Friday, March 18, 2005

We've Been Busy

If I never see another roll of rebar mesh, spring sucks, and other rants.

Our project has been a full time job for both of us lately so I've had very little time to think much less blog. This week has been our busiest to date in terms of actual physical labor, not to mention the hours of phone time that is the norm.

We spent 13 hours on-site yesterday installing everything that will be contained within our upper level floor slab. We laid all of the PEX tubing for our radiant heating system and we were pleased that this ended up being easy and extremely DIY friendly. We finished in about two and a half hours. What made the day hell was that this tubing is sandwiched between two layers of 6x6 rebar mesh to reinforce the slab and keep the tubing in place within it. Cutting, hauling, placing and securing this mesh was the backbreaker and took from dawn to dark. If I never see another roll of that stuff as long as I live it will be too soon. We like to think of ourselves as in shape in that we workout on a daily basis, but I feel like I got hit by a truck this morning. We were scrambling to beat our own deadline to get the floor poured (today), so yesterdays sprint was unavoidable since the joists for this floor weren't even in place until Wednesday. We feel victorious in that we got our part done on time, but in typical Minnesota construction schedule style, we've been halted by a spring snowstorm. This floor slab will be our interior finish floor and needs to be machine-floated for a perfect finish. Because it's still open to the elements, we need dry skies to achieve this, and we're now on hold until Monday.

There's another hang up for our progress, as well... Rougly estimated, our house will contain between 250 and 300 yards of concrete (that's a lot) and we still have about 100 yards to pour. A concrete truck holds about 9 yards when full, and we've required as many as six full trucks on a single day. The arrival of spring in Minnesota also means the arrival of road restrictions, more specifically a maximum weight limit imposed on all roads to prevent them being destroyed during the time the ground frost is migrating out. Under these restrictions, we're prevented from hauling concrete, since an empty truck exceeds the limit of our city's roads. We anticipate these road restrictions will be imposed starting any minute, so we're scrambling to get our upper level floor in place before that happens to allow our ICF guy to proceed with stacking the upper level during the six weeks of restriction. We've also been dealing with extending the term of our construction loan since our one year term is up at the end of this month. Oh, and did I mention our site is one giagantic boot-sucking mud pit and half our materials are frozen to the ground in a puddle? This home building thing is sheer joy :) Some action shots: This is the first section of steel that was hung. It's the roof over the master bedroom which will be our lower roof deck. The concrete needed to be poured over this section before we could hang the steel for the upper level floors.
The beam that supports the master bedroom joists on one side and the upper level floor joists on the other. We had to close off and heat this room from below to allow the slab above to cure.
pouring and finishing the lower roof deck slab

A view from the entry hall looking south. The upright beam will support two huge roof beams that support the roof joists.

The PEX tubing in place, ready for a second layer of rebar mesh. The very expensive front stoop footing is visible in the foreground along with the north wall waiting to be backfilled.


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