Notes, 20 July 2015

  • Ron Dahlke reports Emerald Hill passed inspection by ATS Engineering for sheathing nail pattern. Tyvek housewrap to be delivered 21 July.
  • First delivery of windows is scheduled for 21 July.
  • Chimney will be inspected 21 July for integrity of flashing at the roof; with the interior walls open, we can see evidence of water leakage. Ron suspects we may need to add a cricket.
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Stairs, cascading

The knee bone’s connected to the shin bone …

The stairs are not built to code for rise and tread. The rise varies from stair to stair — 10 inches for the first stair and landing, then 7.25 inches, until you get to the top, where the rise suddenly shrinks to 5 inches. We suspect the stairs were originally carpeted, built nearly correctly. Then a remodel replaced the carpet with oak treads — tripping up ascents and descents.

Courtesy chestofbooks.com.
This is the way stairs should be built. All the treads the same depth. All the rises the same height. Proper headroom. Courtesy chestofbooks.com.

To fix this, we need to add additional run — the horizontal distance the stairs travel from first stair to last.

Last week, the framers took out the closet over the stairs at what will be the loft, to ensure we’re not whacking our skulls each time we climb the steps. See photo here.

These issues force us to push the front entry of the house forward about 3.5 feet. It’s the only addition to the square footage in the entire remodel. We sweated whether this would complicate or delay permits from the City of Austin, because of limits on impermeable cover. But we’re building the extension over the existing slab, which is already impermeable. And bringing the stairs up to code for safety. The permits came more quickly than we expected.

Today, the framers opened up the front wall of the house, and went to work on the structure. By tomorrow, the front door will be repositioned forward 3 feet and turned 90 degrees.

A temporary support holds up the front porch. Temporary supports hold up the second story as new lumber is cut elsewhere for nailing.
A temporary support holds up the front porch. Additional temporary supports hold up the second story as new lumber is cut elsewhere for nailing. Silverio at left, Roberto on the ladder to the left of where the new front windows will soon arrive.
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HVAC on deck

The HVAC team convenes a planning meeting on the hood of Ron’s truck … Ross Britton from Four Points Enterprises, at left, Kyle Bacon from Elite Heating & Air Conditioning, in back, and Ron at right.

Installation of the system and ducts will begin Friday, 25 July.

Everyone assures Steven that 4 tons of Carrier heating and cooling equipment, one system, one zone for the first floor, one zone for upstairs, will heat and cool the house comfortably, efficiently, affordably — with 4 tons and no more required if we are to comply with the Austin Energy Green Building Program. Steven hyperventilated late last week, reviewing the specs for the umpteenth time, realizing he read the quote as two systems, two zones. It’s possible to go this route, but it adds significant maintenance — two systems, not one — and it would pull a lot more electrical power.  Which is oversimplifying a lot of higher math — HVAC configuration requires physics and software. It would also disqualify the house from the Green Building program.

But … they strongly recommend that Steven approve the addition of an Aprilaire unit with humidity and temperature controls for proper fresh air ventilation and air exchanges. Cost is $400. Steven approves and notifies Kathleen at Ranserve via email.

Kyle, Ross and Ron mapped out the chases and ducts. They are adding a chase in the loft to move air into bath 2 below, and a second chase in the master closet to move air into Steven’s office and the pantry on the first floor. There will be no furr downs, no dropped ceilings, no claustrophobia. Steven will not be able to stand his 5-foot-9-self on the floor, reach up, touch the ceiling. And, bonus, Kyle does not need to run equipment in the two closets that used to house the old HVAC systems. The Leons just gained two closets for storage.

The other decisions are minor — shifting the position of an integrated light/vent unit in bath 2, which also requires the addition of another ceiling can — but each decision cascades down the tree; routing exhaust vents through the framing; fixing the location of the vent for the kitchen exhaust hood.

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Plumbing rough-in begins

The future of Emerald Hill arrives to the sound of jackhammers.

