Category Archives: framing

Intense Friday

This day began with Odell and Steven in the mudroom bath at 8 am, talking through how to correct issues with the sink drain. We conclude that the P-trap comes off, the drain line in the wall needs to shift x inches left — and, after this surgery is performed, a T-trap will mount perpendicular and plumb correctly under the sink drain.

The Time Warner techies arrived about 815 am — first Erich, then Cory, then a team in hard hats to string wire from the telephone poles, then a supervisor. Everyone parked their own trucks, with orange cones. Steven should have charged for parking. They wrapped about 130 pm with TV, phone and, most important, Internet up and running — even WiFi. This milestone enables Steven to work at the house without tethering to his phone.

Steven dropped Jadin at school about 845 am.

Steve the electrician arrived to install the whole-house and telephone/cable surge suppressors. The whole-house unit was a 15-minute slam dunk on the exterior of the back wall of the garage. Done. The tele/cable suppressor required research, with Steven struggling to learn more electrical science. We convened a conference — Steven, Steve, Erich and Cory — on the driveway, alongside one of the Time Warner trucks. Erich and Cory advised that the tele/cable suppressor is not needed, because the Time Warner equipment comes with suppression/protection built in. Steven decides: He will return the tele/cable suppressor for a refund.

The HVAC team arrived from Austin Air to determine how and where to install the make-up air system demanded by the Austin Green Build program. This has to be wired to operate when the exhaust hood in the kitchen switches on — the exhaust system blows out, the make-up air system brings in replacement air. The system requires ducting, and a motor to pull in outside air and blow it into the kitchen. Planning is critical — where to put all of this stuff in a house that is nearly complete? They worked at first with Cris and Odell from Ranserve, then roped Steven into the conversation. Everyone climbed up into the attic over the garage to map out one route into the kitchen. Cris sketched the install on the back of piece of drywall leaning against a garage wall. Then we shifted into the kitchen to look at where the duct might mount — near the kitchen-side door. Then we explored a second option — cutting open the kitchen ceiling to route the motor and duct into the cavity under the roof eaves. This second route would leave a huge grille in the kitchen ceiling visible from everywhere. The better location is over the door. With that decided, Cris cut open a section of mudroom ceiling between the garage and the kitchen — see photo above — to confirm that we can route the duct intake at the eave outside the garage, into the garage attic, connect to the motor when it is installed in the attic, run duct above the mudroom, through the framing between the mudroom and kitchen, to the grille above the kitchen-side door.

Why was all this not done when the house was gutted down to studs?

Brett Grinkmeyer arrived to conduct the architectural inspection required when Ranserve requests a draw payment. Steven and Brett barely got time to speak, because it was time for Time Warner to sit Steven down on the upstairs hall floor, laptop propped on boxes, to configure the network, create a Time Warner customer account complete with passwords, sign off on the install.

Victor Martinez arrived to discuss landscaping — using the dirt piled up on the driveway and mulch piled between the trees to fill in around the concrete pavers and spaces made bare of grass by nine months of construction. Steven requests a plan he can submit to Austin Green Build — and a budget.

At 2 pm, approximately, Odell returned from an offsite meeting to review the mudroom plumbing — he thinks he has it figured out; it will require opening up a wall to shift the drain pipe to the proper location. And the routing solution for the make-up air system. And the rough plan for the week ahead.

Steven called Kristin at Harway to ask why the cooktop does not fit absolutely flush to the quartz countertop. There’s a gap about 1/16th inch between the induction cooktop and the quartz countertop — guaranteed to trap food and spills. Late in the day, Kristin responds by email to report she will visit to inspect.

230 pm — lunch break.

Steven comes back from lunch at 3 pm to discover Bassam working on the kitchen cabinets.

At 330, Lance from Time Warner calls to close out the install ticket.

At 345, Steven departs to pick up Jadin from school.

Observation — at several times today, especially in the morning, the questions were firing in, one on top of the other, stacking up over Newark. Each issue required thought and discussion — where to put the tele-cable surge suppressor, for example — it can’t mount outdoors, so why does it mate to the whole-house suppressor that does mount outdoors, is it needed? How to address the drain for the mudroom sink — that took at least an hour, on and off, back and forth, testing ideas, researching options. It was intense. Everything was way above Steven’s pay grade — he’s not a plumber, not an electrician, not an HVAC installer, not a cable tech, not a cabinetmaker, not a landscaper. Steven misses Ron, who seemed able to work through any stress, calmly, expertly, guiding with advice. In his first 48 hours on the job, Odell is quickly coming up to speed. But, damn, we have not had a day like this in a long time — not since Steven and Ron climbed into the 120-degree attic to unravel the botched HVAC ducting.

