Finally, the project is out of the ground. It seemed like this day would never come, however, on Jan 18th, I had delivered all the framing material needed for the project. Now, it was starting to look like something. Neighbors began to stop by and ask questions.
First floor of the barn framed and sheeted
The framing is 2 x 6 studs, which were used for the extra insulation space in the walls. The floor is 16 feet clear span, so 2 x 10 were used for the joists. The second floor is 7′ 6 inches, to keep the overall height of the structure down a little bit. As Denis said, you don’t want something that looks like a missile silo. I don’t know, those things can be kind of attractive in a post civilization kind of way.
Barn project second floor framing mostly complete
The gambrel roof is a part of the look. For that, the 2 x 6 framing had to be cut extensively. That took almost all morning to do.
Gambrel roof members
I put a 2 x 6 inch beam from the end of the ridge over the double window. In older barns, there were doors on the second floor (where the windows will go), and the beam was for attaching a block and tackle for hoisting hey into the hay loft. I figured we would do something with the siding to make the second floor windows look like doors as an architectural detail.
Second floor sheathing on the gambrel roof was a chore, and required a set of scaffolding and two people. But it went along just fine. There is only the roof to finish, then we will put on the TYPAR house wrap and the roofing felt.
Barn project second floor mostly shealthed
At this point, we are ready for the framing inspection. After that, we will install the windows and doors, put on the roofing shingles and siding. The siding is still being discussed, as we will match house siding to the barn siding, there is some debate on color choices. I believe we have decided on the
In keeping with the theme of these posts, here are the materials for framing:
||Price each (USD)
||Price total (USD)
||Sill seal foam 5.5” x 50’
||Treated 2 x 6 x 12
||Doug fir 2 x 6 x 20
||SPF 2 x 6 x 16
||SPF 2 x 6 x 14
||SPF 2 x 6 x 12
||SPF 2 x 6 x 10
||SPF precuts 2 x 6 x 7
||SPF 2 x 8 x 20
||SPF 2 x 8 x 16
||SPF 2 x 8 x 10
||Doug Fir 2 x 10 x 18
||SPF 2 x 10 x 12
||SPF 2 x 10 x 10
||Doug fir 2 x 4 x 20
||½ CDX 4 x 8 ply
||¾ FIR T&G 4 x 8 ply
||TYPAR 3 x 100
||Felt #30 roll
With delivery charge and other expenses the total came to $4,318.38, making the running total $9,475.00
This post brings the project up to date, as the last picture is what I see this morning looking out the window.
With the frost wall back filled and the center of the foundation filled it, it was time to get ready to pour concrete. The first thing that went down was a vapor barrier, consisting of 20 mil poly plastic.
Then 4 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation with a foil backing. The hollowed out sections of concrete block were filled with vermiculite.
Ready to pour concrete
A layer of 4 inch steel mesh wire was laid on top of the insulation, held up with medium sized rocks. Attached to the mesh was 1/2 inch pex for in slab radiant heating. Finally, the outside of the block wall was formed and 1 inch of foam insulation was run around the outside.
Pouring concrete for slab
Finally, it was time to pour concrete. In an almost surreal moment, the temperature moderated and on Friday, January 13th we were able to pour the slab in 56 degree weather. Overnight, the temperature went down to 34 degrees then back up to 56 the next day. If this is climate change, I am not complaining.
Barn Project slab poured
The total slab was about 8 cubic yards, 240 inches x 192 inches x 8 inches = 368, 640 cubic inches or 7.9 cubic yards, which cost $709.00 delivered, mixed and poured by the ready mix truck. Thankfully, the previous night had been cold and the ground was frozen solid. The entire pour took about 45 minutes. Since the weather was warm and forecast to stay above freezing, I did not get accelerant added to the mix. By 4 pm, it was hard enough to smooth finish.
I kept a tarp over it for three days.
