Monday, July 25, 2011


Started doing the wiring.  The main panel is out at the power pole providing the temp construction power.  The panel in the house, technically, is a sub panel.  A good place to begin is putting in all the boxes where outlets and fixtures will be.  I picked up a copy of the National Electric Code (NEC) book to reference, so I can be code compliant.  You have to be able to walk through a house and turn lights on and off to light your way.  You have to have outlets placed so a floor lamp with a 6' cord can be placed along any wall.  There are wiring size issues, breaker size issues, and rules where ground fault circuits have to be.  Bedrooms have to have arc fault breakers.  Smoke alarms and CO detectors have to be on a breaker with lights so a dead circuit won't go unnoticed.

This is the sub panel with about half of the circuits in so far.  Neatness counts.  You want to try to balance the two 110v legs as best as you can...The challenge with this was, WAAY back when I ran the conduit through the foundation, it just didn't end up in the middle of the stud bay so it needed a custom offset.  I bought two 45 degree sweeps and kept cutting half an inch off of them equally until, put together, they centered with the panel.  I like how it looks.  Too bad no one will ever see it. 
This is a pretty fun stage of building.  There is no heavy lifting involved, you're deciding where lights and stuff will be, and you're figuring things out.  The project has truly taken on a life of its own.  Also it started raining and it was fun to be working 'inside' instead of having to just quit for the day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

There's An Inside Now

     For the fourth time since starting I needed to call in help.  Byron's been there for each of those times.  Cutting the driveway, getting the septic system in and level, concrete foundation pouring day, and now windows.
     We worked together to get the housewrap up.  This is a very critical stage, and doing it wrong is the source of leaks, woodrot, even termite issues later.  The websites I found made it clear that a cheap product applied correctly will far outperform an expensive product slapped up there.  I opted for expensive product applied correctly.
     Part of the challenge is the waterproofing is applied out of order with the order you do construction.  So you leave bottom edges unattached to properly slip flashing underneath when doing roofing and siding. 
     We used Tyvek housewrap.  We taped all seams.  We cut 45 degree angles over the window and door corners for supersticky flashing.  We caulked, caulked, caulked.
     We got a rhythm down for installing the windows and they all went well, though there are some new aches and pains after the heavy lifting and twisting.   Two funny things that happened---the housewrap comes wrapped around a 9' cardboard toilet paper tube so while Byron was way up a ladder I was able to whisper in his ear from the ground....Other funny thing was inadvertently sticking my head in freshly applied caulk.  Spent the day with silicone stuck in what's left of my hair, removed later with carb cleaner.
     I decided we'd work from the top down with the windows, and we got all of them except one 4x4 living room window and the sliding glass door in, both of which are off the porch.  Those I did by myself---not smart.  I really should have got help from a neighbor instead of relying on a series of clamps and braces.  No mishaps but took much, much longer and those things are HEAVY.