 

Share. Link. Like.

All Cris all the time

There is nothing that Cris from Ranserve can’t do. Framing. Drywall. Concrete. Electrical. Plumbing. Hang fans. Think ahead, plan how to do it.

Today, above, he’s up on the roof, trimming limbs back to clear the route that the City of Austin will use to connect the house to electrical service at telephone pole behind the house.

15 minutes later, back on the ground, armed with multi-tool, Cris has already trimmed drywall away from behind the vanity counter in bath 2. He will inset the backsplash into the slot in the wall. This allows the faucet handles to turn free, without banging against the backsplace if the quartz were mounted against the drywall, instead of inset into the drywall -- an idea that Ron thought of.
15 minutes later, back on the ground, armed with multi-tool, Cris has already trimmed drywall away from behind the vanity counter in bath 2. He will inset the backsplash into the slot in the wall. This allows the faucet handles to turn free, without banging against the backsplace if the quartz were mounted against the drywall, instead of inset into the drywall — an idea that Ron thought of.
Upstairs in bath 3, Cris deploys the multi-tool to cut around the backsplash. He will remove the drywall from this location, as he did in bath 2, then inset the backsplash quartz into the wall, allowing the faucet handles to swing through a complete arc without obstruction.
Upstairs in bath 3, Cris deploys the multi-tool to cut around the backsplash. He will remove the drywall from this location, as he did in bath 2, then inset the backsplash quartz into the wall, allowing the faucet handles to swing through a complete arc without obstruction.
Before Steven arrived, Cris removed one of the two metal straps bracing the horizontal and vertical framing of the new garage door, turned it vertical, nailed it into position -- per instructions from the structural engineer. The City of Austin requires this to prevent uplift when the wind blows strong -- kind of like today, with 30mph wind gusts.
Before Steven arrived, Cris removed one of the two metal straps bracing the horizontal and vertical framing of the new garage door, turned it vertical, nailed it into position — per instructions from the structural engineer. The City of Austin requires this to prevent uplift when the wind blows strong — kind of like today, with 30mph wind gusts.
Heres' the same strapping change at the left side of the garage door.
Heres’ the same strapping change at the left side of the garage door.
Share. Link. Like.

It’s a BIG shed

The framers sheathed the new garage bay today. The skeleton of studs became a substantial box. Big enough for a car, maybe even two parked nose to tail, with Steven’s workshop at the back, a wall for storage, and a loft above for even more storage.

The horizontal beams are the ceiling above the parking bay and the floor of the storage loft above.
The horizontal beams are the ceiling above the parking bay and the floor of the storage loft above.
The framers at work on the roof, consulting with Ron, out of sight, on the ground.
The framers at work on the roof, consulting with Ron, out of sight, on the ground.
This is the workshop end of the garage shed. The framers installed roof sheathing that reflects heat at Ron's direction. Just above the ladder, the framers have joined the existing roof to the new structure walls.
This is the workshop end of the garage shed. The framers installed roof sheathing that reflects heat at Ron’s direction. Just above the ladder, the framers have joined the existing roof to the new structure walls.
Stepping back to gain perspective on the size of the addition, compared against the house.
Stepping back to gain perspective on the size of the addition, compared against the house.
From the front. Where the old roof meets the new structure, the framers built a cricket to ensure that rainwater coming off the existing garage roof flows away from the vertical wall of the new structure.
From the front. Where the old roof meets the new structure, the framers built a cricket to ensure that rainwater coming off the existing garage roof flows away from the vertical wall of the new structure.
Share. Link. Like.

Framing the garage

We go away for a week and, surprise, the framers are hard at work on the shed that comprises the new third garage bay at the back of the house.

