Update (again) on Schedule for rest of 2016

Well, looks like I won’t be able to stick to the schedule I made back in August: I’m a little behind; so here’s the issues:

  • Surprise! The city still charges $5,000 to hook up water, power, and sewer, so no change there.
  • The annual “burn ban” for our county is still in effect. It was supposed to expire on October 1, but there is a very bad drought going on right now (don’t laugh, Utah friends, it is shockingly dusty out at my place (I circled our county in blue on the map below: “Extreme Drought”. captureThis means I can’t burn any of my brush piles- and they are getting big. I don’t know when we’ll get rain. We are having record setting heat- in the upper 80’s

It is the end of October. Records that stood since 1926 are being broken. It is hot, hot, hot, and dry, dry, dry. It’s throwing a few things off, but helping others, I guess- without rain, there’s no mud. It’s great for hauling logs. It’s also great for inhibiting mold and fungus growth.

I’ll revisit the schedule with some updates:

  • On my original schedule, I’ve completed the July goals.
  • August, I had planned on having enough trees (53) to start the build. But as I noted in my last post “crooked logs”, I realized a lot of my logs are too crooked, so I upped the number I need to 65. I have 51 on racks right now. So I need about 15 more. Plus, I’ll need some for RPSL’s, and everything else.
    • Luckily, I just cut a tree on my property this weekend. I measured it, and it looks like 48 feet of it are usable. All the trees on that part of the property are the same age (and height), so this is great news- we can use them for our build.
  • September– I was going to peel all trees- that month came and went. I spent a week welding the forks on my tractor, while my wife did the tedious job of scraping bug “dirt” from the bark beetles off of my logs (if you just peel them, the bug poop stays on there and gets hard- making it so the borate doesn’t penetrate as well), so I’m behind there.
  • October, I was going to submit plans, get my water hooked up, etc- that will probably be November (which starts this week!) Still working on modifying the stock plans- it is now a bottleneck to progress- I have no time to work on it:
    • I’ve committed every night after work during the week to working on the property. When I get home, I play with my 4 year old because I’ve been gone for 12 hours. I don’t believe just being near her while working on the computer is good for our relationship.
    • Saturday morning, I give my wife the day off- I stay home in the morning and work on my truck (broken head gasket) early before anyone gets up. If we both feel up to it, we spend Saturday afternoons working on the property till dark, then do any shopping we need.
    • Sunday would be ideal – church doesn’t start until 11, so I have at least 2-3 hours in the morning to myself. I’ve been modifying the stock plans during this time. It’s slow, but I’m making some progress.
  • November– I was going to lay the first logs- That might now be December or January.
  • Get the roof on: was supposed to be January or whenever I have funds- probably tax return season is when I’ll get that done. So, I’m still sort of on track. Hanging onto the schedule by the skin of my teeth.

An interesting side note: my neighbor used to work for the city, and knows a thing or two about the sewer system on our street (he surveyed and designed it). He says the limit on where I can put my house (how far back on the property it can go) is governed by the grade- 5%. This means for every 100 feet of horizontal, I can go 5′ vertical. So, we took his little golf cart for a spin over to my property to measure the sewer depth- it’s 6.5 feet down. So, according to him, I can only go back about 160 feet. But I just talked to a guy who built a house himself (brick!), and he says that figure has been updated- the pitch of the grade is now preferred to be 1 inch vertical for every 8 or 10 feet of horizontal (graphic explanation: if the water flows too fast, it doesn’t take the poop with it, so now they want the flow to slow down and carry the poop). Bottom line: it looks like I can set my house as far back as I want- which is preferred, but more expensive.

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As far as materials,

  • I got all the plywood for my piers. Need to build them, now.
  • Still need the rebar (not sure where to get this from, still looking).
  • 2 3-ton chain hoists ($160)
  • rebar cutter ($150) or chop saw blades ($50?)
  • styrofoam for roof (I don’t know- probably $200-500)
  • roof panels (probably metal roof – $3000)
  • T&G roof decking ($2000)
  • plywood roof underlayment (I don’t know)

And I still stick by this statement from my last post about my schedule:

It’s obviously very ambitious for one person, not to mention one person that has never done this before. I’m sure there will be delays due to finances or hassles with the city, equipment breakdowns, etc. But if the schedule needs to be adjusted by two or three months, that’s ok- I need to wait for a tax return for a boost to my finances anyway.  It still appears that I can “git-r-dun” within my goal of 2-3 years.

