Wednesday, April 30, 2008

cooking propane lasts a long time

We finally used up one of our two propane cylinders after four months of heavy winter use. This is with a little 4 gallon standard sized tank like many grills use. We cook nearly every night, sometimes two dinners since Paul is on a different schedule than us, plus we have baked fairly frequently. We were considering renting a 90 gallon "pig" for $6 a month, but even that might not be needed since we might only use about two little tanks a year, and they're easy to fill right down the road.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

two sides ready for paint

Today I did the last of the siding on the west side, and the vent is in so birds and squirrels don't move in for spring. Marcy and I finished the soffits on the north and west side, along with the blue metal subfascia wrap.

Kitchen finally 100% done (except the matching fridge)

... and a tiny piece of trim.

Other than that, we finally got our drawer pulls and door knobs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Siding with Fibercement: A Pain

Fibercement is considered a high end product. It is made from wood fibers impregnated with cement. We're using Hardiplank brand. It lasts a long time, offers some fire protection, is rot resistant, can be painted unlike vinyl but paint lasts a long time unlike wood. We chose it because of this, and installation does not require much special skill. However, it's a pain to work with! It can bend when not carried carefully, it's very heavy (think cement), and it creates dangerous silica dust when sawn.

This summer we're building a garage next to the house and we want the buildings to match, but I'm tired of fiber cement! Lucky for us, there's another product that looks the same, called LP smartside lap. It is a treated OSB product covered with resin saturated, primed paper. It cuts like wood, is longer for fewer seams, weighs half as much, and costs less. I don't trust it as much for moisture resistance and longevity, but the garage is shorter, with longer roof overhangs, and no moisture producing showers inside to permeate under the siding.

Despite all my complaining, we realized recently that that at $4 a square foot, all this siding would cost us around $7000 to have installed. It's probably 7 good weekends of work, so we're not making a bad wage!

We want your comments on colors
Speaking of siding, we need to choose color soon! Any suggestions to go with our blue roof? The primer gray, which is slightly warm actually looks pretty good. I'm leaning towards something similar but darker, or maybe more brown-gray. The window frames can not be painted.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Siding Adventure: Updated X2

We are beginning to dedicate the entirety of our weekends to the house again. Yippee! We've been trying to work on the siding the last couple of weekends but have had some blips here and there. Winter seems to want to stick around a bit longer then normal. I'll put up some pictures in chronological order.

Below you'll see the siding that Paul and Andrew put up on a gorgeous Friday afternoon two weekends ago. Andrew and I spent some time chopping wood after work during that week.

Below is the back side of the house that Andrew and I did last Saturday.

The below pictures are from today. Here's us getting set and ready to begin siding up high on the door side of the house. We're using ladder jacks and made a platform to set on them so that we didn't have to move our big heavy ladders around. Setup actually took us the better part of the morning because we had to shovel snow off of everything.

Below is us getting to work finally (after we took a short break for a game of Settlers). Andrew looking cute as he runs around on the platform. The platform makes me nervous. I'm ok going up on the high ladders but for some reason the scaffolding makes me a bit shaky. I guess because it wobbles alot. The second picture is pretty much where we finished today. We only got about 7 rows done. Setup took most of our time but tomorrow we won't have to worry about that.

This is me wearing those big red sound barrier ear muffs. Thank you to Lou for sending them to us, so far there hasn't been a day that Andrew and I haven't worn them.

Update 4-20-08: Starting to take shape
We worked all day today too, but only got 9 rows! It slow work up high, with windows to cut around, and roof angles to deal with. We also dug (chipped) out soffit material from the snow (ice) and cut the pieces and put up two. The 16 foot platform I made is heavy as hell, but it really helps to be able to nail all the way across without moving ladders. I plan to work a little every evening this week and we'll post pictures as we go.

Update 4-23-08: Soffit, Fascia
On Monday I worked alone and did just a bit. I put up two more soffit boards and a couple pieces of the aluminum lower fascia wrap, which is one of the low (or zero) maintenance parts of our house. Nails, caulk, etc. should disappear with paint.

Tuesday we didn't work at all because of a game of Settlers of Catan, and today we got back to it and are nearing the top of this tallest side of the house.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Winter... With a Vengence

Gee gads folks! We just had two 6+ inch dumps of snow, and it's snowing again! Winter is dieing hard this year. I seriously doubt we'll finish this month, but maybe by mid-may! This weekend temps are supposed to reach mid 50s, so we will try to get some major siding done!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Year in review

It's just starting to warm up enough for us to finish outside, but some recent late snow has slowed us down. It's now been about a year since we just began clearing trees. Here's a quick review of what's happened. It sure seems like more than a year! What's next? I still hope that we will finish 100% in May, exactly 1 year after the foundation started. Stay tuned...

Unadulterated land

Adulterated Land, March 2007

Driveway with topping, May

In the footing hole

Foundation beams, June

Floor joists

Picture window wall

Setting trusses

Great room taking shape

300 pound window installation

Gypcrete radiant floor, September

Siding in October before it gets too cold

Tile work, November, just before move in

Important first finished room, December, just after move in

Important second room to finish, January 2008

The great room nearing completion, February

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Playing cards

I'm the kind of guy who calculates almost every decision carefully. It's like playing cards. Sometimes you do well, sometimes not so well. Recent heating oil prices have made me think about this.
  • good: Insulating the snot out of the house and sealing it super tight
  • not so good: Holding off on fuel oil delivery betting that it will go down in spring like last few years
  • good: Having a wood stove on the first floor so it can heat entire house
It goes beyond heating. Point at any part of the house and I can tell you both how good we did and what we might have done better.
  • good: A full guest bathroom
  • not so good: 1 more foot on master bath would have been nice (I told you so privileges go to Dustin and Barry)
  • good: squeezing 1 more foot into the kitchen to let multiple people work more comfortably
  • not so good: dishwasher and oven doors conflict
  • good: gorgeous stairway
  • not so good: Saved $20 on stringer material which twisted a little and added hours to trim work
  • good: tile
  • not so good: dropping glass stuff on tile
  • good: nifty pendant lights for the bar
  • not so good: they're so nifty people want to turn them on more often, but the switch is over by the bar
The list goes on... But in the end, we absolutely love our house, and it's well built, cheap to heat, and just right for us.