After weeks of spotty weather, cold temperatures, 9” of snowfall and generally mixed conditions, the weather finally stopped its confusing swings and settled into a stretch of sunny days. And the builders are taking advantage of it with the second floor walls going up among other things.
Surrounding the house is the board-formed concrete walls that make up the exterior side of the patio. This whole process has caused a ton of delays because of broken equipment, snow, cold weather, rain, and a sick foreman. We needed that concrete wall to be formed so that we can then fill in the excavation around it. Once that wall has been buttressed by dirt and sand on both sides, the builders will have access to the entire perimeter of the house with their lift tool which they will need to lift those huge trusses into place for the roof.
Next week’s plan is to use the great weather (sunny and 60!) to finish the second floor walls, install the trusses and put the roof sheathing on. Big week, if true.
My biggest worry leaving Vermont on Sunday was that the weather or schedules would conspire to delay some key parts of the build, which would cause a cascade of schedule delays. Footers don’t get poured, so frost walls don’t get poured so they can’t stand up the south wall so they can’t put the roof on and then we’re stuck with open trenches and a foot of snow. Or we lose our spot in line to get footers poured because of an equipment breakdown with the excavation company and the lost spot in line, due to the COVID era we are living in, turns into a weeks long delay which then spirals out into weeks of delay and then its too cold to pour concrete and we’re stuck for the winter.
This is, unfortunately, how my brain works. Luckily for me, our builder is a good one. Today, first thing, he sent us a picture of a concrete truck pouring footers in the 36F rainy weather. I think, from here, we get wall structures built and filled with concrete and then our patios get poured. From there, framing should go quickly up to the roof. They also got the garage floor poured finally. I’m not sure if they got the bathroom floor done yet or not.
Speaking of “going up to the roof” the trusses were so long for the upper part of the building, they had to be shipped in two parts with the intention of being assembled onsite. I wish we could be there to see these things being put into place.
This weekend we went up to the land to see how things were doing. We didn’t get to see the slab because it didn’t get poured on Friday as we had hoped. One of my goals for the next few visits was to get some of the vast amounts of logs cut down into firewood so it can start seasoning for next fall. I took the chainsaw, bought a maul and splitting axe at the True Value in Waterbury on the way up and got ready for some wood cutting.
Saturday was gorgeous weather and we started work pretty early. By mid-afternoon we had a fairly good-sized stack of wood and were exhausted but it was a good start. Hopefully the slab gets poured on Monday and framing can get moving.
The builders have poured the concrete footers and frost walls and then moved on to installing the EPS foam that will serve as additional frost blocking under the slab. Conduits for the waste lines, electric and cables are run underground and positions set through the slab and yesterday and today vapor barriers and framing will take place, setting up for the concrete slab pour on Friday. This timing works out great because we are going to be in Vermont from Friday to Sunday.
Now that the footers are completed, the next step is to pour the frost walls that run most of the way around the site. There are some parts of the foundation that use pilings to serve as a basis for a non-slab area that will consist of cedar decking. These areas are, specifically, the walkway between the garage and main house and the floor of the screened porch on the north side of the house.
The contractors spent the week putting up concrete forms and surveying to make sure everything was laid out to the right height and pin-perfect before they started pouring concrete. From the looks of it, these walls should get poured early in the week, then the forms will be stripped and they start work on the forms for the final concrete slab.
Some of the other critical work that will need to get done during this process is:
- run the water lines beneath the slab to their target locations in the kitchen and bathrooms
- run drain holes from the bathrooms into the slab that then route to the septic tie-ins
- run conduits for the electrical cables and internet cables
These all have to be run to tolerances that are very tight so the architect and the builder have been confirming all of the locations and dimensions of those critical spots this week.
We also met with the architect to go over window shop drawings, colors for door and window frames, window handles and other critical decisions. Windows currently have at least a twelve week lead time so if we want them done close to Thanksgiving, as we near the completion of the framing and sheathing process, we have to order them this week.
We have gotten a few pictures from our builder indicating that the concrete footer layout has started. He continues to do the foam cutting and the concrete team is onsite. I can’t wait until the concrete slabs are poured. Once that gets done, we are going to have a great springboard to things like framing, understanding the height of the floor for things like drainage, views, etc.