As our world descends into a virus-riddled scene of election chaos, surprisingly our house build continues on. There has been a huge amount of work accomplished in the last couple of weeks due to the cooperative weather and efficient work methods. The supplies keep rolling into the site and then are immediately put to use in either sheathing, or conduit laying or slab preparation.
One of the main things that we need to get done before the snow flies, if at all possible, is getting the roof on. To that end, this week the gables will go on top of the structure and they are projecting that the roof will be sheathed by the end of the week. Gables are a big deal in that they are huge and will take quite a bit of engineering to get up that high but then they will likely need to do extended blocking and framing work to stabilize them and secure them to the current building frame. Once the sheathing is installed, they will tape the seams and either leave it like that for the remainder of the winter, or add another sealing membrane after the tape which will keep it snow-proof.
The other milestone we are preparing for is the electrical hook-up. The electrical contractor was onsite running conduit and working with our excavator to trench the conduit up to the house. Temp panels are being installed so that they can have power running to the site while they work. I suspect this will power tools, space heaters, lighting and such. We are working through the paperwork with the electric company to get this set up.
One of the things I have been wondering is how the screened porch and breezeway will work and this week we saw the explanation for it. The foundation poles that were poured months ago were completed, then buried in gravel and base layer dirt with the tops of them exposed. The rafter hangers will be installed on top of these and then 4x6 pressure treated wood will be hung between them. After that, the white cedar flooring will be installed on top of the pressure treated wood.
I was thinking that the screened porch might be done in the spring but it seems likely that they need to at least rough out the form of it so they can complete the roof that covers both the garage and the screened porch area.
After seeing the upstairs in drawings for over a year, seeing them take shape in actual space is remarkable and lends a very different sense of perspective. We finally get to see the view from the office window, get a sense of how the kid’s room will visually lean into the deep dark woods of the north. The east view of the house shows what people will see standing down there. Given the angle, it is unlikely that you will see much of the people in the house if you happen to look through the windows of the master bedroom and main bathroom.
At the end of a long day, this picture captures the season. Sticks for trees, purple sunset, and a view of where our patio on the south wall will be. Soon, the windows will be installed and, on that south wall it will be a sea of glass reflecting the sun setting over Stowe.
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.