And then there was drywall….

And it went up quickly. The entire house was done in about three days. Tape and float, a hand trawl finish and primary painting will take most of the rest of February to complete. March will see ceramic floor tile and a visit from the trim carpenter.


The Kiva and the Rock Wall Garden

The outside of the house nears completion with the rock going up on the stone wall garden and the stucco covering the kiva. The final rainwater harvest downspout was attached and collection is now live for the entire roof. The picture below shows the gauge at just above the cistern floor. Nowhere to go but up from here.

Tighten it Up!

After the insulation installation the builder ran an infrared scan throughout the house to test for “leaks”. The two images below show the same area in normal view and with an infrared scan. After doing this exercise throughout the entire house, the insulation company returned to address any problem areas and repair those “leaks”. It caused a few days delay for drywall but it was well worth the time.

In these photos, two leaky areas can be seen to the upper right and upper left of the window.

Rainwater Harvest Goes Live – and it Rains!

On Friday I received a call from the project manager that about 85% of the rainwater collection system was complete and ready for action. And action we got on Sunday night. A line of severe thunderstorms blew through the area dropping about three quarters of an inch of rain. Fortunately, the large hail associated with the event stayed to the south of us. Today I will check the gauge to see how much water flowed to the cistern.

Update: A valve near the cistern was accidentally left open and all of the rainwater from the roof was diverted down the hill instead of to the cistern. Sad face.

Insulation, Drywall, Gutters and Rainwater Plumbing

A busy week is on tap. With the roof and the spray foam insulation complete, drywall work can begin inside. All the material is delivered and work is scheduled to start in two days. Gutters go on today and the outside plumbing work for diversion to the cistern begins tomorrow. It may be asking too much but if the water work can be completed by Friday there is a good chance of capturing some of the big rain event predicted for this coming weekend.


Return of the Roofers

Just when I thought all hope was lost for further construction this year, like the swallows to Capistrano, the roofers returned! And the roof will be completely installed by the end of this week. Spray foam insulation is now scheduled for next week and drywall can now begin right after New Year’s day.


A Festivus Airing of Grievances

December has not been kind to the building schedule. First there was the delivery of the wrong color of metal for the roof. Then, a torrential rain delayed matters for another week. The correct metal was finally delivered and work began. A day later, it stopped. I arrive at the site last Friday and no one else was there. Only the back porch had a metal roof. Sad face.

I drive into town and the story begins to unfold. On highway 16 there is a large hotel and conference center. Lo and behold, a host of workers are scrambling about installing a new metal roof. I proceed not a quarter mile more and on the opposite side of the highway is a Lutheran church. Nativity creche moved to the side, new metal panels are stacked in the yard, just waiting to go up top on that fine stone building.

I turn right onto highway 27 where there is a Lutheran church of a different flavor. Something is different, though. Hmmm….Aha! A shiny copper roof, so new that not a trace of weathering, much less oxidation is visible. I needed sunglasses just to look at it.

So, between the Chamber of Commerce and the Lord of the Lutherans, I have no chance of getting my metal roof installed before the end of the year.

And the stone workers have all gone to Mexico for Christmas so that work is also in limbo.

Oh, well. It’s time to enjoy the holidays. We’ll pick it up again in January.

Feliz Navidad, y’all!


Rock On!

Well, my darlins, the outside rock is going on this house. Texas limestone at its most Cretaceous. Edwards or Glen Rose formation, take your pick. It’s from one or the other. So many little foraminiferae gave their life for this project, the mind boggles.

Still don’t have a roof, though. Seems the metal panels were delivered the week before Thanksgiving but they were the wrong color. Rats! The panels of dark bronze tone will be delivered next Tuesday and work will begin immediately. Installation of the guttering that captures rainwater will follow and solar panels shortly thereafter. I am told that when these steps are completed the focus turns to the inside of the house and the trades are lined up and ready to go. We might even get some drywall up before the end of the year.

Anyway, here are the latest pictures, including the final positioning of limestone blocks for the circle driveway and installation of the kiva fireplace outside of the master bedroom porch. Stucco will go over the wire in the photo.



And the Sun Comes Shining Through

The solar proposal arrived over the weekend and the situation is better than I had expected. As a result of the house being built to such high energy efficiency standards, we only needed 30 panels to get to net zero energy use. This 8.4kW system will cover only the south facing roof over the great room and the all black panels and trim should hide pretty well on the dark bronze metal roof.

With rebates and tax credits the decision turned out to be a no-brainer. I can also eliminate about $6700 worth of foam board insulation from the roof as it will be redundant. Now, as long as the utility companies in Texas continue to purchase power from people like me, all will be well on the accounting side. Otherwise, it’s on to the Tesla Powerwall 2 or some other emerging new whiz bang battery technology.

The stucco work is complete. Electrical and audio/visual before drywall are also complete. With four ceiling speakers in the great room and two more in the kitchen, we should be able to rock the hill pretty well. If they don’t do the trick, four more Polk speakers on the back porch are ready for deployment.

Preparation for metal roof installation is underway. It looks like some kind of vapor barrier is the first layer with a number of more layers to follow before the metal is installed. Solar panels are then attached to the roof as the final layer. The number of panels is still up for discussion at this time, pending final analysis by the solar guy (Mr. Sunshine??).

December is a wildcard right now. It’s the time of year when many workers in these parts head home to Mexico for the holidays to spend time with their families. We may have a few weeks of little progress at the house during December but cabinets will be under construction off site and hopefully the rainwater collection system will be completed by then.