Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rain Delay: Question Time

Terri asked:  Could you please share how many square feet the finished interior of the home will be?  Do you have a floor plan you can share?

The house will be 1650 square feet when completed which is 600 square feet larger than our current home.  It is 50 feet long and 30 feet wide.  It is a simple rectangle house with no fancy turns.  We wanted something that we could easily work on ourselves.  The house will also have an 8' x 10'  porch.  We have plans to add a garage and deck eventually.  Our first goal is to get the main part of the house done.

Sharing a floor plan is a bit trickier.  We have a floor plan but keep making minor (and one not so minor) changes.  I will try to give you a simple walk through though.  When you come in the front door, you will enter a small foyer.  I wanted a buffer zone as my current house does not have one.  To the left is the living room and kitchen.  This is one open area (20' x 30') with a vaulted ceiling.  The pantry is off from the kitchen.  Turning to the right from the foyer is a hallway leading to the rest of the house.  First on the right is a three-quarter bath (shower, sink, toilet).  The next door on the right goes into the craft room/office.  Across from the craft room on the left is the laundry room.  In addition to the washer and dryer, the laundry room will have the larger freezer, water manifold, and inside portion of the heating/air unit.  At the end of the hallway on the right is the only bedroom with a small walk-in closet.  To the left is the master bathroom which is the room we completely redone.

The house is a bit unconventional.  W designed it to suit us.  I will share more pictures as walls go up and the rooms are defined more.  At that point we will also quit moving things around.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Days 45-46: Framing the Windows and Doors

After the walls were up, the next step was to frame out the doors and windows.  This is an important step as the boards will keep the concrete inside the forms.  It will simply flow around the windows and doors.  We knew the sizes and number of windows and doors but wanted to make sure it was correct.  We opted to purchase a door and a window of each size so W could check the fit.  These were items we will have to buy anyway.  We just bought them a bit early.

He added a bit of the spray foam to areas that not joining tight.  You can also see that he started putting in some braces.  This ensures that the frame holds its shape as the concrete is poured in.

Coming up next is a one week rain delay.  One of the main things we cannot control is the weather.  W used that time to catch up on some other things.  I will be answering a couple of questions over the next two blog posts.  If anyone has questions, feel free to ask.  I will do my best answer them.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Day 44: Finishing the ICFs

W and my dad needed just three days to put up all of the insulated concrete forms.  Due to weather delays and other things going on, it did not even take all of those three days.  It was a fairly simple job overall and definitely DIY friendly.

Our one story home took six rows of the ICFs to get to our eight foot wall height.  Next it was time to start framing out the windows and doors.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 43: More Progress on Installing the ICFs

The second day of ICF installation went a bit faster.  In all six rounds of ICFs would need to be installed to give us a wall height of 8 feet.  By round three the windows were starting to come into play.  No blocks are installed where the windows will go.

As the additional layers of block are added, rebar and clips must also be added.  An important thing to remember is that the outer walls are being constructed by W and my dad (with supervision from Leo of course).  While the cost of ICFs is slightly higher than a wood frame home, I feel like we saved in time and labor costs.

At this point in the building process more neighbors were stopping by just to check things out.  W and I have been talking about building this type of home for a few years and more so as we were working on the foundation.  We are the first to build one in our area.  I feel quite accomplished at giving tours and answering questions.  I am sure there are some people who think we are a bit crazy.  No one who has actually stopped to check things out has not been impressed though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day 42: Installing the Insulated Concrete Forms

First here is a view of how the insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are shipped.

 They are shipped with cardboard tops and bottoms and straps to bind everything together.  Each one had 12 sections of ICFs.  I did keep the cardboard pieces to use in the bottom of raised beds or for future projects.  *We put a fence around all of the boxes to keep the chickens away.  Chickens love Styrofoam.*

This is a view from the top.  You can see how the Styrofoam interlocks together.  Inside are areas where rebar is clipped in.  You put it vertically and horizontally to improve the strength of the structure.  If you look further down into it, you may notice (on the left) spray foam.  This is what is used to attach the ICFs to the foundation just as a temporary hold during setup.  The spray foam is also used to patch any holes.  You will see more of the spray foam in a picture further down.  This channel between the two pieces of white foam is where the concrete will be poured.  Our blocks have a 4" channel.  Our exterior walls will be 9.25" thick 

In addition to the rebar, the sections of ICFs are held together with these clips.  These are put in vertically as well as horizontally just like the rebar.

Here is Leo showing off the results of his superior supervisory skills at the end of the first day of ICF installation.  The first layer was the worst slowest to install.  It was a matter of marking off where the doors would be as these areas are left open initially.  It was fairly simple to square up since the foundation was square and level.  The ICF corners are perfectly square.  Still the first round is the most important.  Work was also slowed down by the fact that it rained most of the morning.  It was nice to see progress no matter how little.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Day 38 - Deliveries

I do not have any pictures to share of Day 38.  It was busy but not necessarily exciting picture-wise.  We had scheduled a meeting with a man about the septic tank and were expecting a delivery of lumber (with pickup of other materials) as well as the delivery of the insulated concrete forms.  As it turned out everyone showed up at nearly the same time.

The septic tank man did arrive first.  He looked at the area and asked for our permit which I had tucked away in my home building binder.  He started to do some figuring and commented, "This is the cheapest one I have quoted in a long time."  That was music to my ears.  It turned out to be one-third of the cost W had estimated and less than half of what our contractor friend estimated.  He will also dig the hole for our gray water tank for no additional charge.

While he was still there, the trucks with the insulated concrete forms and supplies arrived.  I did not take pictures since there was very little to see.  Our contact person also came to oversee the delivery and answer any questions.  It was nice to actually meet him since all of our conversations had been over the phone or by email.  The delivery also attracted a few neighbors who were anxious to see our funny building blocks.

When they left, the delivery driver arrived with the lumber.  He unloaded everything and picked up the excess building supplies from the foundation.  That gave us some extra room in the yard and extra money in the budget.

It was a whirlwind there for a few hours.  Once again the yard was quiet.  Next up is the start of installing the insulated concrete forms.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Days 29-37

These days were spent on things that are a necessary if boring part of building a new home.  Here goes:

  1. We picked up the shower insert.  It is too large to fit through a standard door and had to be set into the house before the walls go up.  We opted to get a one piece unit.  It was only $100 more than a four piece unit.  Our shower is also solid surface.  We knew we wanted a durable, one piece shower.  This was one area where we were happy to spend the extra money.
  2. We ordered and paid for our insulated concrete forms (ICFs).  We ended up going with the Fox Blocks brand.  All of the forms are basically the same.  We discovered by accident that a Fox Blocks distributor was located within 2 hours of our location.  They were also able to recommend a concrete pump operator who was experienced with ICFs (a huge plus).
  3. We called to get an estimate on a septic tank.  We live out in the country so our water comes from our own private well and a septic tank is a necessity.  We arranged for someone to come give us an estimate.
  4. We ordered a delivery of lumber and arranged to have the extra building materials picked up.  To just schedule a pick up would have cost $65.  Delivery for the needed lumber was free, and the company would pick up for free if a delivery was being made.
  5. We did some planning and practiced patience.  We started looking at other supplies we would need.  We also just took some time to catch our breath.  That was a good thing because day 38 was hectic!