A39 House – Construction

Tips: Concreting the Stumps

  • Boral truck was very late, then charged a wait fee (!). Won’t use Boral again.
  • Pumping (minipump) was well worth it. $500 with 2 guys did 8 cubes ( 8 x 16 large barrows).
  • Pretty straight forward. 4 people to assist but could do with 2-3 only.
  • Setting up well beforehand was essential, as were the layout crosses and lines.
  • Half filled, added post, then full-filled. This worked well.
  • Set first and last post of each row. This was useful for the level, but probably not essential in the end (just use the string line).
  • Formwork was fine.
  • Amount was 7.4m3 originally. With deeper piers and larger holes, this would be 7.4+10%= 8.0 cubes. This was correct. We ordered 8.4 so had 0.4 left, but < 0.5m3 is “free” to dispose of.

Tips: Subfloor in Steel

  • Justine, Brett, Luke, Mika
  • 4 days with 3 people to install floor (ie. caps, bearers, joints, sheeting)
  • Carbide blade for circular saw awesome for cutting steel
  • Steel subfloor okay. Dropped area is tricky.
  • Impact driver and extra drill and batteries essential.
  • Need 3x eye muffs, glasses, etc and tool belts.
  • Laser level still awesome.
  • For deck, painted with bitumen on advice of supplier
  • Found HDPE packers to be delivered tomorrow. 3mm.
  • Bathroom floor setdown okay, but inset bath pretty complex.
  • Finished bathroom setdown and built dwarf wall (annoying to make small stud walls from decking steel)
  • Used 3mm HDPE packers – cut into 40mm strips on the tablesaw. This was okay. Get pre-cut next time.
  • Adding foam insulation is tricky. Liquid nails sticks. Polyurethane foams and is very strong. Low-fill foam would be better.
  • Bought plasterer’s angle to mount foam under joists – good.
  • Bought FC sheet blade to cut 22mm Scyon flooring – good.
  • Used sharpened putty knive and jig to cut foam accurately
  • Scyon sheets v awkward to use and cut. Polydiamond blade cuts well.

Tips: Raising Frames

Got walls (1.5 body trucks) today morning after some delays from Cypress Supplies. Some minor damage and splits but generally look good.

  • Red chalk, not blue is best.
  • Followed “plumb and square walls” from finehomebuilding – worked well.
  • Bracing provided was just okay (40×40 pine)
  • Toe-nailed, squared on deck, raised, plumbed. Braced on the deck.
  • Generally worked wall by wall which worked well.
  • Slow parts where frames were too long or bracing was not cut shy of the edges.
  • Need 4 people as a minimum. Two guns (bracing nails, framing nails) would be good. About 3 days to raise and plumb (minimum)
  • Pry bar, sledge hammer, long (2m) level, ladder required.
  • Working in 2s or 3s is best where possible. Giving one person a day-long job is good (eg. Josie was ‘glue girl’)
  • Prefab frames good. Cypress good but splitty.

Tips: Roof

Brett and Angelique, Tom and Angelique with Maryanne on Fleix.

  •  LVLs are very easy to work with (cut, nail) and nice and straight
  •  Pyrda brackets good.
  •  Best to put brackets on rafters on the ground (and double check the measurements)
  •  Blocking using the same material as rafters (LVLs) makes things much easier
  •  With 3rd person much harder to organise, but would be easy with hammer and belt for all.
  • Ply roof heavy work but fast to put 1.2×2.4mx12mm ply board on rafters
  • Ply roof quite expensive ($10/m2 over 130m2) but will provide a safe and sealed roof
  • Ply roof gave up on glueing with liquid nails – will need to tape ply joints.
  • Cut fascia slots (0.5 day’s work – a lot) to insert soffit
  • Hired 6x 6m planks and some trestles from City Hire. About $600 a month without handrails covers 1/3 of the house. It’s too much trouble to move existing scaffolding. If i did it again, I’d buy heaps (ideally real scaffolding) and then re-sell. Our approach of buying some trestles and planks beforehand was cheap and works okay but is time consuming to get and setup.
  • Bought more LVLs for the roof. This is one area I didn’t order well (this is the third lot of roof timber). It is because I didn’t do an exact takeoff and include for wastage and blocking. LVL roof has been fairly expensive ($3000 in timber). I truss roof would be cheaper. But the skillon roof is safe and easy to work on.

