Floor Joists & Roto Rooter

Yesterday’s rain finally took a break (after 1-1/2″) and the framers got most of the floor joists in. Enough for plumbers to start tomorrow.

The failing waste line couldn’t wait a few more weeks until it was decommissioned and required another visit from Roto Rooter, didn’t need that $250 anyway. He was done soon enough but then proceeded to get stuck in the muddy driveway for the next 20 minutes. Luckily the tractor was up to the job and freed him twice until he got all four bald tires on dry gravel. I probably should drive up the road to see if he’s not stuck in the ditch somewhere.

Once again, baby slept through all sorts of noise, but I still work around her nap time which does slow down progress quite a bit.

Itching for demo

Going to get all Gorbachev and tear down a wall tomorrow, wish I’d ordered a dumpster for the occasion. If you are curious, and you are aren’t you, look to the Existing Floor Plan in one of Kristen’s previous posts. In the room labeled ‘Office’ the west wall is going away and a new one will be created to divide that space into two new ones–a bathroom and a laundry.

Meh, concrete

Just another day at the office filling in forms. 12 yards of concrete ordered, poured and was exactly enough, yea Roy! Too bad the second truck was over 2 hours late.  Kristen thought it would be more exciting than it actually was.  I liked it fine.

Filling in forms

Shape of things to come

Through the uneasy wind and melting rain, Roy & Greg persevered and got the forms set enough to pass foundation inspection.  Just a few adjustments until the pour next week.   While standing in the mud with Roy, I said, “All we need is a bunch of naked hippie chicks”.  He agreed, but yet brought none the next day.  I could fire him at any time…

Yet to level center piers

Red Clay Halo

Ready for Forms

Red Clay Halo – Gillian Welch

All the girls all dance with the boys from the city,
And they don’t care to dance with me.
Now it ain’t my fault that the fields are muddy,
And the red clay stains my feet.

And it’s under my nails and it’s under my collar,
And it shows on my Sunday clothes.
Though I do my best with the soap and the water,
But the damned old dirt won’t go.

But when I pass through the pearly gate,
Will my gown be gold instead?
Or just a red clay robe with red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head?

Now it’s mud in the spring and it’s dust in the summer,
When it blows in a crimson tide.
Until trees and leaves and the cows are the colour,
Of the dirt on the mountainside.

But when I pass through the pearly gate,
Will my gown be gold instead?
Or just a red clay robe with red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head?

Now Jordan’s banks they’re red and muddy,
And the rolling water is wide.
But I got no boat, so I’ll be good and muddy,
When I get to the other side.

And when I pass through the pearly gate,
Will my gown be gold instead?
Or just a red clay robe with red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head?

I’ll take the red clay robe with the red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head

Breaking ground

The day broke cool and early. First emergency was a coffee and doughnut shortage, deftly handled by Kristen’s run into town. Soon the morning air was filled with diesel exhaust–just like the movie sets of yor. There’s dirt that needs moving and we ain’t got not draft horses.

click for more photos

Mike & Roy diggin' it

Composite Decking, or Not

Our existing house has a covered front porch that I completely hate for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the roof is so low that when I am standing inside the house, rather than looking at our lovely view, my eye is drawn to the ceiling of the roof.  Which is plywood.  Yay.  Secondly, it blocks a lot of light from entering the house, making our house feel pretty cave-like.  Thirdly, it is narrow and spindly looking due to the 4×4 posts that were used for supports.

In our remodel, we will be tearing off the old porch and adding a new curved front porch.  It will still have a covered area (we do live in Oregon), but not over the entire deck.  As such, the deck is going to get exposed to south facing sun and the usual Oregon weather (i.e. rain).

I was convinced that we needed to use composite decking for the new deck, because I’d heard that it was maintenance free and environmentally friendly.  It even looks a lot more real than it used to.  After spending a little bit of time researching my options last night, I decided that composite decks frighten me.

For one thing, if you google “composite deck reviews” you will find a ton of people discussing various methods of keeping their composite decks mold and mildew free.  Apparently this is an issue with them — they absorb and retain moisture and get black (and green) spots on them.  So, the solution is apparently to keep water off the deck as much as possible (right!), and to wash the deck with some kind of chemical solution several times a year.  Wait a minute – that sounds like… maintenance.  Lots of it.  Even if you do all that, the second scary problem with composite decking is that if you buy one of the more attractive colours, and you have say, dogs, or kids, you will get scratches that are pretty visible, because the colour does not go all the way through the decking.  I have both dogs and a kid, as well as a tendency to drop heavy things, so that is already sounding like a recipe for many scratches.  Scratches happen; I don’t expect perfection.  On a wooden deck, a scratch just looks natural.  On a plastic-ish deck, it’s going to look jarring.  Finally, I discovered that many composite decks are made with PVC or virgin plastics, and held together with resins.  Sounds pretty processed when you compare it to milling a piece of wood.  And I didn’t even bother to figure out where the composite decking was made in order to get a feel for the fuel it burns just getting to my front door.

I think we’ll stick with wood.  Cedar is grown in Oregon and can be a renewable resource.  It requires little processing to create the final product.  We took a look at the existing deck boards (cedar), and they seem salvageable, so we are going to try to reuse as much as we can off the original deck and buy new cedar and mix it in with the old.  Hopefully this will not look weird once we clean everything up and put a new coat of stain on everything.  And yes, there will be annual maintenance.  But, it will be once a year, instead of the several times a year washing that composite decks supposedly need.  I think I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a maintenance free deck.


Despite the horror stories, Washington County was very friendly and reasonable to deal with, though they really should network their computers in the same building.  Opinions of the inspectors will be noted later.  But now we are happy to finally start tearing stuff up.

The replacement septic system is first on the list and two guys dug and laid the ‘pipe’ today which takes up most of the lower pasture.  Tomorrow they dig out for the new tank which will be delivered the day after that.

Builder stopped by and promised numbers soon.  Still don’t know how far we can get before running out of money, but we trust him–we’ll get kinda far.

Next Newer Entries