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2016 July 24: Schedule for the rest of 2016

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I got a little raise at work. Yay! Now, hopefully, our account will still be hundreds in the black instead of just tens a week before payday. It’s sort of self imposed: we committed to saving a small house payment-like amount when we started the build. We are counting on this amount to supplement our savings that we used to initially start things off. But I also have some student loan payments and we have the land loan every month, along with our utilities, groceries, gas, and the normal bills everyone has.

I’ve been worried about finances on the build for a few months now- the city charges $5,000 to hook up water, power, and sewer, and this amount will just about clean out our savings for the next few months, and make it difficult to get concrete poured (I’m thinking thousands for the concrete). But we can’t get a building permit until we have utilities, so it was becoming a roadblock to progress. With my little raise at work, we now have some breathing room on our build, although we won’t be able to do the concrete right away.

I’m still cleaning up tree debris from cutting twelve trees a few weeks ago- not ready to move logs, but hope to do so later this week. And the debris piles are getting huge. Even with saving the bigger branches, things are still piling up. I’m probably going to end up with ten or more debris piles. There is currently an annual “burn ban” for the summer in the county we live in, so no burning until October. And I think I’ll be required to have running water on hand while burning brush.

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I also need to borate the trees I have. Borating the trees stops mold and bugs (mostly termites) from setting up shop in your house. Borating only really needs to be done once if your logs are already stacked and dried in (protected from rain). My logs are laying around exposed to the elements, so I’m going to have to treat them twice- once now, and once again when they are under roof. Once they are under roof, further borating is not necessary. The boric acid discourages insects, while the glycol causes the tree to suck up the solution much farther than just water would do. For LHBA members (password and membership required), I like the thread “NOTICE – Borate Mixture- Notice” under the “log home construction” folder. Three ingredients- borax, boric acid, and some kind of glycol. There are some surface mold spots on the logs I’ve peeled (thank you,  ‘The South’, and your overly humid weather). I bought a metal bushel, but I still have to buy the borax and the glycol (both available at Walmart). I also have a sprayer (thank you, Harbor Freight, for having extremely cheap tools). Just need a few hours to boil up some brew…

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All of the above has caused me to think about a (very aggressive) build schedule for the rest of the year:

  • July
    • continue to cut trees, clean up brush.
    • Hope to end the month with 18 existing + 15 new = 33 trees on racks, and half of them peeled.
    • borate the trees I’ve peeled.
  • August
    • cut and haul more trees- hopefully, by end of August, get 20 more trees for a total of 53 trees- enough to start the build. I think I only need 48 for the walls, but I want some breathing room. I also still need a bunch for the roof purlins, lifting logs, cap logs, ridge poles, etc, but I can at least get the build going once I have the minimum.
  • September
    • Peel all trees, and borate the remainder once peeled.
  • October
    • pay for water hook up
    • submit plans and get building permit
    • dig and pour foundation
  • November
    • lay first logs for walls. This also means I’ll make this blog public- that is the goal- make it public after the first few courses of logs are laid.
    • burn brush piles and maybe stumps
  • December
    • Lay last log for walls
  • January 2017 (or whenever I have funds)
    • Get the freakin’ roof on!

At some point, I need to get more tools and materials. Items I’m still missing:

  • plywood for foundation forms ($200)
  • concrete ($2400)
  • rebar (about $1200)
  • 2 3-ton chain hoists ($160)
  • rebar cutter ($150) or chop saw blades ($50?)
  • styrofoam for roof (I don’t know- probably $200-500)
  • roof panels (probably metal roof – $3000)
  • T&G roof decking ($2000)
  • plywood roof underlayment (I don’t know)

It’s obviously very ambitious for one person, not to mention one person that has never done this before. I’m sure there will be delays due to finances or hassles with the city, equipment breakdowns, etc. But if the schedule needs to be adjusted by two or three months, that’s ok- I need to wait for a tax return for a boost to my finances anyway.  It still appears that I can “git-r-dun” within my goal of 2-3 years.

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