Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Completed Roof and a Journey to the Inside of "Florence"

Yesterday I called to setup a visit out to the house where I would be able to get on the inside and have a look around form the other view.  Bob was happy to oblige and even was open to meeting me before work, which would mean being on site at 6:30 AM.  I had to wake up a little early in order to make the trip out, but the travel was against rush hour traffic so it wasn't difficult to make it to the house by 6:30.    As I pulled up the block, Bob's truck was parked out front.  I recognized it from the last time I saw it at the pre-construction meeting.  I pulled past where he was parked and to the other side of where the driveway will ultimately reside.  I could see that the roofers had completed the shingles across the entire roof, which they completed on Monday. The roof completion could not have come soon enough as there is a forecast of three straight days of rain starting today and lasting until Thursday.  I exited my car to take a look at work on the roof completed yesterday.

Shingles On The Roof

They picked a grey shingle for the house, which looks to be pretty standard throughout all the houses.  At the peak of the main roof and the garage are the shingles raping over the top which allows for venting.  There is flashing which can be seen where the garage roof meets the main portion of the house.  The flashing can be seen below.

Roof Closeup and Flashing

Bob got out of his truck and came up to the end of the driveway area to meet me.  After a friendly hello and a handshake we started up to the house.  We entered the house through the garage, which had supplies on the floor, looked like some plastic pipes and ducts.  We took a step up from the garage into the house the future location of the laundry room.  The fire door was installed, but open already, not that it being closed would have server any purpose at this point.

Through the laundry we entered into the kitchen, there is a small wall separating it from the morning room, but other than that the whole back half of the house is open wide.  The wall will be where the breakfast bar will reside just above the sink.  In the picture below, just in front of the wall you can see the white pipe coming up which will be the drain line for the sink.

The morning room can be seen in the back of the picture above featuring the three windows, from which a great deal of light is able to enter.  The view out the morning room windows will be to a nice wooded back yard, even though I still retain the hope they will clear away at least the ground brush.  We moved from the kitchen area into the family room and looked back into the kitchen which can be seen in the picture below.

As we moved past the family room, for which I missed getting a picture of, i looked through the wall which will be at the base of the stairs separating the family room from the laundry room, which they had put in the washer hookup.  Additionally you can see the drain line from the washer and the upstairs hallway bathroom.  The door in the background is the fire door between the laundry room and garage.  In the bottom left of the following picture you can see the base of the stairs leading to the second floor.

Bob explained to me the additional pipe of slightly smaller gauge in the drain lines, being a vent to allow air to help push the water down and ensure better flow out to the sewer.  I am not sure if this is something new in design of drainage, but anything to help make the drains work well is a much welcomed addition.  We moved on from that area down the hall checked out the powder room and then onto the living room.

In the above picture you can see the double windows in the front of the house and the front door off to the left.  This will be the living room of the house, and the toughest to figure how to fill the space, except maybe during Christmas where the double window would be nice for a big Christmas tree, taking advantage of the tall ceilings.  My wife and I have discussed setting this room up as a sitting area, similar to what is found on Ryan Homes website and what we saw in the model home.

We moved on to the basement next, but we will continue the first journey through the inside in a subsequent post...stay tuned!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Framing Day Two

Yesterday was the second day of work by the framers, and they had completed almost all of their work the prior day, so I expected them to be able to complete it all.  I received a call from Bob in the morning, we usually talk later in the day, but this was perfect I had some time and was able to ask a few questions.  He first let me know that the framers would complete their work that day, as I had expected would be the case.  I was curious whether or not the framers would start the roof, or if the roofers would come to put the base wood on for the roof.  It was the framers, Bob let me know the roofers do the sheets on top of the wood and the shingles on top of that.  He did let me know that the roofers would most likely be dropping off the supplies before the end of the day.

As you have seen by the pictures the back of the house features a large number of trees, I asked if there would be some more clearing behind the house.  Bob said what is cleared is what will be cleared. This is one thing that is a little puzzling to me as it looks like the house next door was cleared at least an extra 25 feet back from where ours is cleared.  I think this one will require some follow up, other wise the back yard will be all ground brush.  I am not looking for tons of trees to be knocked down, but I think the ground should be cleared some as they are supposed to plant seed in the back yard as part of the contract.  That will not be possible over the top of what looks like dead brush and years of leaves.

