Three More Tasks Complete

The questionnaire

This weekend once again the weather looked to be snowy and wet so I planned for most of my work to be under cover.  During the week I traveled to a nearby Home Depot to pic up a octogan shaped window for the wall above the porch.  I try to monitor the local listings for any building materials that I may need.  This week a guy advertised some composite decking for $1 per foot which is more than 50% off!  It turns out that the guy was located just 3 miles from my building site.

Junk Shopping

When I located the address for the guy with the composite decking, I was shocked to learn that it was not some random dude with some spare decking.  It was an entire salvage yard with all kinds of new building materials.  Much of it was remnants, defects, or surplus from other jobs.  I picked thru several lots of different colors and found a pile of brown decking with enough decent looking pieces.  $200 and two trips later I had 13 pieces of decking 16ft long each on the job site.

Decking Installation

The first step was to cut the decking to length.  I picked 16ft lengths so that there would be no cuts showing on the deck.  Composite decking is actually quite heavy and bows a lot.  I put the saw on the floor and propped up the decking piece with blocks of 2×4’s.  I laid the pieces in place on the deck as I cut them and inspected them for any defects.  Luckily, I only discovered two defects before screwing the pieces down.  One I was able to hide against the wall and the other I was able to use the spare piece that I bought.

Composite decking requires special screws so that you don’t get puckered holes.  I bought two pounds of Grip-Rite fasteners in brown and the T-15 bit needed to drive them in.  The first tier I butted solidly against the front wall of the porch and drove fasteners in four places.  I decided to pre-drill the holes to make the fasteners easier to drive and ensure consistent placement.  The second tier I spaced using some very small (about .030″) finishing nails.  Being under a porch I am not too concerned with water drainage and didn’t want the unsightly gaps that are more appropriate for an outdoor deck.

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With all the decking tacked down, I went back and pre-drilled the remaining faster locations (2 per joist @ 16″ OC).  About 2/3rd complete, I realized that another box of fasteners will be required.  I did manage to get at least one screw in every board.  If you are planning a composite deck project, don’t even think about joist spacing greater than 16″ OC this stuff is pretty flexible, also be sure to inspect for defecte carefully.

Window Installation

Yup, I screwed up big time.  The framed opening for the octagon window was 1 inch too narrow for the window (missed it by that much ||).  I really liked the window and its size, so I decided to hack it up and make it fit.  I cut the inside down by an inch so that it would fit within the foam and overlap on the right and left by 1/2 inch.  I screwed it thru the foam into studs which means that there really is no wood holding this window in place, just four really long screws.   If it were something that got lots of use, it would be an unacceptable installation. This window will require a ladder to open and will probably never be opened so it will be fine.

When it comes time to trim the inside (which will be interesting), I will attach some screws in strategic locations to add more support.  The trim will be a window buck that holds the window from the inside rather than the outside.  When finished you won’t ever know I screwed up until its time for replacement.

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Using the porch roof to work from made the job pretty easy as I could cut and tape my foam sheets right there.  With the outside done, I applied some spray foam to seal around the inside of the window.  The inside looks pretty messy right now, but will clean up nicely when I add trim.

Bathroom Framing

Sunday I worked indoors and began framing my bathroom walls.  Using data from the CAD system, I laid out lines on the floor where the pressure treated studs would go.  I used a pencil and long steel rule for maximum accuracy (chalk lines can walk).  The studs were secured to the concrete with drill and screw fasteners.  I chose not to get fancy with the pipe and cut two separate pieces to get around it.  The concrete next to the pipe is a bit high and it would have been a nightmare to use a single piece and shims.

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I framed out the wall section using very specific data from the CAD system.  This wall will be the framing for built-in kitchen cabinets and medicine chest.  The studs need to be in exact locations so I don’t waste any space inside the cabinets.  The two middle studs will be the medicine cabinet on the bathroom side and the kitchen sink on the other.  The rest of the open space I will divide into upper and lower cabinet sections as the spirit moves me.

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Sub Flooring

I will be installing a 1.5 inch thick sub floor made up of a 3/4 inch thick pressure treated board with 3/4 Advantech OSB laid on top.  The pressure treated planks will be attached with building adhesive and Ramset pins with the Ramguard coating which is compatible with pressure treated lumber.  You can see the test piece I installed in the pic (floor behind Ajax under window), I will be installing pieces like this at 16″ OC on the entire floor….pics as I work on it.

P.S. Ajax is not a big fan of the ramset gun…it took me 5 minutes to get him to pose for that bathroom pic.

blizzard of 2013 Update

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The blizzard of 2013 has come and gone.  Even though we have not had much snow, I’m sick of shoveling and want spring to get started.  During and after the blizzard I managed to get started on the Bodega’s screened porch.

Roof Pitch Issues

The original Bodega plans called for the place to be 24 inches taller than it is.  This would have extended the headroom in the loft.  It also would have made the cathedral ceiling over 17ft tall, with all my insulation on the roof it would have topped out at over 20ft.

Deleting the 24 inches from the design makes the addition of the porch roof challenging since you need enough pitch to allow shingles to work.  The minimum pitch of 2:12 is needed to use shingles at all, and most roofing contractors won’t install shingle on anything less than a 4:12 pitch roof.

With strategic ceiling height selection I have been able to design a roof that will get me just a bit steeper than a 3:12 pitch.  To make sure water goes where it should, I will be using Grace Ice and Water, 2 layers of synthetic underlayment, and solid starter strips on all three edges.  I think it will work just fine.


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My pics this week show the three porch walls.  I will be using siding on the lower 3 feet and custom screens for the windows.  The window and door locations are where they are because I thought it looked nice and no other reason.  I could have made the front windows equal size but wanted large screens on the corners.

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Theres nothing really special about the construction.  The wall sections were framed on the ground, lifted into position, and nailed down to the deck frame.  I used headlok fasteners to attach the side walls to the house framing.

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Whats Next?

This weekend I will be adding a roof and hopefully putting shingles on it too.  If I get that done, I’m going to frame one of the bathroom walls which also happens to be the kitchen wall.  The kitchen wall has my built-in cabinets, so there is a bit of interesting detail there…talk about it in my next post.