Thursday, December 27, 2012

Garage walls going up

With the forms poured, its time to frame up the garage walls and interior bearing walls so we can set the trusses next week.  Today I worked on framing the garage walls, installing the top plates on the ICF for the trusses to sit, and started to strip forms. 

All of the garage walls are framed at this point.  I need to work on the sheathing next.

Here is what you do with extra foam left over from the ICF forms.  The flat wall fits almost perfectly into a 2x6 box header.  Since the garage will be insulated, I am insulating the headers as well. 

First Snow...and its a blizzard

Remember that snow storm I mentioned we wanted to beat?  Ya..............sooooo glad we did.  I left the site around 2:30 that afternoon.  Around 8 pm, the snow started to fall and the wind picked up.  And the snow kept falling.  For the first real snow of the year, it ended up being about 10" with reported wind gusts over 50 mph.  Not only was I concerned about all of the snow getting into the forms, but I could not imagine the mess of foam and wood that wind would have left my forms in, and all over Fox Ridge Golf course too. 

The storm continued into the next day, so I did not make it out to the house until the following day. 
These pics show the snow.

Main walls Poured

Well with a pending snow storm (ok at the time of this post the storm came and gone...more on that on a different post) we decided to move the pour up from Friday to Wednesday.  It made us push a little with a couple late nights to get everything ready to roll.  But I was determined to make sure we were waiting on the concrete this time, unlike last time where the concrete was waiting on us...

Above is Shannon on the high scaffolding as we get it set up one of the nights.  Figured she would like to be included in an "action" shot...

Big windows + concrete = steel.  Since there are not typical wood heads, the concrete can be designed as a beam using rebar if there is enough concrete depth above the window.  Since many of our windows are very tall, there is only about 10-12" of concrete above the window.  With window widths 5' and up, this is not enough concrete to be designed into a beam without the help of steel.  So I had to get some C channel lintels and then the S shape above made.  The beam above was about 80lbs, so not to big of a beam to stick in there.  We poured the concrete first and then wet-set the steel into the wet concrete. 

While this was part of the basement pour, I will still touch on it.  All through wall penetrations were stubbed out with pvc and then foamed in place to hold while the concrete is being poured.

The forms are all ready and we are doing the final inspection prior to pouring. 

And the pour starts.  We started with all of the window openings to get them filled up first.  Concrete flows and spreads each direction, so vibrating is critical to get it consolidated well. The piece of sheathing being held helps guide the concrete into the space in the window sill and helps prevent mess all over the subfloor.  Those are my hands, by the way.  Proper rubber gloves is I found out the first pour (which I did not have rubber ones).

After the windows are done, we jump up on the scaffold and start working our way around the house.  We did about 3 lifts in general.  I am running the pumper boom arm, and some help is running the vibrator behind me. 

We hopped up on the high 11' 6" wall.  Since these forms are 8" o.c., we poured the walls all the way up.  I was nervous about it as it was shaking some standing there as the wet concrete was filling it up.  But Andrew Hobbs of Hobbs Vertical ICF said "Go for it, it is fine!".  Obviously it was.
(btw, if you look at the basement forms, it looks like the black plastic studs are going at an angle different from the main level floor.  Not sure why it looks that way, they actually align pretty good and are both straight)
The 3 pieces of plywood on the wall is concrete box outs for the back porch beam ties. 

Here I am pouring a 9' tall section of wall.

Long boom arm to reach everywhere we need!

The pour was not flawless however.  On the basement, we did not have any blowouts.  We had 2 issues with this pour.  The first was a panel broke in the center running vertically due to over vibrating I think.  It was caught right away however, and they were able to get some wood braced up on it before any concrete could spill.  I will need to shave some foam down prior to finishing the wall however.
The other issue was my fault.  One of the panels was not as tight in between the black studs as it should have been.  As the forms filled and put tremendous pressure on the forms, it spread the stud and the foam panel actually came out and broke.  Andrew caught it and we got it fixed.  A true benefit of the vertical forms verses horizontal forms shined bright here.  The fix was simple.  We simply pulled the broken panel out and slide a new one in from the top.  Took only a few minutes to fix, and you will never know anything ever went wrong. 

The above pics is the aftermath of the morning.  It took about 2 hours to pour the forms, and then about another hour to trowel the tops and set the anchor bolts.  In the last picture you can see the big steel lintel over the 8' wide window.