Another question I asked was in regards to the waterproofing, as it didn't come all the way up the wall on the garage side and there was sprayed on waterproofing under the front door and in the inside of the garage.  He explained this is common practice, all wall with interior not under the garage have the waterproofing.

I was excited to go see how far the crew made. I knew my wife would be out of work early enough to go over before the sun set so I figured it would be best to get some other stuff done first and we could go over together.   We headed over to the house slightly after my wife had arrived home.  As we pulled up the block there was people working on the house next door.  The van out front had a painting company's information so it seems they are getting really close to being done.  

Front Left View (Pulling up Street to the House)

As you can see above the house was really far along, not only was the framing done, but the windows and front door were in as well.  Pretty crazy how fast its all coming together.  Here is a look from the front.

Front View

One additional view from the right side, in which you can see the finished roof framing over the garage as well as the shingles which were delivered and will probably be up on Monday.

Right Front View

The one additional thing I asked was when I could get inside to take a few pictures, for which Bob had informed me I could next week.  I will setup some time Tuesday morning to go through with Bob or one of the other Ryan Home employees working this site.

Looking over the pictures I came up with some new questions in regards to hose bibs, since there will be two I was hoping one to be closer to the front and one to be closer to the back, but I am not sure if that is possible with the slope being as it is unless it would come out of the foundation and not the wooded portion of the house.  I will let you know what the options are after talking to Bob on Monday.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

One Day's Work

On my visit yesterday, no work had progressed, at least no visible work.  My guess was the inspection of the foundation and slabs had not been completed, so they were not able to take the next step.  I got out of work at the normal time during rush hour, all previous trips during this time of day had some but never heavy traffic.  Today was different about half way to the new house the traffic ground to almost a complete stop.  I I slowly crawled along, I considered ditching out for the night and just heading home. I didn't end up doing that, and continued to press on.  The traffic cleared up, turns out there was a road closed for some type of construction and the a little further along an accident.  Once I was passed both of those areas the ride was smooth with the same traffic I had seen previous nights.

I pulled up the block and much to my amazement the house had taken shape, in one days time they had the entire first and second floors framed.  This is the advantage of having the frame built offsite and shipped in! If you remember the large pile of wood out front of the property.  The pile is gone and a house now stands in its place.

Mostly Framed

The longer day has let them work a little later into the night, and it looked like they were working hard to get all the roof trusts in before calling it a day.  They were working in a four man team, two in the rafters and two on the ground.  One guy was working on walling off the end pieces of the roof, and the other guy was operating a large forklift. The man working the forklift steered the completed piece up from the ground to the rafters where the two men working up there moved in to position in precisely on the corner.

Putting Up Roof Support

Once they had moved it to its place, the two men in the rafters hammered it into rest of the frame.

Attaching Roof Support

Once they had nailed the piece in to the house frame, the forklift operator slowly backed away reducing pressure on the orange straps which connected the piece to the forklift.  He retracted the fork and drove forward to the front of the house where he got out and started to assist the other man working on the ground finish framing the same piece for the other side of the house.

Preparing Other Side

I didn't want to wear out my welcome as I know they were trying to finish up for the night, but my guess is they were going to repeat the actions from the right side on the left side and get that piece up to the house before calling it quits for the night.  As I pulled away I came to grips that this is moving so fast now, and it is not going to be long before we are finalizing everything and going to closing.  Well not tomorrow but soon, tommorow I think they will be putting the roof in over the garage.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Slabs are in

This week started out with some small progress.  Yesterday, after my wife and I got off of work for the evening we made a trip out to the house site.  I was expecting the slabs to be in but it had not completed.  The one good thing about that was we were able to see the metal rebar that will reinforce the garage floor.  You can see here the grid of metal which will aligns the entire floor where the garage slab will be poured.

Not Poured

Today I made the journey out to the new house alone, to see if the slabs had been poured.  Upon arriving at the house I could see the garage had been poured.  It has a slight pitch from the back of the garage to the front where the door will be.  They must have been in and out with the cement trucks or the backhoe as the ground in front is quite disturbed from the smooth look it had just yesterday.


