesome. Moving around rocks and sand, rigging with a pulley to lift something heavy, etc.
  • Rebar cutter/bender (shields rental)
  • Shop vac (Craig)
  • Saw horses (Craig, + we need more)
  • "Igloo" water container for the job site
  • 2800 watt generator (Craig)
  • Two air compressors: 2HP starting and 2HP running (Craig)
  • Gas powered air compressor
  • Framing nail gun x2 (Craig and his boss)
  • Finish nail gun (Craig)
  • Staple gun
  • Levels (Andrew et all)
  • Squares
  • Water level
  • Cordless drill (Andrew)
  • Corded drill (Craig)
  • Drywall drill (Craig)
  • Cordless circular saw (Andrew)
  • Worm-drive corded circular saw (Craig)
  • Compound miter saw (Craig)
  • Chop saw (Craig)
  • BYOTB (bring your own tool belt)
  • BYOH … hammers
  • Drywall finishing tools (I think we’ll pay someone to do this better than we can anyway)
  • Tile cutter (shields rental)
  • Random orbital sanders (Craig), regular palm sanders Craig), belt sander
  • Work light

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Very tentative schedule

Here's a rough schedule I drummed up. I have June 1-18th off. However, for those who plan to help, after June 10th is probably best if you must lock in travel plans. We may not be able to start until then or even later due to ground frost.

Now thru march: Lumberjackin'! Clear driveway and house area. Stack firewood. Split some if our backs can take it.
Late March: Celebratory Bonfire! Burn brush and tree tops before snow is gone.
April, May: Work long hours, Fill up that coin jar with loose change, mug a few old people, sell lemonade.
May 11-18... Site work: Driveway, house pad, foundation and utility trenches, bring in gravel, bury drinking water and septic tank (Important: Do not confuse these), and oil tank if below ground. Have inspector look at septic tank.
May 18-31: footing forms, install prebuilt "hotbox", pour footings, backfill, set beams. Good job for 3+ people.
Building inspection: Foundation.
June 1-18: Here we go! Time for the big crew! We have these 18 days off. Most help probably needed the latter week when there are multiple simultaneous projects that can happen.

Build floor deck, exterior walls, install vapor barrier behind where ledger will nail, and tie rolled ends up to keep them out of the way, interior walls downstairs, rough staircase, second floor and temp second floor extension, set trusses, deck the roof, felt the roof, roof the roof, install moisture / air barrier (Tyvek housewrap) hang windows and doors, bring in bathtub, build upstairs walls, build stairs and porch for main entry. Siding and gutters if time permits, but these can wait.
Building inspection: Framing

After this, we're waterproof! Construction can continue at a more "leisurely" pace without risk of damage. The following dates are hopefuls, and could get off by weeks or months even. Hopefully this is all 36 hour weekend work- Friday-Saturday-Sunday - and we'll take time off our regular jobs or hire help when we fall behind.
June 18-30: Insulate walls, install vapor barrier, fur out walls with 2x2 or 2x3s.
July 6-8, 13-15: Rough-in plumbing, electrical, HRV ducts
Building inspection: Plumbing and Electrical.
July 20-22: Insulate inboard of vapor barrier.
July 27-29: Hang drywall. 4 people ideal when doing ceilings. Have pro drywaller follow to tape, mud, texture.
Aug 3-5: Ceiling: vapor barrier and T&G paneling. If lucky this was pre-finished by all the wonderful help from June.
Aug 10-12: Blow cellulose into roof. This could be a miserable process. Perhaps it will be combined with installing the paneling. Install a few feet of paneling, then blow in the insulation, etc.
Aug 17-19: Finish ceiling, catch up time.
Aug 24-26: clean up, paint inside, install light fixtures.
Sep 1-2: floor at least bathrooms
Sept 7-9: finish at least one bathroom.
Sept 14-16: Hook up water pump and hot water heater
Sept 21-23: Install kitchen cabinets, counter top, and sink.
Sept 28-30: finish flooring, install toyo heater or boiler
Oct 5-7: Finish the kitchen - install appliances.
Oct 12-14: Move in! We need to be out of our current place by mid Nov
Rest of October and November, and December: Interior doors, trim, built in bookcases, Ash staircase, second bedroom and bathroom if not done (or whole upstairs), wood stove, medicine cabinets, wall cabinets in kitchen if not affordable earlier, HRV
As early as possible: Final inspection and mortgage! Pay everyone back, buy washer and dryer, dishwasher, furniture, trim, etc.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Fashion Show

As you can see, we're all ready to go. And look cool while we're at it.

Would you like update e-mails?

I have had a request from someone to receive e-mail updates of our blog i.e. you will get e-mails that indicate when we post a new post. I thought this was a good idea. So naturally I used my nerd powers to figure out how to do this via the blogging program I'm using. Let me know if you would like to be added to a mailing list that will update every time we post on the blog. Do so by posting a comment below. Make sure that you put at least your first name down so that I know who you are.

The e-mail will be an exact copy of what we wrote here on the site.

Monday, February 12, 2007

To Build or Not to Build....

So to break up Andrew’s posts I thought I’d throw in one of my own. As you might have noticed, Andrew is the brains behind the engineering of the house. Mine is the position of consultant, laborer, organizer, and mover alonger. For example, I’ve been working out at the gym to beef up for our summer exertions (laborer). This means doing some workouts that Andrew has affectionately labeled “the nail gun” or “the sheet rock.” I was able to test “the nail gun” on an actual nail gun yesterday at a hardware store. It wasn’t as bad as I thought but I can see how sore my arm will be after days straight of lifting that gun.

