Sunday, September 7, 2014

drywall

Here's a panoramic of the main room in the apartment. Drywall is getting further along.  We are doing the highest level 5 finish in all the spaces, but the garage.  Basically that means a thin coat of drywall mud is applied over the entire surface.  If you want to learn more about the different levels check them out the National Gypsum Company's website.

Panoramics are a bit wonky, but wanted to show the entire upstairs space.


The garage will only have a level 4 finish, which means it will not have a final coat of mud over all of it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

drywall delivery



Quantities.  It takes lots of materials to build a house.  On this day 18,800 pounds of gypsum wallboard (aka drywall, GWB) was delivered and placed throughout the house.  Some of it boomed through our second floor deck doors.



Neil went with 5/8" throughout the house instead of the typical 1/2".  This adds a little more sound insulation.  That along with our blown-in insulation and triple pane windows should make the house pretty darn quiet. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

insulation


One of the biggest steps we are taking to be more energy efficient in the future, is to add more insulation in the home now.  The Washington State Energy code is one of the most strict in the country, but we took it to the next level. 

In our 2x6 walls, we used Blown-In-Blanket-Insulation (BIBS) - basically dense packed fiberglass. Specifically JM Climate Pro, which gets us R-23 in 2x6 walls.  This fills in behind all the electrical and plumbing. You just can't get as good of a value with regular batts.  It is a better sound insulation, too. This coupled with our 1-1/2" rigid on the exterior gives us R-30.5 on our walls. In comparison, 2x4 walls with batt insulation only achieves at best R-15.  

In our ceilings we have R-60 or better.  Neil used 1.5" of unfaced rigid insulation as a baffle to create the 2" air channel above the insulation in our vented roof.  Then BIBS in the ceiling.  In the vaulted spaces we have R-62.4. 
The pink stuff at the top plate to ceiling intersection is sill sealer...typically used to air seal and separate the bottom mudsill to the concrete stemwall.  We are using it here to create another level of airsealing at this intersection.

Below is our downstairs entry looking towards the stairwell.  To the left you can see a muddy greenish insulation which is rockwool.  This is the wall that separates the apartment from the main house and it needed a certain sound rating as well as 1 hour fire rated construction. 

We also used the rockwool in bathroom walls for added sound insulation as seen in the wall separating the upstairs guest bathroom from the hallway below.

We had a couple of tricky locations to air seal.  Two roof to wall locations that we ended up spraying 3" of closed cell foam before blowing in the BIBS.  The spray foam is about R-7 per inch. In these roofs we do not have venting.  

The installers also sprayed 1" closed cell foam at the rim joists.


Next up...drywall!


Monday, August 18, 2014

air sealing and documenting

Before insulating, we went around and documented all the wall framing.  Neil held a tape and I photographed.  This way we have a record of exactly where all the plumbing, electrical wires and studs are.  Most of our air sealing had also been done prior to this, so that can be seen in the photos.  Things like the white caulk line at the base of the wall, the orange expanding foam at penetrations, as well as some trickier air sealing conditions like between our vented attic and living room high wall.  This was dealt with a layer of rigid foam sealed in place.

Another item to note, Neil made his own baffles to create a 2" air space above our insulation and below our roof sheathing for our vented roof.  That is the white sheets you see below.  It's actually 2" of non-faced rigid insulation.  Below that will be BIBS (Blown-in-Blanket-System) a dense packed fiberglass insulation for a total of R-62 in our roof.  Code is only R-49.

As much as I am looking forward to insulating and drywall, I do love it at this stage.  It's so cool to see all the framing...the bones and then all the wires (nerves) of the house. 








Sunday, June 29, 2014

lighting



One of the design challenges of a house, is creating an electrical layout.  Some things are obvious, like outlets for appliances and general outlets throughout.  Switch locations also are typically easy.  You place them in locations that you enter a room.  One of the things that is not so obvious is how best to light the space.  I designed all the spaces to maximize natural daylight and while there are places for special pendant lights, I wanted most of the lighting to not be so obvious.

Design Criteria
1. The majority of fixtures to utilize LED bulbs if not specifically LED fixtures.
2. Minimize cans.  We are paying extra special attention to our air sealing.  After doing extensive research online, we decided to forgo the use of cans in our ceilings where there is also insulation.  This means most of our upstairs.
3. Low cost.  It is very very easy to spend lots of money on electrical fixtures.  Not so easy to find aesthetically pleasing inexpensive fixtures.  I will do more posts on this later.
4. Providing enough light, but not over doing it.  In our current home, which is very similar space to our new main room space, we over did the lighting.  There are 4 cans in the kitchen we never use and a track light at the ceiling we never use and 2 cans over our sofa, that Neil dislikes when I use to read...so I now have a reading lamp.

Even after creating this lighting plan, it is important to do multiple walk throughs with the electrical contractor.  We made a few changes to lamp locations after seeing either conflicting framing or just rethinking what we want while in the space.  Ideally all the fixtures are chosen ahead of time so they can be placed in right spot, but the reality is, I know generally what the fixtures will be (sconce, pendant, light strip, track) just haven't selected and bought them yet.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

electrical install

The electrician has started. Above is the view in the living room of the apartment looking towards the front door and kitchen.  A protective board now covers the concrete floor.


The renderings are very basic...we have not chosen cabinet material or colors yet nor light fixtures, but I wanted to show a bit of the process.  It is extremely helpful to have the 3D model to continuously go back to.

The apartment will have it's own subpanel which is located in it's laundry room. Ours is also located in our laundry room below.






I love Neil's cardboard lists that are tacked up in different rooms.  Here they list what wires have been run and below is a to do list. 


The picture below shows our bedroom to the right and the enclosed space to the left is our bathroom  with the conditioned attic above.  One of our challenges is that I did not want actual walls between the living room and bedroom/ closet area.  These will be walls of bookcases, which makes installing electrical outlets and switches more difficult.  The outlets will eventually be in the bookcases and we are doing remote control switches for the living room.  


Thursday, June 26, 2014

exterior window trim


While the subcontractors are inside, Neil has moved to the outside.  He will be adding 1-1/2" of rigid insulation on the exterior of the building...over top of our weather barrier which covers our 1/2" plywood sheathing.  Once the insulation is applied, he will then install 3/4" plywood battens vertically, aligned with the studs in the wall.  This will create a drainage plane behind the siding.  We are using 2 different types of siding.  1x6 cedar beveled siding that we are having pre-stained black and 8" exposure James hardi lap siding which will be painted an undecided grey.



Because we are adding more thickness to the wall, we had to rethink our exterior trim.  Originally we were wanting a 3-1/2" wide trim that would be picture framed around the window, but after mocking it, we came to re-evaluate this due to the multiple 12 steps to building it out versus 5 for the 2x on end.  12 x 34 window groupings equal a painfully slow process.  So we decided we liked the more streamlined look.














You can see all the extra blocking needed in this side shot.








We also briefly looked at adding a stepped trim piece around the frame, but decided against it's fussiness.


We have tried to minimize the fan vent locations and while we do not have individual exhaust fans for our main part of the house, we still have them for the apartment portion.  For every hole coming through from the inside to the outside, Neil has boxed it out and flashed it like below.  All of the vents, hosebibs and exterior electrical outlets receive this treatment.