Tag Archives: concrete

A sprinkler saga, episode 2

Mikel from Green Tree Professional returned 18 November to Emerald Hill to continue identifying problems with and repairing the sprinkler system.

With the system operable after the first repairs were made 11 November, Mikel focused in the front yard on repairing the main supply line to the sprinklers that was cut by the plumbers when they installed a new water line between the house and the city water supply at the curb.

As he dug, Mikel discovered that the main supply line for the sprinklers was cut -- pipe in left circle. The plumbers also cut two  lateral lines. Mikel has already repaired one of the laterals in this photo. The second cut is the PVC pipe in the right circle.
As he dug, Mikel discovered that the main supply line for the sprinklers was cut — pipe in left circle. The plumbers also cut two lateral lines. Mikel has already repaired one of the laterals in this photo. The second cut is the PVC pipe in the right circle.
While working on the pipes, Mikel discovered that the plumbers buried a control valve. He excavated to reveal the valve.
While working on the pipes, Mikel discovered that the plumbers buried a control valve. He excavated to reveal the valve. The plumbers also severed the control wire that runs between this valve and the next valve in line. Mikel could not locate the cut in the wires, so he opted to run new wires across the lawn to the connect the two valves.

After repairing the cuts, Mikel began testing the front sprinkler zones. He quickly discovered a lateral line that was cut when the front walk was formed — water burbled up from under one of the concrete steps.

The good news was … At least two front zones operated, even if they needed additional repairs.

It was time for Mikel to depart to his next scheduled appointment.

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A sprinkler saga, episode 1

When Ranserve excavated the foundation for the new garage bay, the concrete crew cut and buried the end of the 12-strand cable that runs between the control unit location in the garage, out to the valves that control the sprinklers in the back yard, along the PVC pipes that were buried in the ground when a previous owner installed the sprinkler system, and out to the valves and sprinkler heads in the front yard.

Ron Dahlke did try to protect the cable, but bobcats, picks, shovels and form boards are brutal.

Ron, Odell, Kevin and Matt dug exploratory holes in the back yard after the garage was built — and they did find the cable.

But it had been severed — and a section about 20 feet long was missing.

Odell asked Steven to have a sprinkler company do the repair.

Steven collected four estimates. Two companies advised it would be easier and faster to install an entirely new system at a cost of somewhere beyond $4,000 to $5,000. Two companies recommended repairs at $95 an hour, plus parts, with about three hours required to diagnose whether the system could be repaired.

Steven selected Mikel and Darynn Eggert, the two brothers who run Green Tree Professional. Yes, Steven gravitates toward working with family businesses and brothers — see the fence postings as further evidence.

In episode 1 of the sprinkler saga, dated 11 Nov. 2016, Darynn and Mikel excavated the cut end of the control cable buried in the ground about feet away from the back of the new garage, patched it to new wire, and attempted to pull that wire into the garage through conduit that was fixed into place when the concrete slab of the new garage floor was poured.

First discovery — it is impossible to force heavy-duty 12-strand irrigation wire through a tight 90-degree elbow when you don’t have a heavy-duty pull cord.

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The concrete team installed electrical conduit when they formed and poured the new slab for the garage. The sprinkler control wire was supposed to travel through the conduit. But, the wire can’t be pulled through the tight elbow identified in the lower circle in photo, at the concrete foundation. Steven approved drilling through the siding — the second, higher circle in the red-painted siding. Note the missing chunk of concrete walk that was cut out when the garage slab was excavated — this has to be replaced. Darynn and Mikel ran a temporary control wire above ground, with which they were able to begin testing the sprinkler system.

After much discussion, Steven permitted Darynn and Mikel to drill a hole through the exterior siding of the garage above ground level, with a plan to shield the cable in new conduit that would be mounted to the exterior of the siding outside the garage, turned down to the ground in a WIDE 90-degree elbow, then buried and run out across the back yard to connect with the old existing cable.

Except … Ranserve still has to replace a chunk of concrete walk that was cut out when the garage foundation was formed and poured. The new wire out the back of the garage traverses this missing concrete, so permanent installation is not possible until the concrete work is done.

