Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Floor Joist Week

The first order of business this week was to remove the upper portion of the first three trusses of the garage so that we could set up the TGI's (engineered floor joists) on the beams.  Here Brendan is cutting thru the end gable truss after we had just completed removing all the shingles... hence the shadows from the roof strapping on the wall.

With the siding removed off the end gable and all the strapping taken off that section, we are ready to take off the end gable.

With a rope attached at the top of the gable, Brendan lowered it slowly and I was in position to receive it and take it away to separate the plywood from the 2 x 4's.  It came down perfectly!

Taking down the tops of the other trusses was pretty easy once they were cut off... Brendan just passed them down to me.  We then had to temporarily support those few trusses with 2 x 4's from the garage floor until we had some floor joists to attach them to.

After putting up the heavy LVL beams, these TGI's were light and much easier to handle... however, every one had to be cut to the right length first.

From the cutting table we lifted one end on to the beam...

I would then push the TGI just over half way so it would teeter into Brendan's hands.

And he would walk it up the ladder and set in place on the beam.

With an air nailer it made spiking the TGI's in place pretty easy and quick to secure.

At the mid point we had to assemble a 5-ply beam, which we used the tractor to carry these heavy LVL's (Laminated Veneer Lumber) to it's final resting place.

With a chain we kept the LVL attached to tractor bucket extension and Brendan walked beside it balancing it.

The tractor took the hard lifting out of this job.  Brendan just had to balance it into place as I drove forward putting the beam over the other beam.  We got to do this 5 times here... as this is the heaviest beam here.  With five ply's this one ends up 8.75 inches wide by 16 inches high and about 33 feet long.

On the other end the tractor lifts the beam close and Brendan takes up the final bit into place.

There is no doubt that the little tractor really helped to reduce the lifting we would have had to do.  It actually made setting up these beams fun!

This was a little sketch I did to figure out the bolt layout for this five-ply beam.  In addition to nailing each ply together with four rows of nails a foot apart... we also needed 5/8" bolts every 16 inches to secure these layers to make one very solid beam.  By determining the layout for the blots we could then nail with confidence knowing we wouldn't be hitting a nail when drilling holes for the bolts.  This helped me determine we needed to buy 24 10-inch 5/8" bolts with 24 nuts and 48 heavy washers.

It sure felt good to have most of the TGI's in place and this heavy beam in place... with the trim boards in place.  We left this centre beam un-trimmed for now... as this will carry a canopy roof that connects to the new master bedroom closet.  At this time I don't know exactly how that roof is going to come together.  There are a few possibilities of how much soffit it will have and how this will work best.

Shirley took this shot from her "Sunken Jungle."  It was a good week.

We still have the TGI's to put over the pantry and closet... but before we can do that we have some walls to build there as well as tear off the old eaves of the house in those areas.  With all the rain in the forecast we have left those eaves in tact as long as possible.

We pulled our car into it's future parking place on Saturday... where I took this photo of Shirley as we were heading out to an evening fund raiser for Pat Hennebery, the father of Brendan, who is suffering with Parkinson's Disease.   It won't be too hard to get used to this luxury.

Once again all the photos in this blog except this last one were taken by Shirley... who only charges me $1,000 for each one I use.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Concrete Completed and Now Framing Starts

The delivery of truss joists and LVL beams took about 8 trips... and this was the first load.  The driver brought a small load so he could check out the route... he did not want to take out any low hanging telephone or power lines coming up the hill and he wanted to see where he had to bring the load.

There were 19 LVL beams... some up to 36 feet long! ...and we just piled them up along the side of the driveway, using the tractor to help to push them into place.

We moved the truss joists off the truck onto the tractor...

and stacked them on the gravel yard by the greenhouse.  The whole delivery process happened over four days and involved a lot of hand work.  There is still 27 more roof truss joists to come... and I think Atlas Truss will be having Home Hardware pick them up in Vancouver and bring to me directly.

This concrete slab will be under the stairs to the studio... and will be the floor of our new recycle department.  At last this is the end of the concrete work!  Hip, hip hooray!

New lumber!  Nice clean 2 x 10's!  I had to move a water service out of the corner and pull out the PVC storm water collection pipe.

 Shirley is excited to see the floor joists for her new closet. 

This is a close-up of the Simpson tie down of a 3-ply 2 x 6 post, which will carry one end of the longest 36-foot beam.

On Wednesday we went to Victoria and instead of bringing back the usual load of gravel from Trio, we picked up a lift of 3/4" T & G Fir floor plywood.  I was amazed at how the they used two fork lifts to get this heavy load on to my pickup in less than a minute.  One brought the lift of plywood over to the back of the truck... the second one (in photo above) came and then picked it up by the end so the other fork lift could back away so he could slide the load into the back of truck.  Very slick.

Once at home it was a little more work to take it off one sheet at a time.  Here Shirley, who helped with every sheet, poses as if she did the whole thing herself!

This is the pantry... the floor joists are 3" x 8" fir... left over from Jack's house next door.  What a solid floor this is.  I connected the dryer vent before screwing down the 3/4" T & G sub-floor.

