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Old 04-27-2014, 10:01 PM   #551
jjshabado
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Looking good!
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:31 PM   #552
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Looking good!
Thanks!

I asked the engineer about the steps and he said it was covered in there somewhere.

I got a reply from Michael at the city answering my questions.

The main question I had was if I could just print the 8 1/2 x 11 drawings on 11 x 17 paper as is. He said no - I needed to go back to the engineer and get a scaled drawing on the larger size paper.

So, I called the engineer and told him that and his first reaction was laughter. He indicated that it was pretty silly to require that for a 6' x 12' porch. But he understood that it was the city so he'll be sending me some more drawings.

Meanwhile, I'll be preparing my letter and other stuff they are requiring.
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:49 PM   #553
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Can't you just build a second porch and deliver him that? Should be about the same size as the sketches.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:03 PM   #554
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

So, my house (elevation) drawings are all in Google Sketchup. It's a pretty cool tool for drawing but not so much for printing.

You don't control the size of the drawing/output in the drawing.

You control it with the printing (i.e. print setup and print preview). It is uber complicated. You have to check a bunch of stuff in the drawing, then uncheck a bunch of stuff in the print setup, then set the scale, and preview to see if it fits. Then, if it doesn't you have to do the whole process over again. This took me quite some time googling for a solution since it doesn't really tell you this in the help.

So, I did all this and expected to export it to some printable file and I'd be on my way. Except it only exports to a jpeg and it I thought it would be sized just fine only it wasn't. It doesn't work that way. You can't save the file to be sized properly.

So I googled some more and one guy in some obscure forum randomly mentioned way down in a thread that using pdf creator might work. So, I downloaded it and VOILA! You just print it to pdf creator and it creates a properly sized pdf file. I really didn't believe it until I went to the printer and got them to print it out on 11x17.

PDF Creator btw was free.

The city will not defeat me.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:05 PM   #555
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Can't you just build a second porch and deliver him that? Should be about the same size as the sketches.
LOL, I just got this picture in my head of a porch with this guys legs sticking out from under it with ruby slippers on his feet.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:26 AM   #556
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

pretty damn crazy how much physical work you have been doing on this project so far.

nice blog
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Old 05-03-2014, 04:26 PM   #557
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Thanks!

I believe I got all of the necessary paperwork together properly. I even included a picture of the old porch and a picture of the hole where the old porch was.

Not sure when I can submit them due to work schedule. Hopefully Wednesday.
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:09 PM   #558
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

biggerboat,

What was the source of the water damage in your kitchen ceiling?

What is the appeal of a small pond? (not meant to be a dbag question, I just can't think of getting much out of it except for mosquitos in Texas).
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:51 PM   #559
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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biggerboat,

What was the source of the water damage in your kitchen ceiling?

What is the appeal of a small pond? (not meant to be a dbag question, I just can't think of getting much out of it except for mosquitos in Texas).
Leaky roof. In fact the roof was pretty much disintegrating. I also had water damage in another part of the living room and in one of the bedrooms.

I'm sort of a fish guy. I just got rid of one tank but I still have a 75 gallon and a 180 gallon cichlid tank. I also still have all my koi from the first pond in a stock tank in my garage. It's just my thing I guess.

I never thought about this before I put my first koi pond in, but it also really cools down the back yard. It really makes a difference on those hot Texas days.
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:50 AM   #560
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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What is the appeal of a small pond? (not meant to be a dbag question, I just can't think of getting much out of it except for mosquitos in Texas).
Won't the fish eat the mosquito larvae?
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:14 AM   #561
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Quote:
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Leaky roof. In fact the roof was pretty much disintegrating. I also had water damage in another part of the living room and in one of the bedrooms.

I'm sort of a fish guy. I just got rid of one tank but I still have a 75 gallon and a 180 gallon cichlid tank. I also still have all my koi from the first pond in a stock tank in my garage. It's just my thing I guess.

I never thought about this before I put my first koi pond in, but it also really cools down the back yard. It really makes a difference on those hot Texas days.
Weren't you trying out some circulating aquaponic growing system? What happened to that?
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:32 AM   #562
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Thanks!

I believe I got all of the necessary paperwork together properly. I even included a picture of the old porch and a picture of the hole where the old porch was.