As long as the inspection occurred for the slabs and the weather holds out I am pretty sure they will be getting started framing tomorrow.  I am not sure if you can see it but if you look close the base wood has been attached onto the foundation, connected by metal strips which were inserted into the concrete walls before they settled.  It really seems to be picking up and I have a feeling the outside of the house will be done in the next week or two.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lot taking Shape

This Tuesday was a day full of rain, I didn't travel out to the site at all as I figured there would not be any progress since we are still on all outdoor work.  This was the day for the foundation and waterproofing inspection, but we lost the first day of the build.  Not to worry much we are still tracking ahead of schedule overall so the one day will not significantly alter the final delivery.

I took a stop by after work on Wednesday, there was no noticeable progress on the site, but I could see there was an updated inspection sticker on the site sign.  It seems the inspection happened on Wednesday and it was approved.   This meant the backfill would be Yesterday.  

Thursday happened much like Wedensday, a day of work a early evening visit to the site.  This time it was clear they had backfilled the lot.  The dirt was filled in along the angle of the waterproofing on the left side and along a small blue line chalked from the end of the waterproofing along the garage on the right.

Left Side View

Right Side View

The pile of dirt which had adorned the front of the lot since the foundation hole was dug out has been leveled out and pushed in around the foundation.  Large stones lay where the driveway will ultimately be poured.

Front View

Its all shaping up moving along at a rapid pace.  Today I received the weekly scheduled call from Bob.  I wasn't able to answer but in his message he let me know that Monday the slabs for the basement and garage would be poured, and possibly inspected.  He also said framing could start as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.  That is crazy, I had the idea the the foundation needed to sit for 2 weeks prior to framing, but I guess not.  I will have to follow up with him on Monday!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

We got wood

Quick Post

On Monday the wood for the frame of the house was delivered.  The way Ryan Home's expedites the build onsite is by building the walls for the house indoors, and shipping the product onsite in a giant pile.  Here is a look at our house in a pile sitting out on the street!

A different angle look at it:


In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, my wife and I have begun to prepare for the move out of our current residence into the new one being built.  This past weekend was the first step.  We scoured the house, especially the attic and found a treasure trove of small items which we had collected over the years.  Most of the items we had not seen in years.  Our house is not a prime location for a yard sale, but my inlaws town was having a town wide yard sale, so we partnered up some of our items and some of theirs, as well as some of my brother-in-law and his wife's stuff, for a big yard sale.  The day was very hot day, but the visitors were plenty and the stuff flew out.   With how much stuff we sold you would have thought our house was empty, but it is not even close.

The weekend came to an end and we would be getting back into the work week.  The schedule for the house this monday was waterproofing.  The weather for Monday was perfect.  It had cooled down a little bit from the weekend, but was still beautiful so there was no problem for the crew to take the next step.  We had discussed in the preconstruction meeting about the waterproofing product, which Bob mentioned was Delta MS.  Delta MS is a thick membrane that is fixed to the foundation making a waterproof seal.  You can see the membrane attached the front left of the of the house. 

Down the side you can see the the waterproof membrane is cut on an angle which will correspond with the grading of the ground when completed.  The slope will be clearly pitched from front to back, but seems to be a gradual decline.  This is similar to our current house but over a much longer stretch, so that will be nice, not having such a steep hill seperating the front and back yards.

It appears that the waterproofing will not be applied around the outside section of the garage.  The membrane only comes up to about a foot past the wall seperating the garage from the rest of the house as seen in the following picture.

There were some areas which its looks like they didn't use the Delta MS membrane but rather a painted on waterproofing.  I was a little surprised by this as I was expecting it to be the Delta MS everywhere, since Bob explained it made a much tighter lock between the outside and inside from ground water.  I think I will ask Bob about this the next time we talk, and post an update as to his response.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Foundation Makes an Appearance

Last Friday, I was very excited that I would get the first look of the foundation walls out from their metal shackels and standing on its own.  Before getting to look, I had some paper work to drop off at NVR Mortgage round two of three.  One downside of new construction versus purchasing a built home is the mortgage process requires more followup documents, as they need to reverify as the time passes.  In a already built home, you can typically be closed in 45 days from contract which requires only one pass through underwritting.

My wife had an earlier than usual night on Friday and she had not been out to the site in a while so we planned to head over together when she got out.  We arrived about 20 minutes before sunset but had plenty of light to see.  As we pulled up the street is was clear they had taken down the frame and the foundation walls were stanidng on there own.

