Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Framing: Day 5

The great room addition is taking shape! On Tuesday, the crew added sheathing to the south, west, and north walls, making it much easier for me to understand the room's final size.
 View of West and South Walls
 Looking at the North Wall
The crew has also added two beams inside the existing dining room to serve as headers once the west and north walls are removed.  This has caused small gaps to occur at the base of each wall which in turn makes Scott worry about skyrocketing air conditioning bills.  He is spending his evening adding sheets of rigid insulation to the compromised walls which will keep the heat and humidity outdoors where they belong.  The big beam at the top left will support the new hallway to the master suite.
Our good patio set is Tux's new hangout.  He loves lounging on the table top and, of course, on the cushioned chairs.  At least someone is making use of it!  It's far to warm outdoors for me to do much lounging.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Framing: Day 4

The framing crew was back at work by 7 o'clock Monday morning. The most noticeable effort may be the newly-placed north & west walls of the great room.  They also came inside the house to place a beam on the west wall of the existing dining room which will hold up the second floor after the wall gets torn out to create an opening between the new kitchen and great room.
Scott begins his Monday evening tour in the garage.

North Wall of the Great Room
Scott stands next to two window openings (at left and right).  The double hung windows will be 77 inches tall with lower sills for Leo to enjoy.  The space at the far right in the photo is the opening for the fireplace.

Meanwhile...noTTafarm's kitties are hard at work!
Bibbers and Tux had Leo cornered under the bush.  So far, they seem to be surviving life outdoors with all of the construction (not to mention the heat and drought.)

Mama and Babies
The trio was out and about this evening. Such a pretty sight!

Sneaky Scott
One framing crew's trash is another man's treasure!  Scott enjoys rounding up pieces of otherwise-to-be-wasted beams.  He is squirreling things away in the barn for future projects.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Framing Progress

While I went to work away on Friday and slaved away in front of my computer screen, Scott took a day of vacation to work on the bathroom tile. (Yes, that bathroom.  No, it's still not done but it is getting closer to being done.) Anyway . . . he had a first hand look at the framing process and took some great photos to share.
The south wall of the great room was the first to be assembled.  
The framers laid the studs out on the floor, nailed the pieces together, then prepared to tilt it up into place.
The "lift" lived up to its name and "lifted" the wall into place.
Once the crew liked its position, they attached the bottom plate of the wall to the floor and nailed in temporary supports on the corners.  
A view from the north.
The peak of the new wall is about 19 feet tall.  The large opening will house two patio doors which will give us a 6-foot clear opening to a new patio to the south.
A view from the south.
Side note:  part of that brown yard is dirt and the other part is dead grass.  What hasn't been destroyed by heavy truck traffic has taken a beating from the drought and high temps.  We're hurting for rain at noTTafarm!

Also on Friday, the crew added a wall on the north side of the connector hallway and constructed (but didn't tilt yet) the west wall of the garage.  We should have more photos to share after Monday's work day!
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Foundation Done. . .Now Framing Begins!

With the foundation walls poured and newly waterproofed, it was time to move on to framing.  I am excited about this portion of the project because it will help me better visualize what the finished addition will look like.  I have a hard time thinking in 3D - unlike Scott who does that for a living.  

On Monday, Jarek came back with his Bobcat to back fill the foundation.  He worked until well after dark to get the job done (good thing his Bobcat has headlights!)  The giant mountain of dirt has been reduced by about 3/4.   
Jarek back fills the garage.

On Tuesday, all of the supplies needed for the framing, except for the great room roof trusses and insulated sheathing, were delivered and stacked south of the corn crib.  It looked and smelled like a lumber yard! 
Stacked and Ready to Go! 

Paralam beams
These extra large beams will support the joist and wall framing at major openings.

Lull Lift
Heavy loads of lumber can be moved and lifted as needed by the contractor.

Engineered lumber allows a 24-foot wide clear span of the basement to create the floor of the great room, leaving the basement free of columns. By the end of Wednesday, most of these joists were in place.

Lull Lift in Action
A nice stack of 3/4" thick 4'x8' sub-floor sheets was quickly transformed into the great room floor. By Thursday evening, the floor was glued and screwed down, and the crew had begun assembling portions of the walls which will be tilted up into place on Friday.  
Stay Tuned for More Framing Details!

This Just In . . .

