Sunday, August 26, 2012

Owner Building a Home - Week 14 - Electrical, Front Porch, and More

This week we reached the date August 22 - significant because that means we have been at this house building thing for exactly 3 months.  The excavator came to dig the basement on May 22 and the whirlwind that has happened since is still slightly unbelievable.  I am not sure if I should think 3 months is forever or if 3 months is hardly any time at all.  I know that some people can build entire houses in 3 months but we are not your ordinary people and this house is no ordinary house.  Whatever the case, I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished and would say we are nearing the half-way done point.

This week we finally started on the electrical work.  In order for the electricians to know where to place all the lights, we had to mark everything out on the floors.  It is the easiest way to find the centers of the room or to mark the bulkhead locations or to decide on the spacing of the recessed lighting.  Once everything is marked out on the floor, you use a laser level, put the little red dot on your mark and it shoots another laser straight up to the ceiling.  Voila!  You know exactly where to place your lights.  It works so wonderfully!  I had a lot of fun marking out the coffered ceiling for the living room.  Inspired by a photo I saw, it has only been a vision in my head so it is fun to take it one step closer to reality.  While I was marking out that ceiling, AJ and Ari were busy playing Little People all around me.  Most construction sites have to move building supplies around - I move toys.  But I love it!  I am so glad to have them on site with me, helping me when they can and playing when they can't. 

Once we marked out most everything, up went all the octagon boxes for the lights, the recessed lighting and the many boxes for outlets.  I made sure there were plenty of outlets to be had in each room.  The electricians have been running wire throughout the second floor and are close to having that completely wired.  They still need to connect the GFI outlets in the bathrooms and the HRV but that shouldn't take too long.  The electrician also came to install the meter box on the outside of the house and the panel down in the basement.  Once more of the wiring is completed, we will let the hydro company know they can come and connect the power to the house.  Until then, we will continue to work from extension cords running from the storage trailer.

While the electrical work was happening in the house, Jay was busy creating our front porch!  He made a beam to run across the piers that were drilled some time ago.  On top of those beams he placed many joists.  Once they were all plumb and square and cut to the correct length he placed plywood on top.  He reused the plywood from the forms used for the concrete in the garage.  The plywood on the deck is temporary but allows us a place to stand and keeps us from wrecking the actual decking material.  It has been fun for the kids as well since they now play "drive-thru" - someone stands in the school room and some one stands on the front deck and they pass things through the window.  (All the screens have been removed from the windows to keep them from getting wrecked)  Keeps them amused for quite some time.

Late last week we discovered 2 windows were not centered.  The upstairs bedroom closest to the garage and the dining room window just below it are both not where they should be.  The fix is quite easy given the fact that no drywall or siding is up yet.  But it sure made Mr.W think a lot about how it happened.  I am not sure he knows what went wrong but they already moved the bedroom window to its proper place and will move the dining room window this week.

The guys also continued to install the strapping that is on the inside of the house. Let me explain why we are strapping the house.  There are a few different ways to add insulation value to your house.  One common method is the add 1"-2" rigid Styrofoam to the outside of the house.  The challenge with that method comes when you want to install fiber cement siding.  How do you attach the siding to the Styrofoam and insure it doesn't fall off.  When talking to another gentleman, he suggested a better alternative.  Rather than adding insulation on the outside of the house, we are adding 2x4 strapping to the insides of the walls, running horizontally across the studs and the poly, 16" on center from the floor up to the ceiling.  So now we have fully insulated 2x6 walls plus we have an air chamber created by the strapping between the drywall and the exterior studs.  This adds certain insulating value.  Plus, since we have added the strapping, we do not cut into the poly to add your electrical boxes.  Those boxes are all placed on the strapping, never compromising that outer insulating layer.  It makes all your rooms slightly smaller as you are taking off 1 1/2" of space on the exterior walls but hopefully the extra effort is all worth it with a cozier home.  There are only a few pieces of strapping left to install.

Plumbing and heating work continued this week and it is almost complete.   Now that most of the duct work is in place, it is easier for us to figure out the bulkheads we have to make to hide it all.  After talking with Mr.W, who is incredibly creative, we have a plan to make the bulkheads look like they were always a part of the plan.  The plumbing work that was roughed-in to the gravel in the basement was covered by 2 boys that need creative discipline.  They seemed to expend all their energy shovelling which left none to hurt each other so obviously the plan worked!  :)

Work at the house itself takes up most of the time but we still have to co-ordinate all the other things that need to happen to make sure we stay on schedule.  That requires many phone calls and emails.  We have ordered our fireplace this week and arranged for an install time, we arranged for the spray foam insulator to come at the beginning of September, drywall is scheduled for just after the spray foam insulation, and our kitchen cabinets are scheduled to arrive this next Friday.  It takes quite a bit of time to do all those things but sometimes they seem less important than actually working on the house.  I keep reminding Jay that even though there is nothing to be seen for that time, if we want to keep things running smoothly, we need to keep on top of the scheduling.

Though he still has many other jobs he runs to throughout the week, it is so good to have Mr.W around most of the time.  I feel that our progress is greater when he is close at hand but he is also super encouraging.  Last week's feelings of discouragement are behind us (for now) and Jay and I enjoyed working and moving forward this week.

1 comment:

  1. Just discovered your blog, we are doing the exact same thing, building our own home, although, we've now been doing it a full year! lol. it's not for the faint of heart. Can't wait for more posts, just became a follower!

    Jan @Door251


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