Saturday, September 5, 2009

Three steps forward, two steps back

Since Mike is out of town, I get to make the Friday progress report.

Early in the morning, Dominion Virginia Power - our power distributor - came to hook up the cable that D. A. Foster had laid the day before. All they had to do was to run the cable up the electric pole at the front of our lot, connect the other end to our meter box, install the permanent meter and ... we had power in the house! They took the meter out of the old temporary service, and we can now dismantle the old temporary pole. Power's on!

Next, I decided to take the concrete that Bartley Corp had spilled (see Mike's earlier post) to be recycled. Since we are still officially Arlington County residents, I drove the concrete to Arlington's Solid Waste station. As a resident, you can drop off "small" amounts of concrete there for free. They grind it up and re-use it as aggregate for road and other construction.

Here's a picture of 1,120 pounds of concrete in Mike's truck:

And this is Arlington County's inert materials yard where it gets recycled:

Next, Southland Insulators came to install the spray foam insulation in our ceiling, and around the band in the basement. We chose a Demilec product, "Agribalance." Like the more well-known Icynene, it is an open-cell spray foam, but it contains more than 20% renewable, agricultural-based ingredients (mostly soy). It gives us an R-value of 4.45 per inch - and we're getting just a little over 8 inches for an R-38.9.

It's not easy to install. The applicator sprays a thin film onto the ceiling, which over the next 3 seconds grows to anywhere between 4 and 10 inches. Applying this smoothly and evenly is a difficult job. If you're thinking about doing this yourself ... think again! It is not for the faint-hearted, it's a messy job (it sprays just about everywhere), and ... it stinks. Here's a picture of the applicator, complete with plastic protection suit and fresh-air respirator:

Here's the ceiling once he was done ...

... well, three-quarters done. Then he ran out of material. They're coming back on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday - labor day) to finish up the ceiling and sides, and move on down to the basement. That means we had to cancel the scheduled close-in inspection, but it gives us a chance to measure that we've got the right amount of sprayfoam depth everywhere. I marked the areas that were under-sprayed with orange spray paint - that way, there's no ambiguity about where we need a little extra! Chris Conway, our EarthCraft advisor spent a few hours helping me understand how to tell where the insulation got under-applied, and how important the right spray-depth is.

Another step back (or forward?) was that the siding crew got fired. They just proved incapable of being precise and careful with what's a very visible component of our house. Every time one of our team (Aaron or I) turned around after giving them instructions, they just did how they pleased anyway. So, on Tuesday another siding crew will take over where they left off, fix what they couldn't do right, and hopefully give us the perfect siding.

1 comment:

  1. You would think with the job market being what it is in construction that your subs would want to keep their jobs. Hope the next siding crew does a good job for you.