Barry, Art and their team at Custom Plumbing pulled up with a generator, parked it in the driveway, unrolled pneumatic hoses, connected the jackhammers, plugged in ear protection, and started cracking open the slab for the new plumbing runs.

It is LOUD.

It is concussive.

The new framing rattles, tested, strong.

It is mind boggling to think this all started with “we wanted to put in a new kitchen.”

The first cut in what will be bathroom 2 -- Jadin's bath. Orange spray paint marks the extent of the cuts to be made to the slab for waste pipes and water supplies where the vanities will be installed.
The first cut in what will be bathroom 2 — Jadin’s bath. Orange spray paint marks the extent of the cuts to be made to the slab for waste pipes and water supplies where the vanities will be installed.

Outside, away from some of the noise, Barry, Art, Ron and Steve unrolled the blueprints and the book of fixtures from Ferguson to confirm which toilet goes where, which bath gets which shower or tub.

Here’s the schedule:

Bath 2 downstairs

  • Toto toilet with bidet seat; bidet will require water supply and power, and mounting of the remote that comes with it.
  • Kohler Choreograph shower only kit, 4 piece, 60×32, left hand drain.
  • Steve has to talk with Barry about where to put the vertical storage unit inside the shower.

Master upstairs

  • Toto toilet with bidet seat in master bath; bidet will require water supply and power, and mounting of the remote that comes with it.
  • Custom shower with linear drain in master shower. Two shower heads. See Ferguson book.
  • Steve has to talk with Barry about which shower head goes where, where hand controls will be located.

Mudroom downstairs

  • Mirabelle Bradenton one piece toilet
  • Sterling 42 inch Accord shower only pan and wall surround kit, center drain.
  • Please note that Ferguson book for some reason also includes specs for the 48-inch version. IGNORE the 48 inch unit. We are using the 42!

Bath 3 upstairs

  • Mirabelle Bradenton one piece toilet
  • Sterling tub and shower wall surround kit, 60×36, right hand drain.
  • This is the only bathtub in the house.
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Pluto. Charon. Hydra. Nix. Styx. Kerberos.

This picture of the Earth and moon in a single frame -- the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft -- was recorded 18 September 1977, by NASA's Voyager 1 when it was 11.66 million km (7.25 million miles) from Earth. The moon is at the top of the picture and beyond the Earth as viewed by Voyager. In the picture are eastern Asia, the western Pacific Ocean and part of the Arctic. Voyager 1 was directly above Mt. Everest (on the night side of the planet at 25 degrees north latitude) when this picture was taken. The photo was made from three images taken through color filters, then processed by the Image Processing Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Because the Earth is many times brighter than the moon, the moon was artificially brightened by a factor of three relative to the Earth by computer enhancement so that both bodies would show clearly in the image. Credit: NASA
This picture of the Earth and moon in a single frame — the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft — was recorded 18 September 1977, by NASA’s Voyager 1 when it was 11.66 million km (7.25 million miles) from Earth.
The moon is at the top of the picture and beyond the Earth as viewed by Voyager. In the picture are eastern Asia, the western Pacific Ocean and part of the Arctic. Voyager 1 was directly above Mt. Everest (on the night side of the planet at 25 degrees north latitude) when this picture was taken.
The photo was made from three images taken through color filters, then processed by the Image Processing Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Because the Earth is many times brighter than the moon, the moon was artificially brightened by a factor of three relative to the Earth by computer enhancement so that both bodies would show clearly in the image.
Credit: NASA

New images keep coming from New Horizons.

My grandfathers were born before the first flight of the brothers Wright. Both watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon. In my 60 years, humans and our tools have traveled to 9 planets (I side with the planetary scientists; what else could you call Pluto other than a planetary system?), hundreds of moons, Ceres, and landed on a comet. Sedna awaits. Orbital telescopes already identify hundreds of exoplanets — in just two decades of wide-eyed exploration. More discoveries shelter in the dark of the Solar System, out there. Let’s go.

The universe is amazing.

Happy Moon Landing Day.

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