Sub-Grade Stone Is Complete

Day #39

August 19, 2018 – Today we placed the remaining limestone under the new addition. All of the sub-grade stone is complete and the landscape fabric covered! By volume we have moved almost 9 tons of stone. Not to shabby for a weekend.

Started the porch framing but we quit when it started to rain. Even the toads were seeking cover.

In two weeks I will have the balance of the porch addition framing lumber delivered in one shot. Much easier to have it delivered rather than try and haul it in ourselves. 

Sub-Grade Stone Is Complete
Placing the last of the limestone under the porch addition.
Sub-Grade Stone Is Complete - Double Wheel Barrows
Double Wheel Barrows!
Sub-Grade Stone Is Complete
Sub-grade stone is complete and the porch framing is started.
Sub-Grade Stone Complete - Toad
Rain storm, even the toads ran for cover.
Sub-Grade Stone Complete - Floor Framing
View of the new kitchen floor framing from inside the existing kitchen.

Kitchen Floor Framing Complete

Day #38

August 18, 2018 – After a quick trip for lumber, some sawing and hammering, and voila, kitchen floor framing complete! The addition is now starting to take shape.

So far I am am very happy with the concrete work. Although the pictures are deceiving and the framing is not conventional the floor is perfectly level. It should also meet the existing floor elevation once we finish it off.

We also managed to get some more of the limestone spread in the area under the porch addition. 3/4 of the way done! Once we have the sub-grade stone complete I will begin the porch floor framing.

Kitchen Floor Framing
Kitchen addition floor framing continues.
Kitchen Addition - Floor Joists
Kitchen addition floor joists in progress.
Kitchen Addition - Floor Joists
All but one of the kitchen addition joists are set.
Kitchen Addition - Solid Bridging
Solid 2 × 10 bridging at the kitchen addition.
Kitchen & Porch Addition Overview
Elevated shot of the kitchen floor framing and the stone under the porch addition.

Final Sub-Grade Preparation

Day #37

August 17, 2018 – This morning Wolfley Excavating delivered 16.8 tons of 2RC limestone. This is for the final sub-grade preparation under the floor framing.

Last week we leveled out the mud piles and placed the landscape fabric. On top of this we will spread a 2 inch layer of this limestone. This keeps us out of the mud and provides for a more finished look under the porch.

We used some 2 inch screeds cut from old 2 × 4’s to help keep us at a 2 inch stone depth. It worked pretty well. Finally, with the stone in place we lightly compacted it with a hand tamper for a more solid layer.

At the end of the day I had almost reached the halfway point. Final sub-grade preparation will have to finish on another day.

2RC Limestone Delivery
Wolfley Excavation delivering 16.8 tons of 2RC limestone.
2RC Limestone Delivery
Wolfley Excavating leaving after the stone delivery.
Sub-Grade Preparation - Wheel Barrow
Stone is spread by hand to minimize the impact on the water logged site.
Sub-Grade Preparation - Hand Tamper
Limestone layered to a depth of 2″ and lightly compacted.
Sub-Grade Preparation - Wood Screed
2″ wood screed used to help control the stone depth.
Sub-Grade Preparation - End of Day
Almost halfway done!

Landscape Fabric

Landscape Fabric

Day #36

August 12, 2018 – To dress up the area under the kitchen and porch addition we placed landscape fabric. On top of this will go 2″ of limestone. This will serve to keep us out of the mud while framing.  It will also keep the weeds from growing under the porch in the future.

With the landscape fabric in placed I continued floor framing with a ledger board under the living room door. The new ledger boards are secured by drilling completely through the existing oak beams. They are bolted from the underside of the cottage with hot dipped galvanized bolts. It’s a little freaky crawling under the cottage. The dreaded Polyphemus moth caterpillar, spiders, hellgrammites,  black snakes, copper heads…….I did smell cucumbers!

Late afternoon we got everything all cleaned up and ready for next weekends stone delivery. Plus we did a sneak peek review of the new siding and roof colors. There will be more on that selection later. Stay tuned….

