blogging our home building process

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Building Blocks

Monday was an off day for me as Cristi and I went to Emory University in Atlanta for my 6th month appointment for the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research study I participate in.  It was a good day to get away and have a break from all of the house stuff.

I woke up Tuesday with a sore throat and not feeling well at all.  I stayed home sick while Ron was able to get 3 courses of block down. 

Wednesday was a bit better as I was feeling good enough to get back out on the house site.  AT&T hooked up the DSL line and I tested the WIFI router we got off eBay.  Now, we can check email on our breaks and I will be able to order materials from Lowe's and Home Depot and have the orders waiting for me when I go to pick them up.  Ron continued to lay block by himself as I was still not feeling great.  I did a few errands including running to Home Depot to grab some poly to cover all the concrete blocks as rain was in the forecast again. :(   I did see a turkey in the subdivision on my way out.

Also, we moved the port-a-potty down by the electric pole so I would have a spot out of the rain to install the wireless modem for our internet.  Yes, I installed a WIFI modem in the port-a-potty! :)  Otherwise, I would of had to build a house for the modem as it needed a shelter from all of this rain and I would have to unplug it every day.  Genius!!!

Thursday was a beautiful day - 42 degrees and the deer were out and about.  I got a burn permit from the U.S Forest Service and spent 6 hours nursing one of our huge tree piles until there was nothing left but ashes.  Ron started laying the blocks for the garage today and I feel bad that I haven't been able to help much with anything.

fire, fire!

Cristi came out to help on Friday since it was her Friday off from work.  She and I cut more of the nasty vines and briars in front of the house and burned 2 large piles of brush for about 7 hours. We were planning to work until dark but the rain started in about 5 pm.  Ron laid more block today and rebar was cut into the 4th course of block along the entire perimeter to strengthen the wall.  

a before pic - this is how it looks with vines and brush everywhere

the after pic - much clearer!

The weekend brought rain on and off and I'm really not sure how much work got done as I was laid up both days in pain and unable to walk.  Cristi and I spent 4 hours in the ER Saturday for a nasty gout attack in my toe and knee that set in late Friday night.  (Gout is common in people with PKD.)  I'm able to limp around today and hoping this next week will be better and bring pain free days so I can help out more on the house.  We expect to be laying block for another 15 days so the next few blogs may not be that exciting.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Concrete Crazy

The week started off on a good note.  We passed the footer inspection from the county and the inspector said it was the best work he'd ever seen!  (And, I didn't have to wear a Nascar shirt or talk tracksmack!)  We were finally ready to pour the footers.  We had decided to use a pump truck to pump the concrete into the footers because the ground was so wet from last week's rain and we thought for sure the concrete trucks would get stuck. 

Action Concrete Pumping brought out a pump truck with a 120 ft. boom to pump the concrete into the footers.  (For construction illiterate folk like Cristi, a boom is like a long arm with a nozzle at the end that dumps the concrete.)  Once the footers were poured, we had to let them sit overnight so the form boards could come off Tuesday morning.  The survey was also done Monday for the house spotting. The house spotting doesn't have much purpose other than to let the bank know we are building on the right property.  Why every bank does this AFTER thousands of dollars have been spent  on excavation/foundation instead of doing it before breaking ground is something I'll never understand.

Tuesday, our prayers must have worked because the only rain we got was a light sprinkle and it didn't last long.  Acme Block and Brick delivered 1700 block and 5 tons of sand whilst Lowe's delivered plumbing supplies and a pallet of quikcrete.  Christmas Lumber delivered rebar and Rogers Group delivered 70 ton of rock which is 140,000 lbs!!!

Wednesday seemed more like Monday as I made 4 trips to Lowe's. Thank goodness Ron and Jeremy were here to work or nothing would have gotten done today.  Ron plumbed in the basement bathroom.  The skreet boards were put in place to get the basement ready to pour concrete and we moved 23 tons of rock by hand into the basement.  Hard manual work and it wasn't the best thing for my shoulder as it has been hurting for over a week and I haven't had time to see the doctor.

Thursday, we got smart and called the excavator to use the bobcat for moving the remaining 47 tons of rock into the basement. (WHY didn't we think of that earlier?)  Once the rock was in the basement, we leveled it and installed the foam insulation boards.  Then, we installed the vapor barrier and put down the wire mesh.  We also passed the basement plumbing inspection and slab inspection so we were ready to pour the basement slab on Friday.

Come Friday morning, Murphy was in the house.  Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  The pump truck and concrete truck were supposed to arrive at 8 am so we could put the concrete in the basement but the pump truck broke down less than a mile from the construction site.  It took over an hour to get a new truck from Knoxville out to our site.  And, because of the wait, we were charged a sit time for the concrete truck.  (cha ching!)  Once the new truck arrived, we finally started pumping concrete!!

Then, we quickly found out that the correct yardage (of concrete) that we ordered was not on the concrete trucks - we were shorted concrete so we had to order 4 more yards of concrete which meant we needed another truck ... cha ching!  The power trowel, which is used to finish and give a polished look to the concrete, had bent blades so the rental company had to bring out new blades and install them.  Then, I had to leave to go to a doctor appointment for my shoulder only to find that I tore the outside of my rotor cuff.  Upon returning to the site, there was some good news, Ron and Jeremy had finished the slab and I could go home!  But, Murphy got one final jab in when he topped off the day with a nail in my tire...cha ching!

