Roofing, Rain and and a Popcan Wall

Getting the roofing material on site lit a fire under us; yesterday we placed the 30# roofing felt on top of the 2×6 decking, and we started placing rigid insulation. Tom and Stephanie stopped by yesterday and they helped us place the felt …. thanks guys! After they left Sandra and I even managed to place the first two rows of rigid insulation on top of the felt (it was a long day).  The kids had a good time writing messages on the roofing felt … hopefully I will not be the next one to see their messages!

The rigid insulation is not entirely pleasant to work with; it is easy enough to cut and place it, but it has a fiberglass coat of some kind and you itch all over after handling it. We are placing two layers of 4″ thick rigid insulation for a total of 8″ and R50 (R25 per layer). The insulation going on top of the felt is a polyiso rigid insulation. As far as I can gather from the reams of information available on rigid insulation on the internet this rigid insulation has better R value per inch of material and it has to be kept dry to be effective.  We mechanically attached the rigid insulation to our roof deck using screws made for the job (all of our roofing materials are Firestone products).  The second layer of rigid insulation will be staggered so that the seams do not line up with the bottom layer to avoid thermal bridging and condensation.  Condensation in the roof could ultimately lead to rot and mildew so we are being careful to make tight seams and we are taping all of the seams on the first layer.

We tarped the roof yesterday evening when we were done for the day, and it is a good thing we did … it started raining last night and it has continued to rain on and off today.  The good news is that the inside of the building stayed dry … we almost have a roof!  The bad news was that we had to stop working on the roof since the insulation cannot get wet.  Hopefully, we will be back at it by Monday.

We spent today working on the pop can wall on the east side of the building.  Over the last couple of weeks we have been preparing this wall; we framed the door opening, cut and nailed lathe to the edges of the wall to hold the cement wall in place and we flashed the bottom and the side of the wall.   Today we actually started placing cement insulation and cans.  We are using a double layer of rigid insulation in the middle of the wall and pretty much following the system described in Earthship Volume I.  For now we plan to build the wall up to the lintel above the door.  We will have a small roof over this door so we still need to do some framing above the door.

Other than that I have been working on the backhoe.  We have had virtually no problems with this machine over the last year and it has been invaluable.  Last week while helping move dirt for the back berm of the building I was unable to shift from forward to reverse.  Surprisingly, the transmission would not disengage no matter how loudly I cursed or how hard I tried to push the immobile shift lever.  I have never succeeded in fixing something by yelling at it, but I do not imagine I will give up trying.  I had visions of a huge repair job, but when  I finally convinced myself to open the transmission cover I discovered a simple problem; the set screw holding the shifting fork had fallen out and consequently the fork was not doing its job properly.  These scres are wired in place so they do not fall out but the wire had finally failed.  Fortunately, I had a spare screw that fit, was able to drill a hole through the top and was able to wire it in place.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the old bolt.  Hopefully, the old bolt is good and stuck in the housing and is not going to drift into the gears one of these days and chip something.

Fetching the roof…

Bright and early this morning Dad met us and we left for Surrey; he in his big red dodge pick up with Mike and Linda’s 20 foot trailer, and Chris and I in our little Frontier.  It was smoky all the way!  Lots of fires burning in B.C.

We made it to Pro Line Construction at noon and after asking a few final questions, adding a few items, I double checked Don’s invoice and handed over my VISA to pay for the $12,000 plus bill.  (Damn HST, insulation used to be GST exempt and the HST added $800 to our bill).  Never mind, I believe it is refundable.  I added more than $ 120 in VISA rewards to my card…and I will pay it off right away.

The shipping/loading staff at Pro-Line were friendly and fast!  They had mostly loaded Dad’s truck and trailer  before Chris and I made it out to the yard.  They hoisted Chris up a few times to put corners on the load and were patient while we took our time securing all of the materials.  Given the bulk of this load, Dad wanted to ensure it was tightly wrapped up!

I jokingly asked Dad if his air conditioning worked and it turns out it doesn’t! It was warm in Surrey so my father, who is 70 years old, suffered through the heat all day.

We retraced our route through Surrey and back out to Hwy #1.  Gail had  packed Dad a lunch so he was good to drive when we left at about 1:45.  Chris and I did not have the same foresight so we went without food until Hope when we stopped at Skinny’s for lunch about 3:15.  I was a bit taken aback by how big the load was and really wanted to get Dad’s unit to less crowded stopping places. 

Lunch was yummy and was pretty much inhaled.

Made a few more stops and made it back to Darfield at 7:30. Dad came in at 8:00 and took the Frontier home.  We will unload his truck tomorrow morning.

We are so ready to finish this roof.

The Berming begins…

After a few delays, including our three days without water and the early ripening of his wheat, Alvin arrived with his excavator last night.  This morning, after a short discussion on procedure-mostly Alvin telling us how he was going to do it–he began to berm.

Alvin has done work for us periodically over the last decade and he is fast, efficient and cost-effective.  I never ask anymore how much he charges; he is worth every penny.

After a few hours he finished about half of the first of three stages of berming.  Then he busted a hose!  It was nearing noon so we all retreated indoors for the afternoon.  It is hazy again here today (see the pictures) as the Bonaparte Lake forest fire is burning about 20kms from us.

The timing was great as my cousin James, his wife Jennifer and their children Ava and John showed up for lunch and a catch-up on news.  Our kids gave them the farm tour and Chris and I showed off the Earthship.  James and family had been staying with friends in the area and we got to hear from John and Ava all the wildlife they’d seen; primarily deer and a bear cub!  Helen managed to hand down some Barbie movies and Stephen gave away a soft football..but now that I think on it, I don’t think John remembered to take it!

At about the same time, Ivannia and Jonathan stopped by on their way out of town. Jonathan is Grant and Linda’s son, the folks building in Lone Butte in a few weeks with the Biotecture crew.  We hadn’t met them yet, or their son, Kienan (cutie!) so it was nice even to have a short visit.  On Sunday we are going up to the building site for a visit with Grant and Linda, who spent a day here last fall helping us pour concrete half blocks.  I’m going to get the dope on their current plans as the CBC would like a bit of info on their project when I speak to them on Monday.  It is so nice to double the Earthship community in the North Thompson/Cariboo region!

Here are some pictures of the first stage of berming.  Jennifer took all the pictures of their visit and I will post them when she sends them.