. . . the Great Room Floor!
Scott went home for lunch today (Thursday, July 26) and emailed this photo to me.  The framing contractor began their portion of the work yesterday, and have already gotten the sub-floor of the new great room in place!  I'll post a more complete story about this progress this evening. Until then, have a great day and pray for rain!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Heatwave Didn't Stop Progress

How many improvements can you spot in this photo taken July 20th?
1.)  The crew started installing the concrete block to encase the 1920 foundation.  The original house has never been more sturdy!

2.)  The waterproofing process began with a coating of black "tar" and ended with the installation of panels which will draw water down into a drainage system.

3.)  The new electrical meter socket is ready for power hook-up.  That gray box in the center of the photo will be the new terminus for the power; the old pole can now be removed!

Stay Tuned for Another Week of Progress!

Baby Deer "Spotted" at noTTafarm

Saturday morning we had a special treat.  Our two little fawns and their mommy came out of the west woods  for breakfast under the walnut tree.  I managed to get one decent shot from the second floor window (through the glass and screen so as not to disturb them.)
So Cute!

Garage Buddy

While Scott and I enjoyed our lunch in the nook, a groundhog (aka marmot) explored the new garage.  He seemed a bit perplexed by the Mars-like landscape but scampered away without too much drama.
"Fancy Focus" Photo
"Cropped Closer" Photo

You just never know what you'll see at noTTafarm!

Christmas in July (?)

Sunday morning, before the temperature climbed to today's high of 103 degrees, Scott quickly dispatched two trees in the west yard.  One tree was the victim of pine wilt disease; the other (a spruce) was irreparably damaged by the falling locust on Lumberjack Day.  The area west of the addition needs to be graded so that it has better drainage...so it was time.
The two new stumps add a sad accent to the desolate landscape.

One good thing about chopping down the trees: 
 Scott got the Ranger out to pull two large chunks of the pine to the milling pile.  He'll have some decent pine lumber to play with!
The second good thing about chopping down the trees:
The top of the dying Ponderosa pine was still in Christmas Card condition.  Since framing of the new addition is to begin this week, we are going to keep this piece to use in the traditional "topping out" ceremony.  We'll place the tree on top the new roof structure to symbolize growth and bring luck to the rest of our project.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

The Trick to Picking Bricks

Saturday morning, Scott and I took a trip to Millard to the Nebraska Brick showroom.  It was time to select brick for the new east "courtyard" wall and for the great room fireplace.  Who would think that so many different colors and textures of brick exist in the world? The brick of noTTafarm's existing 1972 fireplace isn't exactly what we envision for the new elements but we respect that the new brick should compliment it (to quote What Not To Wear . . . "it doesn't need to "match"; it needs to "go".)  After about an hour of deliberation, we came home with three samples to analyze.
Typical of the 1970's aesthetic, the brown/orange brick of the existing fireplace was constructed with a dark-colored mortar.

The samples line up on the east wall of the poured foundation. 

Scott plans on incorporating his stock of Kasota limestone (the buff rock seen above) in both the wall and the fireplace.  The bricks on the left and far right are the same model but with different textures; it was decided that the tones are too dark.  We have tentatively decided on the brick in the center:  Northampton by Triangle Brick made in North Carolina.  It's a great mix of the colors in the existing fireplace, and will add just the right look for the great room.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Foundation Finale

The crew from Rock Solid completed the foundation walls just after lunchtime on Thursday, July 19.  Scott is very pleased with the results, and I am amazed at how hard some people work just to earn a paycheck.  The heat has been crazy here in Omaha but that didn't keep the crew from working full days to get the job done.  Here are some photos to fill you in on the action:
Wednesday Lunchtime:  I made it home in time to see the end of the concrete pumping which was really cool!  
The cement mixer loaded concrete into the big pumping truck...then the big boom delivered the concrete through a big tube.  The man in the bright green shirt at left controlled the concrete pumping via a remote control strapped to his belt - no easy feat considering our power line straddles the job site. (OPPD turned the power off during Wednesday morning to prevent mishap.)

Filling the Gap
One worker guides the concrete tube while the second followed behind, tamping the air bubbles. 

Concrete Work Can Be Hands On (or In!)

Smooth Finish

Needless to say, our "yard" is toast.  
All of this heavy equipment makes it look like we've really got something going on!

