flgargoyle

Picture a small house..... and a barn.

flgargoyle
May 8, 2011

I got some pictures last night of our property with the recent clearing work done. The big trees still have to come down, but it looks so park-like right now. The barn will go about where the pick-up truck is, and the house will be off to the extreme left down the hill a ways past the tree with the birdhouse. It's exciting to finally be talking those first baby steps forward!

I bought my first building materials yesterday- a deal too good to pass up. About a week ago, I was in the big box store (blue) and spotted a whole pallet of Nichiha fiber cement siding marked down from $6.88 a board to $3.88. I thought about buying it, as that's the cheapest I've ever seen it. Well, I went back yesterday, and it was marked $1.88! I bought the whole lot- 250 boards. It's just about the right amount to side the entire house- for less than $500! Nichiha is a premium product, a little better and more expensive than Hardi. They said they weren't going to stock it anymore, and just wanted to clear it out. This is a good omen for our project!

Comments (151)

  • flgargoyle

    Time for another update- we're finally going upward! The pictures will be limited for a while, since I'm on an air card, so I have to watch my usage. After a number of rains, we finally got the footings in place, inspected, and poured. The forms for the footings also create a perimeter drain system to keep water out of the basement. The same forms face inward, and provide ventilation for radon mitigation, a code requirement here.

    The pictures are pretty self-explanatory; the first on is the very first concrete hitting the ground, the second is a shot of the footing, showing the rebar sticking up which 'keys' the walls to the slab, and the final shot shows all of the ICF blocks down in the hole, ready to start stacking.

    I made a camera mount of sorts on one of the trees, so I can document the entire build from the same spot. The last picture is from that spot; the barn is just right of the far right of the picture.



  • Shades_of_idaho

    WOW Looking great. There is a house close to us that is built with the ICF Blocks. Pretty neat way to go. So glad you can keep us updated even ,if briefly, on your build. Such a pretty setting.

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  • TxMarti

    I heard the ICF blocks go up really fast too. That would be nice for some instant gratification. Ana White is building a duplex with those blocks.

    Great idea about the camera location Jay. It's nice to see things from the same location. Too bad you don't have a game cam there so you don't even have to hit the shutter button.

  • flgargoyle

    Time for another update! The basement walls are up and poured with concrete. They have to cure for a few days, so I am in FL for some R&R, and to bring more stuff to SC.

    First- The slab is poured. Due to all of the rain, we decided to pour the slab to stabilize things, and keep me out of the mud.

    You can see that a couple of courses of ICF are already in place. Next is a shot with the partially completed walls, to which the bracing has been added. The bracing keeps everything in place when tons of concrete are added.

    Re-bar is placed every 16" to reinforce the concrete. Here is a window opening, showing the bracing required to keep things in shape under the weight of the concrete'

    Just before pouring-

    The concrete is pumped in. The blue masking tape is to keep the top of the blocks clean for the next course. I have to build the floor deck now, and then stack up the main floor. We should pour that in about 3-4 weeks.

  • desertsteph

    bravo! bravo! way to go! so good to see it becoming REAL.

  • Shades_of_idaho

    WOW Really enjoying the process and updates. So gad it is going along well for you.

  • flgargoyle

    Time for an update! I finished the main floor today. This means the contractor can back-fill, and I can start stacking the main floor walls. I've had a lot of weather delays, what with triple digit temperatures followed by a solid week of rain. We hit a new all-time record high of 107 degrees! The first picture is the foundation with all of the bracing removed.

    How hot was it??

    Half the deck covered:

    The basement stairs- lots of calculating in a staircase!

    The basement. Kinda wet as it has rained nearly every afternoon. At least with a walk-out, the water can run out the back door!

    The main floor is finished!

  • Shades_of_idaho

    Jay always glad to see your up dates. I am so impressed with how much you have accomplished. Looking great.

  • desertsteph

    Awesome! ya-hoo! looking great!

    why ya just standing there? keep pounding those nails - lol!

    I know a lot about 107 heat. not as humid as it was where you are tho.

  • TxMarti

    That slab looks so smooth. Until it got muddy. Good job on getting the first level done. Is that the basement?

    And you're still smiling. You're getting there! Do you have any help?

  • lavender_lass

    Jay- Congratulations! Nice stairs...and those can be tricky. So neat to watch your new house become a reality :)

  • krayers

    Wonderful!! You've gotten so much accomplished. It's looking great.

