Friday, July 31, 2009

Parge Away!

Elmer's crew spent some time today making a huge mess of the house. But that was expected. Parging the walls with cement is not the cleanest task during home construction. I came to the house tonight to install the RG6 cable wire into each room, and snapped some photos with my iPhone of the parging. I suspect they only worked 1/2 day, given that only a small area was done and we had some thunderstorms this afternoon. Check out their progress so far.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

100th Blog Post

This marks our 100th post. And I'm happy to report there's been some more progress. In the past couple of days, our recycling dumpster was hauled away. We filled two dumpsters during the construction, which is less than 1/2 what typical construction sends to the landfill. And many of the items placed in our dumpster will be recycled instead of dumped.

Bob Demarr's crew spent about 7 hours fixing the problems with the rough grading caused by Bartley Corp's team. Bartley's job foreman admitted to Andreas that they really don't do grading work - they don't have the right equipment or labor. That showed with the mess they created. It took Andreas more than 30 hours to dig out tree protection fencing Bartley ran over with a machine and dumped dirt on top of. I spent another 10 hours uncovering the Holly Tree roots they graded over, even though the root protection zone is clearly marked on the grading plan. Alas, we're now on the right path with grading. Demarr's crew hauled away a few truck loads of dirt today, leaving the lot looking much better than it has the past six months!

Inside, Bernie from Clarke County Plumbing, continued work on the rough-in plumbing. He put the vent pipes through the roof (now Piedmont Roofing will come back to seal that all up) and worked on the basement bathroom. Ferguson delivered the tub, toilet wall carrier and shower faucet rough-in and Bernie will install that soon. He also drilled through the EIFS to prepare for the outdoor shower piping, the hose bibs, and the sump pump piping. Unfortunately, he drilled the sump pump holes too high - the sump pump pipes were supposed to come out beneath the deck - so we'll have to work with Bernie to get that resolved.

Also inside, Aaron laid the pex tubing for the bathroom radiant floor heating. I want the shower floor to be as toasty warm as the rest of the bathroom floor, so that had to be laid today so a first layer of concrete can go over the pex tubing in the shower tomorrow. Bernie can then protect the shower floor properly with the rubber membrane and when the concrete floor is poured, it will work out perfectly.

Elmer's crew started work today on the parging. They spent the day applying a metal lathe around the doors and windows. They'll finish that tomorrow then apply the thin layer of cement to the walls and round out the edges by the doors and windows. After that cures, I can apply the American Clay Earth Plaster over the cement parging.

Jay with Quality Window & Door hasn't provided the exact date yet for the corrected clerestory windows to be delivered - hopefully that will be in the early part of next week so the cedar siding can go on Thursday morning.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Staining Cedar

There's a particular look we were going for with the cedar stain and I think we're achieving it! At Amicus Green Building Center in Kensington, MD, we purchased a "one coat only" stain that's made from plant oils. The color we chose is mahogany, which will give the beautiful orange-ish, red color we'd like for the cedar. This will be beautiful with the lighter color stucco below and the dark metal roof. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the cedar arrived on Friday. I had ordered the stain from Amicus a couple of weeks ago, it arrived, so I picked it up after work on Friday evening and I spent the weekend staining. I got most of the shiplap cedar siding done on three sides, and all of the cedar trim on one side. I only made it through a couple of the longer cedar fascia boards before running off to a friend's 60th birthday dinner. In any case, I made a lot of progress and Andreas is off tomorrow so he'll pick up where I left off - finishing the cedar fascia boards and the final side of the cedar shiplap siding. I have some more shiplap to stain for the outdoor shower, but there's not a big rush to get than completed since I'll build that fencing around the shower at my leisure. Here are some pics of the stain and the wood - both finished and unfinished.


While I was out of town, a lot of things happened at the house. I need to get out of town more often, so progress continues!

Bob DeMarr and his team did the street cut and trenching to the house, as you saw in the photos from the other day. Later in the week they drilled through the 12" thick concrete foundation to bring the water and sewer lines through into the house. Meanwhile, Bernie from Clarke County Plumbing was on-site working on the rough-ins for all of the plumbing - bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, etc. Southland Insulators came back to finish the air sealing in the first floor. And Bartley's crew came back to re-do the deck piers they excavated and poured way back in February (the ones that collapsed when the excavation for the basement began). So we now have footers for the deck framing that will begin on Monday. Also this week, Bernie will continue with the rough-in plumbing to connect the sewer/water lines and the sump pumps; Elmer will be on-site to do the parging over the interior TerraBrick walls (except the pantry, which we're leaving as bricks to show them off), and Aaron will continue with his to-do list of items he needs to follow-through on, such as correcting the height of the baseboard outlets, installing the fireplace chimney and 6" duct for the range hood, etc. We're close to plumbing and electrical rough-in inspection time, which is very exciting.

The latest word on the corrected clerestory windows is they should be here early next week. Once that's done, we'd like to move quickly on finishing the exterior, laying the radiant floor pex tubing, and pouring the concrete first floor so we can then close-in the walls with drywall. It now looks like we're aiming for a mid-October move-in. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

TW Perry Rocks

I am at the house to stain the beautiful cedar siding we ordered through TW Perry. Actually all of our wood products have been supplied by them. Our sales rep, Ricky Bise, has gone out of his way to provide exceptional customer service. The cedar is the latest example of that. I have only this weekend available to stain the cedar and it was running a day behind from the mill, so it wasn't going to arrive on our lot until Monday. Needless to say, that wouldn't work with my tight schedule. Ricky sent his assistant, Jose, to get the cedar and deliver it to our lot yesterday so I could stain it this weekend. Ricky lost an important team member for several hours during a busy day. But it made all the difference in the world for our project and we are incredibly grateful. If you're building or renovating, give Ricky a call in TW Perry's Gaithersburg, MD office at 301.840.9600. He is extremely competitive in pricing and pulls out all the stops to ensure his customers are happy. Many thanks, Ricky.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Big Dig

Just a few pictures of our own version of the big dig: the sewer pipe to our house, the City's water meter, and the patched street. Nice job from the guys at DeMarr!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

EIFS, Act 5

Andreas is out of town for work and I'm back from my trips, so it's my turn to blog again. I hope you have an enjoyable Independence Day holiday today.

The crew from Seasons Services finished up the EIFS installation on the Southern side of the house on Friday morning. They work quickly! They've taken down almost all of their scaffolding as well. And they've caulked around all of the doors and windows so they're sealed properly from the exterior. Now that the basement doors arrived and Aaron has installed those, they also started the EIFS in the areaway. Since the EIFS installation is a process, they'll come back a couple of times to finish that section. There are some other minor details they need to take care of - such as completing the work around the step light electrical boxes and cleaning up the site. But we've been really pleased with Seasons Services' work on the EIFS installation. They're quick, professional, on the job when they say they're going to be there, and the quality of their work is very high. Here are some pictures of the Southern side: