Friday, December 28, 2007

Family Time

The weather's been iffy and it's the holidays, after all, so we've been spending some family time together and not getting as much done. Slowly but surely, though, it will get done.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Since we didn't really have time to put up many outside decorations, we decided we could have the world's largest luminaria.

The world's largest luminaria

I realize there hasn't been much updating lately, but most of the work has been hard to document. Frugaldad has been working on the rough plumbing in the bathroom and our windows were delivered. Yesterday we installed 5. There are 10 more, and the other door is on order but not due to come in for a while. The first door was installed a couple weeks ago.

The French doors
French doors

The first window opening
First window opening

You can see two windows on the edge of this picture, but this was a failed attempt to take the first picture, because I thought the flash was off.

Tyvek in the snow

Monday, December 3, 2007

That's a wrap!

edited 12/7
This weekend Frugaldad framed up the walls for the first floor bathroom, and the doorway in the main wall upstairs.

bathroom framing

In this picture you can also see that all the doors and windows are blocked by Tyvek, so to get into the addition you have to go down the ladder in the window well, and then go up the stairs.

He also wrapped the addition in Tyvek home wrap.

House all wrapped up

The next step is doors and windows! They are ordered and will get installed in a couple weeks.

Today's chore is starting the rough plumbing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


We no longer have to use the ladder to get down into the basement! The stairs are finished.

The roof, however, has been rained and snowed on, but it's nearly done.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

The jig is up!

(edited to add a couple more pictures of the stair jigs)

This is how we currently "get down in the hole." It's a ladder, if you couldn't
tell. In the window well. Until last Saturday, the stair opening was covered by sheets of plywood so no one would fall down. Frugaldad framed the walls that go on either side of the stairs and took up the plywood. (For all of you worried about safety, there's still a piece of wood blocking the entrance to the stairs, and strips of wood across the stud walls to keep people from slipping between the studs) This week the main project was the stairs.

Frugaldad took a day off work this week to work on the house, and he cut the stair stringers. Here's the first one of three. He built two jigs to help him cut all the stairs the same.

One of the jigs

The jig in place to cut the next step

Saw on the jig

The other jig

Jig in place

Saw on the other jig

Three stair stringers ready to be lowered through the stairwell window.

Then today, he worked on building the landing of the stairs. There will be a long run of stairs, then a square landing, then two more steps. An aerial view of the framed landing.

The landing from downstairs.

We've been lucky to have my friend Jessica's husband Cliff helping with the roof. He has roofing experience and he's pretty fast! Frugaldad is able to do these other things while Cliff works on the roof. Unfortunately with the time change, there isn't much daylight left at the end of a workday, so work can only be done for a little while each weekday, but I'll post pictures when the roof is all done.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sheathing and tar paper

The day the trusses went up, it rained and rained, and rained some more. Like four-tenths of an inch. Here in the desert. We put some tarps up over the roof decking and the rain stopped. Inside.

The next day was Saturday, and Frugaldad was able to get almost all the sheathing on, except the rim board and headers over the doors and windows. It was supposed to rain again so he didn't want to risk uncovering the roof and not being able to finish the tar paper if the rain started again. Of course, it ended up being clear all day long so he did the tar paper on Monday instead.
Frugalboy loves to climb on the roof, and he loves to help his dad. Probably in that order. And he's pretty good at banging nails.

Here is the sheathing and tar paper.

The progress this week hasn't been really visible. Frugaldad installed hurricane strapping on the trusses to help keep the roof from lifting off in a windstorm. We've done a lot of clean-up. Tonight (Nov. 1) he framed the first interior wall.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Walls and trusses

Saturday the 13th Frugaldad and his brother and their buddy from work tipped up the walls.

