Saturday, May 28, 2005

Progress With Some Pain

So much has happened in the last two weeks that it's hard to know where to begin. We have been working like absolute maniacs the past week, and last night was the first time all week that we've been home and clean before 10pm. The following is my attempt at a brief run down...

Our roof slab was poured following the steel placement. What a circus. The contractor from hell (CFH) proved himself yet again by showing up shorthanded by about four people, ordering a much-too-small pump truck, failing to supervise and coordinate his crackhead crew appropriately and instead wasting time and making a mess by attempting to learn how to finish concrete at my expense, almost killing the only experienced finisher on the job by nearly knocking him off the roof head first with a roll of rebar mesh, taking six hours to complete a two hour job, etc, etc.
Fortunately this was only a roof slab and not my finished floor, but the stress just about put me over the edge. There's just something wrong with me having to act as supervisor and quality control agent for people that claim to know what they're doing, particluarly when this was what the CFH (who, it quickly became apparent, knows absolutey ZERO about placing and finishing concrete) was supposedly getting paid for. It sure makes me thankful I've taken the time to educate myself and learned and paid attention, because I think I was the most knowledgable, experienced person on the job that day and it scares me to think how it would have gone if I hadn't stepped in and been the boss.

I really, really wanted to fire this CFH a while ago, but we were in a situation where he had been paid for work that had not been completed, so I held off until after the roof pour. The last straw started with his sub from hell (SFH) calling off the scheduled Wednesday floor slab pour two days before it was supposed to happen citing both the forecasted rain and that I told him we were cancelling (I didn't, and both excuses are ridiculous, since professionals never call off for rain until that morning). CFH failed to verify this with me, and instead took the sub's word for it, which I didn't find out until Tuesday afternoon when I called CFH to see what time he had scheduled concrete for. CFH, pretened all was well for Wednesday, but an hour later, SFH called me (presumably at CFH's direction) and said “you know, if you're pouring on Wednesday, I'm not going to be there, I have other plans”.

Fortunately, I was able to find another well-organized and competent sub the following day and scheduled the floor pour for Friday (yesterday). CFH was fired within the same hour in a rather comical conversation where he seemed shocked that my patience with his incompetence and complete lack of professionalism was at it's end. He just didn't get that he wasn't going to be doing any more concrete work for me, signed contract or no. Some people are just so frighteningly clueless.
Lesson learned: never violate your instincts and never, ever, hire a contractor who drives a crappy truck. Surprisingly, this seems to be a pretty good indicator of a “pro's” competence.

Our parapet was stacked and poured on Tuesday which marked the official completion of our ICF sub's work. We gave him his final check with thanks for a job well done and sent him home.

We were in a little bit of a daze the rest of the day feeling like parents who have just had their only child move out. It's a little scary,since the rest is now basically up to us.

Vern and I completed the sand prep and laid the vapor barrier, insulation, PEX tubing and rebar reinforcement for the lower level slab. This was a HUGE project that we spent pretty much every waking minute on for over a week, complicated by the fact that our truck broke down on the roof pour day from hell (as previously described) and limited our ability to transport the miles of PEX tubing that we've been storing in our garage and renting equipment and purchasing/moving additional supplies as we needed to.
We had planned on getting the whole project done over last weekend, but being truckless slowed us down so we didn't really wrap things up until mid week. On the good side of the recent concrete circus, the two day delay in pouring the floor gave us time to connect manifolds and pressure test the system, something we were unable to do with the upstairs.

Our “new” concrete sub showed up with a great crew and got the job done yesterday as promised. The only complication was a couple of the rainshowers that have been a Seattle-like daily occurance here this month (we've had only about three rain-free days the entire month). Since our roof is just a concrete slab at this point and not insulated or waterproofed, there are a few areas where water was able to leak in and onto the wet floor concrete...a bad, bad thing for finishing. Fortunately these areas are minor and mostly located where cabinetry or closets will conceal them. So we've conceeded a few areas of non-perfection on the floor but we're immensely relieved to have the slab done and will consider the added character a win given the natural and man-made events of late.

We have a floor and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Even though our role in the remaining construction is GIGANTIC, I expect it to be relatively pain free since the tradework will be done, with the exception of the rest of the plumbing rough-in, by my family members and us.

Our roof insulation was supposed to be delivered yesterday and didn't show. I'll expect it on Tuesday at which point roofing can commence. Our windows are also slated for delivery on Tuesday which should be interesting since I'm the only person that I know of that will be available to help unload them. Hopefully the truck driver will be accommodating!

Homeclick has made a bit of progress in righting their wrongs. My missing toilet tank showed up yesterday and the defective and used products have been shipped back with the promise of an exchange. I scored three cool faucets, two for our master bath and one for the guest bath, on Ebay. Since I won't be ready to install them for a while, I'll just have to hope they're going to work well. Despite the PEX tubing being out, our garage is quickly filling up with house parts. We hope to get a start on installing the glass block windows this weekend. So much for a relaxing Memorial Day.


Blogger inma said...

Hi, I would like to know about the composition of concrete what you have used on the floor.
And also, if it has given good results. If you have had fissures with the radiant floor.

Thanks in advance.


9:15 AM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Hello Inma
The floors are just standard interior flatwork mix with microfibers. The whole floor is reinforced with rebar...a grid set approximately every two feet.
There are hairline cracks, most of them barely noticeable. They occur not because of the radiant heat but because all concrete shrinks as it cures and all concrete is going to develop cracks. I opted not to put control joints into the slab because I kind of like the cracks, but doing so would probably have reduced their visibility.

The floors are incredibly durable. They look the same today as when we moved in and will probably look the same as 20 years from now. They also show every bit of dust, debris and pet hair. I have to vacuum them at least every other day or they look a mess.

9:49 AM  

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