Archive | October 2012

Another Inspection Passed

Another milestone – we passed inspection for the slab. Tomorrow the concrete finisher will be out for the pour, and make my floor nice and smooth.

approved for slab

Today while waiting for the inspector, the crew worked on filling in things – 500 feet of water line and next is the old cistern. Any leftover crushed stone from the cistern fill will help the existing driveway.

For the new, very long driveway, we are looking at a product that will allow us to drive on the grass and not require gravel or paving. It would be better for the environment, allowing water to drain through normally, and would be less expensive. I don’t know yet about lifetime maintenance. It does allow us to mow right over it once the grass grows up through the mesh.



Never Smooth Going

You know how old houses always bring surprises during renovations? We found the yard can, too. With all the large trucks we’ve had to the build site, one crushed the top of an old cistern, and now there is a 2 foot diameter opening, with about 6×6 x5 deep concrete block hole. Even though we’d like to have a rainwater cistern, this is not in a safe place for the construction people, and it probably doesn’t hold water any longer. A load of crushed stone will be delivered tomorrow to fill it.

road hazard

The current schedule is to have the slab preparation ready for inspection on Wednesday, have the cement poured on Thursday and a professional to smooth the surface. So far we’ve had decent weather, but it has chilled this week. We are hoping the storms with hurricane Sandy and the fronts coming from the west will be kind and allow us to get the slab done this week.

I need to head back to check on my other house and vote, pack up more stuff. I think I have found someone to stay in the house this winter, so I won’t need to worry about winter weather travels. She has retired and is selling her condo in another city and needs to start looking in Roanoke, so it will benefit both of us. Great coincidence on timing.

Footers are now setting up

Cement truck for footers

The footers have been poured and the next step after the cement cures is to prepare for the full slab. We’ll have a regular concrete person for this, to get a nice smooth floor. My plan is to have concrete floors for my cottage, probably using epoxy paint like many use on garage floors. I know it will be cooler in the summer, and winter doesn’t last as long, so I will see how it goes this year.

finishing on footers

We got enough extra cement to pour beside the front corner of Sharon’s house – it collects water when there is a heavy rain, eventually seeping into the basement. We hope this will help prevent some of the moisture by sloping it away to the driveway. There is a gentle slope from the road to the house, and enough from the gutters cause problems that a future French drain should solve.

A little excitement at bedtime last night – we are on a busy road that runs directly to I-85 and we get a lot of speeding, in spite of some hills and curves. Someone in a pickup must have dropped wheels off the edge of the road nearly across the street, and ended on its side just past the front yard. It was a loud thumping, but apparently no severe injuries, as things were cleaned up in a hurry and the fire department left when they knew they were not needed. I’m realizing we were lucky that some of Sharon’s garden was not damaged.

We have a new tool.
Doug found a great deal on a small used mortar mixer, which we will need to put up the shell of the dome. Things are falling into place.

Passed First Inspection!

The Building Codes Inspector was out today and approved the footers and plumbing, concrete pour this week. Then we should have the slab next week. I am grinning about this.

Inspection Time

Well, yesterday the crew ran the electric line from Sharon’s house to the cottage work site. I played hooky from all activity, as I had a chiropractor appointment in the morning, then Sharon and I met friends for lunch – my birthday, and I did pretty well on food choice by going for pita sandwiches at a Mediterranean restaurant. Chocolate later, but I limited myself!

We are having a glorious week with highs in upper 70s and no rain. Leaves all around are looking good – I love Autumn.

In two weeks I will be back in Virginia to vote and do a little more packing, still need heavier clothing and as much as I can fit into the car. I am still not crowded in the guest room, so time to bring more stuff.

ready for footer inspection

Today a load of stone has been ordered for the foundation. We are also ready for our first inspection (tomorrow) prior to the pour of the footers. The crew is now building a form for any extra concrete to be used at a low spot at the front of the existing house – tends to leak into the basement. We hope this will handle the problem as a side benefit of the new construction.


Both the plumber and electrician who are subcontracted on the cottage were here today. The plumbing crew jumped right in and fixed up the bathroom for the pipes needed in the concrete slab. The kitchen pipes will run through the wall, so have nothing to show now.

bathroom plumbing for foundation

The water line has great pressure after the long distance it travels from the main line. It will be enough to furnish a second home at a future date, and might even handle more. Of course all would be on the same meter, but we could work it out, this is a retirement community of friends, after all.

We have been waiting to hear from the electric company supervisor about what was needed for temporary service during construction, but since discussing it with the electrician, we are changing the plan. Instead, we will run a line from the breaker box in Sharon’s house for the construction period. After that, we will get the electrical line permanently installed to the cottage. It will save money on the cost of the temporary meter and work needed for that, and the electrician approves. He is interested in the idea of a dome, and I am glad to have someone ready to try something different. Not everyone I’ve spoken with is ready for something non-standard. I am happy to have my crew.

Some Red Tape, of course

Another bit of red tape to untangle – getting the temporary electrical power to the site. The supervisor should be in touch with me on Monday, and I hope we understand each other before the day is out. Government people seem to forget some of us have not been involved in a build and need a bit more instructions as to the next step. I am ready to learn and comply with their rules, but I also need them to understand where the houses will be located and where we want the power line to run (preferably underground if not an outrageous cost).

At least the water is nearly ready. We have had such chilly mornings, the glue has not set as well as hoped, so testing and re-sealing as needed over the 500 feet. It is 2 inch pipe to maintain pressure, but that is not very flexible and comes in shorter lengths.

As you can see in the picture, the crew has the site ready for the concrete contractor to review and approve the footers. We believe we have the electrician and plumber lined up, so things should be moving along now. At least until the next problem.

View from back patio, south side

The picture is a view from the back patio, where the French doors will open into the bedroom. It will be a nice private area away from other houses and just down the hill from the road. Sharon plans to plant screening plants all along the property line on that side, too.