    Those triple digit high humidity temps are a nightmare. Be careful & don't overheat.

    Look forward to more pics. You might just convince me to think about building my retirement home!!

  • flgargoyle

    Hey- Remember me? Building a house single-handed is certainly a slow process! Time for another update. The big news is that I am finally done with my contractor. Although he has been great, my job is very small, and so I wind up doing a lot of waiting for him to squeeze me in. Once the house is done, I'll bring him in for final grading, but that's a long ways off.

    The pictures are self-explanatory, I think. The main floor walls are up and poured. The garage and porch slabs are poured. I built the small garage with conventionally framed walls. This last Thursday, we got the roof trusses placed, which was a major job. I had two friends from church help me, along with a big crane and operator.

  • wi-sailorgirl

    Wow! It's really starting to come together. I'm just catching up on your project and I just have to say that I your barn is so charming. I love it.

  • Elraes Miller

    Is that "you" at the top of the truss? A contradiction to the little green wagon in front of your house. Thanks for all the updates. You will have so many memories tied to a home long before moving in.

  • schoolhouse_gw

    I'm always happy to see this thread. Congrats, real progress and lots of hard work paying off.

  • Shades_of_idaho

    Loving the plans on paper finally becoming a reality. Looks wonderful Jay.

  • Nancy in Mich

    Yes, Jay, it is coming along so well. You will be dry under roof soon! Are you planning to get windows and doors in and work inside this winter, or are you going home again for the winter? You must be so proud. Not everyone can do what you are doing. I see the dog is still keeping you company, too!

  • EATREALFOOD

    Oh what a great job you are doing. I'm bookmarking this post to show my sweetheart. What a nice update. Good luck with it all !!!!

  • TxMarti

    Looks like you are making great progress to me. We've spent the last 9 months just adding on one little room and redoing the kitchen. You'll be dried in before winter for sure.

  • flgargoyle

    Thanks for all of the supportive comments! Yes, I'd like to be dried in for the winter. The doors and windows are ordered, done, and waiting at the warehouse. I really need to keep moving forward at this point to keep my permit 'active'. I have set aside some time in FL to get our old house ready to sell, though.

    Winter in SC is pretty mild. Last winter, I could have worked pretty much all winter, as it didn't get very cold. Local folk lore is calling for a much rougher winter, so I'll just play it by ear. FL is only 10 hours away if I chicken out!

  • idie2live

    Way to go! You're doing a great job. Here's praying you have a mild winter.

  • flgargoyle

    A quick follow-up, and a chance to say 'Hello'. For some reason, my aircard is incompatible with GW, so I can't post from SC.

    Anyhow- winter has been fairly mild, but wet, wet, wet. The roof is sheathed, but not yet covered in tin. It is ready for it; just waiting for a dry window of opportunity. After that, I can work indoors in relative comfort. Meanwhile, I've been working on stuff you can't see, like rough plumbing. Here's an old picture with the sheathing and porch on it. This spring, I'm going to work inside on wet days, and do the siding when the weather is dry.

  • TxMarti

    It's really coming along. Are you both in NC now or are you still commuting?

  • flgargoyle

    No- my wife is still in FL, while I am mostly in SC. I'm in FL for a few days, which is why I'm able to post. My wife sent her resume to the main hospital in SC, so the ball is in motion for a big change. Ironically, if she gets a job in SC, I'll be in FL, getting our house ready to sell!

  • krayers

    Looking very nice. Will be so nice to have it in the dry so you can work on those rainy damp days. Coming along!!

  • Nancy in Mich

    Thanks for remembering to send us the update. I think of you whenever I hear weather reports for your part of the country. Your home is looking very inviting!

  • flgargoyle

    Well, now you can 'picture' the barn! I got my final inspection today- finally! The main hold-up was trying to paint it; we've had an unusually cool, wet winter this year.

  • TxMarti

    I looks good! Any new photos of the house?

  • krayers

    Love it! Have always wanted a red barn behind my house.

  • flgargoyle

    I do have a more recent pic of the house:

  • TxMarti

    I like the roof!

  • flgargoyle

    Thanks! I went with the old-fashioned 5V tin in natural galvanized color. The house doesn't look like much now, but will get dressed up with roof brackets and typical fat Craftsman porch columns. Here's a pic of one of the roof brackets (the top is to the left). They are made from heavy rough-cut cypress, and will be secured with the large square head bolts. The green color is a wood preservative prior to painting.

