Top level outline

Posted Thu, 08/20/2009 - 21:28 by kpbadger

This is a combined update for yesterday and today due to some travel.

Yesterday, we met with Matt at the house to discuss the landing on the stairs. The headroom clearance, the way things were in now, would be 6 feet 4 inches walking down the stairs from the top level to the main level. Although this would comply with code, Matt was concerned about the appearance. We accepted Matt's suggestion to put a step in the landing, which drops the stairs by 8 inches thereby creating more substantial headroom.

Today, we visited the house after the workers (and the rain) had left. The exterior walls of the upper level are now on, and the interior is beginning to take shape.

In addition to the pouring of the basement and the front porch, the framers were busy today as well. Portions of the second floor were installed, as well as the steps between the main and second floors. We did not walk into the house, because we did not want to step on the freshly poured porch or use the little ramp from the garage. But here are some pictures from the outside:

Also today our Power-Pipe arrived. That's good service from EFI -- I had placed the order yesterday and it was waiting for me at home today. We need to supply it to the plumber at the time of rough plumbing, and it will be installed to recover heat from both upstairs bathrooms.

Basement floor and front porch

Posted Tue, 08/18/2009 - 20:40 by kpbadger

Today the basement floor and front porch concrete slabs were poured. It must have been quick-drying concrete because when we checked it out around 6:00 PM, it looked dry and there were footprints, presumably from the workers who cut the basement floor.

Matt Acker has been great at accommodating all of our requests to make this a truly custom home. One thing we wanted was a basement tornado shelter, which is going under the front porch. We researched the FEMA-320 guidelines with regard to concrete reinforcement for the walls and ceiling. Matt confirmed that the ceiling is indeed reinforced with #4 bars at 12 inches O.C. each way.

Here are the pictures of the front porch and the basement floor...

One other green-building initiative was accomplished today. There is a point available for cleaning out concrete trucks in a slab or basement area. After today's pour, we could see the residue localized right near the basement area. Kudos to Acker Builders and the concrete contractor for keeping the waste material right near the structure, and not out in the middle of the yard somewhere.

First floor ceiling and preparation for slab

Posted Mon, 08/17/2009 - 20:16 by kpbadger

Here is today's installment of pictures from the lot.

The basement under-slab insulation and vapor barrier have been placed. We have contracted for 2 inch thick foam insulation, which has an R-10 rating.  Our "Manual J" heat loss calculation estimated that this would save up to 8000 BTU/hr.

It appears that when the basement is poured, the front porch will be also. It also appeared that there was some leftover foam board which will go below the front porch slab (which is the roof of the tornado shelter). Here is a picture of the waterproofed ceiling with foam board insulation:

The house continues to take shape, with the ceiling of the first floor now installed, and also the landing on the staircase. As the house begins to take shape, we can label the rooms:

Family RoomKitchenStairs / Landing

Today we also finalized our change orders for plumbing fixtures and our Power-Pipe drain heat recovery unit, and we scheduled the closing for our construction loan.


This morning, I met Matt and the folks from Dave Jones plumbing out at the house to discuss the placement of the drain pipes below the basement floor. We rearranged things slightly to accommodate our future drain heat recovery unit, and also to preserve our plan for the eventual finishing of the lower level. The rough plumbing was installed today and passed the inspection this afternoon.

Flanders Electric was also present this morning to install our electrical breaker box.

The framers completed the interior walls of the first floor.


Matt also pointed out some features around the job site. (He would be awesome on a "video blog" so we'll try to get that going.)  Anyway, first off is the under-slab insulation.  It is 2 inches thick and provides a R-10 insulation factor. Matt explained that unlike the foam board that's on the framing, this insulation is specifically designed to bear the weight of concrete poured on it.

The schedule as of this morning was to deploy the foam board over the basement floor once the plumbing was inspected, and pour the concrete floor on Monday. The plumbing inspection was this afternoon, and it passed, according to the tag.

Also with regard to insulation, check out the following picture. You'll notice that there is some gray insulation and some blue insulation.

Matt explained that this is because of a new code. The blue foam insulation has a better R-value. However, every so often, they need to put up plywood, for wall strength. They put the gray insulation over the plywood, which results in a lower R-value.

That's it for today -- the hope remains to get the roof on by the end of next week, weather permitting.