The total cost for the insulation, reenforcing wire, pex, concrete and labor was $2415.39
The running total $5,156.62
So here we were, waiting for the yard to dry out in the middle of October. Then, it snowed! Snow! What next, plagues of locust? We had to get this project moving again, so I purchased a 20 foot length of eight inch drainage culvert and 4 yards of crushed stone. I dug a trench across the front lawn and put the pipe in, covering the whole thing with crushed stone. This began to drain away the swamp in the front yard the the sump pumps were making.
Temporary driveway for concrete trucks
About a week later, I thought that would be okay for a test delivery of crushed stone for the french drain around the frost wall. Alas, no. The dump truck got stuck 10 feet passed the crushed stone. I had him dump is load on top of the crushed stone patch next to the road.
Moving crushed stone to make a french drain
You can see me in the background by the road loading the wheel barrow. I spent the next several Saturdays and Sundays with a wheelbarrow moving 6 yards of crushed stone uphill to the construction site and filling in all around the frost wall with it. In the end, the crushed stone runs 12-14 inches deep around the entire foundation. I used the extra to fill some of the inside.
By this time, the ground was beginning to freeze and I was getting concerned that my footing might be damaged by frost. The good news is, with the ground frozen, we were able to get two loads of bank run gravel dumped into the foundation to fill it in. This was compacted and then a vapor barrier was laid on top of it. I used some left over landscaping cloth to cover the crushed stone and back filled the frost wall by hand.
Total cost for the drainage culvert, drainage pipe, crushed stone, bank run gravel and labor was $1140.00
Running total $2,749.23
Since we are spending good money on this project, I want it to last. Thus, building a complete frost wall and footings to the proper depth are important. The idea is that this is an outbuilding, but may be converted to another use in the future, if needed.
We let the footings cure for about a week, then began to lay block for the frost wall. Let me tell you first hand, laying block is back labor. For some reason, this year the black flies never died off and they were out in force while we were trying to stack block.
I had the local hardware/building supply outfit deliver 126 each of 8x8x16 inch concrete block, plus 9 bags of mortar mix and 1 bag of mason lime. Once again, using Denis to help, we carefully set the corners, making sure the structure was square, by measuring crosswise the distance to each corner. Once we had all the dimensions right, we marked each corner with a masonry nail.
Then the back labor began.
Flooded footings, courtesy of Tropical Storm Irene
Unfortunately, the date we began laying block was August 26th. On August 28th, Tropical Storm Irene severely impacted our area, dropping 11 inches of rain in less than 12 hours. The footings were submerged in water, as was most of the low lying areas around here. This was a blessing of sorts, because it showed us the drainage issue with the location. I dug out a trench from the lowest side of the footings to drain the water out.
Then, on September 5th, Tropical Storm Lee arrived, depositing another 6 inches of rain on the already soaked ground. More flooding ensued.
Cinder block frost wall, part way completed
These two storms much delayed the project as the yard around the building project was a swamp for several weeks. When it finally dried out enough, we were able to finish laying the block, but that was not until October.
Cinder block frost wall, damp proofed
Once the block was laid, I coated the exterior with roofing tar and laid a french drain around the exterior of the frost wall. Some people call the application of tar “water proofing.” That is not the case. The tar simply keeps the block from getting too much water ingress and deteriorating. The french drain installed around the footing drains the water away, keeping it from penetrating the surface tar.
Moving crushed stone to make a french drain
Then the issue became the soggy front yard. We could not get a dump truck up into the project side to deliver crushed stone for the french drain or bank run gravel to fill in the interior of the frost wall.
We waited and waited and waited some more. Finally, it became apparent that another solution was needed. I made a temporary driveway in the front yard, more in part III.
Total cost for the frost wall was $603.00 (block, mortar mix, tar)
Running cost is $1,609.00
I think the worst part of any project like this is getting it out of the ground. Once the exact location was decided, it was time to submit the plans to the building department and pull a permit. For that I needed to draw up the design and submit a detail of the footings and foundation, framing and a plot plan showing the location on our property relative to the existing structure and property lines.
That was relatively easy, at least in my town. I think I’ve been around enough and completed enough projects that the building inspector knows me. I drew most of it by hand, perhaps I can make a few drawings on the computer and post them, if there is interest.