The temporary control wire travels about 20 feet across the back yard to where the original exiting wire was severed.
The temporary control wire travels about 20 feet across the back yard to where the original exiting wire was severed.
Darynn and Mikel made waterproof connections between the new and old control wires. The trench at right is where Mikel discovered the open end of a sprinkler line that was severed during construction of the garage. He cut off the knife edge of the PVC and capped it off.
Darynn and Mikel made waterproof connections between the new and old control wires. The trench at right is where Mikel discovered the open end of a sprinkler line that was severed during construction of the garage. He cut off the knife edge of the PVC and capped it off.

So, Mikel and Darynn ran the wire into the garage, temporarily loose and above ground, connected it to the sprinkler controller in the back yard, turned on water to the sprinkler system, powered up the controller — and began experimenting to discover leaks.

Second discovery — the system still worked. In some places.

Third discovery — in the front yard, the plumbers severed  the main supply line to the sprinkler system when they trenched the front yard to install the new water supply line to the house as required by the city. Did the plumbers repair the sprinkler line as requested by Steven? Apparently, obviously, not.

 

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Floor waxing

Late yesterday, Trey from DeAtley Tile & Stone cleaned and degreased the stained concrete flooring on the first floor of Sea Eagle. Today, he’s back to wax and polish the floor — above.

A second shot of Trey at work, waxing and polishing the stained concrete for showing to potential buyers.
A second shot of Trey at work, waxing and polishing the stained concrete for showing to potential buyers.
Before finishing for the day, Trey talks with Cloral, the painter, about how to protect the new finish on the concrete. Cloral is going to refinish the maple cabinets at the island. Trey instructs: "put down cardboard to protect the floor, and do not tape the cardboard to the floor."
Before finishing for the day, Trey talks with Cloral, the painter, about how to protect the new finish on the concrete. Cloral is going to refinish the maple cabinets at the island. Trey instructs: “put down cardboard to protect the floor, and do not tape the cardboard to the floor.”
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Blower door test — and more

Today’s agenda¬†at Emerald Hill stacked up meetings and tasks:

  • Gutters
  • Time Warner Cable for Internet, phone, TV services
  • Brett Grinkmeyer, architect, and his tour of Emerald Hill with prospective clients
  • Tyson from Granite Security for a tutorial on the security system
  • Blower door test
  • Cut down the hackberry tree at the northeast corner of the house
  • Assemble more Ikea furniture
  • Set up a computer in the pantry, out of traffic, to work on ShowStoppers @ Mobile World Congress

Above, Alex from ATS and Jonathan from Austin Air review the duct plans with Ron from Ranserve, in preparation for the blower door test.

Jonathan measures airflow from the duct in bedroom 1 as part of the blower door test.
Jonathan measures airflow from the duct in bedroom 1 as part of the blower door test.
Alex assembles the blower door.
Alex assembles the blower door.
We passed! The City of Austin requires less than 5 ACH -- air changes per hour. Alex and Jonathan confirm that Emerald Hill is tightly insulated and not leaking a lot of air. Ron is smiling at this measure of quality.
We passed! The City of Austin requires less than 5 ACH — air changes per hour. Alex and Jonathan confirm that Emerald Hill is tightly insulated and not leaking a lot of air. Ron is smiling at this measure of quality.
Tyson showed Steven how to configure and use the alarm system that we prewired into the house.
Tyson showed Steven how to configure and use the alarm system that we prewired into the house.
Rodriguez from Gilsa uses a chunk of concrete to grind stains off the first paver in front of the house.
Rodriguez from Gilsa uses a chunk of concrete to grind stains off the first paver in front of the house.
Ron and Kevin opened up the stair wall to add more blocking -- needed to support the shower wand in the bathroom on the other side of the wall.
Ron and Kevin opened up the stair wall to add more blocking — needed to support the shower wand in the bathroom on the other side of the wall.
Taking out the hackberry tree that was leaning toward the house.
Taking out the hackberry tree that was leaning toward the house.
Stripped of most branches in just 10 minutes.
Stripped of most branches in just 10 minutes.
Sections of trunk cut smaller to make them lighter when carrying off to the chipper.
Sections of trunk cut smaller to make them lighter when carrying off to the chipper.