Here is looking at the tall wall full of concrete.  The walls don't move, at all. 
Sighting down with the camera on the tall wall.  You can see how straight the walls are.  This is another big difference between horizontal forms and vertical forms.  Vertical forms typically plumb up perfectly, as did my Hobbs Vertical ICF.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Windows selected

Some of you may have read the previous posts on windows and glazing, SHG values, u values, and all of that fun stuff.  Previously (as in over a year ago) it was between Pella and Inline.  Well since then, Pella was long gone in the equation due to various reasons.  I have my scientific ones such as, they couldn't provide the glazing values I was after.  While Shannon as other reasons....such as "the casement cranks rub on my knuckles when I turn them".....whatever the reason, they are no longer out.  Jumping around over the last year and coming close to a divorce over windows (mainly me..."what about these"....and her not really caring at all), we finally narrowed in down to 3. 
They were Kolbe and Kolbe, Inline, and Marvin Integrity Wood Ultrex. 

The Ultrex recently came out with a triple pane option to match the other 2 contenders.  However its new, pricey and lacking in glass options.  Local support and a strong reputation was holding them in however.

Inline, while what appears to be an extremely solid window, great service provided by support when contacted, and with any glass package I was after with the best overall window ratings did not make the cut due to long lead times.  We also decided on wood interiors, and while Inline offers that, it was a decent add to the total which put them higher then the others for cosmetics.  Truthfully, I would have selected Inline and went with full fiberglass windows had the lead times been less.  I was quoted up to 8 weeks.  At the time, that was out of the question...however as it sits with the current progress, may have been about right. 

So that leaves us with the final decision, Kolbe and Kolbe.  Various reasons lead me to these windows.  Great reviews caused me to first look into them.  After digging into them, I quickly found out that they can do about anything you are after with glass packages, including our custom front door. 
The windows are a typical wood aluminum clad window, with the cladding as extruded aluminum and not roll formed like other options (Pella, JeldWen, etc).  This gives a much more durable exterior, as well as reduces the chances of sill rot.  They feature double seals, high end stainless steel hardware, lots of colors, and about any glass package you want.  To top it off, the service from my rep was great, as well as from the local dealer.  Now I have not actually seen the windows yet, but they should be arriving to the dealer soon.  I may make a trip to Cedar Rapids when they show up to check them out.  They are supposed to be arriving this week. 

What we ended up going with was all triple pane windows. The down side to aluminum clad is you can not easily hit a u below .30 (Energy Star 3.0 requirement) with dual pane. However the cost difference between triple pane and dual from them was roughly $60-80 per window, so it was not a bank breaker and the comfort will be quite nice (especially out of the 8x7 monster in the dining room).   Below is a cut away of the frame.  Our windows are a combination of casement and fixed, and a couple awnings too.  Only the windows that should open for ventilation, do. 
The values on the fixed triple pane are u .17 and SHGC at .49.  These vary slightly depending on the size, but are basically there.  The casement it bumps up due to additional wood and aluminum and less glass.  The u on the casements are around .22 and SHGC .39.  These are for south windows.  The north windows the SHGC value drops some and the u value drops a point or 2 as well.  All windows will be black exteriors.
Here is our front door, sort of.  It looks like this, minus the sidelite and is 8' tall.  We went with Cape Cod blue for the front door color.  Interior is pre primed white as we will probably make it black or something.  The glass in the door is similar values, and is frosted as seen below.

A good shot of all Kolbe windows in black.  They look fantastic I think. 

Upper walls being formed

Been a while since an update.  Lots have happened.
First, we got the basement walls mostly framed up, at least the load bearing ones.  There are a couple walls left, closet walls, etc, but nothing too pressing at the moment. 
Set the Ijoists and laid the subfloor.  This was harder than I anticipated mainly due to the 34' jiost we had to get over the wall with 6" #5 rebar daggers sticking up every 16".  Looked like a castle.  But we managed, and it took a few days to get the sheathing down.  I used LP 350 subfloor instead of AdvanTech.  They seemed like a similar product, but a couple bucks less a sheet, so figured I would give it a shot.  It did  go together easier than AdvanTech does due to their wedge shaped tongue.  They also have drainage channels in the tongues to allow water to drain faster and the deck to dry. 
However it did not have lines on it.  No idea why it would not, but it made nailing off the centers a lot harder.  Other than that, appears to be a good product so far. 

