These are the interior walls, not quite done yet. There will be a low wall on top of the storage deck, but that’s about it. The bathroom is enclosed on the left and to the right a closet or sleeping area (depending on how the house is used). That wall in front will be paneled with plywood to clarify the language of the space: House = smooth, white box; partition intersects with panels.
There is a point in construction in every rafter framed house where there are only sticks overhead. If one is fortunate to be working on a sunny day you get the most wonderful display of light. As a designer I always want to stop here, but it doesn’t help the whole “dry-ness” aspect of living in a house.
Inevitably you’ve got to go and add decking, which can also be a joy if it’s really sturdy 3/4″ T&G CDX (real plywood). We’ll be able to spend time up on the roof without the fear of putting a foot through even if some day there is a leak the roof won’t degrade into fluff.
Another key is a good tight roof membrane. Below is Chris melting down the roof known as ‘torch down’. It’s a similar material to asphalt shingle, but it comes in rolls and and gets melted together. It’s tight and if it gets painted with a reflective paint it will likely last half a century. It’s comfortable enough to sit on (so long as the sun’s not beating on it) so it will make a nice place to hang out or stargaze.
The deck, above, took about a day. It helped that I finagled the beam pieces into place early. (note to the curious: Pressure treated wood is about twice as heavy as the normal stuff albeit necessary.) It’s 2x12s 16″ on center on the double 2×12 beams. That, above, is Andrew, my business partner, kindly adding some screws to prevent any future floor squeak. The decking is three-quarter inch (23/32) tongue and groove (glued and screwed), so it’s plenty strong. It looks good too, we may sand it and call it finished.
Putting up the walls was fairly straight forward. 2x6s 24″ on center is strong and allows for enough insulation. It was at this stage that I realized that ceiling was rather high, but that was the plan. There will be lots of vertical space to make the room feel larger and to provide storage for things like bikes or even a canoe. Pictured above is Mike on the left, local potter and art expert, meeting Dave, a local inventor, helping me build (day job). Dave’s experience has been crucial in getting this project going, not to mention his enormity. He can put up sheathing solo.
Putting up sheathing was easy for the bottom, but Dave did the top on his own. It helps that framing was done right. Every board was crowned (to coordinate the inevitable bowing) and the walls were plumbed to perfection. The effort put in here will ensure that drywall and siding go on without any extra trouble. Thinking Ahead!
I like it. Romans like it. Building Inspectors like it. What is there not to like about concrete? You are very likely sitting on some now with perhaps some wood in between. We’ll get to wood later. Concrete is a magical substance like lava, but it isn’t hot. It comes out of special volcanoes in Antarctica or Chile where they put it in trucks like the one show below and they drive it on subterranean, refrigerated highways to drop in the place where your house is going to go. It’s all very technical and fascinating.
The trick is getting it in the right shape before it turns to rock. That is a jolly run-around. In order to avoid doing a lot of work one must do a lot of work. In other words, in order to not dig a series of monstrous holes in the ground you have to do a lot of phone calling and scheduling and weather watching and paying out of dollars. I am tempted to say that it would almost be worth it to dig all these big holes by hand, but I just can’t. Not only must the holes be pain painstakingly laid out, but they must be laid out again and a couple more times just to make sure they are in the right spot. There is no going back with this concrete business. The integrity of the floor is decided at this stage, and everything else that you would like to be level, like water glasses, goes on top. So I took a lot of time to place my floor brackets in a floating jig right where I wanted them prior to a drop of the soon-to-be-very-hard-stuff showed up. Below is a picture of the jig and me toasting the antarctic lava gods with a giant spoon.
However, delay is not cancellation and progress is made! (Albeit for extra monies) Because our little house is too small to be considered a real house by the powers-that-be. It was sited at the back of our lot heretofore known as the East. This consequently made the house lower than the street. The sewer lie just under that, so unless I wanted the neighborhoods sewage coming up through my drains we had to install a device known as a grinderpump. Notwithstanding the fact that it is useless when the power is out, it is what it sounds like and its rather expensive. Likewise it goes in a very expensive hole. Go figure. And this is what it looks like when it’s done.