Thursday, April 26, 2012

To CREP or not to CREP, that is the question!

Most of my posts lately have been on the house building process and progress, which has been moving pretty quickly and has provided lots to photograph and share. I have a fairly large list of other items to ponder in this forum, today's topic is CREP.

CREP is the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. Basically a federally and state funded program to take areas (such as areas around stream banks) that are better suited to conservation and planting of trees than corn/crops. The program funds planting with native trees and pays a rental rate to encourage people to keep them in trees and instead of farming the marginal/sensitive lands.

From USDA: "The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a voluntary land retirement program that helps agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water."

I have a parcel of bottom land that was affordable to pickup because it was rejected by the county/town for a major subdivision because of wet bottom land soil. It's mostly farmed by a neighbor at the moment, the lower wetter CREP potential land has been in corn that doesn't seem to do great and the upper better for farming soils are in alfalfa.

I started looking into CREP as I thought having a buffer with some trees along the creek bed (it's a tributary to Little Fishing Creek that is dry most of the year) would be nice. However, it looks like quite a bit of the parcel has potential to be enrolled in CREP. I think the only thing that I would have liked to have done as part of this (which CREP doesn't offer) would have been to enhance some of the area into wetlands/do some wetland creation/stream meander restoration. There tend to be firms looking for streams to restore/wetlands to create, but that would turn into a major project. CREP seems to be fairly easy to work with and it's goals are in line with mine. A major wetland/stream project would probably be a major headache and distraction from the other facets of life I'm focusing on at the moment.

I'll probably enroll, though looks like the next window is really fall for planting CREP trees, so we have some time to figure it out and plan the effort. It sounds like they give you options as to what you want planted/the mix of trees so that will be a pretty cool project.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Amish Roofing Hit Squad

The Amish roofing team showed up at 6:15am while I was still staging materials and worked almost non-stop for ten hours. Stupendous progress was made. Sticky Ice and Water shield underlayment was put on the entire main house roof and the difficult to start roofing transition from main roof to connect roof was done along with completing the sheathing on the backside of the connect to the previously sheathed garage. They also got the skylights installed in the roof over deck roof. This means that the main round is now pretty much rainproof, which is great as storms are coming and the water does no good inside the house.

Elise and Aaron kept at foaming, sealing and tightening up the shell. They also packed the black van full to the roof with the paper backing off the ice and water shield that will head to the dump shortly.

Dad continued to complete section after section of deck framing and got the unplanned for rear deck ledger boards installed. Looks like we have enough pressure treated lumber leftover for the joists on that deck, which is pretty sweet (or pretty scary, where was it supposed to be used? Hmmmmmm....).

The Perryman brothers connected the stubbed out water, sewer, phone, electric and an extra empty conduit to the basement, so as soon as I get an electrician in I can get a breaker box setup and a few circuits put in by it so we don't need generators running.

So what is this ice and water shield I keep blathering about and why did I use it instead of regular roofing underlayment? The ice and water shield is a sticky backed 40 mil thick rubber/tar product with a PVC/plastic top side. It's this stuff. In my case I used the 300 series high temp version which is designed to be used under metal roofs which can get hot. It's commonly used (mandatory for energy star) in roof valleys which carry water. The rubber seals to penetrations (like all the nail or screws that hold a roof on) making a very effective shield against leaks.

I'm using metal roofing, but not standing seam metal roofing which hides the screw heads. Standing seam has an upslope side, so with lots of angle cuts (as this roof is like 20 pie piece shaped wedges) you really have a lot of waste. The exposed screw type metal is reversible, so all the cut pieces can be flipped 180 and used. The issue with exposed screws is that they have a rubber/silicone washer that seals against the roof to keep water from leaking in around the screw and rusting the screw holes and screws out. Those washers expire before the screws or roof (20-30 years) and water MAY leak in when that happens. At that point the washer/screw heads all need silicone seal to be slathered on them or they need to be replaced. The WIP 300 seals against the screw under the roofing, giving a second layer of insurance against leakage.

This is extra important when one insulates the roof with spray foam. The two types of foam (open cell and closed cell) both have some weaknesses against water. When exposed to leaks the open cell becomes a giant sponge and you probably don't know anything is wrong till it peels in a huge 10,000 pound mass off the underside of the roof and falls onto your bedroom ceiling. Closed cell repels the water, but traps it against the wooden roof sheathing and maybe even trusses, which then would rot, causing roof failure. Long and short is that preventing leaks with a super duty underlayment was cheap piece of mind and will result in longer term roofing performance.

I worked on site cleanup and staging of next weeks materials till after dark as it looks like rain is coming in this weekend and it's easier to do those things when it's not muddy. Long and short is I have fewer photos than I wanted to end the week. Maybe more tomorrow if the rain isn't too continuous.


Day's end!the two garage panels that are exposed plywood will have doors installed in them. We ordered those today, so that's in motion.

There are three sets of double skylights like these on the roofs over the rear decks.They really let a bunch of light in.

The front decks!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thunder rolls.....

Dad has been here this week leading on front porch deck joist install, which has been great to see come together. He's also been killing some of the technical know how needed tie-ins and other time consuming details that I would have kludged together or which would still be on the to do list.

Aaron has been hard at work getting things foamed, caulked, typar sealed and taped. Not the most fun jobs, but the progress has been great.

Cory came back for one last trip this spring and poured the garage floor. Which looks awesome and is good to get done.

The front door/garage door representative, Dennis, came out today for a site view and gave some instruction on finishing up the garage door area and to see the site/house. The garage door installer should be stopping in for a site visit soon too.

