update

well, rough-in continues.  the project is in one of those phases where progress seems to creep along.  and, the holiday season has put a bit of a damper on things (and i’m not just talking about the rain and snow!).  we remain hopeful that our roofer will make an appearance very soon. otherwise, once rough-in is completed next week, the project will come to a standstill.  ah, the joys of building! 😉

photo gallery of construction highlights:

rough-in

we are well into the roughing in phase.  plumber, electrician, fire sprinkler, solar and heating contractors have all been on-site.  the “smart home” sub will be on-site in january to do his work for control of lighting, audio, video and window shades.  oh yeah, gotta rough-in the HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) system, too.

given the compact nature of the design, no basement and essentially no attic, routing the multitude of pipes and wires is akin to building a submarine!  overall, its going well with minimal back-tracking.  nonetheless, it is a time-consuming process and has required a lot of time on-site by yours truly – all in hopes of starting sheetrock installation mid-january.  oh yeah, we STILL need the metal roof installed before that starts!  YIKES!!!!

unfortunately, no exciting visuals/photos of wires and pipes.  just this photo of the first floor electrical plan with my field notes compiled during a 90 minute walk-thru with craig the electrician (on-site nickname = “sparky”).  the result is the fourth iteration of the electrical plan. the march of two steps forward, one step back presses on!

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here’s a photo update of siding installation with west wall almost complete.  it DOES look nice, huh?

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LEED for Homes

click above on the page entitled “LEED for Homes”.  there, you will learn about LEED for Homes!  LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

BTW, it’s LEED, NOT “LEEDS” – Leeds is a city in England (it’s also a town in Maine!). AND, part of a title to a great live album (greatest ever live album????) – The Who, LIVE AT LEEDS. it includes an awesome Magic Bus!

fiber-cement siding

fiber-cement siding has been around for decades in europe.  it has been gaining more of a foothold in the U.S. the past decade, or so.  its advantages include durability, low-maintenance, appearance (it looks like traditional clapboard siding), and fire-resistance.  its reported disadvantages are mostly limited to cost – acquisition and installation.  i take issue with the cost issue.  one must ask “compared to what?”  if the standard is cheap-O vinyl siding, then yes.  when compared to good quality wood siding, my experience is the fiber-cement siding is cost-competitive.  like any building product, the detailer and installer must pay honor the limitations of the product – primarily, protection from moisture penetration/saturation (BEFORE, during and after installation).

i have used A LOT of FC siding in the past 6-7 years with minimal problems/issues.  its a natural fit to this project, mostly for the reasons stated above.  because its primary ingredient is cement, it does have some recycled content and is recyclable at the end of its useful life.  the product is guaranteed for 50 years with a 15 year warranty on the finish.  not that i put a lot of stock in manufacturer’s warranties (read the fine print), but i do think the warranty duration can communicate the manufacturer’s confidence in their product.  given FC siding has been in use for decades, i am comfortable with its claims of durability.

there are two primary FC siding manufacturers – JM Hardie and Certainteed.  we chose Certainteed because they have siding that imitates a stained wood appearance AND because my client wanted it! :-)  the picture below is a good representation of its beauty.  jessica just saw the wall yesterday and couldn’t be happier.  we HOPE installation will be completed before christmas break, pending weather and roofing subcontractor (we need the metal roof and trim installed to install the soffits!).

earlier posts on window details and rain screen provide more info on siding details.

update

Gallery

This gallery contains 11 photos.

recent construction progress seems meteoric compared to recent past. exterior siding and trim underway. LOTS of prep work (rain screen, flashing, etc., etc.) but worth the effort.  the siding installation itself will go fairly quickly (at least the “wood” siding, … Continue reading