Thursday, October 28, 2010

Garage Build Twenty-Ten | Part DONE

It's official, on Sunday we opened the garage for business, er, use.  During the last two weeks we've been busy finishing the details, like soffits, trim, siding, gutters, and doors. 

After a two-week curing time for the driveway we were able to schedule the garage door install.  During that waiting period, we sided and added the soffit and fascia.  And for someone who has never sided before in her life, I can tell you it's not that hard.  Like fitting together pieces of a puzzle, vertically, and giant pieces of a puzzle, but you get the idea. 

We started on the side next to the lawn, which only took a couple of hours and set my expectations pretty high.  Mike and I built scaffolding with some 2x4's and sawhorses to make reaching the higher pieces easier, and aside from my unexpected fear of heights (yes, it was only about 4 feet off the ground, but you try shimmying across two 2x4's as they bow), it was pretty easy.  No guessing at weird angles, no 14' high nailing.  Just making sure the joints didn't line up.


Then we moved to the back and my excitement deflated a little.  The bottom 5 or 6 pieces went up pretty much the same, but then we had to go higher.  This took a lot of climbing up the ladders, nailing in place, climbing down, moving over 2 feet and repeating.  Needless to say I was happy to be on solid ground by the end of the day.


The next day I woke up bright and early, okay, maybe not so bright and not really early.  But I was up and no matter what Mike might think I was willing to work.  The thing is, I was putting my coat on when I casually looked out the window and noticed our neighbor, Chris, helping Mike out.  Maybe I removed my coat and ducked out of site.  Maybe I putzed around the house for a couple of hours and maybe walked outside when I noticed the guys were putting the last couple of pieces on.  The point is, I was ready and willing to help.  It's not my fault if my neighbor is stronger and taller.  I sat out for the sake of our garage.  We all have to do our part.

After the siding was up, Mike added the fascia, which was a pretty easy job and thankfully he was able to do on his own.  I don't want to step on another ladder unless I'm climbing out of my house on fire.  

The next step were the gutters.  Being that both Mike and I work, it's sometimes difficult for us to make it to suppliers in time before they close.  In this instance, I was on a jobsite down the road and was able to leave a few minutes early to make it to MBS before they closed for the day.  This seemed like a simple task, Mike had called and told them I would be there to pick-up the supplies, screws, clips, braces, and 2-29' sections of gutters.  Wait, say what?  Yes, that's right, Mike sent me to load 29' pieces of gutters into our extended cab Toyato Tundra.  When I told the guys in the shop, they actually laughed at me.  I think one actually clutch his belly, I'm not kidding.  After 43 calls to Mike telling him I'm going to beat him over the head with his 29' gutters, he showed up and the laughing ensued.  We finally bit the bullet and decided to redneck it since we were less than 5 miles from our house and besides one wide turn, it was a single straight shot home.

Against Mike's protest, I did get photographic evidence.  I only wished we had a third party to take a video of the trip as Mike stood in the bed holding the gutters, especially when he started yelling at me for "flying" down the road when I hit my max speed of 32 mph.


After the gutters got to our destination in one piece, we were able to install them, again with the help of our tall neighbor. With the gutters in and the garage door installed while we were at work, we were good to go.

We did have one hic-cup with the final inspection, most notably, the glaring red sticker of doom that said we were "'disapproved' reason: locked".  As I was enjoying the drive down my fresh driveway pulling towards my shiny new garage, the sticker stuck out like a sore thumb.  Of course I immediately called Mike, and of course some swearing ensued.

An advantage of working in the construction field is having a master list of building inspectors cell phone numbers.  This definitely came in handy at this particular moment.  After schooling politely reminding the inspector that an interior inspection was already approved with our Rough Inspection and only the gutters, siding, and doors were needed to inspect for a final approval, not to mention the personal items that we had already placed inside the garage, Mike explained that he did not have to leave the garage unlocked.  The inspector then bowed down to Mike's superior knowledge, okay maybe simply said she would change the status of the inspection and our permit would be closed.  Even though we never got our friendly yellow "approved" sticker, it's still nice to be completed!

