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Forums Home  >>  Cheryl


Building Phase  >  What to include in the planning dream notebook

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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 3/10/2010

In doing a lot of research for my dream build, I accumulated a lot of info on best practices for green/sustainable methods and materials that I keep as a separate file. New products are continually coming on the market and some are truly new, innovative, and sustainable, while others have changed nothing but their marketing campaign. Anyway, might be a good one for you to add if that is part of your goal.


Green Building  >  Slipform Construction

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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 9/23/2009

I am seriously considering a modified slipform construction technique for the walls of my carriage house project, which is 24x42 with a small apartment above near Ft. Collins, CO.  I have a lot of stone on on the property that is block-like rubble that would be utilized. The walls would best be described as steel-reinforced concrete with a rock face.  Would love to hear from anyone who has real knowledge of this technique and get advice on how to do it green, strong and as economically as possible. My two strong sons, 23 and 24 yrs. think we can do most of the labor ourselves. My Dad will help with the electrical, and I will learn how to install PEX. So this is a real owner-builder project.   

The slipform information I have is from a book I ordered on slipform construction called "Living Homes Integrated Design & Construction" by Thomas J. Elpel.

Read this:

hollowtop.com.

Here are some excerpts:

"Slip forming using beadboard panels is similar to traditional slip forming. The footings are built the same, except extra width is necessary for the beadboard panels. Advanced Foam Plastics offers a 5 1/2" polystyrene beadboard attached to 1/2" of oriented strand board (OSB). Slip forms measure 2'x8' plus a couple of small fill-in forms.

The cement and rock portion of the wall is 9" thick, and the insulated panels add another 6", so the total wall is 15" wide. That 15" wall needs an additional 4" for the slip form on the outside, and an additional 4" ledge for the beadboard panels on the inside. This brings the total width of the footing to 23".

The space between the beadboard panel and my exterior slip form was 9". Spacers cut to this length made tightening the forms much easier. With rebar and spacers in place, and the first beadboard panels in place, you are ready to wire-tie the slip forms to the panels. Stones are placed inside the forms with a good face against the plywood, and concrete is poured behind them.

It was my experience, that in the fall, with moderate temperatures, the concrete and rock combination set up sufficiently in 5 hours. At that time, we carefully removed the forms and chipped out what cement was not desired, then left the cement alone to continue to cure overnight.

The next day another form is supported in place on top and the whole process starts over. "

As to snow loads and wind, I know that the property is at 7,050 feet so needs to withstand 40 psi and 130-140 mph wind.

My other big concern is to make the whole structure as fireproof as possible. So, looking at steel joists and trusses and some kind of fire-resistant green shingles. I am very open to your suggestions concerning smarter, more efficient, less expensive, environmentally friendly etc. design and material. This is my "learning project" before I build the house.


Building Phase  >  Concrete Counters Going In

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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 11/1/2009

Faye, Your countertops look fantastic! How did you stain it to get that pattern? Thank you for the inspiration; now I will definitely have to try this. I like the idea of a countertop in the pantry too, I have never had a large pantry, so I hadn't really thought of a counter in there but it sure would be useful. I would imagine the two-part epoxy would make a very durable surface. How did you mix and apply it to avoid bubbles?


Florida  >  Looking for framers in North Florida

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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 11/20/2009

Here's a radical idea. Give your time, advice, or whatever you have freely, expect nothing in return. Isn't that what this site is all about? 

It is such a shame that usury is even legal at ANY percentage. If at all possible get out of debt and free yourselves, debt will drag you down and for what? To increase the wealth of moneylenders? It's going to be hard but if you save (saving and THEN buying is a new concept for me) even for the big things in life like a house, then you won't get pulled under by the moneylenders who become more and more ruthless anytime there is trouble. And there will be trouble, that is what life is all about, just EXPECT it.  

I recommend daveramsey.com for everyone even thinking about increasing your debt and taking on an O-B project, because it will absolutely require complete understanding of how to effectively manage your finances. There is no "kickback" to me, just really wanted to share a good thing that could help. 

Proverbs 22:7  "The poor are ruled by the rich, and those who borrow are slaves of moneylenders."


