The Project: A 2,163 square foot house utilizing dry stack concrete block construction with a central courtyard and based on the Spanish colonial-era missions in San Antonio.The Challenge: Can a forty-something married couple design and build an attractive, efficient and mostly paid-for house while remaining sane, solvent and married? With no actual prior construction experience? Hmmmmm - let's check in on our Contestants and see how they're doing...
|Having finished the decking for the barrel vault arch, we turn our attention to finishing the walls in preparation for the surface bonding cement. The dry stack block construction method is remarkably similar to the adobe technology used to build the Spanish missions which have influenced our house. Substitute Portland cement and concrete blocks for mud, straw and adobe bricks and you can see how the hand application of this straight Portland and water "mud" to the seams between the blocks fits into the process. We want to hide the seams, some of our learning curve and seal potential insect and air leaks.|
|It's Old Homie Week here at the Garage Mahal as sordid and assorted company puts in some sweat equity. Virtual family member Sandy takes the photo as Tokyo Bob and your humble correspondent debate the finer points. Note that instead of simply spraying the entire wall with shotcrete, we want to leave as much of the block face as possible uncovered so that the surface bonding cement adheres firmly to the blocks.|
|Friends Scott and Deb take a break from restoring their own home to put in a little time filling seams at our place. Interesting side note: The 1920's era walls in their house are made of cement over lath which has some hairline cracks. The technique we're adopting for filling in our seams will work perfectly for their restoration.|
|Hmmmmmm....the broom can only mean either the Wicked Witch of the West has dropped in too or we're going to spotlight the importance of a clean work site. A surprising amount of time goes into the mundane task of keeping the place swept. Dropped nails, staples, screws, adhesive tubes, water bottles, etc. can chip the floor, attract vermin or provide a tripping hazard unless the DIY owner/builder rides herd on it. Wonder if I can add Refuse Wrangler onto my resume?|
|Another look at the barrel vault decking we finished up last week. Morning sun creeps across the house site, where the stillness is only emphasized by the occasional buzz of dragonflies over the water. Seams, housekeeping, dragonflies and a bit of quiet pride in a job well done: the largest edifice (so to speak) is built on a foundation of small moments like these.|
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|Next installment: The Mother Of Invention Click HERE|
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