Now a trip back in time to look at the transformation from the very beginning:















And finally, the big reveal:




A HUGE thanks to everyone that came out and helped along the way through this process:

Chad, Justin, and Judy,
Brian, Jana, Michelle and Keith
Dave, Ray, and Jeff (and Sarah for letting Dave come over so often)
Kyle (and his mono)
Norm
Steven, Gary and their helper Bookie (and Melissa for letting us borrow her family for the day)
Chris (our tall neighbor) and Cindy (for letting Chris come over all the time)
The Upson Crew: Kyle, Tony, Tony, and Kevin

And everyone else who commented, followed along on the blog, and anyone who stoped by!  We definitely wouldn't have been able to do it without all the help, Mike and I are so grateful!

And if you missed anything, and are interested in reading all the trials and triumphs from the beginning, check out the posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Garage Build Twenty-Ten | Part Driveway

Before Mike and I finished the garage, (doors, siding - all the pretty stuff), we decided to finish the driveway to prevent any concrete spray on any of the finishes.  With the garage floor pour experience under his belt, Mike figured with enough people he could pour the driveway without any experts.  And you know what, they did it. 

Before the big pour though, Mike and I had to level the drive and get rid of any high spots.  Easier said than done.  After weeks of rain and driving on the gravel that Mike had spread and tamped earlier, the drive was a little hard, to say the least.  Mike had spent a couple nights out with a pick and an inch at a time, broke the gravel up enough to spread it.  With the size of the drive this would have taken him until Christmas to finish, so we came up with a more efficient method.  Enter Mr. ATV and his friend York Rake. 


And for those not in the construction industry, I understand sometimes I have to explain certain tools of the trade and how they work.  Well this is not one of them, a York Rake is usually not used to break up gravel, and as far as I've seen, an ATV is not found on a jobsite.  This was a product of low funds and Mike's ingenuity.  Something that's becoming commonplace here at Our First Nest.  The real use of the York Rake is landscape grading, which is close enough to our needs.  If we sold a kidney before attempting this, we would have gone with a bobcat, but with a rental fee of $200/day, it was a no brainer to get the $35/day rake.

After a couple passes, we were able to start grading the gravel to the desired height.  I say a couple passes, but really it was so hard that it seemed like I drove back and forth 43 times just to break up an inch.


After finally getting the drive graded, we were ready for the weekend pour.  It started like most of my Saturday mornings, 6:30 am wake-up and a concrete truck in my drive before 7:30.  Not to mention 6-7 guys running around like kids getting ready to play with Tonka trucks, but these Tonkas are full size.

I do have to say, with the pay being what it was (free donuts) and the hours (crack of dawn to the finish of the job), the guys we had were a pretty awesome crew.  Some of the usual suspects were there, Kyle and his mono, and Mike's dad, Chad, and brother, Justin.  And we had some other family members there too, not blood, but pretty close.  The Rankins, including Mike's college friend Dave, his brother Jeff, and their dad Ray, all were willing to lend a hand.

Because of the width of the drive, it was decided to divide it in half and create a cold joint in the middle to make it easier to screed.  The extra form was put in place, the guys were given their jobs and the pouring began.


Mike's dad was in charge of controlling the chute.  This meant directing the driver to stop and start the flow, move the truck up, and also moving the chute back and forth for an even flow.  Justin helped his dad by shoveling the concrete down the chute.  As the concrete poured out, Mike, Kyle and Ray helped shovel the concrete around.  As they moved along, Jeff and Dave used a 2x4 to skreed the concrete.  This is done by moving the board back and forth along the formwork, leveling the concrete. 



Sometimes you get halfway done and notice that there's a piece of wire sticking out of your nicely leveled concrete.  That's when brothers come in handy.


After the first half was done and the truck returned with the second load, it was time for the second half.  The formwork in the middle was removed and the concrete was then poured in this section.. 


As the guys worked on the second half, Kyle, our resident finisher used a bull float to further smooth out the surface, then broomed it to create the finish texture. 



And again, some ingenuity was used to get the top-heavy broom across the middle.  Some rope and some muscle did the trick.
  

In the end, it only took until early afternoon, and I know we wouldn't have been able to do it with out our amazing crew.  A huge thanks to all the guys who came out and helped us!