Thursday Morning Fog
The team arrived at 6AM to begin dismantling the wall forms.  

Before removing each side of the wall form, the concrete was scraped to prevent chunks of the wall breaking off with the form. 
Thursday Lunchtime
Scott took a few photos today as the crew finished loading the form sections.

Connector Basement
View from the east into the basement which will be under the hallway connecting the garage to the house.  The concrete floors will be poured after the framing begins (I don't know why...that's just what they tell me.)

The waterproofing of the foundation is scheduled for Friday...and framing begins next week!  Many more steps along the way but it's so great to have a firm foundation on which to build.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Foundation Update

The temperature today in Omaha was hot-hot-hot but that didn't stop the foundation contractor from putting in a 12 hour day!  They arrived before 7AM to try and finish setting up the concrete forms.  It now looks like they will spend Tuesday refining the forms' placement and then pour the concrete on Wednesday morning.

Here are some photos to show the progress!  (Thanks for writing the captions, Scott!)
 Another view from the southwest with the garage forms now in view.

Concrete's-eye view inside of the form, before it turns from liquid to solid. 
Then the forms can split to the next job.

 Wrap-around porch stoop, which will have a brick wall on top to transition the old into the new.

 View to the west near the transition from porch to garage on right.

 View looking southwest from between barn and corn crib

Looking northeast from west of the Great Room

Big Boom Truck!
Our poor yard has been taking a beating from the heavy equipment we've seen so far.  

Stay Tuned for More Updates!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rock Solid progress on the addition this week...

Kristin asked me to post about the progress on the footings and foundation walls this week. I'll try to make up for my lack of blogging skills with hard facts, statistics, and interseting technical snippets from my observations...yeah... OK, now on to the pictures...

After work on Wednesday, July 11.....View of footings below basement level which will support the connector walls between the existing house on left and the new garage to the right. A new stairway will go down to the new basement just to the left of the footing.

Over 30 cubic yards of pretty grey 4000 psi concrete were poured to create the 24" wide x 12" deep footings which will keep the new addition steady. The footings sit under the concrete walls of the basement and garage.

The new basement floor will be lower than the existing 1920 & 1972 basements, so part of the soil under the existing footings is now exposed prior to pouring the new reinforced concrete basement walls. New concrete walls will abut and permanently retain the exposed soil under the existing brick & block basement walls. Lucky for us, the house sits on Loess soil of very high bearing capacity. Loess has the ability to be cut vertically for short periods without slumping, as long as it stays dry. If it gets wet, it could lose its strong cohesion and crumble, and eventually turn back into very fine powder. We could not have asked for better weather this summer to dig a basement. Sorry, farmers:  please don't pray for rain until the walls are poured! Loess is actually bedrock that was scraped off and pulverized by glaciers during previous ice ages, the last of which was over 12,000 years ago. As the glaciers melted and receded back north, the fine powdery Loess was washed by massive floods into the river valley, and during dry periods, blown back out in huge dust storms which caused difts up to 300 feet deep on both sides of the river valley. The Loees hills are what makes noTTafarm such a great place to live, but we have to be careful because Loess is highly erodable once it is left exposed.

Looking east at the connector basement.

Friday morning, July 13.....The Rock Solid Poured Walls Co. truck gets ready to unload the aluminum forms

Boom truck sets down the first stack of forms

Looking southeast toward the northwest corner of the new Greatroom basement. The window well walls will go all of the way down below the basment floor level, even though the egress window sills will be at approximately 42" above the floor.

View looking southwest inside the Greatroom basment. I kind of like the way the foms look, maybe they'll let us keep them instead of using plain old boring painted drywall.

View of basement window opening. The wood will ceate a void in the formwork so the concrete will not fill in where the window opening needs to be. Beats cutting the concrete out later, obviously. Note how the inside of the forms have a brick texture which a lot of people prefer over smooth concrete (which is debatable.)

View from basement looking back up at existing house. Remaining forms & racks occupy much of the floor space for now.

Looking East

View down from the existing first floor dining room, soon to become the new kitchen.

The existing walls were covered by the contractor with plastic for protection, in case it rains..... not in the forecast for the next several days but I'll sleep better tonight.
Stay tuned for more progress....they're planning to set up the rest of the forms in the connector and garage areas on Monday and pour the walls on Tuesday ---Scott