Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

A Firm Foundation

The building contractors showed up for serious work yesterday, but they wanted to change the construction plans based on how the floor beams under the kitchen actually run and because they aren't consistent. As I've mentioned before, this house is somewhat erratically constructed. We've been given to understand that it was built by a Southern Pacific Railroad employee (which is one reason it's right across the street from where the Fernley train depot used to be; he could walk to work and didn't mind having trains around). Some of the house (aside from the original core on the north end, which is our current living room, master bedroom and bathroom, and kitchen) is built from whatever surplus stuff he could squeeze out of SP, and it was extended in fits and starts over a twenty year period. Among other things, this means that there is a run of 4x4 timbers in the underfloor at one point with a 2x4 in the sequence, and therefore the notches in the underfloor aren't consistent.

Yes, I'm living in a house made of salvaged railroad materials.

Lisa was not at all happy with the new Plan B that the contractor came up with, which would have had them pouring a whole bunch of concrete pads under the house and putting up posts all over the place to shore things up here and there. Lisa explained that she's had bad experiences with that sort of post construction on her father's house in Mehama and didn't want to use it here. She put on coveralls and went under the house with the contractor and his lead man. They spent more than an hour down there discussing alternatives, and when they came out, Lisa was much happier. Plan C was much closer to Plan A. They would indeed put in new floor joists, but would change the way in which they did so to deal with the inconsistently-sized underfloor members.

The construction discussions and the changes of plans did delay things, of course. I reckon the workers didn't mind sitting around in their pickups getting paid, but I hope it doesn't run up our final costs that much. When I walked out to collect the mail from the mailbox, I commented to them there that, "Lisa is a very strong-willed woman and typically gets her way about these sort of things. Besides, I have to live with her in this house." Also, fortunately, Lisa was able to establish with the contractor that she really did know what she was talking about when it came to this sort of construction (certainly better than I would have done), so he didn't patronize her, thank goodness.

They had to go off and get new materials. (Fortunately, they hadn't actually got as far as bringing in concrete!) Yesterday afternoon, serious work commenced. They warned us to stay out of the middle section of the house (the kitchen and what will be Lisa's office). Previous patch jobs under the house would have to be removed before they could put in the new reinforcements. Lisa put up barriers to block off that part of the house. Since we still don't have a key to the sliding door at the south end of the house (we can lock it from the inside), we're basically confined to the north end living room where our temporary office is.

They got about half of the work done yesterday afternoon and will be back today. However, Lisa says the half that's left to do is going to be a lot trickier due to the way the beams run in that area. It's unclear whether they'll be able to finish today or will have to come back on Monday.

One side benefit to all of this work under the house is that there was all manner of junk down there, such as an old box of Coors beer (without the cans), perfectly good unused metal ducts, and odd bits of timber. They cleared it all out so they could get at the floor from underneath.
Tags: house, lisa

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