Not sure when I can submit them due to work schedule. Hopefully Wednesday.
That might be a bad idea. You're inviting them to ask if you ever got a permit for the demolition, and I'm not sure you would survive another round of that sort of thing.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:21 AM   #563
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Won't the fish eat the mosquito larvae?
Yes, they do.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:22 AM   #564
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Weren't you trying out some circulating aquaponic growing system? What happened to that?
Yes, that will be part of the pond for sure.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:24 AM   #565
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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That might be a bad idea. You're inviting them to ask if you ever got a permit for the demolition, and I'm not sure you would survive another round of that sort of thing.
Yeah, I thought about that. A lot of their comments were about additional work and where a frickin' front porch goes that I thought I'd be explicit. I've already told them it was a replacement for the demolished porch. But, yeah, I'm still on the fence about this.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:48 AM   #566
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

pic of big tank

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Old 05-05-2014, 07:50 PM   #567
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I'm really not having good luck finding a concrete/masonry guy. I really just need someone that will do small jobs at a reasonable price. Most of those guys are working for bigger operations. And the bigger operations are super expensive.

Sooooo..... I think I'm going to try to learn concrete work myself. I know almost nothing about doing it properly.

But I think I'm going to give it a go anyways. I have quite a few planters that I want to redo with a concrete footing. I figure I can practice on those before I tackle the pond.

A lot of those day laborers know quite a bit about concrete so I'll probably ask for one that has experience to help me out on some of these projects.

Probably gonna get this bad boy. It looks sorta flimsy but the reviews all say it is really sturdy. I didn't see any bad ratings.



If anyone has some good advice about concrete work and/or masonry I'm all ears.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:48 PM   #568
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Buy a large bottle of hand cream. The portland cement will dry out your skin like you wouldn't believe, and you're going to get it on you. Especially when you're learning.

Add water slowly, giving it time to mix. Soupy concrete is weak concrete. If you dump a bunch on the ground, it shouldn't flow much at all. It should sit there in a lump.

Rap the forms with a hammer and "bounce" the concrete with the trowel to get the air pockets to settle out. You can also rod it to get it into all the nooks and crannies, which involves stabbing a piece of rebar or broom handle or whatever into the concrete and jerking up and down like an insane person until you're exhausted (approx. 30 seconds).

Use rebar for any foundation work. Use welded wire mesh for flatwork. Both are readily available at your local big box store, right next to the concrete. Make sure all steel is covered by at least an inch or two of concrete.

You need to wait a while before finish troweling. 1-2 hours for a semi-smooth finish, then another 1-2 if you want a really nice finish. You'll never get a good finish right after you pour it, so don't waste time trying. Just smooth it out a bit, then grab a beer or something while you wait.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:36 PM   #569
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Thanks zikzak.

Well, 2 doors have stopped closing properly. They are fairly close together so I'm pretty sure that the beam in between them, or the pier that holds it up, has sunk a bit. This is the second incident. The guys that did my foundation fixed the first one but I doubt that they'll keep coming out. Especially because this area wasn't fixed by them.

So, I guess I'll be periodically attempting to shim the foundation. I already have a jack so I think I can do this. It'll be a pain having to do this by myself, though. It would be much easier having someone open and close the door while I'm adjusting.

But I think this will be an ongoing problem so I might as well learn how to handle it.
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:36 PM   #570
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I delivered my three sets of plans to the city this morning. The girl at the window asked me if I had cleared it with flood review. I asked her why I needed to do this and she didn't have an answer other than she was just asking. I told her that I addressed the flood questions (will the porch be enclosed?) in my 6 page letter. Then she reminded me that if this wasn't right I'd be paying $350. It was pretty difficult for me not to unload on her but I didn't.

Anyways....

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Old 05-10-2014, 01:56 PM   #571
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I'm working on a couple of small projects while I wait for the porch to begin. So I went to Lowe's to order stuff I needed.

The first is pretty simple I hope. Put in one of those above oven microwaves with the fan and lights under it. I ordered the microwave today.



The bigger project might be a bit trickier. I have a wine rack that I want to replace with those trash cans that slide out of the cabinet. But, as you can see it would be pretty impossible to replace the entire unit because of the granite countertop. So I ordered the front face/door for that sized cabinet and the sliding equipment for the trash cans. The woman at Lowe's was super helpful getting all this ordered. She had to call the manufacturer to figure out what I needed and how to order it.

I think the installation will be sort of tricky. I'm assuming that the wine rack facing is glued on pretty well so removing it without damaging anything might be difficult. We'll see.

