This and That

After a sequence of major construction accomplishments, it’s anticlimactic to change gears and spend some time on smaller, less visible tasks. But the little things are every bit as essential as the big, and we’ve completed plenty of them since the basement walls were placed Tuesday. Priority number one was to remove the wall’s bracing after giving the concrete a day to set. The foam ICFs themselves are designed to stay in place, but those steel bracing towers become redundant once the concrete wall can support itself, and they belong to Vermont ICF anyway. So we removed the (reusable) bracing towers, as well as the (also reusable) scaffold and the lumber supporting the outer perimeter. This cleanup took the better part of a day.

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Balancing act: Terry carries away a 60 pound, 10 foot long bracing tower.

We put up a vapor barrier on the outside of the basement walls to keep the inside dry. Cole and Carson get most of the credit for completing this task: they cut the material from a roll to the various lengths required, and then they stuck each piece to the foam as smoothly as possible, like wallpaper. Meanwhile, Terry and Colin installed pipes and conduits inside the basement walls for the various utility connections we’ll need: water, septic, electric. We now have a bunch of PVC hanging in midair, but they’re all in the right locations, which will guide us when we build out the basement interior.

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Tinky Winky and Laa Laa stick up the vapor barrier.

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Fine-tuning the PVC. Lots of utilities visible in this shot, passing through the north wall and the east footer.

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Basement plan. North is right. Plumbing goes to the bathroom, laundry room, and dog room.

For the partial-height basement walls in the northeast and southeast corners, we surveyed full-height elevations and built short stubby stud walls to fill the difference. The studs sit on a 2×6 sill plate atop a pressure-treated 2×8 sill plate. We extended the 2×8 plate around the entire perimeter, including on vertical faces of the wall where the ICF elevation changes, and we installed wedge bolts into concrete (drilling holes with a masonry bit) where we hadn’t already sunk anchor bolts. To accommodate the bolts, we measured and drilled completely through the 2×8 plates, then routed partway through the 2×6 plates in the same locations.

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One stud half-wall is up; surveying the other. Note 2×8 sill plates around the perimeter.

Back at the Barn, we received our first window delivery as well as our overhead doors, so we prepared rough openings to fit them all. The garage doors get 1x trim around the edges and some nailers for the overhead equipment. The windows require an opening half an inch bigger than we built (it’s a new supplier and they spec the windows differently), and we spent most of Thursday afternoon enlarging those first-floor openings until they just fit. Tip for installing windows: remove the glass! It makes the frames so much lighter and easier to handle.

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Terry puts finishing touches on our first window; Cole and Carson remove the ladder.

And we finally started shingles on the back side. As with the front, it took a long time to install the drip edge and the first row of shingles, but once Terry put in roof jacks the pace really picked up. We ended Friday with the back side about one-third shingled.

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Another balancing act: Turner prepares shingles and passes them down to Terry.

The small stuff is less exciting, but you can’t live without it. And with floor joists delivered and the basement slab concrete scheduled to arrive Tuesday, we have plenty more big tasks on the horizon.

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