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  1. #471
    Super Member mjncad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Quote Originally Posted by pclausen View Post
    Wood.

    I have been meaning to ask about recommendations for that. I'm looking for a very plain look, maybe open with no glass doors, but I do want a blower motor to circulate the heat out out into the house instead of 90% going right up the chimney! The builder said he can get a plain insert with a blower motor for around $200. Does that sound like a decent setup? I really don't know much about fire places, but would like to get something that will be as efficient as possible without spending a fortune. This will primarily be decorative, but in the case of a major outage, it would be nice to have the ability to keep the entire house somewhat warm from this one heat source if possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by pclausen View Post
    I think the outdoor AC unit sitting in the corner of the master bathroom will be the best location, given the choices. The opposite corner is no really an option as that will be below the wrap around deck where the dirt will be sloping at a 45 degree angle. Here's a rough sketch of what the wrap around rear deck will be like and how it connects with the terrace.



    The deck itself will be composite (Trex I believe is what the builder mentioned), and the railing will be this style (Handiswage):



    I'm open to recommendations on both the decking and railing as that has not yet been ordered. I have heard good and bad things about the Trex, like mold and other things, but that is all in the past now? Aluminum decking might be an option, but I think it is even more expensive that composite? As for the railing, we're looking for something almost invisible for the view, but not frame-less (or framed) glass, so this thin steel cabling seems like a good choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by FairfaxStu View Post
    Wow! Are you sure about that? Granted, the home will have generator backup, but I absolutely love my gas insert. Since I do not currently have a genset, it has saved my a** more than a few times during power outages. What I love about it is that is just works - all that I have to do is flip a switch to turn it on - even with no power. I have had it for 12 years and it has not let me down. The only maintenance I have done is to remove the fake logs and paint the interior with black header paint about a year ago. Since your Mom is getting older, I would suggest that you give that some more thought. Being able to flip a switch versus building/stoking a fire is a huge difference. Back before I had my gas insert, I used to have a HeatOLater wood insert with fan. It worked great, but I got tired of loading it up after about 2 years.

    Also, if you want anything mildly effecient, it should have doors and the convection should do the rest.
    -Stu
    Quote Originally Posted by pclausen View Post
    s219, love that Heat & Glow, not to mention the stonework behind it!

    You guys are right, need glass door to control the air flow. I'm thinking of 30 years ago when you had a flute in the chimney.

    Stu, I hear you on the gas option, but I have absolutely hated the unvented gas fireplace I have at my place, and mom, being from Scandinavia, is not likely to embrace a "fake" fireplace. It will only be used on special occasions, so I think the extra effort to get it going, and being that you're burning real wood, make it that much more "special". And if there is crazy storm, having a indefinitely replenishable heat source at hand is a bonus.
    Pete:

    I like the wrap around deck leading to the terrace. That will be so nice! I'm including this link to a local deck supplier as it lists a number of brands of composite decking. The Deck Superstore | Colorado's Leader In Deck Products About the only gripe I've heard with composite decking besides the price is some people have said they are hot under bare feet in direct sunlight. Personally, I'd go with composite decking as the up front costs will disappear each and every time you don't have to refinish a wood deck or replace rotted boards. Remember, as your Mom gets older, so do you and she will be counting on you to take care of her place. Make your life as easy as possible maintenance wise.

    Another variation on Obed's powder coated ballusters that I've seen done is to use 1/2" or 3/4" copper plumbing pipe, and let it weather to a natural verdigris green. Of course this option isn't as cost effective as Obed's; but it does give a different look that is maintenance free. Just remember, code requires that ballusters and/or rails be spaced no further than 4" apart, or as I recall the fancy wording..."that a 4" sphere can not pass through."

    Even if your Mom prefers wood fires now; there is a lot to be said for a gas fireplace. The old school pilot light with thermocouple fireplaces work without electricity. There is no mess, no ash, no mice hiding in the wood, less chance of a house fire, no creosote, no maintenance, etc with a gas fireplace. Due to pollution ordinances, only gas fireplaces can be installed in my area. You might check your area to see if similar restrictions are in place. $200 for any fireplace insert regardless of type seems way too low. I suspect a zero was accidentally left off, and it's $2,000.