Landscape Fabric
Sub-grade preparation with landscape fabirc.
Ledger Board - Living Room Door
Ledger board under living room door.
Under Cottage - HDG Bolts
Hot dipped galvanized bolts underneath the cottage.
Under Cottage - HDG Bolts
Hot dipped galvanized bolts underneath the cottage.
Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar
Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar
Ledger Board - Living Room Door
Ledger board under living room door.
Ledger Board - Along Living Room
Ledger board along the living room.
Sub-grape Prep / Floor Framing
Sub-grade landscape fabric prep and floor framing.
Siding & Roofing Colors
Color samples for the new siding and roofing.

Frost Wall Demo

Day #35

August 11, 2018 – Today we set out to do some frost wall demo. I rented a concrete saw from BestLine Equipment in Mechanicsburg. When we got it to the cottage I realized that it was to big for what we needed to cut. I was not able to get the saw close enough to the top of the wall to make a cut. Because the was too low to the ground I couldn’t cut along the face either. 

Plan B was the old 3 lb. hammer and chisel. Fortunately the wall along the front of living room was constructed with large river rocks. Concrete does not stick to river rocks so I was able to easily hammer and chisel 6″ off the top of that section of wall.

I hoped to remove a section of frost wall along the side of the living room for the new kitchen sink drain piping. This wall was all concrete. The saw was to big to cut it and it was to hard to hammer and chisel. Looks like we will re-route the drain line.

After the frost wall demo I continued on the floor framing while Robrandi leveled out  and backfilled the low areas. It was still all mud. She used the lawn tractor to smooth it all out. At the end of the day we were ready for landscape fabric and stone.

Frost Wall - Concrete Saw
Concrete saw was to large to use.
Frost Wall - Hammer & Chisel
Frost wall demo with a 3 lb. hammer and chisel.
Frost Wall - Ledger Board Framing
Ledger board framing above the old porch wall.
Frost Wall - Floor Framing
Floor joist framing at new kitchen addition along the frost wall.
Frost Wall - Ledger Board Framing
Ledger board framing above the frost wall.

Kitchen Floor Framing Continues

Day #34

August 5, 2018 – The kitchen floor framing continued today. The heat index was 102 degrees but it was so humid that the puddles were not even drying up.  I was taking it very slowly.

The existing Cot-Taj-Mahal is built on rough cut 2″ × 6″ solid oak beams. I didn’t want to place a lot of  additional load on the  structure so we poured a line of footers and piers as close to the existing wall as we could. As a result, along the kitchen, I have to transition from a 6″ beam to an 8″ ledger and then to a new 10′” beam. As expected, nothing is square. Gotta love 65 year old structures! 

Before I can go any further with the ledger board installation I need to demo part of the frost wall under the living room door. I’m hoping I can cut it with a concrete saw.

Floor Framing - Kitchen Addition 02
Overview of the floor framing at the new kitchen addition.
Floor Framing - Transition Joists 01
Here we transition from a 2 by 6 beam to a 2 by 10 beam. We have 2 by 8 joists in between.
Floor Framing - Transition Joists 02
We have 2 by 8 joists in between.
Floor Framing - Kitchen Addition 01
Parking lot view of the floor framing at the new kitchen addition.

Floor Framing New Kitchen Addition

Day #33

August 4, 2018 – This morning we made a run out to the Lewistown Lowe’s for treated lumber to start the floor framing.  Yesterday I did a quick takeoff for the lumber I needed to start the floor framing along the kitchen addition. I was anxious to get started with the ledger boards while I had help. Unfortunately when we got back we discovered that the power was out. Son of a bitch!

I called in the power outage to Pennelec. After a short time they returned the call with a status update. It was anticipated that the power would come back on by 1:30 PM. My help could only stay until ,noon so that pretty much shot a hole in my plans!

With the power out I decided to strip the last pier manually with an old time screwdriver and a ratchet. I had to bail the hole out several times but I got it stripped and backfilled. 

At 1:05 PM the power came back on. Ahead of schedule, imagine that. The rest of the afternoon I managed to get a small portion of the floor framing completed along the kitchen addition.

Tomorrow, if the power stays on, I’ll continue the kitchen addition floor framing.

Ratchet Work
Taking apart the last pier form with no electricity.
Last Concrete Pier
The forms from the last concrete pier are stripped.
Floor Framing - Treated Lumber
This was our first load of treated lumber for the floor framing.
Floor Framing - Ledger Board
The first ledger board for the new kitchen floor.
Floor Framing - Ledger Board
Ledger boards for the new kitchen floor.
Floor Framing - Ledger & Beam
Ledger boards, band joist and beam at the new kitchen floor.
Floor Framing - Band Joist
The first band joist and beam for the new kitchen floor.

