Monday, November 29, 2010

A Week of Nothing Much

Pressure treated lumber forms the framing for the entry ramp
Another frustrating week of nothing much. Still waiting for the replacement Kynar steel panels, which may (or may not) arrive tomorrow. I wanted the Tyvek wrap finished, but the crew said we've run out of wrap. They said they'd attach chicken wire to the exterior of the basement for the stucco application, but they don't have any chicken wire.

Finally - the sliding front door
They were going to install the basement sliding doors, but they don't have the equipment they need to first smooth out the concrete floor. They need to drill through the concrete for the last remaining vents, but they don't have the core drill. They probably could have built the blocking for the framing of the deck - if they had the requisite lumber.

Another beautiful Pacifica evening
In short, not much happened due to bad planning and lack of foresight, and as a result we're slipping further and further behind schedule. Time to kick ass and take names.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Doors of Perception

A couple of problems on the home front. No-one could figure out why the Kynar window pans (which are designed to sit just below each window, provide a tapered sill, clip into cleats and then cover the top of a corrugated panel) wouldn't fit properly.

Well, funny story. After talking to Rocio, it turns out that, as we suspected, the window pans were actually manufactured upside down, with the 1 1/2" lip at the window, and the 3/4" lip at the faux panel on the outside, instead of the other way around.

The only solution is to have all of the window pan Kynar pieces re-fabricated and shipped out to us ASAP, although with a holiday coming up fast, ASAP isn't likely to be S enough.

The Kynar wasn't the only trouble today. There was also a slight problem with The Doors. Turns out that, for reasons I can't quite fathom, we have no way of securing the stationary door panels in place.

Jim the Window guy said we're supposed to screw three, um, screws through each door jamb and into the fixed panels, but there's simply no way to do it, so he's going to have to FedEx seven pairs of clips to us, even though they apparently don't belong with these particular doors. Weird, eh?

In other news, Hector the Framer had to cut an inch of concrete from the driveway retaining wall where it meets the Kynar trim at the front of the house, so that we have a clean, continuous line of steel all the way along the bottom. Which was, quite frankly, a pain in the arse.

In short, progress today was painfully slow as a plethora of problems were explained and agonized over. Tomorrow will be better.

And finally, at the end of a long day, it occurred to me that Murphy, of Law fame, was, without a doubt, a builder.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Doors!

Door pans in place prior to installing the door frames
For the past few days Hector the Framer and the rest of the guys have been working on the frames for the rear sliding doors. We had to order door pans and wait for those to be delivered before work could even start.

A door frame is assembled in the second bedroom
Once the door pans were in place, the frames could be assembled, hopefully with everything connected correctly.

All of the frames in place, awaiting the doors
Then the frames were lifted into place. They have no nail fins, just what are called block frames, which nail directly onto the wood opening. Where the doors meet the steel posts there are wood shims, to provide thermal breaks between metal surfaces.

The assembly and installation of the sliding doors was certainly more complicated than it looked, and much more complicated than I imagined it would be. Grace Vycor weatherproofing had to be in place before anything else could be done.

After all of the frames were secured and made plumb and level, pieces of Kynar trim were installed above the door headers.

Finally, on the foggiest day I've seen in Pacifica thus far, the massive and incredibly heavy doors were carefully lifted onto their rails. I know they were incredibly heavy; I assume they were lifted carefully, although I wasn't there to witness it. Thanks to the douchebag who rear-ended my Prius with his gigantic, gleaming new Cadillac Escalade on Sunday, I spent the morning at the body shop.

The anodized aluminum Jeld-Wen Premium Series doors do look quite magnificent, and they have a seriously solid and meaty feel to them. We'll see over the coming years how effectively the LoE 366 glass protects the house and furnishings from the harsh rays of the sun.

Silver Kynar steel panels will provide a shiny finish for the house
With the rear sliding doors done (we still have to install the front sliding door and the pair of sliders in the basement - maybe tomorrow?), the guys moved on to the Kynar siding, and as with everything else, it seems, progress was frustratingly awkward and slow.

Eventually Jose was able to get the first silver panel to slide down the cleats and clip into the bottom trim, but not without making a cut here and a tweak there, and expending a considerable amount of energy. He was adding the second panel when I left for the day;  tomorrow it's my fervent hope and expectation that Jose and Hector will be able to fly through the remaining rear panels, and move on to the front of the house.

Jose adds a flat Kynar steel panel to the rear face of the house

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Up on the Roof With The Blue Man Group

Hold-downs for solar panels from the future
While Hector the Framer and his crew were busy for a second day of constructing the door pans and frames for the big sliding doors at the back of the house, the guys from Dura-Foam spent the day doing their thing up on the roof.

