'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

06 February 2013

Remodel Update

We've been busy with Angus so virtually no work on the remodel has gotten done. With his injury healing and doing much better it was time to get back to work. First up was some concrete work.

I needed to pour a small addition to the foundation to take out the small tip out where the wood burning stove was and make the space rectangular. It required a half yard but our local concrete company has a one yard minimum order so it was a good time to use the rest for a small walkway in front of the storage building.

When putting in forms over existing concrete you're going to have to nail the form supports in with a Ramset type tool. It consists of the gun, the nails and the cartridge. In this case three inch nails fired by a black powder .22 caliber blank cartridge.

The blank fits into the chamber

While the nail goes into the barrel. The orange collar on the nail centers it in the barrel and acts as a wad to trap the pressure when it's fired.

Here's Lu putting in a block. Two tips. You have to really lean into it when you fire it off. And when you're firing the nails into small blocks pre-drill a nail hole in the block first. That will tend to eliminate block splitting from the firing.

When you've got the forms cut and set and the blocks installed just screw the forms to the blocks and you're set. I anchored each end into the house and placed blocks along the length of the long form.

Foundations require steel reinforcement so I drilled into the existing concrete and the old foundation and added in rebar. I welded it all together for a strong cage. That's the screed on top. This addition is now ready for concrete. That area on the right there, with the tile, is the tip out where the wood burning stove was. The foundation addition will make the space rectangular and add about 24 square feet to the room. That's enough gain to make it worth the effort. I briefly considered just making the foundation out of wood but if you're going to do it make sure you do it right the first time. Lest you have to redo it later. Or someone else has to. Like me. Sigh.

There were two more sections to pour. One was the small space on the south wall where  the old, rotten sill plate was. For some reason they framed in this section of the South wall 4 inches below the rest of the foundation floor. Yeah, it got wet and rotted. That plywood you see there on the right is the exterior wallboard the siding is nailed to. Taking the stud wall out without screwing up the siding was fun. I'm bringing it up to floor height before I put in the new wall section.

And the new sidewalk next to the storage building.

The concrete arrived on Monday at 2:00 PM. By 3:30 it was in, screeded, floated, troweled and finished. I was responsible for the foundation and Lu handled the new sidewalk. We brought the concrete in through the window and the chute wouldn't reach. Which meant that I had to bring it to the forms by wheelbarrow. I poured while Lu worked the concrete. Good help is a joy and Lu is the best assistant and not just because she's cute either. That woman can work!

I let it cure until today then it was time for some construction. Finally. But first, another issue to talk about and address. If you're remodeling an old building you will find stuff like this, though this one scared the ever loving crap out of me. As I was taking out some of the old wiring I noticed this doubled junction box.

First, I don't like junction boxes in residential building. They're simply not necessary if you do the wiring correctly. But if you must use one it has to be accessible (in case repairs are ever required) and it must be put in safely. This one was neither. Remember that this attic space was buried in about 6 inches of blown in cellulose insulation. When I got on a ladder to check that box this is what I found.
The junction box was filled to the brim with dry, paper based cellulose insulation. Packed in against live wires. I have no idea why it never caught on fire and burned the house down. Needless to say as soon as I saw this I cut the power and took it all out. I'll be running power for tools with extension cords until I rewire the space. Lucky, we were so blessed lucky. When you do a remodel this is the kind of stuff you must look for because I promise you it is there. 

Ok, that problem addressed it was time to frame in the window opening in the south wall. Remember that the top plate in this space was bowed under the weight of a header that spans the width of the room. I started by taking the window and frame out and cleaning out everything but the basic framing. The lower structure under the window was sufficient and left in place. First stud placed, 16 inches on center. Hallelujah!

In order to make the wall square and take out the bow I measured both ends (which were identical) and cut all the studs to that same length. I then jacked up the ceiling/roof structure and pounded in the rest of the studs. When they were in I added the cross braces. If you look at the top plate in that picture you will see that it is now straight and level. The ceiling and roof are now well supported by a proper wall.

Once the studs were in place I faced the outside of the wall with OSB. That will strengthen the wall and give me something to nail the exterior wallboard and siding to.

And the completed wall.  Ignore the space you can see at the top of the OSB. I'll be adding exterior wallboard with sealing tape and siding on the outside and filling in the interior gaps and the spaces between the studs with spray foam insulation. It both seals and insulates. I love the stuff.

Another few steps forward. The old window is gone and framed in. The foundation is done and ready for stud walls and the old wiring has been removed. Next up will be framing in a new section of wall along the south wall where I poured in that small addition to the foundation. Then I need to finish the new ceiling joists in the center and East sections of the room (and wait until you see the issues there) and shore up the roof joists. After that will be a new East wall and then I can finally start framing the interior rooms.

It's a slow process but it is coming along. More later.



Keads said...

Dude, that junction box was scary but as you say in abundance in the wild.

So, I need an external garage here, you general contract or what =)

Pics of Angus please!

Six said...

I work cheap Kelly :)

Angus pics soonest, O promise.

Old NFO said...

Yep, y'all are DAMN lucky!!! Whew...

Six said...

You said it NFO.

Aaron said...

Yes, I know well the woes of junction boxes and idiot electrical installers.

Glad that you caught it before it became an active problem.

Six said...

I read some of your posts on your electrical issues Aaron so I know you understand exactly what I was talking about. We were so fortunate. Old houses. They make us both happy and mad enough to burn the whole thing down and start over from scratch at the same time. Check in later, I'm doing walls right now and I'll post on that later.