Wow … it has been two weeks since I last posted about construction. Spring is flying by … we are now eating radishes out of the garden!
We have been busy on the house, but are not seeing the major advances of last month. We are continuing to get ready to deck the roof and there is a lot of fiddly little jobs to do to accomplish that.
I’ve spent a lot of my time fitting stacked logs around the rafters. This work is not necessary to proceed on to the roof decking, but now is the best time to do it while there is still lots of space to work in. The stacked logs are essentially the finished surface that will be visible from inside of the earthship above the tires. It should look really nice when the logs are cleaned up and stained but right now it is just a lot of fiddly, tedious work! Anyway, it is all done for now and I have moved on …
Over the last couple of days we have been infilling between the rafters along the exterior walls. This work involved treating the wood (rafters and sill plate) with a borax based wood preservative, and filling in between the rafters with pop can walls. The borax wood preservative is reasonably kind to the environment … I was uncomfortable using other preservatives in the house as the warnings scare me! We are definitely low on pop cans … In order to conserve our remaining cans we did this infill work using brown beer bottles. This infill is not visible (it is ultimately covered by the roof membrane), and we did not want to use the brown bottles in visible locations. I have not kept close track of the number of bottles and cans we have used to date but I would safely say that the tally now exceeds 3000. We are now out of brown bottles! Not sure what we are going to do to track down more cans, but we need a lot more for the side walls and packing out the tires.
We’ve had a number of visitors over the last two weeks! Grant and his wife visited from Kelowna early last week; they offered to help out, but we had just finished the log work the day before and were not too motivated ourselves. We had a good discussion, and lunch on the work site in the rain. On Friday of this week we had four more visitors who helped us layout the forms for the door footings and we even managed to pour one of the footings. Thanks Jamie, Callie, Jason and Brady!
If you are thinking of visiting give us some notice if you are thinking of dropping by, that way we can make sure we are available when you do visit.
Sandra and I poured the other door footing on Saturday. Today we stripped the forms off, insulated the outside edge with R12 rigid insulation, and backfilled them. It is now much easier to get in and out of the building! The footings are 14″ wide and 18″ deep. The base of these footings is not below frost level, but the rigid insulation will protect the footings from heaving due to frost. The technical name for these footings is ‘frost protected shallow foundations’ and there is a good internet reference for the design of FPSF foundations here.
Before we start laying decking we are trying to get a clear picture of what our electrical layout looks like. That way if we need to lay wire before the decking goes on we can. The electrical layout is not as simple as I thought; we plan to generate some of our own electricity and this needs to be planned out. Also, we are thinking of running DC wiring for at least the room lights and I am trying to get a basic understanding of how this differs from typical AC wiring. I am preparing a sketch of the electrical plan and when I get it to a more readable state I will try to post it.
This week coming up we hope to re-saw and plane the roof decking. Just like old times …