Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Things I've learnt...

thus far: (it's okay to laugh)
  1. Measure twice, cut once.
  2. Be sure to install trim BEFORE the siding.
  3. Cutting fiber cement siding pre install with a utility knife is a pain in the ass.
  4. Cutting fiber cement siding post install with a utility knife is a royal pain in the ass (see note 2.)
  5. Beware of malfunctioning caulk tubes.
  6. Caulk is great...when used sparingly.
  7. Caulk is actually an "everything" magnet and you will find it where you least expect it. (see notes 5 and 6.)
  8. Save your hardware store receipts.
  9. Be sure to begin work on a satisfied stomach. Working when hungry only makes the project you are working on take longer and annoying.
  10. Do not buy the cheapest materials. I repeat: Do NOT buy the cheapest materials.
  11. Never assume any pre-constructed surface is square or plumb. ever.
  12. A girlfriend who helps you put up fiber cement siding should be taken out to a fancy dinner immediately. Flowers would probably be good too.
  13. 3:1 rule - If you hit your thumb more than 3 times while driving nails, it would be wise to stop nailing.
  14. If you think you need a 6 foot ladder, buy an 8 foot.
  15. A good set of properly built saw horses is worth it's weight in gold.
  16. Those saw horse brackets are worthless pieces of junk. (see note 15)
More to come....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Photos of Garage Conversion

Here are some more photos of the garage conversion. It is going very nicely I have to say. I've been having a lot of fun. Ginny helped me with the siding on Sunday. I'm using Hardiplank which is a fiber cement siding which is basically concrete. It's an non-toxic, eco friendly choice and is made from cement, silica and wood fibers. It was a little tricky to get use to. But after messing up one plank, we figured it out and got our groove and put the siding up in a few hours. You can read all about the product here.
I'm also adding the sides to the opening to accommodate a garage door. After the garage is done, I'm on to the privacy fencing!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Carport to Garage

I've been working pretty feverishly on converting my carport to a garage. In the past few weeks I've managed to frame out the exposed side, install sheathing, weather resistant barrier and 2 windows! It's been a very good learning experience and lot of fun. The only thing I'm not really happy with is the lack of "green" materials available in the area. I'm trying to be as eco-conscious as possible, but it's been a little tough. First I wanted to use FSC certified lumber. I could have sworn the Home Depot was one of the major proponents and carriers of FSC lumber. Well it must be region/store specific, because the Home Depot here as nada. Next I was trying to find "green" sheathing. I contacted a company called Berry Plastics that makes a great product called "Thermoply" However their regional sales person didn't really seem to know this area and said I could try 84 lumber. However, I called the local 84 lumber and they said they don't carry it. Then I'm trying to find eco friendly caulk and expanding foam. There's a low VOC caulk by Geocel and a soy based foam by Touch n Foam. Neither of which can be found in the area. Geocel's website lists a local Power Building Supply as a distributer. Says they are open on Saturdays, so I drove by and the place looks closed down and looks like a junk yard rather than a building supply. However I did manage to use a flashing that is made from recycled rubber! Yay! Sure I could order some of these things online, but how "green" would it be to have 2 cans of expanding foam shipped by a huge diesel rig? Or for me to drive all the way to Asheville and back for a couple of FSC certified boards? If anybody has any suggestions I am all ears. Enough of the soap box, below are some photos of the progress. I didn't get to take photos of the windows installed yet, as I just did this and finished at 10:00 p.m. so it's dark. I'll post tomorrow if I get a chance to take some photos. (The weird close photo is of my pliers stuck under the footer board. I inadvertently forgot they were there and couldn't for the life of me figure out why the board wouldn't tighten down. Luckily I figured it out before I cracked the brick foundation or split the board!) stay tuned...