    Another thought with the fireplace is choose carefully where you place the house's thermostat. Ours is a little too close to the fireplace and on the occasions we use it, enough heat is generated in the room to trick the thermostat into thinking the house is toasty, which means the rest of the house is cold as the furnace isn't running. We don't have a fireplace blower; but for all I know our issue could be worse yet if we did have a blower.
    Paraphrasing Douglas Adams - So long and thanks for all the bacon.

  2. #472
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Quote Originally Posted by pclausen View Post
    I have not been shooting RAW Ron. I do realize the camera has quite a bit of potential, but I have not had the time to really explore it. I had the original Rebel before this one, which I pretty much wore out! I'm actually using the 18-55 zoom lens from it on my T2i. I have had picking up some more lenses on my shopping list for some time now, but something else always comes up that pushes them down the priority list again...
    Pete,
    My point really is that you are in a unique, unknown length, time period right now where you have the blessing of 3 generations of family that can be recorded. Jen has already passed but your mom and possibly your wife's parents are still with you and your children.
    Other pictures are quite often a once in a lifetime opportunity, as well.
    A RAW image has many more opportunities to manipulate it into a fine picture than a jpg.
    Your camera has the option to take a RAW plus a jpg at the same time so you don't really have to process the RAW but if you have it on a hard drive backup you can always process it later if the jpg shows you that, wow, I wish I had a high resolution shot of that where I could fix the blown sky and still have a great ground subject with good shadow detail and have it printed to a size that does not look lost on a wall.
    A RAW image, in camera, on your T2i has about 24 MB of useful information versus only 6 MB for the highest quality jpg you can take.
    That should make my case
    When you take the combination shot you are looking at about 30MB but large capacity camera cards and XX TB hard drives are very cheap today. And being digital you can always delete the bad ones...
    But with RAW you can also make the bad ones into good ones
    Back to your house project!
    Ron

  3. #473
    Elite Member wmonroe's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pclausen View Post
    "log light" seems like a good idea regardless of which direction we go. Since the basement will be unfinished, perhaps this option can be installed later with no additional overhead?
    It is a little easier to install as the insert is being installed but it is very possible to install it later. It makes it very easy to start a fire, just throw some logs in light the gas and ten minutes later shut the gas off and you have a fire. Don't have to worry about paper and kindling.
    Kubota L5240 with loader and backhoe

    1958 Ford 961 Powermaster LP

  4. #474
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Quote Originally Posted by pclausen View Post
    Obed, very good point about kids climbing the horizontal railing. I like what you did. Will have to show your pics to the builder!

    Peter
    In Ontario its against the building code to have so many horizontal elements in a railing as well. There must of been a few incidents to prompt that.
    Thanks for posting with the building progress, I have learned quite a bit.
    2011 DK40SE HST

  5. #475
    Super Member s219's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Quote Originally Posted by pclausen View Post
    s219, love that Heat & Glow, not to mention the stonework behind it!

    You guys are right, need glass door to control the air flow. I'm thinking of 30 years ago when you had a flute in the chimney.

    Stu, I hear you on the gas option, but I have absolutely hated the unvented gas fireplace I have at my place, and mom, being from Scandinavia, is not likely to embrace a "fake" fireplace. It will only be used on special occasions, so I think the extra effort to get it going, and being that you're burning real wood, make it that much more "special". And if there is crazy storm, having a indefinitely replenishable heat source at hand is a bonus.
    We had a gas fireplace at our old house. While the convenience was great, I remember the first time we fired it up, I stood there staring. My wife asked what was wrong, and I said "if this was a wood fire, I'd be stoking it -- looks like its about to die!" I later added some false embers (rock wool chunks) which really improved the look and helped make the flames bolder, but it always seemed a bit fake to me. Can't argue with the convenience though -- flip a switch and its on, warming a cold room in minutes.