Installing the laminated beam across the front of the garage. The shed roof defines the structure as modern, simple. The tall box will be spanned with decking to create tons of loft storage.
Installing the laminated beam across the front of the garage. The shed roof defines the structure as modern, simple. The tall box will be spanned with decking to create tons of loft storage.
At the back end of the garage, before the framers tie the old roof into the new structure.
At the back end of the garage, before the framers tie the old roof into the new structure.
OSB sheathing covers the back and side walls of the garage box.
OSB sheathing covers the back and side walls of the garage box.

 

Share. Link. Like.

The hardest working wall in the house

The hardest working wall in the house is in the kitchen, where the cooktop, exhaust hood, sink and dishwasher will be installed. There’s a ton of blue and red PEX water lines roughed-in behind the insulation foam — and miles of electrical cable for switches, outlets, power for appliances. Plus framing structure, drains, lighting cans.

Standing back from the kitchen wall for an overview ...
Standing back from the kitchen wall for an overview …
The plumbers wrapped the blue and red PEX with insulating foam. Then the foam insulation was sprayed into the stud bays. Then the insulators shaved off the extra foam that stood proud of the vertical studs -- shaving off some of the black foam and exposing the PEX inside.
The plumbers wrapped the blue and red PEX with insulating foam. Then the foam insulation was sprayed into the stud bays. Then the insulators shaved off the extra foam that stood proud of the vertical studs — shaving off some of the black foam and exposing the PEX inside.
Here's the red PEX, for a hot water line, with dark insulation shaved and the PEX exposed. This will be reinsulated with foam from a spray can.
Here’s the red PEX, for a hot water line, with dark insulation shaved and the PEX exposed. This will be reinsulated with foam from a spray can.
The exhaust hood has arrived, for test fitting against the hardest working kitchen wall. We need to know how high to mount it above the cooktop, and where to cut a hole through the wall for exhaust gases to be sucked out of the kitchen. The consensus is to put the hood as high as possible, to ensure anyone standing in front of the cooktop does not lean in and whack a skull against the horizontal bottom glass.
The exhaust hood has arrived, for test fitting against the hardest working kitchen wall. We need to know how high to mount it above the cooktop, and where to cut a hole through the wall for exhaust gases to be sucked out of the kitchen. The consensus is to put the hood as high as possible, to ensure anyone standing in front of the cooktop does not lean in and whack a skull against the horizontal bottom glass.
Standing back from the kitchen wall four days after the first photo above. The red PEX is protected again with foam from a spray can. Cris from Ranserve installed sheets of plywood as blocking to mount the exhaust hood -- and he began to cut the hole through the wall to eject exhaust gases out of the kitchen.
Standing back from the kitchen wall four days after the first photo above. The red PEX is protected again with foam from a spray can. Cris from Ranserve installed sheets of plywood as blocking to mount the exhaust hood — and he began to cut the hole through the wall to eject exhaust gases out of the kitchen.
Share. Link. Like.

and foam to impede

Building code and the inspector require that we impede the possibility of fire and smoke traveling from one floor to another, one room to another, into and across the attic. Ron and Cris from Ranserve today applied fire-block foam to penetrations in the framing — where ducts travel between floors and attic, for example.

Above, the HVAC ducts in the master bath are now foamed with orange fire block.

An exhausted can of fire block, retrieved from the trash to be photographed.
An exhausted can of fire block, retrieved from the trash to be photographed.
Share. Link. Like.

I’ll take plywood to block, Johnny …

With framing done but for the inspection, Steven is able to identify where we need “blocking” to support closet shelving, or to ensure that we hang art while not also driving a nail into a pocket door.

Above, the two back-to-back pocket doors upstairs at bath 3, right, and the utility/laundry room, left. At Steven’s request, Ron added 3/4-inch plywood into the pocket door frames. When Jacquela and Steven nail up picture hangers, the nail will now have more than drywall to bite into — and careful nailing will ensure that the nail does not penetrate the frame to hit the sliding door.

