Over last weekend I used a pressure washer to blast the parging off of the chimney. It was wet, gritty, chilly work. The contractors came back yesterday and finished up the sides and cleaned up the debris.
The main floor of our new addition is a suspended concrete slab (i.e., a slab that is not in direct contact with the ground.) We are using the LiteDeck ICF system for this slab.
As I type this the plumbers are here to run a new well pipe through the previously-installed conduit that runs through the foundation. Once inside, it is going to temporarily run through the dumbwaiter window and reattach to the existing house plumbing. Later, we are going to relocate all the plumbing mechanical (pressure tank, de-acidifier, water heater) into the addition’s basement mechanical room. But for now, this will keep the pipe from freezing this winter and allow us to finish back-filling around the north end of the new foundation where the well is.
Next week, the exterior wall framing should begin. The bottom of the wall will be triple-plated so that when the exterior shell, including roof, is in place we can pour the final 4″ of concrete for the final floor. Before that happens, though, I will be running the heat tubing that will end up embedded just above the middle of the 9½” thick floor slab.
It has been almost a month since my last post about our new addition. Work has been proceeding, albeit slowly at times. It was always a long-shot that we would be (mostly) done by winter, and that long shot is missing widely. Now our sights are set on getting it under roof and closed in (windows/doors would be great but sheathing/house-wrap would be OK) this fall.
Last week and this week things have been moving along at a good clip. As I type, they are finishing installing the LiteDeck IFC for the main floor concrete slab. I will put up another post detailing that process in a couple of days.
Here is chronology of the past month or so of work, as of the end of last week:
Next up: Completing the LiteDeck by shaping the bow window, adding the top hats, adding the perimeter foam and first-course footer board, and adding plumbing/wiring chase-ways. Then, the main floor pour.
I had another session with my flying camera yesterday afternoon. I am still working on getting comfortable with the controls, so the video composition is not great, but below is an 11-minute aerial view of our farm. By the way, the return and landing was handled by the drone’s “failsafe” auto-pilot.
Well, after a series of frustrating delays, the foundation (basement wall) forms are ready for concrete. I also treated myself to a fancy new toy: A DJI Phantom Vision 2 Plus quadcoptor drone – a flying camera!
I just started flying it yesterday, here is a new perspective on our construction — bonus points if you can spot the millstone (transported, we believe, 1/4 mile from Hooks Mill to our property by the 1936 flood), and our herd of goats. (If you have the bandwidth, it looks best fullscreen in HD.)
Well, shortly after my post on Monday, trucks began arriving, delivering the ICF units that will be used for our foundation/basement walls. There are a lot of them piled up all over.
Monday they also put in the front foundation drain and tidied up the grade inside the foundation. Yesterday was rainy and therefore contractor-free. Today more gravel is being delivered for use as backfill and under the basement floor.
Plus, the windows we had ordered from Lowe’s arrived on Saturday, they have been stored in the cellar (with the large patio door under the veranda.)
Oh, and I ordered the two garage doors (one 8′ wide and one 6′ wide) today from Home Depot, they were 15% off, and the Lowe’s doors did not allow windows in the narrower 6′ door, among other things.
Meanwhile, our dog Bersheba is a sweet dog, always eager to help us around the farm. Her very favorite way to help keep us busy is to show us weaknesses in our fencing. Every. Single. Weakness.
She loves to dig under the fence. Anywhere the ground is a little soft or a little low, and she is off to the races. The tractor comes in handy — I keep blocking her escape routes with rocks and shale.
Check out the “best of” video highlights below.
On Wednesday the contractor brought in a small tractor-backhoe and dug a temporary drainage ditch to dry up the pond. All has been quiet since then as we wait for things to dry up. Work is expected to resume tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on the weather (storms are expected both days.) The next step is digging the footers.
Well, I spent the entire 3-day holiday weekend prepping the old addition for its demolition, mainly doing everything I could to disengage the addition from the main house as much as possible, putting plywood up over the old doors, removing copper pipes, cutting out drain pipes in the wall shared with the main house, etc.
On Thursday our contractor dropped off this beast so they can start work bright and early Monday on the demolition portion of our new addition project. This thing is big — I paced off the tread width at about 12 feet, which is just a little less than the width of our lower driveway as it passes between the goat shed and the apothedairy, and, coincidentally, the width of the lower drive as it goes past our front porch.
We are told that our 20×25 foot 2-story addition will be gone in a day. How is this possible? It has a thumb, hydraulically operated, that lets it grab and rip and tear.
Yes, Monday is going to be VERY interesting around here! Now, I am off to keep prepping the old addition to make the tearing off process go as smoothly as possible.
This past winter was pretty brutal, and about halfway through it we started getting serious with some vague plans that we have been mulling over for a number of years. Here is what I wrote in an email back in January:
Man, this last cold snap was worse that the last one — we’ve been below zero twice (last night was minus 2.5) — and under 20 for what seems like forever. Bedroom has been hovering around 50. Kitchen and living room struggle to stay in the 60s. It got down to 50 in the kitchen last Wed nite when I put the stoves and me to bed for 6 hours since the power had gone out so there was no internet to keep me company (power was out for 12 hours after which, by the way, the fridge was 10 degrees warmer than the unheated addition.)
We could, instead of this, shut off water to and abandon the main house and move into the back 40 with its electric baseboard heat. But that would feel mighty claustrophobic and even more siege-like, what with the small rooms and 7-foot ceilings and lack of kitchen, so we’ll just tough it out.
We have known from the get-go that our wood-stove-heat paradigm was not sustainable as we age towards our 60s, and over the years we have tossed around a number of ideas for the future — including various ideas about upgrading the heating system here to something else. But this winter has been saying loud and clear that the future is now! So we have been amusing ourselves with an extended-arctic-weather-induced dream of easier and more comfortable living here at Riversdell by planning for a new addition on the house to replace the current addition.
Yes, that’s right, we are tearing down the century-old addition on the house and replacing it with something much better. The new addition will be a cathedral-ceilinged great room with a loft on the west (street) side with a bathroom, bedroom, and galley under the loft. The east (river) side will have a large bay window. A focal highlight of the space is the existing 7-1/2 foot wide stone chimney. Oh, and underfloor hot-water heat, powered by some still-being-decided combination of rooftop solar hot water, LP (propane) H2O heater, and geothermal water-to-water heat pump. PV solar will supply some (most? all?) of the electricity for the heat and water.
A more complete description and detailed drawings are available at the 2014 Addition Project link at the upper right.
We have our demolition and construction permits in hand, have our general contractor lined up, and are now almost done with the salvage-old-materials portion of the demolition. Here is what the kid’s old bedrooms and bathroom now look like:
The walls were all tongue-and-groove pine which we have saved for reuse as flooring in the new loft. We also saved the vinyl replacement windows we had installed when we moved in 16 years ago — we will reuse them in the new vestibule. And, no, there was no insulation in these walls, no sheathing either, just 3/4″ poplar clapboards on the exterior and 5/8″ T/G pine on the interior.
And here is the view into the old addition from our lower veranda:
The old addition floors were several steps down and ceilings were lower — that’s the old guest room below and the kid’s bathroom above. In the new addition this view will be a sliding glass door into the great room.