Saturday, September 27, 2008

pictures of recent work

Just a few more rows of siding now that the insulation is done. The hole is the access for insulating, installing ceiling-hung shelving supports, and falling through the ceiling.

Garage door partially installed. It came damaged, so work will continue Monday with replacement parts

Last night and this morning I installed the snow stops on the roof. It was snowing both times.

The stack is taller than it looks, about 8 feet. The box in the back holds 1/3 a cord of kindling, leftover scrap from the building projects. One more row will fit and be protected from rain, totalling 3.5 cords of firewood. Maybe 2 years worth depending on how much we burn.

Remaining firewood in the driveway to stack. There are still several piles in the woods.

Our new J√łtul F400. We've had two of the three break-in fires. The stove seems to work beautifully and makes pretty flames.

"Why isn't it on?" Roland immediately laid by the fire when we first lit it last night.

New stove from upstairs. We may build a hearth another time. Next summer perhaps. It has a long stove pipe inside and short chimney outside, which helps keep flue gasses hot for good draft.

Here in the garage, the heat tube manifold. Notice the shitty drywall work.

I took the house lockset off and put it on the garage, and got a new one I like better for the house.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Getting ready for winter

Pictures coming...

We got our first frost a couple days ago, and we're getting ready for winter just in time.

Firewood stack: Marcy and I cut all our firewood, which turned into two huge space-hogging piles in the middle of our driveway. Marcy just finished stacking the bigger pile, and should get the rest done this weekend. Of course there are more small stacks around the property, but this is the bulk of it. We should have about 3.5 cords of wood under the roof overhang. This is all from our lot, and would have cost over $1000split and stacked, here in Fairbanks. Also, it will offset about $1700 in heating costs. There's another two cords or so already cut on the lot.

This brings me to the more exciting news: We finally got our wood stove! We had this picked out a long time ago, and should have bought it then because the price went up. It's a Norwegian Jotul F400 Castine, sized to efficiently heat our entire house. There's a 3 day break-in process, but we'll post action photos when that's done.

The Garage slowly continues. It is fully insulated and the exterior is done. Much better than the October siding we did on the house. It was way too cold.

I hooked up the floor heat. Everything works well, but I had a small 1 drip an hour leak in one of my connections. Turns out I damaged an o-ring when installing it. Simple fix, and I guess 17 out of 18 leak-free connections isn't bad for a non-plumber. The Rehau pex tubing and manifold is a very high quality and easy to use system.

The manifold has little flow meters and thermometers on the supply and return side to help determine how much fluid is moving through the floor. From this, it's easy to determine how much heat is going into it. As I hoped, there is about twice as much heat as is needed for the coldest day, so at -50 degrees, the heat should only have to run half the time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Update to the drywall:

The drywall is done, and in the end it looks like it won't be that bad. It turns out, by dumb luck, my biggest concern of the ceiling sagging under the weight of the insulation is moot. Since I happened to get the material (technically gypsum wallboard; drywall is a brand name) from Uresco Building Materials, I got the Georgia Pacific ToughRock brand, and the 1/2 stuff they gave me is specially reinforced with fiberglass to be as strong as 5/8" ceiling board. Had I known this, I would have ordered all 1/2" board and eliminated at least the problem of the wall ledge.

On the more humorous side of things, I stole the stupid award from the contractors. I was in the attic insulation space above them, and I fell through. At least one leg did, kicking off half a sheet. They crew looked at me really surprised, and I said, "Hey guys, I was upstairs and I thought I'd drop in."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Never any luck with contractors

Warning: Rant alert

I decided to give us a little bit of a treat and pay a crew to hang the drywall in the garage. We're tired of building and could use a break and it would be nice to get things done sooner. Drywall hanging is hard work, but with a lift rented for $40 Marcy and I could have done it in a long day. The sheets for the ceiling weigh 115 pounds, and the ceiling is 10 feet up.

Anyway, I put an ad on craigslist for $300 to do the job. I knew the crew that did the house could have done the job in 2 hours, so I thought it was a good deal. Other people did too; I got 5 responses in a couple days.

Unfortunately I don't think anyone that called knew what they were doing. I gave the job t the second caller since the first never called back. They're working now, almost done after 7 hours.

They aren't doing a great job.

Several things are wrong.
Normally, thicker board goes on the ceiling, and the ceiling goes up first, so I had the drywall stocked with the thick stuff on top to use first. But they put that on the walls, and when that ran out they started putting the thin stuff to finish the walls, so there's a ledge where it changes thickness.

Now with the 1/2" on the ceiling, there's a risk it may sag some, especially since we will put so much insulation up there.

Also, they used my circular saw to cut the drywall, so my nice Freud blade is probably dull.

Also, they set some screws too deep. I just never have any luck.

And finally, the icing on the cake: While I was walking the dog, cooling down before I told them everything that was wrong, I got the sixth call: From the same guy who did (a fine job) the house.

Update 7:41pm:
Well, it got worse. He called me out there, asking what to do with the 25.5" space all around the perimeter at the ceiling when there should have been a 24" space (for half a sheet of drywall). That's when I realized he didn't set the drywall on the 1.5" high ledge I made at the bottom. I told him about this, and left a note about it. Time to take it all down.