We swung around the cul-de-sac and pulled up in the front.  We parked where the driveway apron will be once everything is completed.  The foundation is visibly larger than our current house.  The lot is so much bigger and there is much more space between houses than at our current home, which makes it seem smaller than it is.

You can really see the shape of the house coming together, with the garage immediately in front of the above picture with kitchen area and morning room behind it.  On the left of the garage is where the front door will ultimately reside with the living room, and family room behind.

One more look gives a real view of the foundation shape of the house and the lot behind it, we got out of the car and went around to the left side to get this view.

Its really crazy to think at the end of week two that we would be this far along, but it is really taking shape.  Even more coming from this week, waterproofing is up next!

Foundation - Pumped not Poured

I have been a little behind the times posting, it's been a crazy few days, a long weekend followed by a crazy few days.  So I will be posting a few posts to catch up over the next day or two.

Let's travel back to Wednesday of last week, the frame for the foundation walls was put up and I wanted to get an idea of what the timing of the pouring of the concrete so on Thursday morning I made a call over to the PM, Bob, to ask when the walls would be poured.  I hoped to be able to get out to the site while the pour was occurring to get some video of it, but when I called over Bob let me know the concrete pump was already there and the foundation would be done soon.  I never heard of a concrete pump, so I asked about it.  Bob explained that since the walls were so tall and the back of the house so far off the street that they wouldn't actually be pouring it but rather pumping it in.

Here is a video of concrete pump at work on foundation walls.

Since concrete is in liquid form before drying they are able to use a pump to push it through a long tube to where ever it is needed.  Seems like I get to learn as we move through the process.  The pump truck has a reciever bin that the concrete trucks pull up to and pour the concrete into, which is then pumped out and into the foundation.

After we discussed the pumping not pouring of the foundation walls, we discussed the upcoming schedule.  The weather turned very nice into the upper 70s so the foundation would only need a day to dry enough to remove the frames, where as the surrounding houses required 48 hours due to the 40 and 50's weather.  Due to the fact that only one day was necessary for the concrete to dry the frames would be removed on Friday.  That would be followed on Monday with the waterproofing, then an inspection on Tuesday, and finally on Wednesday the ground would be backfilled around the foundation walls.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Frame of the Foundation

Another nice day and more progress this time much more visible and recognizable.  I couldn't stay away and had to swing by the lot to see what went on today.  The excitement keeps building as I see the pieces of the puzzle come together, I will need to temper myself a little or I will be driving by everyday.  Good thing it's only about 10 minutes away from our current house. By the time I make it over after work the site is clear from the days activities, so I don't see the work as it's happening, just the end result of a day's work.

As I turn up the block and drive towards the lot, the pile of dirt moved to the front of the lot and a large red dumpster obstruct the view into where the foundation work is going on which adds to the excitement even more.  The wonder of what I'll see as I pass by and look around the corner of the objects blocking my view and finally get that glimpse.  Today was not a disappointment, a very noticeable difference could be seen, take a look at my view...

As you can see they completed or have pretty much completed the framing out of the foundation walls in preparation for the pour.  Amazingly, only a week ago today this was just a dirt lot, and now we preparing the foundation for our home and the many years of enjoyment it will bring us.  I am hoping to have a chance to be at the site when they actually pour the foundation so I can see it really come together, and get some video of it as it happens.  I will have to give Bob a call in he morning and see if he has an idea of the timing, maybe I can make it over.

You can see in the picture above the remnants of that large rock pile that was there yesterday, and some unsettled earth around it.  I was able to get a view from the other side of the house from the curb , providing a little different perspective, as well a a look at how high the foundation will be once completed.  I only had my cell phone camera today so I wasn't able to zoom in for more close ups, I work on making sure to bring it with me for future trips.

A Welcome to the Neighborhood

After a rainy Monday to start the week the weather cleared up early afternoon on Tuesday.  I decided to stop by the site to get a look.  There was limited progress, a pile of rocks had been delivered and you could see the receipt for the stone laying in the middle of the pile.  You can't blame the crew for the weather and they are still ahead of schedule, so no big deal.  The process has a whole lot of moving pieces as the lot looks much different than when we first saw it.

That's quite a bit of stone, I can only assume it will be used as a base for the foundation to fill in the dirt in the center of the footing, I will see if I can find out next time I talk to Bob.