Muddy Mess Again

Day #32

August 3, 2018 – Got to the Cot-Taj-Mahal around mid-day.  The backyard was flooded, the side yard was flooded and the front yard was flooded. Once again, the rain from the previous week left a muddy mess.

The last concrete pier was filled to the brim with ground water. There were three of four frogs sunbathing along the edge. When I approached they all dove in for a swim.

After exposing some more of the existing floor beams along the kitchen, I decided to just chill out and enjoy the day without slopping around in the muddy mess.

Later in the evening, I had dinner and a few drinks at Wingman Brew N Que. That seems to be our new Friday night haunt. I tried a new beer, Field Trip Series Pineapple Mango by Short Bus Brew House from McClure, Pa. It was pretty good.

On the way back to the cottage I made a stop at Angelo’s Italian Restaurant. Chris who works there makes wonderful Whoopie Pies in all sorts of flavors. He gave me a a few of his new Blueberry-Banana to take with me and that was it for the day.

Muddy Mess
Rain, rain go away, please come back another day!
Muddy Mess - Last Concrete Pier
The last concrete pier filled with ground water.
Existing Floor Beams
Solid Oak double 2 inch by 6 inch rough cut floor beams with 1 inch rough cut floor planking.
Short Bus Brewhouse
Field Trip Series Pineapple Mango by Short Bus Brewhouse, McClure, Pa. at Wingman Brew N Que.

Concrete Work Is All Done!


Day #31

July 29, 2018 – It is my great pleasure to report that all of the concrete work is done! The family really pulled together this weekend and killed it!

Today we dewatered and poured the last three concrete piers.  All of the piers were striped and all of the footings except for one in the back corner are backfilled. Next weekend, after the last footing is backfilled, we will officially start the floor framing.

Once again, I want to thank my hard working construction crew. Without their help we would not have been able to get the concrete work done this weekend.  So, in no particular order (but different than the last time), Hank, Henry, Ryan, Angelie, Megan, Troy,  Jessie, Phil, Lance you guys are the best crew ever! Thank you all for your hard work this weekend. 

We’ll see what the weather has in store for us next weekend.

Here are some interesting statistics.

  1. Placing 19 footings we poured 2.75 cubic yards of ready mix concrete.
  2. Constructing 19 piers we hand mixed and placed 1.94 cubic yards of bagged concrete mix.
  3. Each bag of concrete mix weighes 80 lbs.
  4. We mixed 88 bags of concrete for a total of 7040 lbs.
  5. To keep the footings dry we pumped, bucketed and dipped close to 10 cubic yards of water and muck.

With that in mind I need a volunteer to count nails. Any takers…?

Concrete Work - Dewatering
Angelie dewatering the last footing with a water canon.
Concrete Work - Mixing Concrete
Phil getting ready to mix up some bagged concrete.
Concrete Work Last Pier
Gyeem shoveling concrete into the last pier form.
Concrete Work - Last Pier
Ryan consolidating the concrete pour.
Concrete Work Complete
View of concrete piers at the end of the day.
Concrete Work Complete
View of concrete piers at the end of the day.
Concrete Work Complete
Celebration Corona at the end of a long weekend.

60 Years Young

60 Years Young

July 28, 2018 – Today I turned 60 years young at the Cot-Taj-Mahal in the Land Before Time….. Yea!

When Robrandi asked me what I wanted for my 60th birthday celebration I told her that I just wanted to spend time surrounded by my family. You guys are my joy!

And, thanks to you, we got a whole bunch of work done on pouring piers for the Cot-Taj-Mahal renovation project. It was much more than what I had hoped for.

After working hard all day long we all got cleaned up and headed off to Shy Bear Brewery on the outskirts of Lewistown. We had some good drinks, a wonderful dinner and some awesome homemade Vegan Cheesecake for dessert.

Thanks to Shy Bear for letting us bring in the cheesecake and keeping it in their cooler until it was served.

I also want to thank my beautiful wife and loving family for the great birthday celebration!  I am grateful for the presents but even more grateful to have all of you guys in my life.

 My family is awesome and I love all you all….!