 

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Notes, 28 Jan. 2016

Inside the house, Shane and Peter are carving up pocket doors to install hardware — plus towel bars, toilet paper holders, floor and wall stops, and more.

Outside, David Garcia and his team of painters are priming the back of the new garage structure — bright white.

But … in front, the first coat of barn red exterior paint is up. Perfect!

David, at left, on the ground, with roller, at the back of the garage structure, painting primer, with team.
David, at left, on the ground, with roller, at the back of the garage structure, painting primer, with team.
At the rear of the garage, Gilsa is regrading the dirt to ensure water runs off away from the garage foundation. This entire strip of bare dirt will be covered with weed block fabric and then black gravel.
At the rear of the garage, Gilsa is regrading the dirt to ensure water runs off away from the garage foundation. This entire strip of bare dirt will be covered with weed block fabric and then black gravel.
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Notes, 27 Jan. 2016

Steven met today with Miki Cook from Austin Green Build to walk Emerald Hill. Miki detailed specs she requires to qualify the house for the Green Build Program. Steven has homework.

Above, Gilsa today compacted the fill for the gravel patio outside the kitchen, rolled out weedblock fabric, stapled it down, then shoveled out the gravel.

At break time -- shoveling gravel is heavy, hard work -- this is what the patio looks like from the roof outside the master bedroom.
At break time — shoveling gravel is heavy, hard work — this is what the patio looks like from the roof outside the master bedroom.
David Garcia began to apply primer to the new garage structure.
David Garcia began to apply primer to the new garage structure.
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Notes, 26 Jan. 2016

Above, Luis from Landers Flooring is back to remove and replace one stair tread. The balusters for this tread were drilled in the wrong place. Today, Luis removed the balusters and existing hickory tread, then fitted the replacement. At the end of the day, he clearcoated it with polyurethane.

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Mauricio and the team from Gilsa Construction today began to install the heavy steel edging for the deck off the kitchen door.
Mauricio welds the straight metal edging to a rebar post he sledgehammered into the ground.
Mauricio welds the straight metal edging to a rebar post he sledgehammered into the ground.
Joel from the City of Austin inspected the boxes and location for the new residential electric meter. Steven called Dispatch to ask the City to install the meter.
Joel from the City of Austin inspected the boxes and location for the new residential electric meter. Steven called Dispatch to ask the City to install the meter.
Binswanger Glass today delivered and installed the obscured glass door to the water closet in the master bath ...
Binswanger Glass today delivered and installed the obscured glass door to the water closet in the master bath …
and the second door to the shower in bath 2, Jadin's bath -- the panel at right, with the long chrome handle.
and the second door to the shower in bath 2, Jadin’s bath — the panel at right, with the long chrome handle.
The tankless water heater is installed upstairs in the laundry/utility room.
The tankless water heater is installed upstairs in the laundry/utility room.
Ron Dahlke asked Steven to start a "punch list" of items that need attention. Here's the first one -- this is one of the showerhead fixtures in the master shower. It's missing an escutcheon. As a result, the cutout in the tile is exposed.
Ron Dahlke asked Steven to start a “punch list” of items that need attention. Here’s the first one — this is one of the showerhead fixtures in the master shower. It’s missing an escutcheon. As a result, the cutout in the tile is exposed.
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Notes, 25 Jan. 2016

Jacquela and Steven spent the weekend packing boxes. There’s a lot more to go. Steven also began taking down Ikea cabinets that will be transplanted to Emerald Hill — and filling holes in the walls with spackling compound.

Today, Steven delivered to Ron Dahlke the short post for the ceiling fan in the family room — Steven pulled and saved a collection of left-over fan parts from ceiling fan cartons — and the transformer and low-voltage puck lights he purchased late Friday from Lights Fantastic. The puck lights will go into the entry-hall display niches.

