Saturday, July 28, 2012

The brick is up; now it's time to get stoned.

The past week began with the masons putting the final touches on the brickwork on Monday morning. Then they had  to wait until Friday for the stone to arrive, since the order had been increased slightly. Our builder George, however, continued with trim work and other carpentry. We also made the transition from temporary to regular electrical service, which happened in a somewhat unusual way.

 We were expecting Georgia Power to come and make the permanent hookup about midweek, but that had not happened. And so we forgot about it. Then Thursday night Manita came home after attending a long meeting at Sandy Creek Nature Center and dropping off a fellow board member from Kenney Ridge. I was already in bed when she arrived home at 9:30, saying that there was a truck parked in the driveway at the new house. I called George, since he had been working late, but he was already home. So, I got dressed, and we went over to see what was happening. As soon as I saw the truck, however, I knew it was Georgia Power, and I remembered that they were supposed to come and change the service. We found them using a blow torch to complete the insulation around the soon-to-be underground splice in the incoming line. I teased them a little about liking to late, but I knew that they, if anyone, should be used to working at all hours and in the dark. The picture shows the new service and old, disconnected meter base on the left.

The week was a little slow in the middle, but on Friday morning I found cars parked everywhere. The masons were back, and each seemed to have his own car. When I first arrived, they were busy putting on the lath and brown mortar base for the "cultured" stone (below).

When I came back later in the morning, the workers had already started on the stone, and by that time they were taking a lunch break.

By quitting time, they had already installed most of the stone across the front of the house, including, for example, by the kitchen door.

After the stone is finished, the Trex is laid on the porch and deck floor, and the board and batten Hardie Board is painted, this scene will be complete. In the meantime, however, a lot of stonework must happen before the outside is complete. Naturally, a great deal of work is still to be done inside. We're pleased with how much has happened since framing began just 12 weeks ago, and we're hoping that in another 8-10 weeks, we'll be just about ready to move in. Keep your fingers crossed!  --oc

Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting down to the last brick

It has taken a while, but our bricklayers are getting down to the last brick. The results have been well worth waiting for. The masons started on the southwest corner, which now looks like the picture on the left. The picture on the right shows the now completed west wall.

On the left side of that picture are the electrical connections: the temporary service panel and meter are in front on a separate post, and behind them, on the brick wall, is the meter base for the new regular service, which will be hooked up shortly.

Moving on around the house in a counterclockwise direction, we have the southside and the back of the garage, which was just completed this afternoon. The brick continues on the basement level, but not above the deck until we come to the master bathroom and the outside storage room under it. Those are also seen

Those are also seen on the left side of the next picture, with the back of the garage on the right. The workers had just taken down the scaffolding after bricking the garage wall up to the top of the gable. Below you can see the workers on the ground who are in charge of hauling buckets of mortar up the the masons.

They are completing the gable brickwork. On the right is a view showing how the deck comes around the master bathroom. It will eventually have a ramp that will come forward from where the worker is standing on the deck framework. The ramp will slope down to the ground at a point near the corner of the garage and the bottom of the picture.

Inside the house, meanwhile, our builder George Wright is working on wood trim around doors and windows. Here he's putting a piece of trim under the kitchen window that will be over the sink, which will be just about where George is standing. Cabinets will eventually cover the wall in front of him and to the left.

Today marks the end of 11 weeks since the beginning of framing on 4 May, and we have come a long way. All of the windows and most of the doors have been installed. The electrician has already installed most of the switches and receptacles, and will start on light fixtures, as soon as Manita and I pick them out. The brickwork will probably be finished up on Monday, and the masons will then start on the stonework.

The pictures below indicate how far we have come in just the last seven weeks. The one on the left shows what the living room looked like in my 4 June posting on the blog, with little more than framing, outside sheathing, and windows. Compare that with the one on the right, which shows the saw George is using to cut trim to put around the picture window, for example.