Even though there was not a whole lot of progress to see, I did get to meet the owners of the house across the street from our lot.  They were very friendly, we talked for a little more than a half hour, about the neighborhood, their experience with the build, energy costs, and some friendly chatter.

I was very happy to hear that their experience with the build was great, and Bob, who was their PM was very helpful and knowledgeable throughout the process.  Bob's reputation continues to grow.  He received  rave reviews from our Sales Rep, Jackie as well.  It seems the people are what makes the whole process go smooth, and so far we have been lucky on the sales and build side as Jackie and Bob have been solid.

The other great thing to hear was the Energy Star efficiency on the house is the real deal.  You hear the sales side and high level information in the preconstruction meeting but to hear it from a consumer it really hits home.  When my wife and I started looking at larger houses, I always wondered how much more we would be paying for heating and cooling, but based on my conversation we may not have to worry too much.

The neighbors have gone above and beyond by taking some pictures of the process which will be fantastic as they will be able to catch some things that I might miss.  I thought it was wonderful of them to do that and I can't wait to see what they have captured.  I should have left them my email so they could send them over, guess I need to add to remember for next time.

Great neighbors make the neighborhood, so I am happy to have met them!

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Below the foundation the first building blocks from which the foundation will sit is the footing providing a stable platform from which the house will sit and help reduce the amount of settlement the house will experience over time.  I was unaware of this prior to starting this whole building experience, but found this to be an key to a strong foundation.  On Friday the footing for our Ryan Homes Florence model home received approval and was poured.

Florence Footing

Your looking at the front door and living room area in the immediate foreground.  Behind it will be the powder room and family room. In the back right you can see the morning room jetting out the back of the house.  The kitchen area is hidden by the area here in the front right which will be the garage.

Next up is the house foundation, which Bob (PM) said should be starting up early next week.  We are still ahead of schedule so things are going good on the construction side.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A "Hole" lot of difference a Day Makes

About two o'clock this afternoon, I recieved a call on my cell phone from a number which I didn't recognize, I often don't answer calls like that, but today I felt lucky and decided to answer.  It turned out to be Bob the PM from Ryan Homes, calling with some information.  He informed me the permit to build from the town had come through yesterday.  I was shocked as he had said it could take up to two weeks when we had met just the other day.  "Very exciting news," I replied and as I began to ask the next logical question, "When will we be getting started," he had already begun his next sentence, " and the hole is dug for the foundation."  Now I was really shocked, what we thought was going to be another couple week wait had turned into a one day wait.

Bob let me know they would be in tommorow to frame out the footing to pour in the concrete, any with any luck they would have that inspected by Friday morning.  If the inspection occurs and passes it would allow for the foundation to be poured on Friday afternoon.  If not then we could expect the footing to be poured on Monday, the day which we were originally scheduled to start digging.  We are starting out ahead of schedule.

After work I decided to take a ride over to the site a get a look at the hole in the ground.  Here is how it looks.

One Big Hole in the Ground

There is some pitch from the front to the back of the property, which can be seen in the picture above  by looking at the back of the hole and seeing it is not being that deep, maybe two to three feet maximum. This makes sense based on Bob telling us there would be a 6 foot difference between first floor and ground where morning room door will be situated.

Before leaving I wanted to take a picture to compare the lot when we first saw it to now on the same angle and it's already looking different, as you can see below we are looking at a pile of dirt, who would of thought moving some dirt would signify such a significant step in one's life.

Dirt Pile

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Quick site visit update

As I mentioned in the pre-construction meeting post, we took a ride past the lot to get a look on how the neighborhood is shaping up and we were floored how quickly our future neighbor's house has taken shape.  It had been two to three weeks since our last visit in which the foundation was in but nothing else besides a pile of wood out front.  This time the house was fully framed, windows in and sided.

Wow Ryan Homes worked fast on our future neighbors.  Our lot is the one in the right side of the picture, it has been leveled out and some stakes have been placed, so there was some progress.

We hope our house takes shape as quickly as this one!

Waiting on a permit

So we are all set to start, but the previous start date provided Monday April 7, may not actually be the start date as we are waiting for the permit from the township.  Hoping that comes in tomorrow and they are able to get started this week, a little early.  Probably wishful thinking, but why not the excitement keeps building but it's time to start digging.