As some of my dorkier friends will appreciate I was wandering around looking at various items in the hardware store (I was supposed to be seriously considering each for our house project) but I suddenly began to imagine each tool as a zombie invasion weapon. If there’s a zombie infestation run to AIH because almost every item could brain a zombie decently. You see, this is why Andrew is doing the basic design of the house. Otherwise I’d be saying stuff like “Hey Honey, shouldn’t we put a bunker in here! What if there’s an economic break down, we don’t want to be caught with our pants down now do we.”

So back to what this post was originally supposed to be about. Why did I decide that I wanted to build a house? Many of you know that for a while there I wanted to go to graduate school out of state. I was getting pretty ancy to move away from Fairbanks. So how did I go from the concept of moving out of state to building a house in Fairbanks? That’s pretty simple. The first reason was that I realized I would need a bundle of prerequisite classes to even qualify for an Occupational Therapist graduate program. What better place to acquire these then through my job which provides me with 12 free credits a year. Getting prereq’s meant at least another 3 years in Fairbanks. I also need to be at my job for 5 years to be vested in my retirement. That also means another 3 years in Fairbanks. So there it is, wanting to go to grad school meant staying in Fairbanks longer.

Andrew had wanted to buy land and build a house for quite some time. Since I couldn’t complete one of my life goals for another 3-4 years, why not complete one of his. Plus, it would be the challenge I was looking for. I was becoming pretty complacent at work and home, I just wanted a change. I think this is going to be all the change I need for a while.

Lastly, and some of you may think most importantly, I want a freakin’ dog. That’s right, I’m spending 160,000$ on a house to get a poochy! Seriously though, we looked at many rentals in Fairbanks and they were all mediocre. The ones that did allow dogs said “no puppies.” I know the merits of getting older pound dogs but for my first animal I would like a puppy that I can train and grow with. That way I’ll love it even when it poops big poops in the yard when it grows up (this ones for you Mom). Don’t think I’m the only one with this obsession, Andrew also wants a dog. He just isn’t as vocal about it. So this is my outlook on the house building adventure so far, not nearly as technical but just as invested as Andrew “the hammer” Johnson.

To throw in some interactivity: What kind of dog do you think Andrew and I should get? give specifics about why

Imperial Walker

This is a detail I sketched up of how the foundation will likely be designed. It is an engineered, loan-conforming foundation which should outlast the house.

Since we're not doing a walk-out basement and we're on a steep slope, we had to work carefully to not have a 10 foot high wall of dirt behind the house or the front of the house hovering 10 feet off the ground. This was a happy medium.

It doesn't have to be a vertical wall, for a little more money it could be contoured and covered with meadow grasses & wildflowers or sloped and covered with rip rap or river rocks. Rock garden?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dollars and Cements

I talked to Dan at Thotpro engineering Saturday for about 4 hours and had him look over my plans and make sure I'm up to spec on everything. He said everything looked good, and even liked my idea to "hang" the loft corner from the ridge beam.

Speaking of that, I was over-conservative on the ridge beam because I just looked it up on a table instead of calculating moment of inertia and other more impressive sounding big words, that come along with even more impressive big formulas. Turns out I can use two versalam LVL (laminated veneer lumber) beams that are light weight enough for 2-3 people to haul up ladders. Now I don't need to rig a come-along pulley gizmo or have them deliver it with a crane.

Dan's also going to engineer a foundation. We're not doing a crawlspace or basement foundation because of the cost. Cement walls are about $15 per square foot( vs about $3 for wood walls), and a slab costs more than an insulated wood floor.

Dan didn't charge for his time. I helped him with some video editing for trade.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Some details

Here are some floor plans which could be moderately final.
Click images for a bigger view.

This is the main floor. You enter into a sort of mud room with a big coat closet and a little bench, and the laundry area off to the side. Then you walk into the great room with a very tall vaulted ceiling and a big wall of windows with a view. Here there is a wood burning stove, and you can look up behind you to see the office/loft above the kitchen.

Walk up the stairs onto the loft which overlooks the great room and has an even better view out of the window wall, plus a view to the south out its own picture window. The Alaska range may be visible form here (I need to climb a tree to check that now). Through the door is the modest sized master bedroom, which has a vaulted ceiling. The bed backs up to a short wall with storage behind it, and on the other wall is a walk-in closet and a master bathroom. There's a door to a little balcony outside, which will look towards the sunset. Back on the other side, morning light from the window wall will shine through an interior window overlooking the great room below, and the inside door if it's left open.

Here is the layout of the lot. The lot is steeply sloped to the east (right) which allows for a nice view over our own trees, which block out any neighbors. We may share a driveway with the neighbor to the north, if they'll split the cost. Everything might move west and north a bit to shorten the driveway and save money, but then we're closer to the road. The lot is about 400x200 feet, or 1.8 acres.

Finally, here's the rough shape of the house, as viewed from the east. Really simple with just the one shed dormer to break up the roof line a bit. I'd like the upper windows to be a custom shape to match the pitch of the roof, and there will be a big deck on this side and half of the left side.

We're trying to decide which type of siding to put on it. Suggestions?

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Beginnings!

So I thought I would start our first blog off with the fantastic pictures that Andrew created for our viewing pleasure. First is the aerial view of our land so that those who have been to Fairbanks can get an idea of where it's located. Second is a picture looking down off the road into the land. Lastly is the 3D Photoshop version of our house, created by my very handsome and skilled boyfriend. These are just a taste of what's to come in the following months!