  • flgargoyle

    Another update- There haven't been all that many 'photographic' changes. I finally finished the gable end over the roof, and then finished up the tin roofing. During all of the rain, I've been working on interior stuff like plumbing and electrical. I did manage to wrap the exterior and install of my doors and windows, so I'm truly weather tight now. ICF isn't usually wrapped, but I need to protect the foam from the sun at my slow pace, and it makes it easier to flash the windows.

    It was fun figuring out how to install the windows by myself, but I worked out a way. The big triple window goes over the kitchen sink, and is some 15' off the ground.

    I got most of the interior framing done- I call it the Ironwood Forest. The quality of lumber is so poor, I opted for steel studs instead. Easy to install, and straight, straight, straight!

    There's a picture of the finished gable end, although you can't see the colors well because of the lighting.

  • TxMarti

    It's looking great. I like your roof brackets. Did you notch them to fit around the facia?

    You're so right about the quality of wood studs. how much of a price difference is there between wood and metal studs? I'm really impressed that you are putting in the windows all by yourself. I helped dh with our double window and French door and they nearly killed both of us.

    This post was edited by marti8a on Fri, Jul 5, 13 at 13:14

  • desertsteph

    wow - it's looking so good! and getting done. I'd say the worst/hardest parts are done - right?

    I can't imagine putting in a window alone. I have one here to be put in and figure it'll take 2 guys to do it. My handyman is huge and strong as the hulk (ok, almost) and I still think he needs a 2nd guy to help him.

  • flgargoyle

    Because lumber has gone up, the steel studs were actually cheaper- about $100 less for all of them. I'm using the heavier 20 gauge rather than the flimsy 25 they sell at the big box stores.

    As for the windows- here's my trick. The windows have a nailing fin which is folded flat. I fastened a board outside of the house with big enough spacers to let the window come out far enough to unfold the nailing fin, but still hold the window from falling. I put the bottom of the window on the window ledge (inside) and walked it up, guiding it through the opening, and letting it lean out against the board described above. Then i went outside and worked the fins out. I pushed the window back against the opening (it can't go back in once the fins are folded out) and used wedges of scrap styrofoam to push it back off of my board. I then went inside (whew!) and shimmed everything into place before caulking and fastening. I even did the big triple window that way. It was heavy, but I managed.

  • dekeoboe

    I have a question - when using metal studs, how do you do blocking? I am talking about blocking for heavy objects that you want to put on the walls or things like grab bars in the bathroom.

  • flgargoyle

    You can just put wood blocking in the walls, screwing it from stud to stud. The steel studs feel flimsy until they are drywalled, after which they are just as strong as wood. Molding can be tricky, too. They do make finish screws, but they are kind of big. I'm going to put 1/2" plywood about 1/2" lower than the baseboards. It gives you a nailing surface, and the top of the baseboard covers the seam between the plywood and drywall.

    There is a learning curve with the metal studs. Everything is slightly different, including electrical and plumbing. I couldn't find a good electrical box, so I'm going to use nail-on boxes, nailed to a short piece of 2X4, which will then be screwed to the metal stud. You have to use plastic grommets where wires go through the metal studs. When the house is done, we'll use various hollow wall fasteners for hanging pictures, etc. I did a lot of googling before starting the framing. There are a lot of little tricks.

    The fascia itself is notched, instead of the brackets. Despite the massive square-head bolts, the whole thing is just for looks. Although they do add a lot of strength, they are not part of the engineered structure.

  • mushcreek

    Flgargoyle here, under a new user name. I posted about it under 'Reintroduction'.

    Not much new on the house, other than electric and plumbing, which is proving to be a big task. It's hard to believe in a small house, but I've used about a half a MILE of wire for 52 outlets and 28 switches!

    The big news is that we're officially moving- now! My wife got a job in SC (Yay!) so the old house is going on the market, and we're packing up and moving to SC in October. It'll be fun setting up house in the basement of our unfinished home, living off of a single 120V extension cord. Hopefully, the power will be on soon!

    Jay

  • Nancy in Mich

    Wow, Jay, this is the big step. Has Mrs. Jay been to the new house yet? It sounds like you two will be camping out for a while in that basement.

