Tag Archives: concrete

The Final Stretch and Struggle

Sunrise

Sunrise

The last couple of weeks have been a struggle for me because I’m getting impatient to get in the house. The weather has been getting colder (and then warmer and then colder) and the little cabin is not really a warm place even with (sometimes) three space heaters blasting away.

The cabin pipes that have always had the water drained from them by now and I’ve been feeling the pressure to close up this cabin. It’s been six months since we moved up here (both from the big house and from Florida) and we’re feeling the need to stretch out!

We are finally in the final stretch of building our home and it can’t happen fast enough as far as I am concerned.

We sent back the washer and dryer that we purchased because they were way too big for our laundry space. There is a lot of mechanical stuff that needs to go into our utility room and we are already wishing that the utility room was bigger. *Sigh*

We are still waiting for our replacement cabinets to be delivered. I think we had both expected to hear from Home Depot in advance of their delivery about how they intend to make good on the near-disastrous kitchen order but there have been no calls. We expect the cabinets to be delivered early next week. We are crossing fingers and toes!

Our intrepid ditch digger, Ron, came back to dig ditches for our water and gas lines. The water line has to be at least four feet deep so that it doesn’t freeze. With our rocky ground at the side of the lake, we were very lucky that we have Ron who found a few more big rocks but got us all dug out and ready. Of course, that meant that our driveway and most of the yard were a muddy mess when it decided to rain … and it rained sideways here … but Ned pulled out some of the boards that we’ve been keeping around “just in case” and made “bridges” so we could get in and out of the cabin and across the ditch to the new house.

IMG_5715After many false hopes, we finally found a well company that was willing to help us. We are so grateful for the successful “fracturing” job by Rolf’s Well Drilling and we are happy to report that we have lots more well water! And now we have a new pump in the well and the new water line is in place. We’re all ready (almost) to hook it up in the house!

The boiler is in the utility room with the storage tank. We still have to add a water holding tank to the mix. It shouldn’t take long to get the radiators in place on the second floor and the heating unit for the third floor and then we will be able to finish sealing the pine floors and ceilings. It’s too cold to do a good job without heat! (Although it may warm up again next week which would be perfect timing and we could open the windows to let the stink out!)

We’ve had some difficulty with Dead River Company coming when they say they are coming but we finally have the gas line in the ground and they are scheduled to return on Wednesday with our new 1,000 gallon tank and they’ll be able to hook us up if the heating equipment is ready. I’d hate to think about the phone call that I’ll make if they don’t show up as they say they will. I’m working double overtime to not stress over their rather poor record so far. I’m trying to trust the process and breathe.

Stair Treads

Stair Treads

We have been polyurethane-ing all the pine for the trim and stairs. That’s a lot of wood that needs two or three coats with a sanding in between! Both Ned and I have been “painting” and we are not done yet.

The wood floors are finished on the second floor (with the exception of the bathroom) and the third floor is almost there. Once the third floor floors are done, the ceiling will be done and then we’ll have more polyurethaning to do!

The concrete floor needs to be stained before our stuff can come out of storage. That will not be a difficult job but we need to clean the concrete thoroughly, “etch” it with something so the stain will adhere and then stain and seal it. We’ve picked our stain and are ready to go … when all the other pieces are in place.

Today Tom came out to put the deck at the entryway on the house. We officially have a front step. Yay!

Our outside lights and two of the three kitchen pendants are in the house waiting for the electrician to get them hung. It’s bizarre to walk into the house and have lights on! We’ve ordered the balance of the outdoor fixtures and the ceiling fans and they should arrive pretty soon. Once they’re all in, the electrician is pretty much done. We do need him to provide a hook-up for our new generator, too. I am hoping we never need to use it but when you’re at the end of a dirt road, in Maine, in the winter … well, suffice it to say, it’s required. Ours isn’t fancy but it should keep the refrigerator and boiler going and a few lights on!

Salvaged Flooring Resurrected as a Wall

Salvaged Flooring Resurrected as a Wall

Ned has finished the wall in the front entryway. These are the salvaged floor boards from the old house. They’ve all been sanded and will be sanded once more now that they’re hanging. We both loved the idea and we both love the result! A nod to those who have walked the floors in the past.