Colorado  >  Looking for an Excavator in Colorado Springs Area

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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 4/18/2010

Hi Mike,

I found the Official Government County site to be helpful in regards to finding excavators in my county, Larimer. Pueblo has a nice site too. The listing for licensed septic installers is a good resource and starting point to find your competent excavator, since a lot of septic installers are excavators.  co.pueblo.co.us/pcchd/environmental

See attached .pdf I downloaded from your county site. Some are builders, and some are strictly septic, but also many excavators and I bet one is your local experienced guy that will give you a good deal. Good luck!



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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 4/19/2010

I believe most do work by the hour and should include their hourly rate in their quotes. Knowing their hourly rate is important, because you never know if it will go smoothly or if they will run into an underground boulder and need extra time. Also though it will be important to hire the guy with the right equipment to power through the job quickly. Get plenty of quotes and compare.



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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 4/20/2010

Mike, I am just going out with my first excavation requests for quotes for my driveway, septic and garage. Not even close to ready for the house, but when I do, it will also have a walkout basement like yours. I am in a very rocky wide-open area and am making sure the work is done with full-size excavating equipment as opposed to mini-excavators (front loaders and backhoes), which are great for tight, small jobs in town and cost a lot less to operate, but take a lot longer and most definitely would not get through the job on my land. So it all depends on your soil and location to determine the right equipment. I also need a heavy-duty trencher to trench the power/cable in. I am having my potential excavators visit my build site so it is taking some time. I'll have to post quote details, as I really don't know what I'll get back. 

Christian, I like the spec-sheet idea also, will incorporate that into my project.


OwnerBuilderBook.com  >  Construction Journals

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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 9/26/2009

Hi Jeff,

I updated my construction Journal yesterday but today the link to my entry does not show in my blog. But here is the funny thing, if you hit the Construction Journal link at the top of the page where you can see all the recently updated journals it shows up there. I guess I could copy and paste it back into another entry but then it would be in your DB twice and could cause problems. Like getting reposted in the recently updated construction Journal list. I'm sure it's just a matter of a missing link to it, because it's hanging out in your DB like it should. So can you put my journal entry link back into my journal for my last post? 

Thanks, Cheryl



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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 9/26/2009

On second thought I think I somehow have two construction journals. I thought the account was keyed off my email address but in both of the journals my email address is the same. I did make my journal entry from a different computer yesterday as I was at work and maybe this has caused the problem. Thing is my first journal entry was there when I went to add a second so I know I was in the construction journal I originally started. Something just isn't sync├ęd up. 



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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 9/28/2009

Thanks Jeff,  please combine into the MSN address.


Planning Phase  >  Electrical Service Meter/Water Service/Energy Code

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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 11/30/2009

Thanks, Faye.

Wow, $10,000 for underground would be too much for me too! I'll have to break down the cost of the whole operation to see where I can possibly save. I really want it underground to preserve my view. I got a ballpark figure from the electric company of $3,500 to install the meter at the driveway entrance if I need a transformer, and I think I do. I will get a solid estimate when I go out in March. I can rent a good riding Ditch Witch for $300 a day, so even if it takes three days that will be OK with me.

I will cost out the power cable and conduit and then I think the trick will be to find a good licensed electrician who is willing to work with me and make all the connections. In my Navy job I set up power from our generators to our Mobile Communications tents and make all the connections, but I'm sure things are quite different in the civilian world. I'll keep researching and working out the details. The guy at the power company is turning out to be a good resource too, so I'll call him again with more questions.



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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 11/29/2009

I am in the planning stage and am looking for advice on where to place the meter for my house. I have a long driveway, about 500 ft, and have a power pole near the entrance of the drive that I can take power from. I want to take it underground following alongside the driveway to the house. The power company said they can put the meter at the entrance of the drive and I can get the trench dug and have my own electrician hook up power from the meter to a temporary power box for the build (and then permanent breaker box when ready) as this is a lot cheaper than having the power company run the line to the house.

I am wondering though, what are the long-term costs and drawbacks or saving and benefit to having a meter that far away from the house? Is the power loss along the drive negligible? Are there security concerns? Can I install some kind of gadget up to the meter to monitor my power usage from inside the house, maybe from my computer? What do most people with long drives do? Also I want to run my communications lines in the same trench and need advice on how to do that so power lines do not interfere with the communications lines.


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