Later that day, Frugaldad removed the rest of the roof from the "subtraction."
The finished walls
Monday the 15th he took off all the shingles where the roof trusses would need to go. Then he took off all the eaves and soffits. But rain was in the forecast so he tar-papered the roof. Then I put some 2x4s up to try and divert the rain away from the places with no eaves.
Wednesday the 17th we got a Dumspter and put all the debris in it with the aid of the tractor bucket.
The day dawned bright and clear dark and rainy but work must go on. This is what they call "flying in the trusses."
The trusses went up amazingly fast. I was making muffins in the kitchen and in the time I was turned around filling the muffin tins, about half of them went up. This is the view from on the roof.
From inside the addition sans the decking.
From my kitchen window. It rained the whole darn day and until we put tarps over the roof, it rained inside, too. As soon as the rain quits, we'll roll out the tar paper.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Before we could set the rest of the floor joists, we decided that the "shelf" next to the house that caused all the trouble with the compaction should be filled in with concrete to make a good storage place in the basement. Frugaldad decided this was a good time to practice laying concrete so he brought home a new toy.

He set forms to do about half at a time. The first day he did 4 blocks and the second day he did 3 blocks.

It was raining but it needed to be done anyway so we could finish the floor. So we made a tent.

The kids' handprints and a print of a huge maple leaf.
Then we could set the rest of the joists in place, and deck the rest of the floor. We put some extra OSB over the stair opening so nobody would fall through by accident. The stairs won't get built until the roof is on to keep them from getting wet.

Before Frugaldad left for Singapore on a business trip he started framing the exterior walls.

Now the exterior walls are all framed with window openings and the trusses are ordered and will be delivered next week. We decided to have the truss company install them and deck the roof because the weather has been so rainy! They can get it done in less than a day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The rest of the story

After the slab was poured, we started getting lumber delivered as we needed it. We have a local Ace hardware that delivers for free and they are giving us a contractor's discount. It is much nicer than trekking to Home Depot or Lowes every time we need lumber. The first lumber delivery was the sill plates and the lumber for the load bearing wall in the basement.

First load of lumber

Of course, it RAINED the afternoon of the first lumber delivery. Plus it's been raining the last couple days and it's still in the forecast. I'm all for ending the drought, but can't it wait until we have a roof and some house wrap?


The load bearing wall will support the floor joists for the first floor. We decided to do a load bearing wall, rather than span the entire width of the addition (28 feet) because the joists would have had to be 18 or 20 inches tall instead of 9 1/2 inches. That would have meant we would have had to dig deeper or have shorter ceilings, because the floor of the existing house and the floor of the addition WILL LINE UP. It was a step down into the "subtraction" and that was annoying and slightly dangerous for babies and the elderly.

The kids helped install the sill plates by putting the washers and nuts on the j-bolts.

Need some nuts or washers?

Daddy's helpers

The sill plates all installed.

Sill plate installed

Then Frugaldad started building the wall. He built it in two pieces. This guy is amazing! I can't believe he knows all this stuff. He knows how to build a house, write amazing software, work on cars, you name it.

basement wall, 1st half

Second half

basement wall, 2nd half

Two pieces put together

Connecting the two pieces

Then in the midst of the wall-building, we had some plumbers come out to give us bids for the rough plumbing of the bathroom in the addition, and also some HVAC guys come because we'll need a new air conditioner and furnace and ductwork in the addition. We had a concrete cutting company come and cut a big hole for the ducts. Frugaldad spent a couple nights framing the opening to support the joists. And he dug out under the foundation so we can run plumbing to the septic tank. We're doing this stuff now while the access is good, before we cover up that area with a floor.

Cutting concrete

The piece of pipe is just for size reference
hole for plumbing

You've seen what the wall looked like when it was finished and the rim joists were installed. Next came floor joists.

About half of them set into place but not fastened.

Floor joists going in

We are glad to support a local business.

Support your local businesses

All the joists in place, looking up from below. It was really cool to be in the basement under the joists. The ceilings are the highest in the house, which was built in the energy-efficient 1970s. When the floor and ceilings are finished they will be around 8 feet high.

In the basement under the floor joists

Monday night we got almost all of the floor decking installed. It's been rainy so I don't have a good picture yet. Check back soon!