Tag 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.

 

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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.
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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.
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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.

 

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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.
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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.
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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.

 

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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.

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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.
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Teach, learn, caulk, measure

Above … Ron Dahlke guides Kevin Rehberg through how to properly toenail studs. Apprentice Kevin is building a new section of wall where Aaron Pratt needs structure for the cabinets he will design, build and install — and for the electric and plumbing lines that will weave through the new lumber. At the back door, Cris works out the door trim he will nail into place — brickmold PVC that will never rot, trimmed into flat stock on the table saw, flipped to put the cut side up against the flashing, leaving the finished side exposed for paint.

From outside, Cris nails the PVC trim into place around the back door off the kitchen and family room.
From outside, Cris nails the PVC trim into place around the back door off the kitchen and family room.
This is the back wall of the kitchen -- or the side of the house, depending on perspective. The cooktop and hood will be installed at left. The sink will be centered under the window, with the dishwasher to the right of the sink. The hole at the bottom of the wall is where the original cooktop vented outside. Cris from Ranserve shimmed the studs with long wedges of lumber, because it leans out about 1/2-inch at the top. The electricians marked the wall to track the wire runs and switches they will install -- and, at right, below the window, the plumbers tacked into place a metal plate that prevents nails from penetrating water lines. This is a busy, hard-working wall.
This is the back wall of the kitchen — or the side of the house, depending on perspective. The cooktop and hood will be installed at left. The sink will be centered under the window, with the dishwasher to the right of the sink. The hole at the bottom of the wall is where the original cooktop vented outside. Cris from Ranserve shimmed the studs with long wedges of lumber, because it leans out about 1/2-inch at the top. The electricians marked the wall to track the wire runs and switches they will install — and, at right, below the window, the plumbers tacked into place a metal plate that prevents nails from penetrating water lines. This is a busy, hard-working wall.
This is the trench carved into the slab by Cris and Kevin -- which the electricians will use to run wire in conduit to outlets mounted in the island.
This is the trench carved into the slab by Cris and Kevin — which the electricians will use to run wire in conduit to outlets mounted in the island.
The painters are caulking the windows, sealing up the house with silicon in preparation for expanding foam insulation. Only the lower portion of each window is caulked. Ron explains that the top and sides will be sealed with foam.
The painters are caulking the windows, sealing up the house with silicon in preparation for expanding foam insulation. Only the lower portion of each window is caulked. Ron explains that the top and sides will be sealed with foam.
The electrical walk continues in the master bath. Steve from Capstone, left, and Ron, doublecheck everything that Steven measured out, ensuring that the center of the sink will properly align with the center of the medicine cabinets -- and where to mount electrical outlets at each side of the shelf above the vanity. This is the second time we've marked these measures, applying the basic rule of building anything -- "measure twice, cut once."
The electrical walk continues in the master bath. Steve from Capstone, left, and Ron, doublecheck everything that Steven measured out, ensuring that the center of the sink will properly align with the center of the medicine cabinets — and where to mount electrical outlets at each side of the shelf above the vanity. This is the second time we’ve marked these measures, applying the basic rule of building anything — “measure twice, cut once.”
Architect Brett Grinkmeyer visited at Steven's request to consult on potential paint colors for the exterior of Emerald Hill. Ron walked Brett and Steven up to the master bedroom, asking for guidance on how to adjust and center all the ceiling lights and air-conditioning vents -- organizing what would otherwise appear to be haphazard, unplanned holes that staggered drunkenly across the ceiling.
Architect Brett Grinkmeyer visited at Steven’s request to consult on potential paint colors for the exterior of Emerald Hill. Ron walked Brett and Steven up to the master bedroom, asking for guidance on how to adjust and center all the ceiling lights and air-conditioning vents — organizing what would otherwise appear to be haphazard, unplanned holes that staggered drunkenly across the ceiling.

Notes from the day:

  • Ross Britton walked Emerald Hill with Ron, auditing the installation of the HVAC ducts.
  • Ron and Steven talked about the staircase demo and rebuild that is planned for later this week — and removal of the oak flooring, in hopes it can be donated to Habitat for re-use.
  • Cris found the wires to the sprinkler system at the back of the garage — this will be important when it’s time to rebuild the sprinkler system.
  • And a series of inspections might start Wednesday this week.
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