Saturday, we cleaned up the site, took the skreet boards off and got ready to set the first course of block.  Jeremy had to return to FL, so Ron and I will be working alone for the next 2 weeks laying block.  If you have any free time on your hands and want to help out, we'll be more than happy to keep you busy.  (oh, and don't think you'll be getting paid, we are running low on the cha ching this week!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Start the Pumps!

Well, the rain continued this week but the clock is ticking and we had to work around it.  Monday started with a load of footer material getting delivered from Christmas Lumber and their Moffett getting stuck destroying the driveway.  The rain really put a damper on the day's work.  If I hadn't been to the rodeo a hundred times before, I would be pretty discouraged but the show must go on.  The day continued and I drove to Tellico Lumber to pick up rough cut 1x4's and 2x6's.  When I got back, Derrick from Headrick Excavating was cleaning out the basement cave in (from the previous week's rains) and fixing the driveway.  I proceeded to drain the footer holes once again.

covered footer material

My buddy, Ron and his brother (Jeremy) ended up getting a later start out of Florida than planned.  The tires on the RV had a blowout on the way to Tennessee so they had to turn it back around.  It wasn't a great start to the week for anybody.

25 tons of rock was delivered Tuesday to cover the basement and I continued to pump out water.  (Only for it to rain, yet again on Wednesday...)

holding the level to make sure the rock was evenly distributed

no, it's not a lake but our basement

By Thursday, the rain was on its way out of town and Ron and Jeremy had safely arrived.  The house site looked worse than ever.  We started the pumps and spent 3 hours draining the basement.  The grade stakes (which marks the footer level height) went in the ground and the 2' wide footer forms were finally started.
 By Friday, we'd finished laying out the footer forms.  Cristi and I picked up an 85 gallon steel barrel (for burning) from one of her coworkers and also two 40 gallon barrels for trash/recycling.
work has begun!


Ron and Jeremy made great progress and were laying rebar by Saturday and we got our first termite treatment from Mar Von.  Cristi and I spent most of Saturday clearing the tarzan vines on the property and playing hosts to lonestar ticks.  No, that isn't a new country band, but actual ticks.  I only had two of the little critters, but Cristi had 5.

termite treatment
if you look close, that is Cristi clearing brush and tarzan vines

The footers are completely formed now and we awaiting the footer inspections tomorrow.  And, praying the 70% chance of rain on Tuesday is just a joke.

garage footer



Monday, March 7, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Tornadic weather and torrential rains slowed progress down somewhat this week.  We had a little more than 2 inches of rain Monday.

This was taken after 2" rain fell and prior to the 3 inches of rain that fell yesterday.

We did have a section of the front wall of the basement fall in from all of the rain but the excavator will be back out on Monday to fix it.  Jason drained the rear footer hole which had 12" of water in it and also drained 3' of water from the septic tank.

Front basement wall collapse

We had our first electrical inspection and passed!  It's a good thing I have taught Jason a thing or two about Nascar which should help him relate better with the inspectors here. :)  I may have to go a step further and buy him a Trevor Bayne shirt. :)  We did get the transformer installed from the power company and now the temporary power pole Jason built has a shiny new meter in it.  Jason also chainsawed and cleared the 100' x 30' leach field for the septic.

temporary power pole

We also placed our order with AT&T for DSL (never know when you are going to get a break to watch some Netflix while working).  This sounds simple, but hours and hours went into that AT&T order - we'll spare you the details!  Speaking of hours and hours - Jason has spent countless hours and phone calls to vendors planning and comparison shopping so that we get the best deals.  There is a lot of paperwork, phone calls and planning that takes an immense amount of time 'behind the scenes' but isn't really exciting enough to blog about!

Material and supply orders were placed with Christmas Lumber, LowesHome Depot and Ace Hardware. All four place have been a huge help and Lowes has just gone above and beyond.  We were in Lowes last night and the manager took $30 off a wheelbarrow without us even asking because we've been such a fixture in their store lately.  The great people at Lowes truly want us to succeed with our building. (And no, they aren't paying us to say that!)

Yesterday, we had almost 3 more inches of rain...having a lake at Deeradise wasn't in the plans.  Hopefully, we can get things dried out enough to get started on the footers this week. Our construction help should be pulling in Monday night; none of this would be possible without Jason's buddy, Ron (from Spring Hill, FL), who is making huge sacrifices to help us out here in Tennessee. 

Lastly, we have a question for you, our readers.  We are needing to order windows end of this week and we are debating on color.  What color of windows would you order?  Remember this is a cabin so it will be stained - we aren't sure yet if it will be a light or dark stain, so we need windows to work for either case.
  1. Vinyl windows in white
  2. Vinyl windows in almond
  3. Chestnut bronze in aluminum clad (aluminum clad is vinyl on the outside and wood on the inside)
  4. _______ color in aluminum clad
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