Folks, it's been a long posting, but we covered a week of work, and there was lots to cover. Have a good weekend, and I'll be back probably next weekend.  --oc

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sheetrock, brickwork, and painting

Friday was another busy day at the house site. Just ten weeks from the start of framing on 4 May, the sheetrock finishers were completing their work, and the painters were beginning theirs. Meanwhile, on the outside, the masons continued to lay brick. Here two of them are installing brick under a windowsill on

the west end of the house. You can see bits of sunshine on the brick in the area where the electric meter will go and also in the picture above of the southwest corner. Terry, the chief mason, likes our choice of a brown brick and its matching morter a lot; they will go well with the roof, as well as with the stone he will put on later. "I'm so tired of laying red brick," he has said more than once. Above right, he works on the pointing above the window the others were working on earlier.

Above is another view of the southwest corner and its brickwork. Also in this picture is an insulation worker installing foam under the part of the living room bay window that extends over the deck.

Inside the house, the sheetrock mud is getting its final sanding and smoothing, while the painters are already putting on the first coat of paint in the garage. The man on the right is spraying on the paint, while the one on the left smooths it out with a large roller and makes sure that it bonds well with the wallboard.

Next week, the masons and painters will both be back at work. The painters will probably finish the first coat early in the week, and the masons expect to have the brickwork done by week's end.  --oc

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Building brick by brick

Today the main work on our new house shifted from the inside - where the finishing of the sheetrock is almost complete and will probably be all done by Thursday - to the outside, where the laying of brick

has begun. Here a mason is laying a row of brick outside my office. The bottom row rests on the same foundation on which the original brick was laid. Before this work began, however, there was a good bit of preparation, and the head mason planned out the whole project. After that, he said, it's just a matter of carrying out the plan. As the old saying goes, "Plan your work, and work your plan."

Back on the inside, after the  walls are completely smooth, they will all be spray painted with an initial coat. Then they will be painted with colors (variations of white) that Manita and I are now picking out. We are also choosing wallpaper for the bathrooms and laundry room, which will hopefully go well with floor coverings and other furnishings, which also have to be picked out. It seems there's never a dull moment in building a house - and no rest for the weary.

Bye now.  --oc

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Looking more and more like a house

In a little bit, I have some comments about comments, but first I can report that having interior walls that you can't see through sure makes a framework look a lot more like a house. Today the wallboard hangers hung their last bit of sheetrock and turned it over to the finishers. That's the crew that tapes the joints between panels and spreads the "mud" - i.e. plaster - over the tape, nail depressions, cracks, and any other uneven places, and makes the wall look nice, flat, and smooth. It takes about three to four applications of mud to reach that final result. In between applications, the mud has to dry and be sanded smooth, before more is applied. Then a coat of primer has to be applied be before the wall can be painted.

In the picture to the right, one of the finishers is applying mud in the downstairs den near the little hall that leads to the bathroom. You can see the joint about chest high that was taped earlier and has already dried, as well as some other spots that were patched earlier and are dry.

The man to the left is working in the bathroom and standing on a mud can between the shower stall on the right and the spot where the toilet will be installed on the left. The darker wallboard is supposed to be water resistant and is used in the baths and kitchen to keep water damage repair costs to a minimum.

Drying is affected by weather and humidity. In rainy weather, that can sometimes be a problem, as it was in our first house construction on College Circle in 1979. There was a good bit of rain that summer, and at one point it took the sheetrock two weeks to dry.

At the time of my writing this paragraph, however, with the temperature in Athens officially 100 (95 here in Kenney Ridge), rain and humidity do not appear to be a problem. So, the finishers expect to be done by the middle of next week. By then we also expect to see brick masons well on their way to getting a brick veneer on three sides of our new house.

Regarding comments on this blog, yesterday I wrote a comment on my own blog post of 29 June and made two assumptions about the process. First, I discovered that you must indeed click on "Publish" if you want to post the comment. There is also a place to click if you want to "Subscribe by email." I assumed that this would get you notified when a new post was published, but that's not the case. When I click there, it gets an email sent to me when a comment is made, so I don't have to keep checking for comments. It might also get one sent to you, but I'm not sure about that.

At any rate, now you know how to comment, if you want to let me know what you think, make a correction, or whatever. I'll be glad to hear from you.

Next week I'm sure I'll have more to report. Adios.  --oc