I can't afford a solar panel system right now (plus, it would cost in the region of $11,000 after rebates, and I only expect to spend about $75.00 or less per month on gas and electric, so we're looking at a twelve or thirteen year return on investment) but I'd still like to be a good green citizen and go solar at some point, so I had the Dura-Foam guys install the hold-downs for some future photovoltaic panels before they sprayed the roof.

The Blue Man Group
Once they were finished with the hold-downs, they donned their blue man group outfits and freaky-looking masks and sprayed foam around all of the roof penetrations.

After that was done they let loose, and within a couple of hours an inch and a half of polyurethane foam covered the entire roof.

Wasn't guy on the right in The Empire Strikes Back?
I like the look of this. The foam provides a completely seamless roof, and has an R9 insulation value, so when we add batts in between the I-joists we should be able to easily meet and even surpass the required R30 for the roof.

A roof full of foam penises?
In fact the insulation properties of the foam roof are better than advertised: the light color is reflective so the roof will never get too hot, and because it's seamless there's no way for cold air to penetrate the building.

The finished roof in all its foamy glory
The sliders are taking longer than expected to install but they should all go in tomorrow, when many exciting pictures of The (post-Jim Morrison) Doors will undoubtedly adorn my blog post.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shiny Happy House

For the time being the Minnie House is all shiny white, and it positively gleams in the sun.

By the time I arrived at the site this morning the last set of windows, a huge bank of twelve aluminum panes beyond the dining area, was already framing the big, beautiful cypress tree, and I think I let out an audible 'wow' when I saw it.

Later the crew finished installing the exterior OSB - in fact they ran out, and as you can see they had to use CDX plywood for the last few pieces on the east side of the house - and when I left they were putting the finishing touches to wrapping all four sides in Tyvek.

Hector the Framer also managed to find time to build the wall around which the staircase will wrap, and upon which I will one day hang a framed copy of the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle from Tuesday November 2nd 2010, the day after the San Francisco Giants, finally and gloriously, won the World Series.

It's not all happy happy joy joy. There's something of a backlog of things that need to be done, and each one depends upon something else happening first. Robert the A/V Guy can't do any more wiring until Mike the Electrician runs his Romex wire in the I-joists, which he can't do until the Durafoam roof is sprayed, and that can't happen until the final roof penetrations are cut for the vents, and that won't happen until tomorrow.

The electrician is also awaiting the installation of the sliding doors, which can't go in until the door pans arrive and the deck penetrations are waterproofed, and that won't happen until, well, until it happens.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Little Bit This and a Little Bit Of That

OK, admittedly, I'm not a builder and I know very little about building, but... it seems to me that you finish the OSB for the whole house, then you wrap the whole house in Tyvek, and then you start installing the Kynar siding.

Or not. Maybe you just add some OSB here, add a little Tyvek there, start on some Kynar siding, and move ahead on all fronts as and when you can... what do I know?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A White Shroud on a Hill

We're in the middle of a busy week. All of the windows at the front of the house are now in, but not without their share of challenging issues. Many of the panels had to be cut and reframed, and the two clerestory windows that frame the porch were 1" too wide for the openings, so the framers had to use some Harry Potter magic spells to make them fit.

The massive sliding doors were supposed to be installed on Monday, but there's a delay: first because we don't have the door pans yet, and then because we need to take care of the flashing/weatherproofing where the deck joists penetrate the house first - and there's still some discussion amongst the wise men about how to best achieve this.

While that debate continued much of the OSB was added to the outside of the house, in preparation for the Tyvek weatherproofing and then the Kynar steel siding.

The plumbers were also busy again, installing the downspouts into the faux wall panels at the back of the house, and then wrapping the bays with Tyvek. I'm not too sure what the story is with the random hole in the wall. Maybe the gopher is back causing trouble again?

Yesterday's weather was strange. It was a little chilly but glorious during the day, then it rained in the afternoon and evening. While it was nice, though, it was really nice, and i was able to get some work done in my new al fresco office suite, which as you can see is not too shabby.

While working I noticed this abstract silhouetted sculpture formed by the DeWalt power drill and the step ladder, which according to one friend looks like an oil rig, although I see a mutant Yorkshire terrier...

And so to today. The house is now eerily wrapped in plastic, lending it the sombre and slightly spooky aspect of one of Dexter Morgan's killing rooms.

Half of the house is now wrapped in white Tyvek, and scaffolding has been erected on the east side, where the large side windows need to go in. The roofers are due to come and spray the foam roof before the end of the week, and with any luck we can get the sliders in before the weekend, although I'm not holding my breath.

In the meantime the house will retain the mysterious aura of a white shroud on a hill.