Fill Me Up, Scotty

After several failed attempts to get the mix just the right consistency for our sprayer, we managed to get the gap above the West arch filled with concrete(Mortar mix with a bit of our ground-up polystyrene foam).


The first three times it was too thick and plugged-up the hose.  It took quite a lot of banging and an equal number of expletives to get it unclogged.  The Grayco texture sprayer we have is pretty heavy duty and can handle stucco but we were asking it to handle a bit heavier mortar mix than it was probably designed for.  I’m glad this task is done.  We did add some paint to the concrete to help it flow better.  You can pay a lot of money for a latex concrete additive but I figured why not add regular house paint?  I was told by several concrete guys that this is fairly common.  So I posted on Freecycle looking for paint and got quite a few offers.




Of course it didn’t matter what color the paint was, but this combination made the concrete look eggplant colored.


Thank you to all the people who gave us their leftover paint.


I finally got a good picture of the East wall after removing the scaffolding. Here it is.




Who’s the handsome devil in the window….?
Sunday, July 31, 2011 – 10:47 AM
Whoo! An anonymous admirer?
Monday, August 1, 2011 – 11:59 AM



The interesting picture of Jeff above, was taken through one of the vent pipes set into the West wall. On the side over the bathroom, the wall extends up to the ceiling.  With very little room, it took using a yogurt container to fill the blocks.




pastedGraphic_1.pdfIn preparation for framing in the arch window, I used a Ramset gun to set tie wire into the shell.  A curved piece of rebar was then attached to the wire.  This will “support” the concrete that we will spray/fill into the gap between the shell and the arch framing.




The other task accomplished this weekend was the removal of all the remaining tie wire that was sticking out of the concrete. This is the wire that was tied around the wood slats supporting the foam panels. Jeff was very busy with the wire cutters.


We now have some patching to do on the really rough spot of our walls.  Then they will be ready for a final plaster coating.


Round Pipe in a Square Block

We finally got the rest of the Faswall blocks we needed to finish the West wall but didn’t have the cement mixer to use. So we worked on a couple of other projects.  One was to fit two vent pipes through the blocks for our future air-to-air exchanger.  This Fasswall material is great to work with. I was able to cut the holes in them with a jigsaw.


We also pulled electrical wire through conduit for the lighting circuit in the bedroom.  Because of a change in the window placement, the conduit coming through the concrete shell is in the wrong place. Now because of how the window will be framed, it has to make a couple of sharp turns.  This would be too difficult to pull wire once we frame in the window so we pulled the wire while the conduit was “loose”.




I built this wire caddy to make it easy to combine the different wires.  With me pushing and Jeff pulling, we got it through the conduit.


Next weekend we hope to have the mixer back so we can finish the wall.


Why do we live here?

It’s days like these (picture above), that make the months and months of constant rain bearable.  We live in such a beautiful spot that I still pinch myself wondering if it’s all a dream.


This was a busy long holiday weekend.  First there was the great paintball war and camp-out on Friday. pastedGraphic.pdf Beckett and four of his friend came over and spent several hours in heated battle up in our woods. Fortunately for me, my paintball gun jammed (That’s me on the far right), so I didn’t have to participate in the battle.  However, that didn’t stop me from getting hit by “friendly fire”.


pastedGraphic_1.pdfThe boys camped out inside the “shell” of our house and the next morning, we toasted bagels on our ingenious washing machine fire pit.






The rest of the weekend was spent working on our West wall.  Saturday and Sunday, we stacked blocks up to the top of the windows.  We then filled them with our lightweight concrete mix.




Afterwards, we worked on building the header above the bedroom window and door. There will be an arched window above them just like on the East wall. On the master bathroom side, the wall will continue up to the top of the arch.


pastedGraphic_4.pdfThe master bath will be the only room that has an actual (flat) ceiling .  This is because we need the space above the bathroom to hold our Air-to-Air, Heat Recovery Ventilation System.




After laying out the header, we mixed enough concrete to have  a continuous bond beam reinforced with rebar. We will have to buy a few more Faswall blocks to finish the West wall but it’s possible that by next weekend it will be done!




sister Carrie
Amazing!  I’m so proud of you guys… Love you!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 – 07:14 PM
Brother Steve
Thanks Carrie.
Love you too!!!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 – 07:21 PM