The east wall of the master closet is now blocked with plywood. Steven will now be able to easily hang the closet systems for which Jacquela is dreaming.
The east wall of the master closet is now blocked with plywood. Steven will now be able to easily hang the closet systems for which Jacquela is dreaming.
The backside of the west wall of the master closet is also the east wall of the master bedroom. It is now blocked for the storage systems Jacquela plans for the closet. On the master bedroom side, the blue PEX is the cold water line for the water dispenser in the refrigerator one floor below -- and Steven will now know to avoid this if Jacquela ever wants to hang something above the bed. At upper right, the orange foam around the silver air conditioning duct is fireblock, to help prevent smoke and flame traveling from floor to attic -- just in case -- a code requirement.
The backside of the west wall of the master closet is also the east wall of the master bedroom. It is now blocked for the storage systems Jacquela plans for the closet. On the master bedroom side, the blue PEX is the cold water line for the water dispenser in the refrigerator one floor below — and Steven will now know to avoid this if Jacquela ever wants to hang something above the bed. At upper right, the orange foam around the silver air conditioning duct is fireblock, to help prevent smoke and flame traveling from floor to attic — just in case — a code requirement.

 

Share. Link. Like.

Back and front

Ron Dahlke reports he needs more brick for the masons to repair changes made to the exterior of Emerald Hill for new windows and doors, plumbing and other penetrations. Steven offered up the back wall of the garage, which can be easily re-sided with Hardieboard if potential plans for a new third garage bay do not proceed.

DSC_3084At the front porch, Silverio nails cedar siding — which we will stain, not paint, to define the front entry — an idea suggested by Mark Rehberg of Ranserve.

Share. Link. Like.

Notes, 19 Aug. 2015

  • Ferguson reports replacement for the bath 2 shower pan will be 20 August.
  • Without the shower pan, Ron Dahlke and the City of Austin inspector opted to delay the framing inspection — because the plumbers are still punching holes in lumber.
  • Custom Plumbing began today to test drain lines — pulling a hose through the house to fill drains with water in the master, laundry/utility, bath 3, mudroom. The master shower leaked and was quickly fixed. It’s better to test now, before the insulation goes in and the drywall goes up …
  • The painters caulked the bottom plates where the lumber met the slab, sealing against air, water and insects. If you build new today, the framers unroll a thin layer of foam that adheres to the bottom of the bottom plate — the foam was not invented in 1968 when Emerald Hill was built. Silicon caulk is the alternate to ripping down the house and starting over with new lumber and foam.
  • The painters caulked today because Ranserve will spray borate on the exposed framing of the first floor. Termites don’t like borate. Steven and Jacquela and Ron don’t like termites. We’ve seen the damage termites do. The framers were forced to replace a lot of lumber that the bugs chewed through. The borate is a line of defense — and it is also required by the Austin Energy Green Build program.
  • Ron now plans to re-attempt the framing inspection for Friday this week, or early next.
  • Ron put the insulation team on alert to start next week as soon as Emerald Hill passes the framing inspection — with drywall anticipated for the first week of September.
  • Steven received and is reviewing updated quotes for door handles and hardware, and for tile — and the potential third garage bay.
Share. Link. Like.

Small steps forward

Ron Dahlke is scheduling two inspections for Wednesday with the City of Austin — HVAC rough-in and framing.

Steven today ordered the exhaust hood for the kitchen from Harway. Ron needs the hood onsite to properly mount it over the cooktop and configure the busiest wall in the kitchen — exhaust, wiring, plumbing, electrical.

The rough framing for the new stairs is complete.
The rough framing for the new stairs is complete.
There's a rumor that the clouds might spit rain later this week. So ... with the new exterior door off the kitchen in place, Ranserve carved a channel to push runoff away from the door. Why? The exterior deck was built too high -- and it pushes water into the house. Another something to fix.
The canyons of Mars? Not quite. There’s a rumor that the clouds might spit rain later this week. So … with the new exterior door off the kitchen in place, Ranserve carved a channel to push runoff away from the door. Why? The exterior deck was built too high — and it pushes water into the house. Another something to fix.
Cris from Ranserve inserted additional framing at the left side of the tub in bath 3, closing up the extra space the tub does not need against the framing.
Cris from Ranserve inserted additional framing at the left side of the tub in bath 3, closing up the extra space the tub does not need against the framing.
We think the electricians or plumbers left behind this sawdust filled pair of glove liners. Found Art.
We think the electricians or plumbers left behind this sawdust filled pair of glove liners. Found Art.
Now that the new exterior water line to the house from the curb passed inspection, the plumbers bury the line  in the front lawn.
Now that the new exterior water line to the house from the curb passed inspection, the plumbers bury the line in the front lawn.
Share. Link. Like.