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Old 09-26-2011, 02:31 AM   #16
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2900 sq ft DIY house


This past week we were able to get the soon-to-be-occupied part of the house closed in with vapor barrier, insulation and a functioning wood stove. I also built a 4' high, 4" thick foam partition in the crawlspace to segregate the heated part of the house where we'll be living from the unheated part since there will be water pipes in the crawlspace under us. The well installer trenched the line from the well to the house (7 foot), into the crawlspace and up into the garage where he installed the pressure tank. No more running a generator to pump water! Last night was our first frost so we need to get out of the camper soon but I haven't been able to make any plumbing connections in the house yet. Next weekend. Knowing I work long hours and winter is just about here, a couple friends knocked out the vapor barrier in the garage ceiling while I was at work on Friday. I put the garage door sections up on Friday night and discovered that the vertical tracks were stolen from the site some time between October 2010 and this spring because they were on site last year and now they're gone. I'll have to contact the manufacturer to get replacements. I just have them held in with bent over nails for now. The wood stove easily keeps the garage and master suite nice and toasty. We'll see how well it does when it's -40 this winter.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:26 AM   #17
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You are building your house the smart way! I have a buddy who's parents built a 3 story house and it was estimated to sell for $1.2million, but economy went to crap right after it was finished and it put them in the hole big time.

Plus, how many people can actually say they built their own house? The wife and I would like to build our retirement home, just depends on if I get out of the Army in a few years or 20 years. Keep up the good work!
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:41 PM   #18
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That is what I call friends.
I hope you can catch the sorry jerk who ripped you off. You might keep a watch they may be back.

Man that makes me cold just thinking about the first frost.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:17 PM   #19
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Nice job and nice thread on the house build. Looks like you are doing a very good job. I had to chuckle when you mentioned the garage door tracks missing. Not funny, I'm sure. But I had to wonder, who in the heck would steal just the two vertical sections of track out in the middle of the wilderness? You would think they would grab your wood stove or something more valuable if they were going to swipe something. Good luck with the rest of the project and keep us posted.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:34 AM   #20
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The thought that somebody would take just my vertical tracks does make a person wonder. Anyways, thanks for the feedback, the project is not easy at all and has taken it's toll on me, and some on the family, but I would do it over again, just on a smaller scale.
Another 12 hr day today at work so no new updates for since I came home and spent about 1 1/2 hrs trying to restart the LP gas flow to the furnace so I don't freeze my butt off again tonight. Last night the propane ran out and the camper got pretty chilly. I tried to switch the regulator over to the other tank and it wouldn't pressurize the system on the new tank. So I got home today, tinkered with it and couldn't get it to work. Since the local hardware store was about to close and no place to get a new dual regulator, I cannibalized the regulator off my propane turbo heater, bought a brass adapter fitting and presto, I got heat.
I had intentions of laying down some hardiebacker board in the laundry room tonight since I picked up a masonry blade for the saw, but I'll have to work on that tomorrow. It's 9:30PM and the temp is down to 38 deg already, I think I'll turn in early tonight. Here's a pic of a couple moose that showed up the other morning behind the work shop.
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Last edited by twinAK; 09-27-2011 at 12:42 AM. Reason: forgot to add pic
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:14 AM   #21
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The past few days I've been whittling away at the minimal plumbing to get us in the house to avoid renting a place for the winter. I can do only a little bit in the evenings so not much got done. I'm taking an unpaid 2 week vacation so I can wrap up the rest of the bare essentials to keep us warm and functional in the house for the winter. Most of the Durock is done in the master suite and laundry, I ran out. I plumbed in a whole house filter, line to the softener, then to the water heater, then to the Manabloc. Still have to run the water heater circuit. Tonight I took a break from that and hung a few cabinets in the garage for our makeshift kitchen so the wife can start setting up.
Question: I bought a 50A range outlet and it says it's non-grounding. Is it normal for a range plug not to be grounded? Seems weird to me.
Friday night I figure I'll watch a movie with the kids before I dive head first into a 2 week DIY binge. So I should have plenty of pics/updates in the near future.
On another note, the northern lights have been very active, what a sight to see. My wife's digital camera doesn't do so well with snapping pics of those, my old 35mm SLR does pretty good though, just outta film.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:30 AM   #22
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Great job on the house
Looks like you will be prepared for the weather
I visited Alaska over 10 years ago around Anchorage
Drove all over the place, awesome area to live in
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:19 AM   #23
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I've spent the last three days trying to get all the minimum plumbing wrapped up so we can get by for the winter. I ran PEX lines from the manifold to the washer bibs, temporary bathroom sink, kitchen in the garage, toilet, and temp shower. I broke the first toilet ($158) putting it in so I got a cheaper replacement for now. I found an economy stand up shower kit at Spenards to use for the winter, the kind that might be used for a remote cabin or work site. $219 for the shower walls, pan, drain adapter, water control valves, shower head, and a curtain. What a deal! I also set up the temporary kitchen in the garage with used cabinets, sink, and faucet from Habitat ReStore, and a new laminate countertop. Today I hooked up the stove and hot water heater circuits. Feels good to take a shower in the house instead of the chilly camper. So we're camped out in the garage and master suite for the winter. The garage is our living room(tool box sets there nicely), kitchen, kid's sleeping area(ours too until the master bedroom ceiling is insulated), and dining area. We're still running on minimum power outlets right now but I hope to add a couple circuits to the garage next week along with some overhead light fixtures. The work light on a stand is getting in the way and taking up valuable floor space. Tomorrow I'll be winterizing the camper and start working on laying down 1/2" CDX on top of the radiant floor in the master bedroom and closets. Once that's done next comes the drywall and insulation in the master bedroom.
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:38 AM   #24
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Wonderful job, not many people like you left out there
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:36 PM   #25
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Wow - awesome work so far. It's taken me 6 years just to remodel You're flying along.
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:13 AM   #26
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Wow - awesome work so far. It's taken me 6 years just to remodel You're flying along.
Thanks! In about 2 weeks I'll slow down to a very slow crawl to rest up and work on paying down the money I had to borrow to make enough progress to avoid renting a place for the winter.
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:15 AM   #27
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Wonderful job, not many people like you left out there
Yeah, I'm a bit different. I have a hard time parting with my hard-earned cash for something I'm capable of doing myself.
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:44 AM   #28
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Thanks! In about 2 weeks I'll slow down to a very slow crawl to rest up and work on paying down the money I had to borrow to make enough progress to avoid renting a place for the winter.
Worthy cause to take a break!
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:03 PM   #29
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Great thread!

I wonder what percentage of the men and women in this country dream of doing what you're doing.

I'm sorry to hear that someone stole from you. Thankfully that's all they took.

How far are you from the nearest town? From the aerial picture, it looks like your neighbors aren't too terribly far away.

Keep up the good work and thanks for the pictures!
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:45 AM   #30
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Thanks! I'm about 3 miles from a one-light town with a supermarket, hardware store and restaurants, and about 15 miles from a small city (Fairbanks). Here's a couple pics of what I did the past two days. I finished putting down the CDX on top of the radiant PEX, sheetrocked the MBR ceiling, and put insulation in the attic above it. Installing the PEX this alternative way is veru labor intensive but waaay cheaper than paying for Gyp-crete to be poured. The only thing I would change is next time I do an area that will be tiled I will use a sand/cement mix with just enough water to make it workable. That way I have a real solid base to tile on. The sand has a little bit of flex even after being packed down. Tomorrow I'll take care of some odds and ends and prepare for a week of wiring.
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