After that we started to back fill.  We burnt up most of our dirt files on the south and east, only leaving some black dirt.  The John Deere skidloader they brought out to use broke down after 1 scoop...a great start.  After their shop techs came to look at it, messed with it for several ours, they sent out the John Deere Implement tech.  He couldn't figure it out what do they do?  Send a flat bed semi with a big Deere tractor to pull it away.  Seems very over kill...but it got the job done pretty effortlessly!, the tractor is not driving up onto my pile of foam and sheathing....

Spent a good 3 full days working on the main level Hobbs Vertical ICF walls.  All I know is there is no way I could have framed a double stud wall in 3-4 days, yet alone insulated it, sheathed it, and made it air tight at the same time.  (which it will be after the concrete is poured of course).  Not to mention its way easier building with foam than it is tipping up walls and sheathing. 
The first step is building the window bucks to the correct r.o. for the windows.  I used standard 2x10s which fit perfectly into the Hobbs studs.  The bottom is a treated 2x6 below with more on that.  We wrapped the buck with Tyvek.  I cut the foam and studs to fit, assembled the buck on the ground and tipped it up.  It is fairly time consuming to do it all, spent about a day and a half doing it.  But similar amount of time would have been spent framing the same thing cutting jacks, cripples, building headers, etc.

This is the window sill.  It is a treated 2x6 ripped in half to allow us to pour concrete into the bottom of the window.  There are #5 rebar above and below the windows, as well as on the sides for support.  
There are #5 rebar above and below the windows, as well as on the sides for support.  This pic below is looking into the side of the wall.  The vertical rebar continues on its 16" o.c. spacing.  The upper walls use #4 bars.  You can see the #5 bar below the window buck above. 

All of the walls are infilled with exception of the 11' section and above the windows as you can see.  The next series of pics are just of the various views.  This is standing in the mud room looking west towards the baster bath bedroom window in the far north west corner.
Looking south west.  The far window is the laundry room, with the 2 front bedrooms on the south.


(above) These are the monsters.  Looking south at the front door (3'x8' in the center), at the entry/foyer side window (2'x7'), and then the pride and joy (for the dogs I am sure) the dining room window that measures 8'wide x7' tall.  More on the windows and what we went with in another blog.  This window and the entry are my biggest solar collectors along with the 3 clerestory windows. 
I am certainly not looking forward to setting this window though....

(above) Looking at the 2 front bedroom windows and the laundry room window in the far south west.  The windows are sized to provide most of the heating needing in these bedrooms during a nice sunny day in the winter.
(below)  Looking north at the living room windows, patio door, and kitchen window.  This back wall is 11' 6" tall and will slope up to about 16' to form the clerestory.  The roof continues to the north, sloping down, and sits on posts and beams to form the covered porch out back.  14" deep TJI will form the framing here, with them stopping at the wall and sealed off obviously.  2x8s will continue over the porch.

(below) Another view out the dining room window.  You can see the pop bottle for a sense of scale.

Looking down at the stair opening.  I installed temporary 2x6 treads during construction.  Will take those off and install the superstep treads once all the mess is over with.

Looking towards the garage/shop heading into the mud room.
Looking north west at the garage.

Front view. 
Truss were delivered along with the beams needed.

Looking at the gable end trusses with a 14" energy heal on them.  Will allow me to get mid r50s over top of the wall, and end up with r60s in the main area. This was designed to sit 1/2" inside of the foam.  We will install 1/2" sheathing on the heal to form the insulation dam and tie everything together nicely.  It will allow the trusses to be sheathing/strapped down to the top plate which is anchor bolted to the concrete.  Makes for a nice strong roof connection.  Since its set back, it should allow the sheathing to flush up with the face of the foam and continue the siding right up.   

Here is my 5.5x19" architectural glulam I am really looking forward to seeing!  This will span the great room and support the clerestory roof.  However when they strapped it all together they did not use cardboard padding on all of the steel straps cause deep imprints into the wood.
   I will have to have a talk with them unfortunately...
Final view looking at the front (south) elevation.  The center area is 9' plates and drops to 8' plates in the bedrooms.  This change in plate heights allows my roofs to all plain out.  Plus I actually like 8' plates in bedrooms.