Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maybe A Passive Solar Cottage Prefab SIP House Kit Sits At The End Of This Rainbow?

A contractor friend of mine once said that contracting, big or small, consists mainly of overcoming obstacles. Ain't it the truth! After several delays in getting our final panel order done, it is now in production. As luck would have it, and in compliance with a parallel to Murphy's Law, the panels are scheduled to be done and delivered right about the week we will be going on a long scheduled vacation. I would change my travel plans, but with non-returnables, that would be a real waste. So, we decided to move ahead with construction of the one car garage, which will be pole framed. We rented a Bobcat, and after a rather hairy morning slipping and sliding, started to see the driveway and garage locale take shape.We expect the garage should be dried in by the time the panels are scheduled for delivery, November 16th.

We've also framed up the interior walls and pretty much finished up the plumbing. A friend asked my brother why we were building the house inside out. While it may seem that way, the wall framing really needed to be done in the bedroom section of the house, since it has flat ceiling SIP's, with an unconditioned attic. The span of the panels would have necessitated framing of at least two of the walls anyway.

Unrelated to the building project, I saw one of the most vivid rainbows I've ever seen yesterday after that huge storm came blowing through. It looked like it ended in my neighbor's front yard.

I didn't check for a pot of gold, although I sure could use it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Plates and Plumbing

Since we've had some delay because of plan changes, and our panels won't be here for another 1-2 weeks, we decided to move ahead where we could. We put down the bottom plates and we have started on the plumbing. The water seal/duct tape system is working well. The sub-floor hasn't absorbed water to any noticeable degree, and we will not need to do any sanding of expanded edges when it comes time to put finished floor down.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Prefab Cottage Floor System Is In!

After some unfortunate delays, including weather, we finally got the floor system put in. The place looks like a bunker now, gun ports and all. I had never worked with TJI floor joists before. TJI stands for Trus Joist I-beam joists. Like a steel I-beam, but made of wood. Stronger and more consistent than dimensional lumber. 

It feels like you could drive a truck on it, very firm floor. Because it will be another 10-14 days before we get the panels, we taped an waterproofed the sub-floor to provide some protection from water getting on the TJI system, which my brother says can compromise its strength. We also reviewed the shop drawings from R-Control of the panel plan. 

We made some substantial changes from the architects "vision". As designed the house was very tall, over 25 feet to the peak of the Great Room roof. we decided to lower that for 2 reasons. First, since we are looking to build an energy efficient house, we didn't want a lot of energy used to condition air in such a tall space. Cost was also a consideration. We also reduced the radical 14/12 pitch down to a more reasonable 8/12. Hope the architect wouldn't be offended, but if your name isn't Frank Lloyd Wright, I figure your work is fair game for practical adaptation.

I'm currently waiting on a quote from a Canadian company on triple glazed windows. They claim they can come within 5% of comparably spec-ed double glazing. I hope so, because it would be a considerable improvement to the efficiency of the house. They also use fiberglass framing, which they say expands and contracts at close to the same degree as glass, reducing stresses between window glass and frame which eventually leads to some leakage. Makes sense to me.