Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Walls on the second floor

Attic_Arch, Looking out from the attic storage
We went to the house this afternoon and were pleasantly surprised to find walls on the second floor, well at least the studs for walls. They are almost finished with them, hopefully tomorrow they will finish the walls. Then they will work on the stairs and the split level subfloor for the kids room.

I love he look of the arch leading into the side domes that you see in the picture. If you look closely you can also see the arch across the top of the central dome. From the living room below you will be able to see all three of these arches. I think it will make for a very exciting and organic look.

We are also starting to now look forward to our meeting with the interior designer this Friday to discuss the decor and such. She asked what our general style is, and we just sort of stopped and looked at each other, so she has her work cut out for her.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

No Pictures this time

After I put those 4 pictures last post I felt as if I really didn't need more photo's. The appearance has not changed that much in the past 48 hours. What has happened is the subfloor has almost been finished. There are a few small areas right at the edges that they have to be very creative in cutting the plywood to match the dome shape that have not been done. The plywood they use for the second floor is 1 1/8" thick plywood. I did not realize they made plywood that thick. It comes pre-cut with tongue and groove sides for keeping it level and smooth.

We do have an appointment with an interior decorator who works with our contractor to began to discuss the decor and color schemes. One thing we have been surprised when looking around the house is that it does not really feel like it is that much bigger than our current house, even though it is over twice the square footage. I'm sure that is an illusion of the incomplete structure and all the building stuff sitting around. Anyway, we are considering repurposing some of the rooms based on our current perceptions and are really looking forward to working with someone who can tell us that our fears are unfounded, or give us useful advice about how to repurpose the rooms. Our appointment is not until next Friday, so I'll post about that next weekend.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Chaos, Wall supports while installing the second floor
The general chaos of the various cross braces while installing the trusses and sub-floor for the second floor.

Window thru trusses
Looking up through the trusses and seeing out one of the second floor windows. This picture seems to me to give a perspective of the house and is a pretty picture, despite it being rather simple.

Truss and subfloor
Here you can see the support trusses and some of the sub-floor.

End Supports
I was curious about how they were going to put trusses across the very end of the dome. Well, they don't. They put 2x12's perpendicular to the trusses and notch them out to sit flush with the tops of the trusses. A nice system, but somehow I wonder a bit at the strength of the 1x12 once it is notched this deeply?

Trusses are mostly installed

Went out last night and they had all but 9 of the trusses installed (about 100 total). The only are missing was a small part that they ran out of time on at one end (consisting of about 2 trusses) and the area over the pantry where the shape of the house makes the trusses form a triangular pattern. These should be installed this morning. I also noticed the plywood for the subfloor had been delivered and the materials to begin constructing the stairs. Things continue to happen, and this is two days in a row!

We also got an official proposed timeline from the contractor yesterday. He is estimating that we will be able to take occupancy the week of December 10-17. A bit later than he or I had hoped, but still not too bad.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We have a second floor, sort of...

Trusses_in_place, One dome with second floor
The support trusses have been delivered and the framers began installing them today. Right now they are about 1/3 of the way finished. I hope (famous last words) that by the end of the week we will be able to walk around on the second floor. It really does help give a better perspective on room sizes when you can walk into a room and see all 4 walls, the floor, and the ceiling.

We also completed the application for septic tank service on the property today, so in the sort of near future they can begin to install the septic tank. Once that is installed in the ground, we can actually begin some basic landscaping to give a better feel what the entire place will look like once it is complete. I figure this may still be a month away, but at least I feel like there is some progress being made.

I decided to add one more picture for the engineering geek types out there who want to see how the trusses actually tie into the dome. Looking below you can see that they sit on the top of the wall frames, but also have a portion which hangs over the support beam which is attached to the walls for support. I doubt they are strong enough to support the entire weight on teh ring, but it will certainly support the portions where the truss hangs across a room and the far edge is supported only by the beam.
Truss_Connection, How the Trusses tie in to the walls

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Setting up for the second floor

Ring Beam Support, Support for the second floor
The support beam for the second floor has now been installed all around the main dome. They still have to go back and add all the support bolts and anchor it to the concrete walls, but there are at least 2 supporting each segment of the beam now. Hopefully by the end of the week the support trusses will be in and the subfloor can start to be installed.

Again this seems to be a game of hurry up and wait. For a few days there will be no visible progress, then apparently overnight something miraculous will happen.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Final Dome Walk through next week

We are in the process of setting up a final walk through of the domes with Monolithic and the General Contractor for next week. By that time the main dome will have all the first floor walls in place and the ceiling and subfloor for the second level as well. At that time we can get someone with an x-ray (or other non-destructive testing apparatus) to come in and test spots around the domes for compliance to thickness requirements. (What we will do it they don't make it is an entirely different question). Apparently there is no one local who does this, so we will be bringing in a person from Houston to do the testing.

They will be testing either 10, 15, or 20 locations depending on what we ask for (and how much we want to pay). We'll get a report back showing the full cross section of the area under the test location. It should show the outer membrane (the airform), the polyurethane foam, the shotcrete, and, if present at the location, the rebar.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Walls, Wall Studs in Main Dome
We have Walls!!! Yesterday the framers started putting up the walls and once they get started it goes quickly. The previous day, however, they spent most of the day figuring out how to measure where the walls go in a round house. I was not there, but apparently it was somewhat humorous. They had to measure off the dome centers and figure out where all the walls went. By the end of this week the walls should be finished on the first floor and they will do the ceiling and second floor next week.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Monolithic is done

I went by the job site this evening to see what was going on and was happy to find that Monolithic has moved all the equipment offsite and they are now done with the construction of the domes. I expect to complete a walk through with them later this week or early next week, but that is a minor thing.

At the same time I was hoping to see the progress the framers had made in constructing the first floor walls, or at least marking out where the walls go, but I saw no sign that they had done much of anything. I know the general contractor had to fall back to his second team of framers since the first choice was still tied up on another job, but with this being hump day and nothing having been done I wonder if he is planning on going back to number one starting next week. I need to give him a call tomorrow and talk about it.

Another tip for those of you that are doing this or thinking about doing it. If you get a general contractor, pester him to death about everything that bothers you. That is his job, so answer your concerns. If you are going to hire the sub-contractors yourself, you will have to deal with more of the frustrations yourself.