Beginning the End Phase

Over the past six weeks, a lot of progress has occurred and the house is really beginning to take shape… although a casual observer viewing the site from the outside may not have noticed many of the changes. Most of the exterior work has been underground while the changes inside have been a bit more dramatic. So, it really feels as if we are entering the final phases of construction.

This “end phase” began with the delivery of the drywall. Since the panels are large, heavy, and a bit unwieldy, they were pre-positioned inside the house rather than simply delivered into the garage. Due to the configuration of the house, the panels were offloaded from the truck through one of the windows in the sun room, from there they could be easily placed throughout the house for the installers. Over the course of about one week, the panels were installed and the real “feel” of the house began to emerge with the various halls and rooms now defined by real walls. After the ceiling panels were installed, the insulators returned to “blow in” a thick layer of insulation above the ceiling via the attic access.

Meanwhile, some prep work began outside to get ready to pour concrete for the front and back porches, and sidewalk. Once the forms were set and the reinforcing rebar placed, the concrete trucks arrived to pour the porches and walkways.

The power company contractors arrived next to mark the path for the electrical lines. Once marked, a two foot deep trench was dug from the transformer location up to the watt-hour meter at the house. Although the transformer has not been installed due to a national shortage, all the other pieces of the electrical puzzle are in place. Buried in the trench are two insulated 120 volt lines that are 180 degrees out of phase from each other; this configuration allows for both 120 volt and 240 volt service to be delivered to the house. A grounding wire was also placed in the trench.

A couple weeks later, the power company returned to install a new power pole along the roadside and, using a horizontal directional drill, tunneled the 7200 volt distribution line from the roadside pole to the transformer location. The horizontal drilling technique used a high-pressure water drill to tunnel under the road and along the driveway to the location of the transformer. As the water drill is doing it’s work, the distribution line and the ground wire that originates at the power pole are threaded through the underground path to the transformer location. When the transformer arrives, hopefully in about 2 months, it will be connected to the buried lines. Its purpose is to reduce 7200 volts from the distribution line down to the 240 volt service for the house.

Back on the inside, the multi-step drywall finishing process was beginning. Given the high ceilings and the size of the house, this took about two weeks for the two-man team of brothers Pat and Mike to complete. Since there is no electricity to the house, and a heat source is needed to allow the drywall compound to cure properly, kerosene heaters were used to condition the space. In order to create a seamless, uniform surface for paint, there are several steps. The first is to apply joint compound (aka “mud”) between each panel of drywall and over all of the screw heads. Then drywall tape is applied, followed by the first of three coats of mud. Once dry, the first coat is sanded to create a smooth surface for the subsequent wider and thinner 2nd and 3rd coats. Then everything was finish-sanded, resulting in a smooth, uniform surface throughout the house with no visible seams that is ready to be painted.

Soon after Pat and Mike finished their work, all the interior trim materials (base and crown molding, door trim and interior doors) were delivered to the garage, staged for the trim carpenter to begin his work. In the coming weeks all the interior trim will be installed, including: built-in cabinets and bookcases next to the living room fireplace; cubbies and a bench in the mud room; and pantry and closet shelves. We are definitely looking forward to seeing some of the personal touches that will transform the interior space from bare walls to some of the elements that add character to the home.

Looking forward to showing some of the interior changes next time…

3 thoughts on “Beginning the End Phase”

  1. Great Post.  Not as great as your outdoor adventures, but great nonetheless!  I am wondering why they ran the 7.2KV line to your house, unless they might anticipate a bigger load – perhaps more houses – sometime in the future?   Happy Holidays! Tom & Olde Pat

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    1. Hi Tom!… thanks for reading the post and your comment. To answer your question, we do not have 7200v to the house, just to the transformer box since there is not a pole mounted transformer. Btw… the transformer was actually installed today which was a great surprise! Looking forward to sharing the Kilimanjaro adventure in February.

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