Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally a Frame!

Tuesday was one of the most exciting days since Matt and I got married. Of course, that's nothing compared to when we actually get to move in. We have waited so long to see this kind of progress happen. I never thought it would take 2.5 years to even start! And I didn't know life would slap us in the face a few times along the way. But it's finally happening!!

It's amazing how fast construction goes when you pay someone to do it fulltime. We've been given a taste and it's hard to go back to a snail's pace. Reality has hit and our budget has been blown out of the water. We are considering paying someone to do the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and sheetrock. Yeah, that's pretty much everything except inside finishes like trim, cabinets, floors, ect. We'll get some quotes from people we know who are in that line of work and weigh their labor cost against our time costs and see what wins out. Some of those things won't cost much in labor and it's easier to pay someone to do it while you are at work instead of stressing out about it yourself.

In you live in NC or maybe even the east coast, you know how unseasonably cold this December has been. Fall in NC is usually in the 50's or so. And we've had record breaking low temps like highs of 30 degrees for a week straight! Tuesday morning it was about 20 degrees. I had to meet the inspector out there at 8:00am to get the tarps off the pillars we were trying to insulate. I felt so bad for the framing crew who had to work out there all day. I tried to start them a fire in our fire pit, but the wood was too wet. That afternoon, I saw that they had had a fire and had started it with a lot of flammable construction adhesive. I guess in that situation you do whatever works.

Tuesday afternoon, we had this(click on any picture to enlarge) :

And Wednesday, this:

Thursday gave us a delay because they were calling for sleet/snow/rain. Yucky stuff. There was some, but not much. They'd already called it a day off and it was too late to get the crew of 4 together.

The end of Friday:

Only the top part of the stairs are built. The bottom half comes out of that door in the picture below. They will sit on a deck that goes across from the top of the cinder blocks. Before the deck got built, Matt wanted to dig out some dirt with the skid steer to give him more storage clearance for things like lawn mowers and tractors. He was very excited to learn that his red tractor will fit under the deck because it's over his head at the back(at the entrance). He was careful not to dig out too close to the footings(under the foundation) because the county might not like that. We can always do it later.

David, our framer, and his crew came Saturday to make up for missing Thursday. They only got to work a half day because it started snowing heavily on them. Of course, the snow was short lived(see? nothing on the ground), but they had already packed and gone.

When I arrived today(Monday, Dec. 20), it looked like this. And an hour later when I left, it looked even different. They'd already finished the other half of the roof.

Side note: Most of the windows have not been cut out yet. And some of the windows you see aren't the full size they will be. There is plywood overhanging them that hasn't been cut yet.

Speaking of windows...I had no idea how frustrating they would be to pick out. David framed all of them has triple 62''(that means three 32'' in windows side by side, that are 62'' tall), like the ones in the picture above(only without that plywood overhanging). We would be crazy to actually have windows this big all over our apartment. There would be no where to put the furniture and it would cost more because windows are expensive. If Matt had it his way, this is exactly how we would frame the windows, but ya' know I'm the practical one who thinks of every detail.

I'm also a very visual person who needs to see the real thing to know what it will be like. There was no way I could tell David how big I wanted the windows to be until I actually stood in the room. It's easier to add another 2x4 to make a window smaller than it is to rip out 2x4s to make it bigger. The only window we left as a triple 62'' is the front living room window. Most of the others will be counter-top height to accommodate any furniture or counter-top we will use there. There's hardly no wall space in our bedroom, so our bed will sit under the dormer window, so that one can't be too low to the floor. The other bedroom wall has a double window and our dresser will need to go under that.

I finalized all the sizes and called around for a price estimate. We'd already checked Lowes and Home Depot. Lowes doesn't stock the size we needed most of(32''x46''), so they were going to charge us out the wazzoo for them, in the neighborhood of $230 each. Home Depot had them for around $160 in stock. I call a few building material places, like Matthews Building Supply who we got all our lumber from, and who supplies materials for the Dowd Co. where Matt's mom works, so we have some loyalty there. Not to mention, David, who does the framing for a lot of the Dowd Co. fancy houses, is used to dealing with Matthews.

The first place I called was Dellinger Building Supply. He gave me prices for what I needed and in the conversation he said, "The 46'' windows aren't for a bedroom are they?" "um...yeah, they are." "That's not going to pass egress." What the heck is egress? "The inspector won't pass you unless you have enough opening for firemen to get in and out of." "Oh" crap. "You have to have at least one 62'' tall window so that the opening of the window meets code. You better check with your framer on that because I don't want you to have to buy windows twice." It's really awesome that he caught that. That's the kind of expertise you don't get at Lowes.

Well that's just great news! Now I won't have any wall to put a dresser. It will have to sit in front of really tall windows. I called an inspector and asked him what the code is. He said they don't care how tall the window is as long as the opening is at least 22'' tall. Slightly good news. Now I need a window to measure. I went over to Matt's grandma's house, which has modern vinyl windows like we're using. Her bedroom windows appear to be about 62'' and they open to 27''. Dang. Thats plenty of room. I could go down a size...I think. So an hour later I was having a pow wow with David on the picnic table and he was on his Nextel walkie talkie with the guy at Matthews getting confirmation on what windows are required for egress. Apparently, I can't go down a size and have to go with 62''. Oh well. It is what it is.

I hate windows.


  1. wow wow wow. congrats!!!! y'all are moving so fast! - cousin Laura

  2. wow! This is awesome! I know this has got to be so exciting! :) Can't wait to see more!!!

  3. Wow, looks great! Congrats!!! -- Gita



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