Archive

Carpentry

The most exciting thing for me lately has been our new door bell. This is no ordinary door bell. How could an ordinary door bell be all that exciting, anyway? No, this is a unique and totally awesome DIY door bell. And it’s a door bell with a backstory that involves a dilapidated fence, new gates, and a fruitless search for an old-fashioned farm bell.
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We are presently in the middle of installing the redwood siding. This weekend Caleb and I installed the horizontal redwood lap siding on the west wall, and finished preparing the east wall.

We are using 12′ long redwood 1×6 boards, construction heart grade and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This means that the boards came from sustainably managed forests, and the trees were neither harvested by clear-cutting nor were old growth. There is no way and no how I would use redwood that was not FSC-certified or reclaimed. “Construction heart” means the wood has knots in it, but is all heartwood and therefore has higher resistance to decay and insects. It should last a very long time.

I picked up 45 boards, special ordered from Big Orange. About half will be stained, half painted, depending on where they will be installed.

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This past weekend we framed the interior walls, and Caleb finished tarpapering the outside. Just in time for rain, too, as we got about a tenth of an inch yesterday. The metal roof and flashing did their job of keeping things dry inside. Yay!

Caleb finished tarpapering the upper part of the wall.

Interior framing, looking east into the shower (left) and toilet compartment (ahead).

Looking northeast into the shower compartment.

I took last week off, and Caleb and I made rapid progress. We finished framing, sheathed the walls and roof in plywood, got most of the tar paper up, insulated the roof and one wall, and installed the metal roof. Whew!

A view of the framing from the northeast.

I used pressure-treated lumber to frame the shower area. It is regular lumber treated with stuff that bugs and fungus don’t like. Why do this, you ask? The foam insulation I plan to install on the outside of the house is vapor-impermeable polyisocyanurate (building science nerd-speak for fancy foam board). Because the foam board doesn’t allow any moisture to pass to the outside, the building has to dry toward the interior. Since the interior is a humid shower, I wanted some insurance against rot and termites. We didn’t use plywood around the shower, either. Confused? Good. Just know it’s awesomely over-thought.

This is the roof deck shortly before we finished nailing on the plywood. We tried installing the plywood on the roof before installing the plywood on the walls, but the structure was very wobbly. The plywood really provides incredible strength. We were using a nail gun that shot smaller nails than are in the code book, so we had to use extra nails. There are thousands of nails in this little room!

View from the southwest, with plywood shear panels in place.

This is what the room looked like when we called for inspection. The inspector needed to see that all the plywood was nailed on properly and in the right locations. We mostly passed. Which is to say, we slightly didn’t pass. One panel didn’t provide enough shear bracing for the west wall (it’s the one right in front of you, to the left). Long story short, there was some confusion about what I thought I permitted and what was actually allowed. But the inspector was cool and said we could continue, we just needed to show that we had provided adequate shear bracing before we put up drywall.

The roof sheathed and covered with tar paper.

I was glad to move on to roofing. After shooting thousands of nails I was really tired of plywood. The roof is pretty unusual: the insulation is on top of the roof deck. Four and a half inches of polyiso foam over felt over plywood. And steel on top of all that.

The roof covered with polyiso insulation.

The thick foam provides a little more insulation value than is required by code in our area. There will be another six inches of rock wool insulation between the rafters below, making a fairly superinsulated roof. Cozy!

Roof with purlins and metal roofing going on.

We installed the galvalume roof ourselves. A local metal roof manufacturer measures the roof deck and fabricates all the pieces, then delivers them. They provide some basic instructions and loan you a few necessary tools. Installing the roof was pretty easy. There was some cursing over the waste vent pipe flashing, though.

We finished the roof as it was getting dark, so no pic yet. But it’s purdy.

This past weekend I tried to get a head start on framing. So without expecting any laborers friends or neighbors to be able to help, and knowing I’d be out of town the following weekend, I ordered a truckload of lumber and had it delivered. Meantime I got started on sill plates and flashing.

I installed copper termite flashing under the sills. It is supposed to make termites easier to detect by forcing them to tunnel out into the open. It's also pretty.

Between the termite shield and the sill is a foam gasket to stop air leaks.

Some of the anchor bolts were awkwardly placed. Some are where studs should go. This one was a tight fit under the stack cleanout. I couldn't get the sill plate to fit between the top of the bolt and the cleanout. I had to use a grinder to cut off the top of the bolt.

I had to chop off the overhang because the new addition is taller than the room we're attaching it to.

I managed to frame a little over one wall. My neighbor helped do the short wall; the tall one I had to do solo.

I spent a lot of time doing the stud layout. It was made more difficult for two reasons: pipes and anchor bolts. Some of the anchor bolts are where studs should go, as is the greywater pipe for the washing machine. I can’t move the pipes or anchor bolts, so I either have to adjust the stud placement or notch the studs to fit over or around the anchor bolts.

Since the south windows are eight feet up, the view is of trees and blue sky. The window placement is great for passive solar heating in the winter, too.

This is the view from the back patio, with the bedroom to the left. The building on the right is the shed, so you can see there is a sort of outdoor hallway to get behind the new bathroom. I'll put a gate back there to create a sort of secret garden. Don't tell anyone.