Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Final Metal

The crew and all their equipment is gone, so these are our first pictures without big equipment blocking the building.

The only thing left to have the building closed-in are the doors.  They should be installed next week, but the wide roll-up doors still haven't been delivered.

The crew left windows open in the cupola.  Now they are gone, with their lift and ladders.  I have no idea how we are going to close those windows.

Edited 3/8/17 to show you how Hubby and his brother solved this problem and got the windows closed.

My brother-in-law took this picture and showed it to me afterward.  If I had been there, I probably would have had a heart attack watching Hubby climb that ladder.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Just a Day to Check Out the Space

Another windy day, and pretty cold too.  We thought about continuing cleaning out brush and thinning trees, but I'm still sore from Thursday.  You wouldn't think squatting down cutting down little trees with an electric saw would cause sore muscles, but it nearly did me in.  I guess that happens when you're old and out of shape.

Instead, we spent a few hours inside the barn, marking where the walls will be, or should be.  The plumber missed the mark in at least one place.  We were going to have a straight attic stair, but after looking at the space, we are considering taking some space from the closet and making a half turn staircase.  I'm too old and stiff for pull down attic stairs.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Installing the Cupola on the Barndominium Roof at Last!

To reduce the chance of leaks, the cupola was placed on top of the roof panels, so was one of the last things done.  After lifting it to the roof, they carried it to the prepared spot and bolted it into place.  As with the rest of the barn, the siding was put on at the same time as the windows and wrapped down to the roof.  Putting it into place and installing the windows and siding took the rest of the afternoon.  We were hoping they would finish the building this week, but that was not to be.

When they return Monday, they will finish the cupola and the remaining roof ridge.  Hopefully, they have a trim piece to put around the bottom of the cupola.  The siding that wrapped down along the roof turns up on the edges, not at all like we wanted.

After they left, we saw their second mistake: the front downspout.  We think they measured once and cut twice.  

Overall, we have been very happy with the builder and his crew.  He has given us some great ideas, listens to our wishes, and is quick to respond.  We knew there would be some errors, and if there are just a couple, we count ourselves lucky.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Roof is On

The wind let up long enough this morning for them to get the roof on.  After noon, it picked up again so they finished the front siding and worked on gutters and trim around the sides of the barn.

While the crew worked on the building, I cut brush and thinned out trees growing along the creek.  I worked until all the batteries we have were dead, and I barely made a difference.  This could take me months at this rate.


And after:

And this is the tree I saved until last.  Those vines wrapped around the trunk are poison ivy.  Time to see if I am as allergic to the stuff as Hubby.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Working in the Wind - No Fun at All!

We are getting closer to a finish though.

Today, they finished more siding, more windows, and more trim.  The front will have a brick wainscoting, so they put a brick edge and plain galvanized panel under it.  They did try to work on the roof today, but one piece in that wind was enough for them.  Today was warm, but very windy.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Siding and Windows Going Up

It looks like they are putting the windows in when they do the siding around it.

They also wrapped the bottom flashing around the corner post after the first side was finished.  At the bottom, the siding is screwed through the flashing and bottom steel angle.

By the end of the day today, they had siding on all four walls.  The above siding is plain galvanized and will be behind the brick wainscoting.

Under the lower windows is a larger piece of flashing called a window pan. Not what I expected a pan to look like.

Here it is from the side.

There weren't any of these pans under the upper windows though. I asked one of the crew and he said there would be something on the outside for those.

It rained Sunday night and into Monday morning, so no work was done Monday.  Yesterday, the concrete guy (Richard), came out to cut out the two areas where the rebar was at the surface of the slab.  They drilled into the sides of the good concrete, inserted rebar and tied it all together, added more vapor barrier, and mixed concrete on site for those spaces.  I think they must have poured the darker one today.  It still looked pretty wet.

At the end of the day, after I had picked up trash and was calling it a day, a couple drove up and asked about the build.  They were looking at a nearby lot, wanted to build a barndominium, but had never been in one.  So I asked if they wanted to see it and they were tickled to get to see the construction.  Since we never got to see one before we started and couldn't really understand how some of it was done, I was glad to stay awhile and answer what questions I could.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Framing Complete!

Friday, they put on the porch roofs, framed out the opening for the cupola, and finished the windows.

They also brought out the cupola they built in their shop.  It won't be installed until after the roof panels are up.  We can't wait to see it up and couldn't resist seeing how much room there is in it.

Today, they installed wood framing inside the metal window openings for the windows.  A lot of barndominiums are built with the windows attached directly to the metal frame, and our builder said he used to do it that way.  But he found that installing a wood frame not only helps prevent temperature transfer which is hard on windows, but also makes makes it easier to attach sheetrock or trim.

They also wrapped the steel door openings with metal trim and installed the one walk through door.  The siding has been delivered; that's it on the ground in front of the building.  Doesn't look like there is much there.  As soon as the windows are installed, they will begin installing the roofing and siding.  The windows were supposed to be in a week ago, but when Hubby checked on them, the lumber yard hadn't even ordered them.  It hasn't been a problem, though the crew generally likes to have them on site before they start framing the windows.  But they'd better be delivered Monday as promised.