    Wiring always amazes me. I remember the first time I saw the "electrical room" for one of those 6000 sq ft monstrosities that people thought that they needed to build in the early 2000's. I was astounded that a HOUSE needed an electrical room, but it was completely full of wiring and boxes. It had hundreds of recessed lights, plus every bell and whistle. I think that house's wiring could circle the earth, go all the way to the moon, or some other outlandish feat. Since it was before home-use LEDs, I bet their electrical bills ran over $500/month without air conditioning.

    Are you going to make use of LEDs? We put in Cree 6" recessed lights in the kitchen and for the smaller pot lights I found LED bulbs for the 4" pots. Both are supposed to last 10 years. They don't just blink out when they die, but their brightness will fade, so it will be hard to tell if our aging eyes are dimming or if the LEDs are. So far, we really like the lights, but they are also our first recessed lights, too.

    Do you have to wait until the drywall is up to turn on the electric power to the house? Is drywall the next step once plumbing and electric are done? Are you doing drywall all by yourself? How long do you think it will take? Once walls are up, then I can imagine exactly how the rest of the process will go.

    And here you and Mrs. Jay are, culling, packing, cleaning, and getting ready to sell a house that you have already emotionally left. May you have only pleasant memories in your task, and may the RE market work quickly in your favor!

  • mushcreek

    Nancy- Mrs Jay (Carol) gets up to SC every few months, so she's seen most of the progress. It was during her last visit that she interviewed for, and got, her new job.

    The house will be almost all LED. I've made use of a number of the Cree 6" recessed, as Home Depot has a very good price on them. At 3 hours a day, they are supposed to last some 32 years! I might be buried in the back 40 before I ever have to change a lightbulb LOL!

    In our area, they have grouped the inspections due to rather severe cutbacks in the building department. My last inspection was the basement slab; the next one is framing, rough electric, and rough plumbing combined! That's a biggie. Once it passes, they give me a form to give to the power company, and they schedule burying a line from the transformer to the meter. At that point, I have full power. After that, I can drywall the ceiling and insulate the attic, which I'd like to do before it gets really cold. My A/C won't be in the attic at all, so I can button it up. I will at least attempt my own drywall; we'll see how it goes.

    This move is really starting to turn into a sit-com episode. My son has to go to Wyoming for 3 months (work), so we are dog-sitting. Unfortunately, his dog can't run free as she takes off. Also, she does not get along with my dog, or our cat! On top of juggling incompatible pets and building a house, we are hosting Thanksgiving this year! Hopefully, I'll have the power on so I can hook up the range for cooking. Otherwise, I'll make do with my smoker and my little toaster oven. Should prove interesting. I really need to write a book when all of this is over!

  • flowerladylorraine

    Wow, Jay, I just got caught up on your new home and it's fantastic. My husband would have enjoyed seeing all that you've done yourself.

    I'm sure you'll pass your inspections. When we were doing building here, it was always great getting those behind you so that you could carry on.

    Thanks for sharing this adventure here.

    FlowerLady

  • mushcreek

    Well, I passed a huge inspection! They've cut back on staff at the building department, so they combine inspections. My last inspection was the basement slab, and this one was framing, rough electric, and rough plumbing! Essentially, you have to build an entire house, and wire and plumb it.

    How thorough was the inspection? They didn't even turn their truck off! One year of hard work for me, 3 minutes of time for them to 'inspect' it. I'm glad I know what I'm doing!

    Up next is drywall and other interior work! On nice days, I'll work on the outside siding.

  • Houseofsticks

    Yeah Jay! Thanks for the update! Looking forward to more pics of your beautiful home. So it's October! Hope you and Mrs. J are enjoying your new home together!

  • lavender_lass

    Congrats! Hope you post more pictures :)

  • idie2live

    Great job! They're predicting a colder winter for SC this year. I'm just 60 miles from the beach so we have fairly mild winters here. Hope you have a mild winter and clear weather for Thanksgiving.

  • idie2live

    Great job! They're predicting a colder winter for SC this year. I'm just 60 miles from the beach so we have fairly mild winters here. Hope you have a mild winter and clear weather for Thanksgiving.

  • TxMarti

    Hey idie2live, good to see you posting!

  • Nancy in Mich

    Wow, what a let-down that inspection was! It is nice that they did not find stuff to bug you on, but a "fine job," would be a nice compliment after all your work. If they didn't even look at it, any superlatives would be pretty meaningless.

    That's just me, I know you probably had no ego needs to be met by the inspection!

    Can't wait to see more pictures. Be sure to take some of your Thanksgiving feast. I want to see how you do this without actual rooms yet! You are an adventurous couple.

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