Friday was the first day that Brendan Henneberry came to work with me... so we started by setting up the long beams.  Using the tractor we dragged the beam close to where we needed it and then balancing the beam on the bucket extension lifted it as high as possible.

Brendan is getting ready to lift his end over the rebar into place on top of the column.

Each major beam is made up of three ply's of LVL... each one 1-3/4" x 16" by either 34 or 36 feet.  With each layer we added we refined our process so we could use the tractor more and have to do less heavy lifting ourselves.

On the second major beam I screwed a few boards to the end of the bucket extension that gave us a little more lift.  Once we were done we had our technique perfected.

Once the major beams were up we spent the rest of the afternoon taking down eavestrough and facia boards.  In order to put the new floor joists into the garage section, we have about six feet of trusses, roofing, etc. to remove... so we will be in the destruction business for a little while.

We also started to remove the eavestrough, facia and soffits on the house.  By this time next week we hope to have the main floor deck completed... floor joists and plywood in place.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How do you like my self-portrait shadow?  Sometimes we see photos in places we least expect to see them... and at times you could never duplicate again.  Shirley says this is a "selfie."

You can see tire treads in the shadow from a huge crane truck that came to deliver our truss joists and beams.

And when I saw this huge truck and trailer that was 65 feet long at the front gate, I knew that there was no way he could get anywhere close to the construction site.  I took Sean, the driver for a walk up the driveway to our house and he just shook his head.  They should never have sent the load on a truck of his size.  He also had a pallet of trusses for a job near Langford... and neither of us got our product delivered on Friday.

I called Home Hardware here on Mayne Island and asked if they might be able to help us with a smaller delivery truck.  Yes they could... but their truck was out doing deliveries right at the moment.  They were not sure when it would be back.

In the meantime I helped Sean back his truck and trailer off Heck Hill... which took the better part of an hour.  It was so good to get that rig back on level ground at the bottom.  As we waited and time kept slipping away, an anxious truck driver kept telling me that he had to be on the 5 pm ferry home.

So I called Home Hardware again and Rob suggested we unload the product in their yard and they would bring it up next week.  Sean jumped all over it... and I headed home for a late, late lunch.

Now for the weekly construction update.

Foundation 1 is totally complete, including the repair of the garage floor and parging on the column.  Notice that last week we had 18 bags of cement on the floor here... today there are less than two.

Columns 2 and 4 are completed and backfilled... ready for the beams.  I used a weaker cement mix in the dirt to backfill #4 in an extra wet mix and it really tightened up around the foundation... almost as good as concrete and perfect for backfilling.  I will be inlaying rock and mortar to finish up to the pavement level... but this won't happen until after the framing is completed and I can do this kind of thing on a rainy day then.

Column 3 is also totally completed and I before I added the top half I cut in a 1/4" drip irrigation line to 18" above grade so if Shirley puts a flower pot beside the post it will have drip irrigation on a time zone.  Then I parged both columns 3 and 4 on the bottom for a cleaner look.

Foundation 5 is done ready for floor joists and walls.  I cleaned up the bottom of this crawl space with gravel and levelled it so if we ever have to work there after it will be cleaner.  Note the Simpson bracket attached to the anchor bolt on the left... it will attach to a 3-ply 2x6 post in the wall which will carry one end of a 36-foot LVL beam that is 5-1/4 x 16 inches.

See how nice the concrete conforms to the paved driveway?  Pretty nice, eh?  The 2x6 sole plate is tight to the inside of the foundation allowing 2-1/2 inches ledge for rock facing on the closet walls.

This week I finished the concrete footing and foundation for #6... the stairs with room under for recycle.  Sunday we plan to pour the floor in this area... and we will then retire the cement mixer for a while and go full throttle into framing.  The concrete work will be all done!

Foundation #7... the pantry, is also ready for joists, floor and walls.  I also brought a bit of gravel with the tractor and backfilled the lowest part of this crawl space to clean it up and level things a bit.

I also added two more anchor bolts on Friday.  The engineer was here again on Thursday and caught an oversight I made.  I failed to see that one section of the wall closest to the entrance needed to have anchor bolts on 16 inch centre... not 32 inches like all the rest.  So Shirley picked up a couple of wedge anchors in Victoria on Thursday afternoon and I drilled into the concrete and pounded them in... then tightened the nut.  Works great!

Shirley posted several photos of the work in progress during the week.  Check out her blog... click here.

Nest week you will see lots of wood and a few beams set in place.  Hopefully we can make some serious progress.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Construction Update September 2, 2011

As I was putting my tools away the sunset on Friday evening begged me to grab my camera and capture this moment.  It has been a really good week with lots of progress on the project.