The excavator was rented and delivered on a Saturday morning. I had a helper, Denis, who is a contractor himself and has done a good deal of work putting footings in. This was a tremendous help, as it is difficult to run the excavator to dig the footings, get the hole depth right, and keep all the other variables under control.
The required depth of footing is 48 inches, which is deeper than it sounds. Still, with the excavator, the trenches were dug in a couple of hours. There was one gigantic boulder toward the back that I could not move with the excavator. The building inspector said as long as it is deeper than 48 inches, it can become part of the footing by forming around it. A slight inconvenience but not the end of the world, that would come later. The excavator cost $397.00 to rent for the weekend from the local Taylor Rental.
Medium sized hole in the ground
Then, we formed them up. The footing size is 20 x 10 inches. A few inches of crushed stone was deposited in the bottom of the trenches and packed down. This made a nice, hard, level surface to build the forms on. There are two runs of 1/2 inch rebar through the middle of them. The total concrete pour was 4 yards. Figuring cubic yards of concrete is pretty easy. I usually convert the form size to inches, for example; the footings are 22 x 18 feet, outside dimensions. Thus, there are two strips of concrete, 22 feet long (264 inches), by 20 inches wide by 10 inches deep. The other side dimensions are minus the width of the first dimension, e.g., 18 feet equals 216 inches, minus 2o inches on each side, equals 176 inches for each remaining dimension. Thus 264 x 2 + 176 x 2 x 20 x 10 = 176,000 cubic inches of concrete or 3.77 cubic yards (176,000 ÷ (36 x 36 x 36)= 3.77).
Pouring footings around bolder, Denis and the concrete truck
Rather than mix this by hand or use a portable cement mixer, I called a ready mix truck to come and pour the footings.
Working the concrete around in the forms
The cost for 4 yards of 3500 psi concrete was $489.00. Well worth it.
Figuring in fuel for the excavator, a few dollars to Denis for helping out, the total cost of the footings was $1,006.00.
We let them stand for a week, then knocked the forms off of them and were ready to lay block.
We like living in this house, it is a great area. The kids love running wild in the woods, bears not withstanding. My wife has a good job at the local school district, the commute is less than two miles. All in all, it is a great location.
The house itself is just a bit too small. We also have no general outside storage. The lawn mower, roto tiller and other equipment lives under a tarp when not in use. That is less than ideal. I would also like a separate space for my home office.
To answer all those concerns and more, I decided that a small outbuilding should be constructed. Nothing major, something long the lines of 200 square feet or so. That was the size at the beginning of the planning process. The final size is 640 square feet and I fear that it may be too small.
Floor plan, barn project
The floor plan is pretty simple, the first floor is on a slab and is 20×16 feet, the second floor is also 20×16 including the stairwell. I wanted to get maximum use from this project, therefore, I build in several options not normally found in an outbuilding:
- The first floor slab is 8 inches thick, insulated and has PEX embedded for radiant floor heating
- The walls are all 2×6 construction, for the added insulation space.
- All doors and windows are double glazed.
- The walls are to be insulated with spray in foam.
- The second floor will have radiant tubing installed under the floor.
- The major building face is oriented to true south, solar thermal panels will be mounted on the south facing roof for space heating.
- The roof pitch for the south facing roof is 55 degrees, for best winter solar gain.
- Under the stairs will be located a 12 KW propane generator for backup power to the house and battery charging.
- A large lead acid battery bank will reside next to the north wall on the first floor.
All of these things point toward using solar heating, using the slab as heat storage for energy collected during the day. The theory is, at night time, the floor will release its heat into the structure, thus keeping it warm. The overall floor was just under seven cubic yards of concrete during the pour. The specific heat for concrete is 0.18 BTU/lb/°F. Seven cubic yards equals 27,405 pounds of concrete. Thus, a temperature rise of 1 degree F equals 4932 BTU of energy storage. If the solar panels can raise the temperature of the slab from 40 to 100 degrees F in one sunny day, that represents 295,974 BTU, which is significant.
The plan is to have about 94 square feet of solar collector, which should easily handle this amount of energy collection on all but the cloudiest of days.
