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...
|While banging a bucket on my wall to clear out some dried cement, it occurred to me that doing this against a frame and OSB house wall would cause a lot of damage. The area I've been cleaning buckets out against shows no wear despite repeated blows. Given that cement cures for the first 50 years, our walls are only going to get stronger than they are right now.|
|Sigh... We continue leveling low spots on the roof, aided mightily by the torrential rains we've had recently in locating the places water ponds on the ferrocement roof. These foam "crickets" will get a layer of cement over them to help channel water runoff along the built-in guttering. The work is just a matter of detail work, knee pads, forearm muscles and a lot of patience. Sigh...|
|We finally begin sealing the ferrocement roof with our elastomeric, waterproof sealer. The sealing compound has the same consistency as a thick latex exterior house paint. Because of the porous nature of the ferrocement, we are using a roller brush with an extra-long nap to apply it.|
|We start with the barrel vault arch over the living room, working with a hand roller. The material contains reflectants, which will bounce sunlight and heat off the roof. During our hot Texas summers, passive air conditioning like this is essential to comfortable living. This modern update on ancient Mediterranean building techniques is typical of the combination of time-tested building principles with modern materials found throughout the house.|
|In bright sunlight the reflectants in the sealer are pretty obvious. I'm so pleased with the way this has gone so far that I'll be using this same material to seal the walls, too. Elastomeric, waterproof, insulating *and* easy to apply? Sounds good to your humble correspondents as we close in on getting closed in.|
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