For the past several months we have been in the planning process for building our new home. We’ve considered many options including yurts, tents, garage package, a very small home, back to yurt, tent, etc. Our indecisiveness has been terrible but we are finally on track with a log house that will hopefully last us for 100 years.
If you’ve been reading for the past several months you’ll know I went ahead and put in a basement without having any plans drawn up yet. This was the cause to much contention on The Simple Farm as Milly thought it a foolish and unwise thing to do. I didn’t think much of the event but now every time I mention the fact that I had a basement built without any concrete idea of what we were doing seemingly questions my sanity.
Even Gus, my oldest and bestest friend traitorously said “How can you start building without a plan?” Much to the delight of Milly.
So after being beat up over the whole basement event I promised not to proceed until we had a full and proper plan. Little did I know planning takes a while. I’m not talking a day or two. I’m talking months. I can’t tell you how close I was to picking up a hammer and going out in the middle of the night and start pounding nails.
And to be all honest we are not quite done. But after getting approval on some basic subfloor designs from the inspector that was all I needed to get the submissive go ahead sign from Milly.
After calling around the country for lumber quotes I was surprised to find the cheapest rates came from our local hardware store. That’s not true on all the items but the 2x12x18 lumber that we needed the most of was several dollars cheaper a stick. I was also surprised to find out a 2x12x18 is cheaper than a 2x12x16. Go figure.
I should probably tell you a bit about my experience in ordering lumber from that local hardware store. I called up the place for prices etc. I asked for a discount as I was expecting to buy a bunch of stuff. After calling around we found if we ask for the contractors price we may not get it but the store is usually willing to deal a bit to get a good amount of business.
So after getting a materials list together I drove into town to fill out my order. As I walked into the store the guy behind the counter looked at his watch and kind of sighed. It was like I was waking him up from a deep sleep and he didn’t appreciate it too much. I guess it was 7 pm on a Friday night but the store closed at 8 pm so was thinking my timing not too bad.
None the less it was like pulling teeth with fencing pliers. I dragged the guy around the store looking for items. Most of what I needed was there in partial quantities. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they didn’t have 20 joist hangers or 25 cement fasteners in stock. It’s a small store in a small town.
After getting everything in the computer I mentioned the special homebuilders pricing I was promised. I’ve seen a deer in the headlights. I actually hit a deer a couple of weeks back. And this guy had the same look. I started giving him the pricing I was told and he actually just keyed in the price. After haggling over the price on a few items he started sweating and said he had to wait until Monday to get approval but he’d let me take everything then. I agreed so he started loading my wares as fast as he could in my car. I have never seen such effort. It was 7:50 pm and by the looks of things he must have had a big date or something.
I left the parking lot and got a bit down the road and realized I didn’t have a receipt for anything. I turned around at the gas station and waited at the stop light for it to turn green. The town has one stop light and I just so happen to hit it when it was red. I felt my chances slipping through my fingers as I was sure he was bolting the door as soon as I left. For some reason that red light lasted about 5 minutes. I was tempted to run it but was positive I’d be pulled over by the only police officer in 50 miles.
Finally the light changed and I pulled an illegal turn back into the parking lot and went up and pounded on the door. I could just see the steam pouring out of his ears. Here it was 8:01 and I was still bugging him.
“Please sir, can I have a receipt please?” was all I could say. The till was closed out and I knew I was walking on thin ice.
Somehow he managed to turn the key on the register and get it back open to print me out the stinking receipt.
I came home in a miff and swore to swear off that stinking place forever. But they did beat everywhere else by $300 for their lumber quote so I guess I’ll just come earlier on a Thursday as Friday is probably a vacation day.
I had the hardware store deliver the good the next day.
I was afraid I was going to get the dregs of the lumber as I ordered all they had in a few items. Surprisingly it was really good stuff.
We put a sill plate on and tried to bolt down them down. I skimped out and borrowed a hammer drill from my brother in law. I spent 4 hours drilling about 10 holes. I’ve repented and will get a Hilti drill from the hardware store on Monday to finish up the job.
Another side story*******
I called up the local hardware store again and was trying to get the specs on the plywood. The lady who answered didn’t know but she said she had a local contractor in the store who might be able to help me out. He took the phone and I asked him my questions. The conversation went like this:
“Hello sir, I hear you know a bit about the plywood they have there.” I said
“Sure do. I’ve been using it for years” was his reply.
“Great, could you tell me if it’s an exterior grade plywood or interior?” I asked.
“What are you using it for? The outside or inside?” he asked.
“Inside. It’s for a subfloor but we have found that the exterior plywood uses chemicals that off gas less and doesn’t cause as much health hazards. We are really sensitive to chemicals so are trying to use materials that are better at that than others” was my reply.
“Well, if you are using it for the inside this plywood will do fine. There isn’t any chemicals in it, just glue” he informed me.
I started to see where this was going so I decided to have a bit of fun while Milly listened.
“Oh, so there is no chemical in it. That’s great. It sounds like I should get a bunch of it” was my reply.
He continued sensing he was really helping me out. “Ya, no chemical at all. But if I were you, I’d use that OSB stuff. There’s no chemicals in that either except for glue. There’s nothing wrong with that stuff. I’ve been using it for years."
“Oh, no chemicals in that OSB stuff either. Wow, I never would have knowd. I’m glad you were in the store so I could ask these questions to. Thanks for your help sir” I said as Milly hit me on the shoulder as a sign to stop picking on people.
Grey beard and Elvis admiring the view and their work.
We built our center beam out of 2x12’s. Nailed together this 35’ long puppy is heavy. We’ll have to call upon all our neighbors to get it in place on Monday.
Doesn’t look like we did anything but it took all day.
That’s mostly because we started building and we didn’t finish our plan yet so we had to figure everything out as we went along. So I’m told.