We have a move-in date of November 19th. A Thursday. And Ned’s younger daughter is coming for Thanksgiving. Not a minute to waste!

 

“It’s a CE-ment pond Pa!”

 

first walls (2 of 5)

We have started construction of the first floor walls after pouring the slab last week. I am trying to water the slab to keep it cool and promote a longer cure which will add to its strength. Temperature affects the rate of chemical reactions between the portland cement (one of the main ingredients)  and water so keeping it cool might also lessen the cracking.              MV5BMTkzODczMzU0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMTE3MjM2._V1_SX640_SY720_

So Ellie May was wrong, its a concrete pond (although it might not even be that…shockcrete or marcite? I’ll get back to you on that)

 

Having worked a little with Habitat for Humanity, I know enough about home building and tools to be able to connect a nail gun to a compressor and which end of a hammer to hold. I get to labor on this house because I blackmailed my contractor. Tom, Chief Muckity Muck of “The Chore Store”, is very knowledgeable about every facet of home construction and has shown me a lot-“How many times I gotta tell ya, keep it square and flush!” I strive to be worthy.

first walls (4 of 5)

View from the Living Room

 

Slab Day is Here – An Update

Red Pex, Blue Foam Insulation ... in time for the 4th of July

Red Pex, Blue Foam Insulation … in time for the 4th of July

Last week the radiant heat pipes were set into the house. It was fun to see the grid of rebar and the red Pex pipes all in place. Air-tested, no leaks. I can’t wait to walk on them. We also met with a man who will be acid staining the concrete when the house is closer to being done. We’ve decided that we’d like to keep it simple and stain the concrete floors as they are. No tile or other for coverings are needed on the main floor. Upstairs we’ll have wood floors and baseboard heat.

We had the privilege of watching two bald eagles fly over our 4th of July picnic down the road. The first one landed in a tree by the house and we listened to the crows squawking and the eagle’s weak peeps. There was another big bird, too. The neighbors think it may be a golden eagle, we wondered if it was an immature bald eagle. But whatever it was, we all were thrilled to watch the big birds on Independence Day. And we’re all so glad that they’re living around our lake.

Yesterday Ned saw a big furry something in the lake. He took out the canoe to and found it was a dead raccoon. Bloated and stiff. What do you do with a dead raccoon? We didn’t want to let it rot in “our” lake. He buried it in the yard behind the boathouse. We’ve been having too much fun to blog.

We are making progress on the house, however! Today the slab got poured!

I marvel at the ability of the concrete truck drivers who can back their huge trucks down our challenging driveway backward with finesse. And the team of guys who, up to their ankles, can spread and smooth wet concrete with apparent ease. A real team.

The A Team (aka Arthur's Team)

The A Team (aka Arthur’s Team)

Arthur at Work by the lake. Ned watching and filming

Arthur at Work by the lake. Ned watching and filming

The pouring started at just a little bit past 6:24am this morning. Arthur our wonderful “cement guy” (my lovingly and respectfully coined phrase) was here bright and early to do whatever he had to do  and before I knew it, the rumble of the concrete truck could be heard. I had to get dressed for work quickly and grab my coffee so that I could go out and watch the big event. (I dressed so quickly that my underwear was inside-out!) It’s truly impressive to watch the team of men, concrete truck drivers, and Arthur’s team of five (including Arthur) in a time-proven process, communicating in nods and waves. A shovel-full here, half a barrel there and then making sure it’s all level and smooth. Sometimes with a machine and sometimes by hand. Amazing by my estimation.

Tonight it’s raining and will keep the slab cool and moist enough to slow the curing process and we’ll have a good, hard four-inch slab on which to build our house. I can’t believe that the next step is to raise some walls.

To my eyes, the house looks tiny. Tiny enough that Ned went out tonight to measure the slab. I’m happy to report that my eyes are wrong and it’s just the right size.

Woo! Hoo!

A Hard Matrix

Concrete…it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

A composite mixture consisting of mainly water, aggregate, and cement which over time forms a hard matrix which binds the rest of the ingredients together into a durable stone-like material with many uses. More concrete is used in building than steel, wood, aluminum, or plastics combined.

Four foot frost wall…done. The mix was a bit wet but it was a beautiful day. Only one leak.