All three trades were working this week. The HVAC guys had an opening so they started running refrigerant lines for the 9 head duel unit mini-split system we're putting in. The plumbers also started this week and have plumbed the vents to run up and ven out of one of the cupolas. On top of that the garage door guys installed both garage doors. We're hoping this accellerates the completion of the house.
Our sealed floor is performing very well. It is so non-pourous and sealed that the crew used three colors of chalk. First yellow, then green, and finally red. The green just powerderd on the floor leaving no line at all. I had drilled into the GC to not use red on the concrete so he was surprised and concerned when his framers used red chalk. No worries, however, as even the red barely worked on the floor. A simple wipe removes the red chalk. I would recommend to any barndo builder that wants bare polished concrete to use the Hiperguard as the final sealer. It is designed for industrial and commercial concrete flooring.
You can see the floor layout chalk marks in the photo. Also shown is the master bedroom framing.
After all of the insulation was sprayed in, we started with the concrete floor, and that will be our final finished floor. After gettng some ideas from Wharton Hardware and Supply we rented the biggest grinder that we could. Since it is a three phase tool, we needed to rent a 70KW generator also. The crew from K&C Contruction began work as soon as the equipment arrived. They first did a metal grind at 20 grit, then 50, then 100. Next they applied a "grout sealant" to reduce the porosity of the concrete. Next, they did another grind on the grout sealant. After this, they used a concrete desnsifier that further reduces porosity of the concrete and adds considerable hardness and resilience. It also preps the surface for the next phase which is to resin grind to start to get luster. We're not yet sure if we want to go to 200 or 400 grit as a final polish. We'll see how the 200 turns out. After the polish we will be applying Husqvarna HiperGuardTM. It "is a penetrating guard that can be applied to a concrete surface at the end of the polishing process. It makes the concrete significantly more resistant to fats, oils and water, but still allows the concrete to breathe. It works by lining the capillaries on a concrete surface. This creates significantly more surface tension, which prevents various substances absorbing into the concrete."
The week after the insulation was sprayed in, the interior of the house remains mild despite 100+ degree temperatures outside. I bought a FLIR camera that attaches to my phone and took some baseline pictures to get a feel for how well the insulation was installed. You can see the outside surface is 109 degrees while the corresponding inside surface is 89 degrees -- 20 degrees cooler!
We had several accomplishments this week. First our septic tank and drain fields were installed, inspected and covered. There is a bit more work to level the slopes and run a sewer drain connection to the garage corner for us and our visitors to dump RVs. Next, our closed cell spray foam in complete (2" everwhere and flashed over the girts and purlins). Then we had the garage portion painted white-ish to make it look nice and keep the foam from yellowing. Next week we start grinding and polishing the interior concrete.
Last post we reported that there were issues with the front patio truss height. We and Worldwide Steel came up with a solution to extend the column height by adding I Beam shim to the bottom of the column. The CEO of WWS was concerned about the look of the column, but we assured him it was not a problem since the trusses will all be enclosed and wrapped in stone. Installing the shims allowed our guys to continue the roof framing and build into the front to side hip joint.
Meanwhile as the crew builds, Mrs. BluffBarndo met up with the Pony Express rider that travelled through town.
As progress proceeded on the covered patios, our steel contractor noticed the side roof weren't aligning with the front roof line. After lots of analysis and measuring, I contacted the steel supplier. They confirmed the front column trusses were supposed to be 9'6", but they were manufactured to 9'0". After a lot of back and forth, we determined the best solution was to create a steel shim to add 5" to the bottom of the front column, Those will be in on Tuesday.
Also, check out the look of the cupolas. They looked massive on the ground, but look small on the roof. Also compare this photo with the web page title photo. 'Getting there!
A little off topic, but with this long weekend and no building activity, we had the chance to watch the annual Dayton Sheep and saw some wild goats in the same area. Click on the sheep photo to see the video.
Half the roof is on as well as all three dormers. This week we expect the remainder of the roof and dormers will be completed, then the crew will move on to the patio covers. This seems like a good time to show how large the interior volume is as well as how the exterior is constructed from the inside. Check out the video by clicking on this image here:
One thing to consider with chosing a metal building over a conventional build is the benefits of this type of construction. Obviously, the esthetic is different but that is a personal choice. Here in Northern Nevada there are many steel buildings and as you can see by the photos, the finish can blend with the surroundings quite well. I want to detail some of the advantages and disadvantages of this construction style:
Fire resistance. Out here in the country, having a fire resistant structure is a real plus. While I don't expect the level of fires that the forests of the Sierra Nevadas can have, having steel facing on all sides and roof gives peace of mind.