Our job at this point is just to clean up trash after the crew leaves, and today I swept out all the dirt brought in by their machines since it's supposed to rain again Sunday.  The crew is probably used to walking around on clods of dirt, but mud is slippery and might slow them down.  Besides, the pictures look better without all that dirt. 😁

Friday, February 17, 2017

More Framing

The front and back windows have been framed.  The side windows should be done by tonight.  The crew took a holiday yesterday, which I guess was just as well since I didn't get out there Wednesday and the actual windows haven't been delivered yet.

The builder told us earlier this week that he can install a weathervane when they put up the cupola if we can get one quickly.  We've been looking at a lot of them online, and it's hard to tell which ones will stand up to wind and the test of time.  Some of them are hundreds of dollars too, which seems extravagant right now when we're already over budget.

Another small snafu - the appraisal district has our name on the neighbor's property, but not on our own.  That came as a big surprise to the neighbor when he went in to file an ag exemption on it of course.  So now another pile of paperwork to fill out I'm sure.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Rafters On

The barndominium is easily visible from the road now and a lot of people are driving by to take a look.  It's always fun to watch something new being built.

We met with the GM this afternoon to go over placement of windows and cupola.  Then he got into the lift to show the crew how he wanted the cupola done.

A couple of hours later, they had one section with windows frames installed.

I think the hardest part of planning this barndominium was designing something we had never been in before.  Pinterest is great, but is nothing like a walk-through of an actual building.

But last week while visiting with my cousin, we learned that he was building one also.  So we finally got to go inside one and see some of the components unique to metal buildings.

Metal buildings can be built either by being bolted together or being welded together.  My cousin in an engineer and he ran the numbers and determined that a bolt up used heavier steel and could take a heavier load and that is why they went with bolt-up.  Later, I talked to a friend of my mother-in-law, who had also built a barndominium, and she told me to be sure we went with welded because bolt-ups can loosen over time.

All good advice, but too late for us as we had already decided to go with a company who welded.  We went with them because of their bid and responsiveness.  Not a very scientific way to make a decision, but out of a list of erectors who picked up our plans, only two gave us bids.  The other bids we got were from companies who wanted to do the entire building, from start to finish, and their prices were unbelievably high.   Both bids for just the barn shell did weld-up and one of them said weld-up was better because adjustments and changes could be made on-site where bolt-ups were pre-drilled before being delivered and changes were difficult.  So if anyone asks, we'll say that after careful consideration, that is the reason we chose welded construction.  Sounds good to me.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Building Begins

They spent most of the day cutting the columns and welding fins onto them.  But by the end of the day, they had most of the columns standing.

As our friend, Steve, pointed out, I'm taking pictures from several different angles.  I wanted to take pictures from the same two places every day so I could put together a time-lapse at the end.  I put a stake in the ground in front and in back so I could stand at the same spot every day for my photos, and the GM thought that was a great idea.  However, his crew didn't see what I was doing, or didn't care, and they continually drove over one stake, so I had to move it.  They also parked their big trucks so they blocked part of the building from one stake.

I was happy to see that their trucks were parked to the side when I took these pictures.  But when Hubby came out, the first thing he said is that the crew's trucks blocked his view of anyone coming up the driveway, and he wanted them to move back where they had been parking - blocking my photos.  So there you have it, Steve.  I just have to take pictures where stuff isn't in the way.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


I knew the land was black clay over white rock, but I thought the clay would be deeper.  Right here the clay is only a few inches deep over the rock.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Electric Ditching

For the past couple of days, this guy has been trenching for the electric lines.  Oncor has yet to inspect, so it can't be covered until the Oncor rep gives us an okay.  I hope he does it soon because it is supposed to rain this weekend.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

First Problem

Of course we were hoping we wouldn't have any problems with this build, but that rarely happens.  Still, we were hoping.  We went out today to show Chelle the place, and noticed some cracks in the foundation.  On closer inspection, we saw that they were the result of the rebar being too close to the top.  Some of the rebar is even visible.

The fix is that they will cut out that area, drill into the sides of the slab for the new rebar, and then pour it again.  Luckily, this is in the garage area so it won't affect the look of the stained concrete floor in the living areas.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Forms Off

Close up of the bathroom area with sunken area for shower.

They will come back next week to smooth some of the dirt around the foundation, and then give it a week to cure before starting the framing.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Concrete Today!

Yesterday was 80 degrees and breezy.  It was 38 degrees at 7a.m. this morning, and overcast.  The perfect day for pouring concrete, they said.  It was also pretty windy, so the wind chill was just over freezing, but it did warm up a little throughout the day.  Still, they probably would have preferred a cloudy day without wind.

There was a steady train of concrete trucks and the forms were filled by 11a.m.  They worked on the concrete all day and had all the forms off by 4p.m.  They were still smoothing when we left a little later. 

The concrete will cure for a week and they will start erecting the metal frame on the 13th.

In the below picture, the living space is on the left side.  The plumbing on the far right is the sewer connection and plumbing for a travel trailer.  The square forms in front of the slab are piers for the porch posts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Final Prep Before Concrete

After they finished putting in the rebar and vapor barrier, Hubby added his conduit for his antennas and set a box for a floor electric outlet.