  6. #476
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    jinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Pete, thanks for the explanation. It all sounds good and I really like that wrap-around deck. I'm sure your mother will love it. Those steel cables are really cool too, but the 4x4 posts have to support all the outward stress of people leaning on the deck railing. Using balusters adds strength perpendicular to the railing. It looks to me like the 4x4 posts bolt to the outer fascia board with two carriage bolts. That's where I would be the most critical in checking construction. That has to be done properly for your railing to have the proper strength. Have you ever considered using Trex as your top railing? I had an additional deck added to my house and decided to go with 1x6 deck boards for the railing instead to 2x6s. That was a big mistake. The deck boards warp and twist so much that the railing has an S-curve double crown. I'm thinking of buying Trex or Lowes generic product to replace my rails. What I have is plenty strong, but just looks wonky when you sight down the rail.
    Jim


  7. #477
    Veteran Member MacLawn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Speaking of fireplaces, I've had a prefab, Preway brand from Wisconsin, for over 30 years that has been great! Preway is out of business, but you can still get parts, I have not needed any, except glass doors that a renter broke many years ago.

    Anyway, I was talking to a gas maintenance professional recently, and he recommended the Valor brand of gas fireplaces/stoves. He said they are the best he has ever seen, strong made, stainless steel, etc. where it matters. I'm thinking about getting one of those in our next remodel job soon on our house. But - we only have propane here! A HUGE negative because of cost of propane. So, I will probably stay with wood, which I have an abundant supply of on our land. And, I actually like cutting wood - hey, I know I ain't right!
    "He's pinned under an outcropping of rock. Lucky for him, the rock kept the dirt from burying him alive". Dirt, it's nothing but dirt, I tell ye...
    If idiots could fly, this place would be an airport.
    "I wouldn't want to be within 400 or 500 yards of one of them newfangled nuclear bombs when it went off!" WW1 Vet...

  8. #478
    Veteran Member pclausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Day 49

    Well, trusses did not show up today. The supplier (Pro-Build) are still playing catch up. They hope to be able to deliver them tomorrow, but the builder is planning to reserve the crane for Wednesday to play it safe...

    Guy did come and to the initial backfilling today, and the meter base was installed.



    Here you can see the meter base and ground rod wire



    The area where the patio will be, showing the steep drop down to the walk-out basement



    Another angle



    Backside of the house. This area will need some more work...



    Cummins Onan transfer switch. This one is so much nicer and heavy duty compared to the 200A Generac mom has at a her current house!





    The builder, wisely I think, suggested NOT mounting it next to the meter base until after the initial electrical inspection.

    I also discussed the fireplace insert with him. Their standard is Lennox hearth products. I looked at their web site and their wood fireplace inserts are all very bland and traditional looking. Not at all the style we're going for. I called the local dealer for the Heat & Glo, and he is putting together a quote for me for the Energy Master.
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  9. #479
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Pete,
    Have you given any thought to what kind of surface material you will use on the slopes under the wrap around deck sides to control erosion and not have it a PITA to maintain?
    RonAttachment 307699

  10. #480
    Super Member s219's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a stick frame house in the woods in 90 days

    Quote Originally Posted by pclausen View Post
    The builder, wisely I think, suggested NOT mounting it next to the meter base until after the initial electrical inspection.

    I also discussed the fireplace insert with him. Their standard is Lennox hearth products. I looked at their web site and their wood fireplace inserts are all very bland and traditional looking. Not at all the style we're going for. I called the local dealer for the Heat & Glo, and he is putting together a quote for me for the Energy Master.
    Boy that is a nice looking transfer switch -- maybe the nicest I have seen.

    Lennox does have some good models, in fact they had one I really liked that let you hookup ducting to multiple rooms to distribute heat from around the firebox jacket. But it was big $$. I agree that most of their models are very traditional though. It seems like the entire homebuilding industry has a lot of traditional defaults nowadays -- made it hard on us to build a craftsman style home.

    The Heat & Glo EM was a close second choice for us, and more reasonable for the price/features we were trying to hit. Looks good too. I can't wait to fire it up for the first time.

    I saw some European fireplace inserts that looked really cool, and had some great usability features, not to mention top efficiency. One had some sort of afterburner combustion doohickey that made secondary flames go downward from the top! But the Euro models were all super big $$.

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