The Glorious Beams - Three Lessons Learned

The HEAVY beams from Texas Reclaimed were installed a few weeks back. The total combined weight of the four beams is 2,500 pounds! It came with some difficult logistics, but in the end, well worth it.

Lesson #1:  Wrap beams in a tarp to protect against water and insects.

Now let me explain. After the beams were delivered, we had a few weeks of rain. Water would come in and collect under and around the beams. I tried my best to protect them, but there wasn't much I could do.  Once the rain settled down, the framers turned the smaller beam over and I noticed damp soil in a few of the notches. The last thing I wanted was to hang them and the soil have no way of drying out. I grabbed a chisel and began digging. Then came the unsightly cockroach! I freaked out screaming and jumping, which gave the framers a good laugh.  Previous to the shipment, the beams were put through a kiln to remove anything that may have been living inside. I ran to Home Depot and got pesticide killer and sprayed the s*#t out of those beams. I believe two or three more cockroaches came running out. Fortunately, the house was scheduled to be sprayed for termites so they offered to spray the beams then too.  All is in order now.

Lesson #2: Prior to carrying in long, heavy beams, make sure it's brought in the direction it should be hung.

We had the mill do an "L" cut on each beam so they'd be flush with the wall and ceiling. We learned this the hard way and had to figure out how to flip the 29 foot beam around. Here's how it all went down....

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Getting closer....

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The upstairs beams weren't as difficult. Initially, the floating corner created a lot of skepticism for the framer. At one point, the architect suggested a worst case scenario, they be used as benches outside. This was not a possibility. We would find a way to make this work. The structural engineer got involved and proposed a plan. He would double up the ceiling joists, furr out a wall under the beam, and add metal straps attached to the ceiling and beam. The plan worked well...

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Lesson #3: Before hanging beams, make sure there is room to drywall behind the beams.

This was overlooked and now we're having to figure out the best way to drywall up to the bottom of the beams. Because the beams are not straight, there is added effort and thought to creating a seamless look. Right now, the solution is for the dry wall guys to do the best they can and then call in the plaster "specialist" to fill in the gaps.

The White House

No more Dijon mustard siding, we've moved onto prettier things, pure white!

Now that we're in the middle of the city inspection (that "should" pass this week), insulating is right around the corner. As I was scheduling insulation, I quickly realized the metal roofing material was yet to be installed! And then I remembered the roofer saying he would like the exterior painted beforehand to prevent overspray of white paint on the black roof. At that point, it was crunch time. We had exactly two-in-a-half weeks to hire a painter, wrap up siding, and install the roof.

I had meetings with three painters. One flaked, one was 3x over budget, and the other got hired! The painter had a week to complete the job and finished on time. The siding guys worked simultaneously, getting their part done. This now gives the roofer all week to put up the metal roof material. Currently, everything is on schedule and we should be ready for insulation next week.

Now back to Emilioooooo's killer paint job! 

I'm about 98% sure I want a colored front door so I gave the temporary construction door a coat of blue/gray paint. I don't think it's the one but will do for now..

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Cypress wood was installed under the canopies and master balcony soffit. Obsessed!

This week when the roof is installed, they'll be wrapping the front side of the canopies with metal. It's going to look dynamite. The front porch brick surround is the last major thing left to do on the exterior!  

The Domino Effect

So much has happened since my last post on the reclaimed wood beams starting with all the wood and trash in this photo. It was getting way out of hand.

Much better.

July and August have been some of busiest months for both myself and the hubby. While Scott continues to kick ass at Togga, I've been traveling a ton with work and behind the scenes making sure the house continues to move forward. It's been overwhelming at times, but things are progressing and exciting stuff is happening! 

These last few weeks have been focused on preparing for the upcoming City of Austin inspection. Let's walk through what is involved in the process... 

Framing: This has been one of the biggest learnings of the process. I was told framing takes two to three weeks, but this leaves out the time involved for the small but important details. For instance, the upstairs ceilings are vaulted, some are different heights, the shower ceiling is sloped. These details can be easily overlooked or done completely wrong and the framers end up having to come back and redo it. Another factor not helping is how symmetrical certain aspects of the house are. If something isn't measured correctly, it's likely I'll notice it. I plan to go into more detail on this another day, but for now the point is, this house isn't an easy one to frame. It's been a constant battle trying to get the framers to come back out to make sure the details in the plans are accurate. For the most part though, framing has pretty much wrapped up, about a six week job. The city of Austin requires a 3rd party framing inspection before their actual inspection, which was done last week. The framers came by to fix the list of items and plan to come back out next Wednesday to wrap up. 

Mechanical Rough-In: While framing is ongoing, it was time for the HVAC installation. We'll have one unit downstairs and a separate unit upstairs, that way we can control air flow on each level. The architects made sure to place the air vents appropriately, a detail I overlooked until they were installed. Check out the blue box where the pendant fixture will go in the entry. The vent is directly behind it. Is this something that you would change? I think it's too close to the light fixture so I had it moved back a couple feet. 

Plumbing: Once the energy system and air vents were installed, the plumbers began, but that didn't stop them from moving the duct work to accommodate their pipes and other materials. The air guys had to work around the plumbers and now the newly installed light fixture.

The plumbers also took it upon themselves to cut a few holes into the trusses so they could install their pipes. The sole purpose of a truss is to support whatever is resting above it. If it is cut (in this case cut twice), it defeats the whole purpose. Because of this blunder, structural had to get involved. We had to fork over money for a new truss, the framers had to come out to install the truss, and HVAC had to come out to repair the vent lines that were cut to accommodate the new truss. It was kind of a headache. What I've learned is-- the plumbers should have called the framer, told him the master bathroom toilet pipe was directly above a truss, and had the framers move it. Then, no one else would have been affected. 

Don't get me wrong, the plumbers have been fine, but not amazing. I'm realizing certain things may think are common sense, may not be to them. Another example: This is the "very" small master bath toilet closet. Do you notice anything off with the toilet pipe in this photo? 

It's not centered. When I asked the plumbers why the pipe wasn't centered their response was, "to accommodate a toilet paper holder on the wall." Seems logical to them, but in reality, there is plenty of space for a toilet paper holder and a centered toilet. This is such a small space and would have looked odd but problem solved.

It continues... The other day I noticed a newly installed hose bib on the front of the house next to the garage.

This may be a common place for a hose bib, but I would prefer it not be in plain view. Add it to the "to do" list" -- call siding guys to repair the hole. It has since been relocated to the side of the house.  

In order to pass the plumbing part of the inspection, the showers and tubs had to be waterproofed / able to hold water. Downstairs shower is on point. 

The master shower has been leaking, but as of today, that issue has been resolved. The master balcony is directly above the living room so it had to be waterproofed as well. Other than patching up a few holes, the plumbers are all set on their end. Bring it on!

Electrical: Before we can call in for the big inspection, the electrician will have to pass their own city inspection that was called in on Thursday. The city is behind so we're still waiting on an inspector to get over to the site. Overall, the electricians have been great about asking questions and making sure we're happy with their progress.

Being mindful of electrical placement is HUGE! Picking out light fixtures in advance definitely helps with this, but it's also important to think about how the built-in can lights, HVAC vents, speakers, switches and outlets, will all align with one another so the walls and ceilings don't look sloppy. In this example below, the HVAC guys will have to come by to move their vent so it aligns with the light and mimics the other vent and light. This won't affect the inspection but now's the time to relocate these things before insulation. 

In the last week, there's been constant coordination with all of the subs having to come back to move these last few things. It's a process, but we're plowing ahead week by week.