Oak from Tennessee

oak hardwood stacked and drying As many of you know, we have been building our home overlooking the vineyard out of ICF (insulated concrete forms) and you can follow the chronological progress in the ICF Building Index. We have recently back filled the ICF basement walls and are winterizing the vineyard before finishing the new expansion.

In the meantime, we have been planning the building materials necessary for the upstairs which will be the main living area. We are planning a post and beam construction – but the exposed beams not bearing all the weight. Thanks to John’s brother, Joe, we were able to buy 22 tons of beautiful Oakridge, Tennessee white oak at a fraction of the local west Texas price!

The 22 tons of wood had to be unloaded from the 18 wheeler and then re-stacked to dry properly – that meant moving 44 tons of wood around here – whew, I’m tired just thinking about it![Continue Reading]

Move That Dirt, Baby!

backfilling ICF basement walls For a chronological listing of our ICF (insulated concrete forms) building, please see the ICF Building Index found in the menu bar.

Our ICF (insulated concrete form) basement is finally beginning to look like a basement! There is now dirt against two sides rather than just dirt mounds. It looks amazingly better!

After finishing the first coat of the EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) we decided to wait about the final color coat until the roof is on. But, until the lumber is delivered for the roof and interior walls, we began back-filling the walls that will not be exposed.

Disclaimer: This is one of those times that I use “we” loosely – I actually did not move any dirt but I was there to cook for the fellas, bring them water (hydration is important) and take pictures!

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3 Steps to Beautiful Stucco – DIY!

3 steps to stucco collage

I love the look of stucco!

Especially since we are going for the “Tuscan” look in our vineyard home, stucco is what I want!

Real stucco is applied in multiple layers and is very labor intensive. But, we have found something that gives the same look as stucco but is more durable and easy to apply – great for do-it-yourself’ers like us – it is the exterior insulation finishing system or EIFS for short.

For a bit of background, we have done several building projects using insulated concrete forms (ICF) including our house overlooking the vineyard, filter house, barn, and greenhouse. You can find a chronological index of these projects in the ICF Building Index tab in the menu bar.

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ICF Basement Expansion

icf building blocks - great for diy'ers

For a chronological listing of our building projects with ICF (or insulated concrete forms), be sure to look through the new ICF Building Index tab in the menu bar.

In January 2012, we finished phase 1 of what will eventually be our basement built out of ICF (insultated concrete forms). We have been enjoying being in our own home but are so excited to finally be expanding it!

During my absence from Cultured Palate, we did some work you don’t know about yet so, let me fill you in before I share what we did last week!

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Building with ICF – Phase 2

digging with the backhoe

Finally!

I really can’t believe we have started!

Yes, this week John began digging out the dirt to expand the basement walls of our home which overlooks the vineyard! If you have been following our adventure of starting the vineyard and building our own home, you know that we are now living in what will eventually be the basement – we finished phase 1 at the end of 2011.

As you might imagine, we have saved a lot of money by building ourselves and had a lot of fun in the process! But, like everything it takes time and patience. Building the house must fit around vineyard work which pays the bills! So, our primary time to work on the expansion is now, after harvest and before pruning which will begin in late January.

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EIFS on Basement Complete!

EIFS on basement finished

Hopefully, we are done with water leaks in the house! It will be so nice to enjoy a rainy day without worrying about mopping up puddles as the rain comes under the walls!

I am now in Georgia visiting my mother and sister but before I left, the EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) on the exterior house walls was completed!

Since we are living in what will eventually be the basement of our home overlooking the vineyard, we wanted to wait to complete the exterior of the basement walls until the upstairs was finished. But, we got tired of puddles! So, what started as an effort to use up the EIFS materials that were left over from  building the barn, ended with completely finishing the walls of the house!

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Stormy Days and Water Leaks

storm is coming

One thing we do not see much of here in west Texas is rain. In fact just a few tenths of an inch are exciting! We do after all, live in a semi-dessert climate. It has definitely been hot with temperatures in the 100 – 108F range. And, since the first of the year, we had had a whopping 3 inches of rain.

This week, though, we have had rain – 2 1/2 inches! That brings the total for the year up to 5 1/2 inches!

We had water puddles!

We had beautiful storm clouds!

When I saw the scene in the photo below, I felt as though I was in an episode of Star Trek – the Enterprise was hovering in the clouds above and Captain Kirk was just beyond the barn saying, “Beam me up, Scottie”!  [Continue Reading]

The Barn Completed – EIFS and All!

ICF barn with EIFS completed

Yippee! The EIFS on our ICF barn is now compete!

It looks as though I am speaking in code doesn’t it with all the acronyms!

Here is the code:

  • EIFS = exterior insulation finishing system – It is like a synthetic stucco only more durable.
  • ICF = insulated concrete forms – They snap together like big legos and are used for their insulation value.

When I shared weekly the updates on the ICF filter house and the ICF greenhouse, each week was a progression of steps. So, I thought for the barn, I would just post pictures that had been taken throughout the process.

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Greenhouse EIFS Completed

eifs finished

A couple of weeks ago I detailed how we had started to apply EIFS to the greenhouse walls. Well, this week we completed them!

EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finishing system and also provides insulation value. It is like a synthetic stucco but more durable than traditional stucco. EIFS is applied in 3 steps – a thin layer of concrete is spread over the surface of your wall, then a fiberglass mesh is embedded into it and finally a color coat is applied for a more finished look. This color coat also adds more waterproofing to the wall. You can see the application of the first 2 steps by clicking here.

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How to Apply EIFS to a Greenhouse

first layer EIFS

Today on Family Friday I would like to share an update on the greenhouse.

Last week we poured the concrete in the ICF walls (insulated concrete forms). While the ICF has excellent insulation value, we chose it for the greenhouse just for ease. The ICF snap together like big legos and are so easy for the DIY’ers. We are using them for our home which overlooks the vineyard, the filter house and new barn. As you can tell, we are sold on them!

This week, we have been working on the the EIFS exterior for the greenhouse. EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finishing system and also provides insulation value. It is like a synthetic stucco but more durable than traditional stucco.

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