Maintenance Free. Our GC mentioned this when he was talking about the construction and resontated as true. The paint is warrentied for 30 years even in the harsh Nevada high altitude sun. The structure itself is warrentied for 50 years.
Earthquake and wind resistant. The design is good for in excess of 115 mph wind and constructed for this earthquake zone.
Tight weatherproof structure. After the closed cell foam insulation is in, there are few penetrations in the structure that aren't very well sealed. I anticipate a very tight home from the blower door test that is a code requirement.
Alternate construction techniques. In the end we are basically building a home inside a building due to code requirements. Since the web trusses are not necessarily sightly and the chord bracing is difficult to sheetrock we chose to frame inside the trusses. This adds cost, and decreases interior space.
This week construction slowed a bit the winds kicked up preventing safe panel installation. We also had some items to discuss with Worldwide Steel, the building supplier. Incidently, they are a real pleasure to work with and are always very responsive. So the concerns and answers are below.
Q: Do the side panels require a "stich screw" to hold the edges down? A: No, these panels are designed to not require stich screws as the panels lock together quite well.
Q: Do the roof panels require mastic to prevent water infiltration at the edges? A: No, the roof panels are on a 5:12 pitch which does not require the mastic. The 2:12 pitch panels are on the patio covers and are continuous in length.
Q: The garage door jams are damaged in shipment. Can they be replaced? A: New ones are on the way (timing TBD)
Q: Are the windows water proof as installed? It looks like water can get behind the panels. A: Yes they are water proof, The J trim prevents water instrusion. In addition, all panels and windows will be sealed with closed cell foam insulation.
Our electrical service gets pulled and hooked up Monday, and that is a major milestone. Now all the trades can use that instead of the noisy and costly generator. Yay!
This week we have had good progress. First the exterior framing for the outside is getting complete, including framing for the windows and doors. Most of the windows were installed and sealed. Wainscoting was applied on two sides along with window trim. In addition, we heard from NV Energy that the final work to place a transformer, pull wire to the house and install a meter will be done in a week, and then we will have power.
We chose some engineered stone for the front wainscot and columns (16 in total) and are finding supply issues. We could have gotten the stone we chose in a few days from one supplier but would have meant a $7,000 premium. We chose another supplier and product (pictured loose on the right) and saved the $7,000 but we will wait two months or more for it. It is not critical path, so we chose the latter.
Storms swept through the area starting Friday and slowed progress a little, plus the guys left early for Good Friday. When the winds kick up, they can't be handling the sheet metal nor when it is wet and raining.
The crew from Clint Jensen Construction have done an outstanding job of not only erecting the steel structure, but also in framing out our window and door openings. We have had to adjust several window opening to accomodate the web trusses, chord bracing, and wind rod bracing. Take note that in a hybrid steel structure such as this, these components are part of the engineering of the structure for wind and earthquake shear and cannot be removed or modified. We had to move one window in the front from the wind rod bracing section and several were moved to alternate locations due to interference from the chord bracing and trusses. Also the top floor windows were a challenge to fit in due to the need to have them up six inches off the patio roof.
This week we made the most visible progress to date. First, the trench to the street for the electrical conduits were inspected and backfilled. The transformer pad was placed and compaction test performed and passed. This also cleared the path the real driveway will take. Next, the power panel was placed and temporary breakers and outlets installed.
Meanwhile, the building construction was started. First, half the roof trusses and purlins were constructed on the ground. Next, the side columns were bolted upright, and finally a crane was brought in to hoist the preconstruction roof assemblies in place.
There was a week of no activity after the last post, then it got active. NV Energy came out for the Pre-con meeting with our GC and approved construction. Our GC immediately began trenching for the three inch conduit and two one inch conduits to the street for power, phone and cable (neither of which have service in our area). At the same time, our metal building crew began staging the metal trusses for assembly, and Maddog and I retrieved all the hardware from our storage unit. While the ditch crew began their dig to 5.5-6 feet down (the conduit needs to be below 5 feet from the surface) the metal crew began assembling the roof trusses and wood purlins for every other truss (see photo). The plan is to use a crane a spreader to lift the entire roof truss assembly onto the column trusses and adding the shear rods so that the erected assembly will be stable. The winds can really blow here to 40 mph or more and we're expecting a quick storm to come through on Monday.
Meanwhile a new visitor and baby came to visit last night. This is the first time we've seen deer here.
Walking around the property we always look for rocks and plants that are new to us and native to the area. While diminuative, we found a couple of early spring plants starting to grow. The first is Early Shaggy Tuft (Stenandrium barbatum) and the other Nevada Biscuit Root (Lomatium nevadense) a member of the carrot family. We look forward to discovering more native plants this spring.