Tips: Walls

Adding foam sheathing in EPS sheet foam

  • 25mm and 30mm foam (5mm differene to account for bracing board) EPS
  • Joins to be taped with 3m weather tape
  • As a single worker, very slow and annoying – up and down ladders, string lines, etc.
  • Wait for more workers.
  • Hex roof screws with washers (rubber or metal) hold foam well.
  • Using liquid nail water-based, but apparently foam gun also is good and maybe easy/better/cheap
  • Foam cutting easy with jig and sharp putty knife.

Weatherboards and Colorbond

  • I adjusted weatherboard spacing carefully to ensure the board bottoms fell on top/bottom of the window. This looks really good and you can’t see the ~5mm diffence in board spacing.
  • Finished first weatherboard wall. Cut triangular piece for top was fine – used a router. The overlapping top cap was good.
  • Started corro on the walls.
    • Used a cheap nibbler, which was fine for small cuts, but slow
    • Metal blade in circular saw is fast and crazy – face mask and gloves essential
    • Started on back wall, as there are a few tricks regarding sheet orientation

Tips: Windows

  • Added a slope sill on the bottom and flashed. Used Resisto flashing (still waiting for 3m flashing tape).
  • Windows went in okay.
  • Bought retail window packers, which make the job a lot easier.
  • Needed 4 person for the largest windows.

Tips: Floor Laying

  • Helpers: Thomas, Noami, Brett
  • Sanding the floor. Turns out a new floor does need sanding. Used a drum hire sander, which is pretty easy.
  • Used 80 grit then 120 grit. Needs to diagonal sand to flattened.
  • Used just an orbital for the edges which is okay if you are careful with the big sander.

Custom Benchtops

Made from Cagagie timber, felled on site. Hired a chainsaw guy to rip into 50mm slabs, then sticked and seasoned for 12 months.

Roundover edge was good with the router. Used pine studs and custom wedges to glue up, on a melanine surface – excellent. Heavy buckets of water to weight it down. Diagonal sand with 40 grit (just liek the fllor).

Careful! If using an oil (see below), Sikaflex or silicon won’t stick! I’ll try using tape.

But what finish to with?

  1. Tung or linseed, modified to dry properly:
    • not durable or fully waterproof.
    • easy to repair
    • pure tung is the most waterproof
    • generally harder to apply
    • non-toxic for sure
    • applying raw oils (eg linseed) is a nightmare
    • “mineral oil” is in this category and can be mixed with beeswaw. Commonly use striaght for chopping board. FDA approved. What is it? It is “parffin oil”, baby oil, liquid version of vasoline.
  2. Modied oil, Danish oil; mix of #1 and varnish to give a thin film.
    • bit more durable
    • still easy to repair
    • due to ‘heavy metal’ driers, toxo issue? However, if left to dry and not used for intensive food prep (eg. cutting board), likely ok.
  3. Water-based polyurethane
    • durable, waterproof
    • plastic looking, bit harder to repair

#1 is too hard to apply?

#1 with beeswax might be the go

#2 might be toxic, maybe use a “food grade” one such as Bondall “Monocel Timber Bench Top Oil” or Feast Watson “Kitchen Timber Oil”

#3 Plastic, probably good around the sink

For a recommended beeswax (woodworking.com) edible finish with Beez:

Their finish is a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax. To make it, warm the mineral oil in a saucepan over low heat, and melt a chunk of beeswax in it equal to about one-fifth or
one-sixth the volume of the oil. (At high heat, there’s a potential for fire. Be sure to keep the heat low, and considerusing a double boiler.) As the wax begins to flake apart and
dissolve, stir frequently. When the mixture is blended, pour it into a jar to cool and solidify. To apply, wipe on an excess of the soft paste, let it dry a bit, then wipe it off. If you want to apply it as a liquid, you can reheat it. Like any mineral oil or wax finish that will take a lot of abuse, this one will need to be reapplied often to afford decent moisture protection. But applying this fragrant finish is such a pleasure that you may find yourself looking forward to

Update post construction

  • nut or olive oil is fine for non-wet benches and really easy to apply
  • beeswax is good, but on horizontal surfaces can attracts dust
  • water-based polyurethane is okay next to the sink after 2 years, but need to be really careful to cover all timber

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