Anyways, I think everything was ordered properly. They said 3 to 6 weeks to get it.

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Old 05-11-2014, 08:23 PM   #572
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Today will be a mulit-parter. Since I don't have a big project I thought I'd take care of some little things.

The french doors stopped closing properly. They aren't square anymore. I thought I could jack up the beam on one side and it would square everything up properly. Of course I don't have the proper equipment. I have a floor jack but it's the kind you use for cars, not the kind you would use for foundation. But I figured I could make it work. I went to Lowe's to try to find shims but the iron pieces were pretty pricey and I had no idea how many I would need so I figured I would just use random bricks/rocks that I have accumulated.

A friend came over to sort of test the door while I jacked everything up. We started by me knocking where the beam was. My friend thought the beam was closer to the middle of the doors than the edge but that was the only place I could really jack anything up so I went for it. Pretty much nothing happened. The door didn't change a bit. So I gave that up and let everything back down only the beam didn't come all the way down. Oh well.

My plan B was to try to get a strike plate with a bigger opening since all I needed was about 1/8 ". Lowe's had no such thing so I thought I would file down the opening. Yeah, right. I could have filed for days before I got 1/8 " off. So I just cut the entire top of the strike plate off. That left only one screw to keep it in but the area in the door that was indented to hold the strike plate was perfect so the plate is holding in there pretty well. Problem solved. At least for a while.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:38 PM   #573
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Fun with electricity. This will be long but hopefully there is a payoff.

I had a few electrical issues to take care of. I had originally wired an outlet for the stove hood or above stove microwave but I never put a plug in. Yeah, the hot wire was just sticking out. The second issue I had was one of my kitchen gfci plugs went bad. Or so I thought.

But the third issue was really weird. Yesterday I started hearing this weird whirring sound. It was strongest in my office (2nd bedroom). After much looking around all I could figure was that the AC unit fan needed some oil or something. It was definitely a mechanical whirr.

So, I began by trying to find the proper breakers to turn off. Since the tape I had originally put up had rotted away, none were marked. I decided to take this opportunity to identify each breaker and mark with a sharpie.

Before I started the breaker stuff I decided to get my tester out and check the bad gfci. It didn't seem to be getting any power to it at all. So I checked the next gfci over and it seemed to work. I found that breaker and turned it off and removed the gfci that was working. When I turned the breaker back on the bad one now was working. Hmmm..... To shorten the story, apparently the hot wire that went to the bad one somehow got loose withing the box so I just reconnected them all, put everything back, and all was well.

My next problem was my dryer. I have had issues with the dryer in the past and I thought that maybe the breaker was bad. So, while testing each breaker I identified the dryer breaker. Only when I turned the breaker back on the dryer didn't come back on. Confirmed bad breaker. I had to make a trip to Lowe's to replace it. Problem solved.

My next issue was putting in the plug for the overhead microwave. Easy peasy.

All that left was that whirring sound. One by one I turned each breaker off. One by one that didn't get rid of the whirring sound. The sound was not really loud although I could hear it everywhere in the house. After testing each one I decide to just shut the main breaker off. The whirring continued. Hmm..... The first thing that came to mind was maybe a roof turbine but I don't have any.

I turned everything back on and started to look for battery operated stuff. I couldn't find anything that was causing the whirring. Since it seemed loudest in the office I just started picking up random stuff and putting it to my ear. After about 15 minutes I found, under some junk, a sopping wet cat toy. I have no idea how it got wet. I guess the cats dipped it into their water bowl or something. It was one of those squeaky toys. Apparently the wetness set off the squeaker into some sort of weird whirring loop. It was really strange because it didn't sound like the squeaker. Anyways, problem solved after several hours of troubleshooting. How strange.

But, the good thing is all the electrical stuff is working properly and no more whirring.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:43 PM   #574
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

The last chore for the day was to break up some lattice to put in the trash can. I don't even remember how this happened. I just felt some liquid in my sandal.

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Old 05-11-2014, 08:48 PM   #575
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

This is the view from my front door. On the other side of that fence is an inner city highway we call Mopac. A train runs in between the north and south lanes. They are doing some major construction on it right now. They are putting in a toll lane and they are going to build a concrete wall to replace the fence.

They just cut down a bunch of trees and bamboo that sort of covered up this fence. I'll periodically post any progress.

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