Friday, July 31, 2009

Kitchen area framed

The tubing installers have been working on the second floor tubing, while Paul's crew has been framing the kitchen and other areas on the eastern side of the house. PEX tubes are now dangling all over the first floor:

Most of the doorway sills have been cut out as well, making it easier to walk through the area - it's looking good! (Yeah I know I keep saying that, but it's true.)

This is looking down at the pantry\breakfast\office\laundry room area:

This is one of the tubing guys at work on the second floor; you can see several of the wall plates have been positioned and marked out:

In the kitchen, looking toward the garage; on the left is the pantry, with my wife's office behind it; the small alcove to the left-front of the pantry is for a small desk:

I've decided to bite the bullet for attic trusses over both the garage and the main part of the house. It will be pricey (~$2400) but according to Paul, this price is for live-load-rated trusses! (I.e., live-load can support people, furniture, etc, just as a regular floor can, as opposed to storage-rated trusses which are only intended for light-weight storage - I'm not sure of the exact rating.) This is a big extra cost for us right now, but you can't go back later and change your mind on these things so I'll make it work. Another suggestion was to have a man-door into the garage truss storage space, at the far end of the garage, and build an exterior staircase up to it. This approach would be more convienent than some sort of ladder or pull-down folding staircase inside the garage, and would obviously not eat up any interior space. I may defer construction of the exterior staircase until a later time though. Here's the truss design for over the garage:

Obviously this area will never be used for actual living space, but consider that the garage is 40' wide; so with a 9' deep truss opening (see diagram above), that's 360 sq ft; the main house truss is slightly bigger (10' opening), for a total of 440 sq ft of space; doing the math, that means the extra money is buying us about 800 sq ft of high quality storage space, at about $25 $3 sq ft.

[Edit 2009/08/10: corrected my math mistake above. Duh! Although the final price will be a bit higher than $3 bucks per sq ft, since I'm also installing plywood subflooring in the attic spaces.]

This is the on-site sanitary facility:

I tried to get my wife to go inside it for a moment (after all, it is rated for women; see the little woman pictograph above the man?), so I could take a picture (i.e., a picture of "my honey in the honey bucket") but she wouldn't cooperate. :) Ah well.

I've also been thinking more about a suggestion Paul made near the beginning of the project, to mount sprinkler heads on top of the roof for fire-protection. At first this idea seemed mildly silly to me but after some research it turns out that roof-mounted sprinklers are a widely-accepted mechanism for protecting a home against fires. I'm guessing that at least three sprinkler heads will be needed, maybe four. It's a valid question whether the well and the well pump would keep up with that many sprinklers; that said, from my research the idea seems to be to use the sprinklers to pre-soak the roof and surrounding grounds before the fire shows up, so it might work.

Remember the well? Well (no pun intended), it's still there, waiting for its turn. This is a nice view of the landscape between the well and the house:

Paul says he is nearly ready to have Brad come back out and dig the trench from the well to the house, for electrical and water (which is the point of course). At the same time, I'm thinking of having a hole dug for a propane tank. A propane tank was not included in the bid, but I'd rather get such things (that get buried in the ground) done now rather than later. Even though we are not using propane to heat the house, I'm considering either a 250 or 500 gallon tank. That would be approximately enough for several days (maybe even a week) of generator usage, depending on which generator model is chosen (haven't done the electrical load math yet); and if the generator is not needed, we'll have enough to use our BBQ grill daily for several years before running out. :-) I called several propane suppliers today and most of do not sell tanks outright, they only lease them. Trouble is, the leasing rates seemed exorbitant (eg, $200-300 a year!), and they seem to want to lock you into using them as your sole supplier. About my fifth phone call, I found Associated Petroleum who will sell me a tank outright; need to talk to Paul next week about this and see if he's ok with them.

Otherwise, things are all looking good. The weather cooled down to "only" mid-80's deg F, which is a nice break. Cross your fingers that this won't jinx things, but I'm really hoping that our house can be completely framed and roofed before it gets rained on - not too many houses built in Seattle can make that claim!


  1. Great progress!

    I think you're making good decisions, where decisions are required. Of course, they do accumulate in cost. :)

    Hard to believe you can get fiber in that area, but that would be great! DSL, depending on speed, wouldn't have been horrible though.

    Amazing on the propane tanks. I'm curious, if you purchase your own tank (which is the way to go in my book) what is the expected life span? You mentioned $200 lease per year, I would be curious to see how they compare all-up.

    Regarding temps... I can't imagine doing a lot of physical work at 100+ degrees (even if relatively low humidity).

    Looks great!


  2. Thanks Steve.

    I cannot find the link anymore, but I seem to recall reading that propane tanks are expected to last 30+ years. If the tank was to be maintained properly and protected from damage, 30 years seems low, but ok. For APP, I'm looking at about $1700 for a 500 gallon tank, so payback is in ~9 years. But also consider that owning your own tank gives you some flexibility to shop around each year for the best price. When you lease a tank, generally only the company you leased it from is allowed to fill it according to the typical contract. That would also help decrease payback time, but it's not as relevant for us since we won't be burning hundreds of gallons per year for heating, etc.


  3. Wow!! Jay things are coming along fast. I amso happy for you and Dawn. I sure hope that I can make it out there somday to see it. Tell the family hello!