Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Don't tell Google Earth about this Picture

Here's my neighborhood. The red arrow is not a double decker bus we imported from London, it denotes the location of my house. Of course, this map is a year or two old, so there is no house, just weeds. As you can see, it has very easy access into and out of the neighborhood. But, it's not on a main road that I have to watch out for traffic when I pull out. I do have to look out for little kids and dogs because those are the neighborhood's number one commodity. A couple months ago, we were lucky enough to host the annual Talladega Bicycle 500 (mud track special edition) in our basement side by side with the "Orange Spray Paint Art Show." Too bad little Johnny couldn't take home his artwork. I guess orange concrete is too heavy to take home, so I will have to keep the artwork on my concrete indefinitely. We also have donated a site on our front porch for animal feces. It's so difficult for a dog, cat, and a bird to use the bathroom anymore. Nobody seems to want it. All is well though, our stamped colored concrete front porch provides privacy and an absent shotgun. People walking their animals down the sidewalk can leave those dodo bags at home. Ah, the joys of building a house.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lookin Nice

I haven't been over the house for a few days. I usually take Friday off from my regular job so I can get an early start on the weekend, but by the time the weekend is over, my body is toast and I need a couple days off. I don't have a whole lot to do at Jacobsen Construction, so I have taken quite a few days off. I have only two active jobs and it's Christmas time, so work usually slows down.
We have a couple weeks before we are ready for insulation and the stucco contractor is getting anxious to get going. I think we hit a pretty big speed bump last week though. My buddies doing the electrical decided to drill through my trusses (7 or 8 holes) to run wires because it was more convient for them. Unfortunately, trusses are never to be cut or drilled. So I have to have the engineer give me a fix. I hope it's not too costly or time consuming. My electricians say they always drill trusses. I have never heard anything so scary. If you are unsure if you can drill or cut a peice of wood that is attached to your house, please don't ask an electrician.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Deck the Halls

I need help selecting which deck I should build. There are 4 choices, A, B, C, and D. The deck with the most votes (only vote once) will get built. Men, involve your wives. As much as I would like a man house, it is the women that ultimately decide how much a house is worth. Keep in mind that this deck will have a concrete patio underneath it. The 7 sided polygons are my 4' high rock retaining wall. The room on the left is the master bedroom and the room on the right is the dining room. The sunken patio has an entrance to the basement.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A House... And Some Me Philosophy

Now we are up to date (kind of). The only thing this picture doesn't show on the exterior is the windows have been installed. It took my brother and I about 6 weeks to frame the roof after the trusses had been set. There is a lot of the roof that could not be made at the factory. We borrowed a framers material handler to help us lift wood up to the roof. We only made 4 or 5 thousand mistakes that we had to fix, but in the end, the roofers had made a comment about how they had never seen a house framed so well. I guess that's what you get from a framer that took 3rd place in a national framing contest.
The garage layout is pretty cool. Since the garage was almost 14 feet tall, we decided that at least one 10 foot garage door would be nice. It's 30 feet deep, so we can put some pretty big stuff in there. The garage is the primary reason I want to build a house. There is something about a garage that attracts a man. Its something in our need pool, like the need for a wife. I know that I can have a really bad day, like get yelled at by the boss or get stuck in traffic for two hours and then get yelled at by the boss, and I can come home and be at one with myself in a garage. I can't do that with any other room, even the bathroom, which is "be at one with myself" room number two. I can't wait to have a garage again (I live in a condo, I haven't had a garage since I kicked my parents out of theirs years ago)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Framing

Wow, that was pretty fast, not. There is about 2 months between those pictures. My favorite part of framing is laying the sub-floor, as seen in the picture just above here. It's not that difficult to do, but you can really mess up your house if you don't do it right. When it's done, it's like a whole new fresh start. Finally there is a picture of me and my brother, and it looks like my dog is there too. Her name is Anne. The picture at the top is the day that we see the roof trusses. We had the crane at the house for 7 hours. At $85 an hour, it got pretty expensive. Needless to say, we didn't take a lunch. That would have been an expensive lunch. It was a really long day, but it was so nice to see it done. We had a couple other people help set the trusses, thanks guys if your reading this. Your help was priceless. No one fell off of the walls or got hit with the trusses. And the trusses didn't fall over, which happens more that you would think. Setting trusses is very dangerous because your climbing on wood that is wobbling in the sky. You have to swing around a 20 lb. nail gun in one hand and anchor yourself with your other hand. The guys that were helping us tipped over my dad's trusses on his barn about 10 years ago. A couple people had to go to the hospital. One guy broke his leg. I know your all saying "why would you use them?" I would rather work with someone who had made a mistake and overcome it than someone who is perfect and invincible. A couple more posts and we will be current on what we are doing right now. It's more fun to go day by day instead of month by month cause so many interesting things happen that I didn't even mention.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Today (Not Yesterday)

I forgot my pictures in my truck, and its too cold to go out and get them. Today we hung a couple more exterior doors and ran all of the supply air duct for the main floor. My buddy said that if I want him to help do the electrical, I had to go snowmobiling with him tomorrow afternoon. I thought he was kidding, be he was dead serious. I guess I have to do what I have to do.
I had the gas company set a temporary meter today and I hooked up a huge heater (400,000 btu's, or about the size of four normal furnaces). It costs about 2 bucks an hour to run, but it warms the house up pretty quick. When the temperature is 20 degrees, anyone will pay 2 bucks an hour to keep their hands and nose from falling off. I hope we can get the house ready for insulation by Christmas with all of this snowmobiling weather creeping in.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Underground Utilities

The small white pipes are plumbing pipes and the large white pipes are the underground heating system. This is not very common, but I have a good strategy for doing this. The first is an early method of detected and removing ground water if it ever does get high enough to cause a problem. The second is because conventional ducting is near impossible for the floor system that we have to install. Underground duct is labor intensive, mostly because we have to concrete all the galvanized fittings. The white pipe is PVC coated steel pipe. The joints and terminations are galvanized fittings. We rented a small concrete trailer with two yards of concrete and then moved it from the trailer to the fittings by shovel and wheelbarrow. This was the first scope of work that my brother and I did on the project. Subcontractors did everything before then.

Laying Some Concrete Down

To stabalize the footings and foundation, we had 18" thick of jagged 1 1/2" aggregate trucked in. The aggregate is seperated from the dirt by a silt barrier. So if the water does come up through the ground, it won't bring the silt with it. Silt will destabilize the house foundation. Remember, the wise man build his house upon the rock, and the foolish man built his house upon the sand. The clever man (myself) brought his own rock because all the other rocks have houses on them already. The basement will be almost 8' tall when done. It's late July in this picture.

Catching Up

This is how it all started. 0.3 arces of this green earth that belongs to me. As you can see by the picture, the water table is pretty high (see the dark soil saturated by water). The guy in the hole is about 6 inches above ground water, meaning if he dug a small hole, it would fill up with water. Because we were digging in Spring, the water table was at its highest, 4.5' from top back of curb. Our excavator did us a favor and piled a pile of dirt against that fence you see in the background and then the city of Lehi gave me a friendly phone call about breaking my neighbor's fence. My bro and I spent four hours in the middle of the night shoveling the dirt away from the fence.