Rain is coming in this weekend and the roof isn't sealed up, which is a bit worrysome, so I called in the Amish roofing SWAT team which should get the sticky underlayment on tomorrow (starting at 6:30am, ug) and give a more or less waterproof structure till they return to do the real roofing.

The excavators were back today and moved an incredible amount of earth getting us much closer to final grade, which is awesome to see. Tomorrow they connect the sewer/water/conduit for electric/phone/etc and continue grading. Monday they work on prepping the pond for a liner, which should be done by the end of the week, so that will be another huge project getting wrapped up.

Next week will also bring the arrival of the masonry crew to start on the cultured/phony stone work. Also the return of Envinity for a week or two to finish up whatever roof sheathing still needs completion and to start on the Hardiplank siding and do a couple more window/door installs, if they have time beyond those items maybe interior framing will be begun.

It has been one heck of a week. Next week is likely to be big too!

Dad setting deck joists from the flying scaffold.

Dad checking front porch joists for straightness/bowing. Notice that the grade has been brought up to final under the deck.

Front porch deck frame, tied in to the walkway seen to the right.

Garage floor finished!

View from front.

View from Rear.

View from over dry pond.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time flies.....

Jeff and Dad headed home prior to daybreak Thursday, so things have slowed a bit. Envinity and my people worked on garage roof, roof over deck roof and a bunch of detail work like strapping in the garage. We also did a bunch of site cleanup and re-organization, Envinity will not be here in the coming week so we will focus on a bunch of non-carpentry work.

This week we will be pouring the garage slab and doing earth work so we can get seed down, grass/clover growing, and see what our final grades really look like.  I think we will also be doing a lot of caulking and foaming of seams and getting house wrap nailed down so it is not hurt by wind.

The Amish roofers are going to stop out this week to get the roof bid finalized and hopefully started soon. I'm going with a Velux sun tube (their flashing system looks like it would work well on the peak of the roof) for the center of the house and skipping the stock coupla that came with the house. With luck we will see how that works within a week or so.

It's worth noting that in the Deltec build process there are many, many to do items that even a completely unskilled homeowner can do during a Deltec build, things like nailing strapping, caulking/spray-foaming joints, nailing down housewrap take many hours of unskilled labor.

Garage seen from the end. The plywood panel will have a door in it.

Garage connector roof trusses.

Garage from interior. The end will probably eventually be sectioned off into a room. Could be a little office or music room, no firm plans at this point but it will be a nice place to expand into someday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


A good day of window and door install was done today. The big wall of windows and doors went up flawlessly. They look great installed. there are still a couple more doors & windows to go in, but they are easier ones/lower to the ground.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Decks, garage!

Things are coming together! Work has moved to decks and the garage and connector room going to the garage. Some of the deck sections have roofs ofter them so need to be done before we can put underlayment on the roof to get things mostly weather tight. We are pretty heavily crewed through Wednesday, then we start really ramping down on manpower (expert Jeff and Dad both head out and many/some of the Envinity folks start moving to other projects) so hopefully we are setup for a few high accomplishment days.

The jig game down, the house stayed up, that was a big milestone. Looks like Amanda almost got hoisted into the rafters in the process.

Work on the decks, Amanda actually getting up on a sorta high point (she's very height adverse).

Cutting the holes for the deck beams.

Lots of deck accomplishments over the weekend. Well setup for big progress on Monday.

Other big weekend accomplishments were getting all the garage and connector panels set and a good start on the roof trusses on both.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Roof sheathing and a myriad of calking/spray foaming/strapping/nailing/backfilling jobs got done today. Just one picture to show the sheathed roof in the sun.......

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Roof Trusses

Roof trusses are up on the round and the some of the roof sheathing is nailed down. We hit a sheathing snag today that cost the roofing team the afternoon, but I think they should be rocking tomorrow. Many time consuming, but necessary items also have gotten done in the last day or two, most of the connect is up and that floor is in, foam blocks to cover area in the roof trusses that would be left open if one were doing a vented roof are plugged.

Monday, April 2, 2012

One stud two stud, red stud blue stud?

Why are our walls so thick? Double stud walls? What the heck are those?

Studs, the vertical lumber that makes up a wall generally bridges from inside the home to nearly the outside. This creates a path for heat or cold to travel, avoiding insulation meant to prevent this thermal migration. A double stud, or staggered stud wall avoids most of this by having studs not completely bridge the wall cavities. In this case it also creates a very thick (almost 10") wall, which gives room for a lot of insulation and nice deep window wells, which we find aesthetically pleasing.

Double stud wall and lower sill plate.

Double stud wall end view. I think there's a joke about a triple stud wall waiting to be told here, but I may not know Chris well enough to go there.

View of wall and upper sill plate. The top of wall framing is actually a box that is filled with chopped foam that were scrap pieces from factory insulation install.

This appears to be the first 10" double stud home Deltec has done, I'll let you know if it falls down when we put the trusses on tomorrow.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday, muddy Sunday!

Time flies and the house is coming together very quickly. All the walls of the main round are up, the mud room/connector and garage have some work left before we get to roof trusses.

 First couple main floor panels.

Garage wall panels going up.

Everyone's favorite time of day, lunch!

Ugly, ugly mud.

Yet more mud!

Garage to house wall. Envinity's fan club holding ladders.

The big trusses landing on the first floor.

 First floor coming together!

 Shot showing the house colors, green walls, greyish trim and bronze windows.

One of the last 1st floor panels going into place. A bit of work on the connector, and a few other odds and ends and it will be time for roof trusses!