Ron and Barry from Custom Plumbing today dispatched Steven to a plumbing supply house to purchase one chrome “Tip Toe” finger-press lavatory drain, one chrome slip joint and one chrome P trap — all for use in the mudroom bath. Chrome replaces the white PVC and dresses up the exposed pipe under the sink. The drain solves a problem — it’s impossible to fit between the faucet and wall the conventional pop-up connector rod that you would pull or push to close or open the drain.

Steven also purchased a shower fitting that comes with a thick, round, modern escutcheon. We put the shower connector into the parts bin. Barry, Sean and Noah used the escutcheon to cover the exposed copper pipe behind the pot filler at the backsplash.

Barry, Noah and Sean today began to install the Navian tankless water heaters in the mudroom downstairs and the utility room upstairs. There was drama. The blocking behind the drywall is insufficient. Steven suggested “paneling” the wall with 3/4-inch plywood. Ron and Barry purchased plywood. Genius!

Above, Sean applies fittings to the bottom of the mudroom Navian unit.

Here's the upstairs tankless unit, still boxed, with the alcove where it will mount almost ready. Barry and team will add a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood to help serve as mounting and blocking.
Here’s the upstairs tankless unit, still boxed, with the alcove where it will mount almost ready. Barry and team will add a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood to help serve as mounting and blocking.
Gilsa today began busting the wood forms off the concrete pavers. It's almost more work than pouring the concrete.
Gilsa today began busting the wood forms off the concrete pavers. It’s almost more work than pouring the concrete.

Kris solved solved a mounting problem with the air button at the sink that switches on and off the disposal. Working from underneath, he carved out a wider hole in the undermount stainless steel sink to slide the stem of the air button into, pushing the escutcheon for the air button tight against the quartz countertop.

 

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Watching concrete cure

It’s cold. It’s windy. The concrete poured yesterday is still visibly damp. It’s going to take a little while to cure. So no is permitted as yet to walk on the new pavers. Gilsa is scheduled to come back Monday bust the forms. That will give the concrete the whole weekend to transpire away water.

That said … the new pavers look really cool, define the exterior of the house, and promise to be functional.

Above, peering out from the kitchen side door.

Shooting down across the front walk to the street -- from the upstairs window of the utility/laundry room.
Shooting down across the front walk to the street — from the upstairs window of the utility/laundry room.
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Pouring steps

One of the last big jobs … The team from Gilsa Construction is back on site to pour concrete into the forms they built for the concrete walk to the front of the house from the street, along the front and side of the house to the kitchen door, and to the kitchen door from the driveway.

The mixer is brand spanking new. Not a speck of wear and tear to be seen on that bright white paint job. Tonka and Hot Wheels are drooling.
The mixer is brand spanking new. Not a speck of wear and tear to be seen on that bright white paint job. Tonka and Hot Wheels are drooling.
The walk to the kitchen side door from the garage is already poured when Steven arrives.
The walk to the kitchen side door from the garage is already poured when Steven arrives about 1 pm. Mauricio from Gilsa says his team will be working on the concrete, polishing it, until about 10 pm because of the low temperatures and high winds.
From inside the kitchen door looking out -- walk to the driveway at left, with the team troweling concrete at right toward the 90-degree turn at the front of the house.
From inside the kitchen door looking out — walk to the driveway at left, with the team troweling concrete at right toward the 90-degree turn at the front of the house.
Troweling the pads at left, dumping wheelbarrows of concrete at right. The Gilsa team moves quickly.
Troweling the pads at left, dumping wheelbarrows of concrete at right. The Gilsa team moves quickly.
Wheelbarrows in motion. And that brand new Tonka truck spinning new loads of concrete into wheelbarrows.
Wheelbarrows in motion. Shovels deployed. And that brand new Tonka truck spinning new loads of concrete into wheelbarrows.
From inside the house looking out at the front walk as it takes form.
From inside the house looking out at the front walk as it takes form.
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