Dianne's Construction Page 3

June 6
Having had the federal "energy audit" June 4 we were able to continue with construction.
The back step consisted of a poured concrete pad some 20" lower than the back door, a pad that turned out to be 18" tick in places! On top of the pad previous owners had constructed a series of boxes as steps, most of which were pretty rotten, so they were going! Since the pad was tight against the footing wall preventing effective insulation, it had to go to!

Prior to going after the pad, it was necessary to hand-expose two telephone cables, a ground cable, and my low voltage lighting control cable - all of which cut pretty easily with a dozer! ;) It turned out there was a THIRD telephone cable right under the pad that I didn't know about - fortunately an abandoned cable. Also fortunately, the pad was not part of the footing or wall.

Beware an old woman, a dozer, and a chain!
Fortunately the concrete pad was cracked in numerous places and came away in sections and after a few hours (and some not very lady-like language!) the pad was reduced to rubble in the hedgerow and the excavation (for that area) was complete, including a temporary bridge for the prime contractor and the supervisory hound.


June 7
Unfortunately, when the soil was cleared away from the porch support wall it was found that the wall was in TERRIBLE condition and poorly built. The footings (<- generous term!) were barely below grade, the wall seemed to be of inferior cement and crumbles easily, and the wall has numerous cracks from years of frost heave. I don't have the resources of a Mike Holmes so the wall must be preserved. Rather than risk weakening the footings by digging deeper, it was decided to insulate down to the footings and then out 2 feet at a 45 degree angle. The area was then back-filled.

The rest of the day was spent hand-digging trenches for the two telephone cables, control cable, and the two cables from the gate to the house (door bell and lights). Hand digging in hard rocky ground is always a joy! The telephone demarcation box (NID) was relocated closer to the electrical stack and the other cables to permit insulating behind them and minimize "wall clutter".

It didn't feel like a very productive weekend but a lot of time-consuming fiddly hand-work got done.

The next stage is to make a proper back step and complete the west wall insulation to below-grade.

June 13

Time for some proper back steps (instead of a pile of rotting wooden boxes)!
Pressure treated 2x8 joists, 2x4 corner braces, 2x6 decking, 4x4 uprights, and 3/8 carriage bolts - this deck wont wobble!
 Decided to make it wide enough for the back door, the doggy door, and the barbecue - now I can check the food on the barbecue without putting my shoes on :)
The area for the deck required a couple of buckets of earth and re-leveling  before nesting in the deck frame and installing the deck boards.
The deck was still under construction but that didn't stop Peaches the Bloodhound from finding the coolest spot around to watch the foolish old woman working!

The deck is in place and usable. Hand rails and treating cut end with preservative will finish it off.
Might have to find a couple railway ties or re-grade to make that first step a little smaller.

June 13
In the morning I added the handrails, which of course had to be wide enough for a cup of coffee or a bottle of BBQ sauce!

Haven't figured out what to do for railings on the stairs - iron would be nice.

June 19 & 21
A couple more days, a little crawler digging, more gluing and screwing, and the west wall was finally sheeted to below grade and 2 feet out from the wall. The little bit of "dozer rash" under the left-most window needs to be repaired and a molding cut to finish over the hydro stack. When all the sheeting is done, it will be time for trim, parge, and paint. After a really cold spring the challenge now is to avoid heat-stroke in the 30C temperatures and blazing sun! But I even found the energy to harvest my first cutting of hay (cut my grass - note the height along the fence!)

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