Building a new house in Palo Alto

Building a new house in Palo Alto

Thursday, November 8, 2012

All buttoned up and water tight

Inspector Cisky reviews our house plans.

Good news, we just passed a major milestone in our home construction. Last Friday we had our Roof, Exterior Sheething and Structural Frame inspection. It's one of the most important and complicated inspections, so there were high fives all around when the house passed with flying colors. This week was spent buttoning up the house and getting it water tight. Winter is coming and we're ready for whatever she brings.

Puddles in our bedroom. (Kay was weeping).

We were hoping to get the roof on before the rains but October had a couple of freak storms that thwarted our plans. Our general contractor and ever the optimist, Jeff said not to worry, a little water is good. He says it will help reduce problems like squeaking because the lumber will have a chance to expand and contract before we install the floors. Nevertheless, it's a pretty sad feeling when you show up the day the roof framing is scheduled to begin and instead of workers hammering away you find a big fat puddle in your bedroom. It reminded me of our wedding day when everyone was trying to convince us that rain is good luck and the gods were weeping in joy and then you get a note from Mr Strategic Planner saying not to worry, we can move the ceremony indoors. Cha.

Fortunately, like our wedding day, the rains magically stopped and by afternoon we had blue skies and sunshine. The roof construction moved along quickly because we had pre-ordered trusses that were made off-site and arrived ready to assemble.

Roof trusses are pre-fabricated off-site which cuts down on construction time & expense.

Trusses are extremely sturdy and a great way to save time and money but the trade-off is that their webbed design leaves little room for storage. Because we wanted usable attic space, our architect Jeanine strategically designed parts of the house to be built using rafters and conventional roof framing.

Conventional stick framing over the guest room where we have high ceilings & attic space.
The extra bonus about attic space is that as long as the ceilings are under five feet, the city doesn't count it towards your maximum allowable square footage.

The attic space behind our bedroom will be reserved for little black dogs who snore like a freight train.

The roof frame is covered with plywood sheathing lined with aluminum on the inside.
The aluminum creates a radiant barrier that keeps the heat out in the summer but in during the winter.
Covering the eaves with a facia. Our architect made our eaves slightly longer than usual as a design feature.

The lovely orange paint is not a design feature. All sheer walls must be clearly marked for inspection.

Thomas & Astro inspect our new roof. Marking verboten.

Woohoo, the first window goes in!

Installing the gutters.

Yay, it's beginning to look like a real house!
Here's who to call if you want the world's best general contractor:
Jeff is fully licensed & insured but his dog Buster is still learning to drive.
Astro is also crazy for Jeff but needs to work on his high five technique. #high5fail