The batteries will be primarily charged from the grid, however, they can also be charge by the PV panels in the event of a prolonged power outage. If the solar panels cannot charge the batteries for whatever reason, then the backup generator will kick in and charge them. The backup generator will hopefully be used vary sparingly, it is a four cylinder, air cooled unit. In the winter (which is when most of the power outages occur) the waste heat from the generator will also heat the building.
This project is already underway, but I am going to break up the posts into general topics, like footings, slabs, framing, etc.
Happy New Year!
Once upon a time, this blog was a happening place. Then, like so many other things, the house renovation and the blog where put on hold. I could have continued blogging about other things, but made the decision to stay on topic and post nothing.
Situations have shifted, slightly, for the better. We are back to doing some things here, although money is still tight. I will therefore revive the blog, which is no small task. The software and database are woefully out of date. The front page design, template and overall look leaves lots of room for improvement. I also intend to go through past posts and make corrections or delete as appropriate.
The new, revised blog will be about home improvement. I am going to do away with any tool recommendations, as they often become a place were anyone with a gripe will come and post about their issues with that particular tool. When I read those comments, it often seems the tool owner is not following directions or is generally trying to do something the tool manufacture had not intended.
I look forward to inviting you all back in and posting about such things as our zero energy barn, construction of which is underway. I will also post our plans for the final push to finish renovating this house, which includes such things as a building front porch, replacing siding, renovating the old bathroom, finishing the fireplace hearth, adding backup power generation, etc.
Thanks for reading.
Update: Well, new data base, somewhat stream lined content, not all the old posts made it over, new template, updated ad interface, etc. Looks like the back office upgrades are done. I am busy going through the older posts and fixing picture links, etc. That may take some time, but for now, we are back in business.
So, a sundial is pretty much useless, unless it is in the sun. I decided, since this was a scientific sundial, indeed a precision instrument, that it needed a precision base.
With left over materials from our last solar job, I fashioned a base using 8 inch sonotube, 3 inch PVC conduit and an 80 pound bag of ready mix.
Scientific Sundial, mounted
I knew were a large rock, by large I mean car sized, was in my yard, I found it the first year while digging trenches for drain pipes for the gutters. I dug down with a post hole digger and placed about 18 inches of sonotube on the rock. I also drilled into the rock a little bit with a masonry bit and put a 1/2 inch rebar into the rock, pinning the sonotube footing in place.
Then I filled the sonotube and the 3 inch PVC with ready mix concrete.
I waited two days.
Scientific Sundial, about 5 pm
Using the Solar and Moon calculator App for my android phone, I determined that solar noon was 12:57:58 pm today. I don’t thing that two seconds will make that much difference, so at exactly 12:58 pm, I aligned the 12:00 noon analemma with the shadow made by the Gnomon. This sundial is now aligned to true north/south.
The motto means “Life resembles a shadow“
This year we have lots of them:
Concord Grapes on the vine
I picked several pounds of these, destemed them and washed them:
Concord Grapes ready to be juiced
Using a potato masher, I smashed them up as best as possible, then put them on the stove. Brining them to a low simmering boil for 10 minutes, I mashed them again. Then, I strained them through a metal strainer to get rid of the seeds and skins. Finally, I strained that juice through cheese cloth and ended up with about two quarts of grape juice.
I must say, the grape juice is pretty good, slightly tangy but yummy. I found cutting the grape juice with 1/2 water made it taste better. Also, my wife is planning to make grape jelly with the juice, as we have lots of it, and having homemade grape jelly, just like the home made strawberry jam, will be welcome in the middle of winter.
I wanted to get a sundial for our kitchen garden for the last several years. There seemed to be many choices, all good. Truth be told, I couldn’t make up my mind. I also had several other projects going on simultaneously. I figured I should finish some of those before starting something new.
Fast forward to this summer. I was researching sundials for some other reason when I came upon a company called Scientific Sundials. They looked really cool, and they are completely customizable. I ordered one and it showed up yesterday via US Mail.
I’ll be making a mount for this one and putting it up when I build the new front porch.