The black hole in the garage wall is a hole I cut earlier in the week at the exact spot where the major beam goes into the workshop.  I then ran a string at the correct height between the garage and house and squared the new building at approximately 92 inches above garage floor... which is where the bottom of the main beam will rest.  I had to trim off a few rebars that were too high so the beam can set on the top of the concrete.  When I squared the building I was able to confirm that the distance between the beams was 22'  8" outside to outside in the main area where there is no cantilever sections.  This gave me great comfort, as I had ordered the LVL laminated beams and truss joists... and for the most part they are going to come 23 feet... and I can then trim them to fit.

When we first conceived expanding the studio over a part of the garage, we thought we would have metal or a wooden posts to hold everything up.  But after talking to engineers about the project, Brian, my friend in Phoenix suggested I consider a concrete post with rebar inside.  As this soon became the most advantageous system we forged ahead with it.  But when I went to put the rebar cage into the hole I first realized that there was less than 8 inches between the overhead door tracks on each side of the common wall.  Once I removed a section of the wall it became very clear that I could not run an 18" or even a 13" concrete post between those overhead door tracks.  So in consultation with Ritchie Smith, my engineer, we came up with a modification at the top.  It meant bending the 5/8" rebars near to the top and making a notch in the post for the door tracks.  These are things that come up that one never imagined would be a problem.  Hence, I am making the concrete post a full 18" of concrete up to the bottom of the overhead door tracks.  The whole place may fall down, but this post is huge and has a great foundation.

Friday Shirley made a gravel run for me... and I hope that will finish off the concrete stage.  Along with the Navy Jack she brought another six bags of cement... which brings our total to date to 50 bags, if I use all that I have recently purchased.  So far 32 bags have been used.

If you look closely behind the bags of cement there is the 18" x 18" form for column #1 in the garage.  We poured the bottom half, up to the cleat on the form this past Tuesday... and today I added the top half without stripping off the bottom... and we will put concrete in the balance on Sunday.  It will not be easy to get this one done since I have to work between the existing trusses in the garage.

You can see column #2 in the background.  We also poured concrete up to 6" above grade on Tuesday.  This is the rock ledge height for this column.  From here to the top the concrete will be 13" square, leaving me 2.5" for rock facing.

We also poured the bottom part of the column #4 on Tuesday, which matches #3 for height to rock ledge.

On Thursday when I was excavating for #6 (the stair foundation) I dumped three loads of dirt removed from there into #2.  I then had Shirley come with a garden hose and I brought several loads of fill dirt that I had stock piled and we completely backfilled #2.  I doubt there will be much settling as Shirley really soaked it good and I threw in lots of rocks.  Does it ever feel good to have that huge excavation backfilled... and we even dressed the top with crusher chips... my favourite road and yard gravel topping.

Again you can see a yellow string at the top of the columns... this is part of the squaring the building exercise.  The laser level on the tripod makes finding the correct height of the column pretty easy

It won't take much to backfill #4 on Sunday.  We developed a good solution to prevent settling of the driveway, which has some serious undercuts to fill in.  We found using between 1 to 1.5 shovels of cement to 15 shovels of dirt and rock makes a very solid backfill... with no shrinkage.  It worked really good on #3 the week before.

No. 3 was about 40 inches of backfill and using the reduced cement formula in a soupy mix not only filled in all the cavities, but there has been no noticeable shrinkage.

The nice pile of gravel in the background will go into foundation #5 and #6... plus the tops of the columns... and then we are done with concrete.

I finished forming the walls of the foundation in #6 this week and by Sunday evening I hope this will have concrete in it.  The cross bracing looks kind of honky... but with only one side formed with plywood and the other side dirt walls, I had to come up with some way to keep the walls straight under the pressure of concrete.

Foundation #6 is for the stairs and the wall adjacent to the house that will support the second story walls and roof rafters.

I removed a few more boards of siding in two places this week... where 3" x 8" posts will go to carry the wall and roof load.

Each rebar that attached to existing house has epoxy in the hole.  Two horizontal footing bars... and two vertical foundation bars.

I took half a dozen photos of this footing and foundation preparations and emailed them to my engineer... hoping to hear back with a green light so I can pour concrete footing here this weekend.  My concrete mixing helper goes back to school after the weekend.

The last one... #7 foundation for the pantry came out really good.  My careful cutting of plywood to follow the contours of the pavement payed off.  My home made anchor blots worked out just fine.  I am now ready to set up the floor joists... but I still await another quote so that I can decide who will be supplying the lumber and plywood.

This coming week on September 8 we are scheduled to get delivery of the beams and TGI's.  It will be interesting to see if they can be delivered on schedule. Soon or very soon we will be done with concrete and on to bigger and better things... but without a good foundation the rest would be in vain.

I enjoy telling people that this house was built according to the Bible... it has been built on the solid rock!  ...and we have cut no corners on the excavation, concrete or steel.  So we expect that our new addition is designed to withstand the high winds, heavy snow load and even earthquakes, if they should happen.  Fortunately we do not get hurricanes here... even though some days it sure feels like it!

But I did talk to a lady at the stock brokers office this week who said her name was Irene.  I jokingly asked her if she got much abuse because of the hurricane last weekend... and she said she sure did... it comes with the territory.