Thursday, 14 December 2017

Verandah Downpipe

This morning we put up the downpipe for the verandah gutter. First I assembled all the tools we would need. Most of them were handtools except for the cordless drill.

Then I drilled the top of the downpipe where it attached to the downspout and riveted the holes together.

Then at the bottom we needed a piece to join the gap between the decking and the verandah post, and push it outwards a little so that it would end up at the perfect spot for the water to flow into the 100 litre tank which we will place underneath it. This piece of metal was a left-over piece from building other parts of the house, and just happened to be the perfect size. It was trimmed a little at the ends to ensure it had a flat surface for the downpipe to press against. We were provided with downpipe brackets which we used for the outside join, and cut a short length of strapping which was left over from strapping the frame of the house. After these were screwed on, the structure was very solid and stable.

After that was finished, I climbed up onto the verandah roof and put silicone over all of the roofing screws. I also washed out the gutter as it was full of metal filings from attaching the screws. We won’t put the 100 litre water tank under the downpipe quite yet, as I want to wait until we have some rain to wash the roof and the gutter clean. No rain is forecast for the next week, so we might be waiting a little while.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Verandah Roof Finished

First we assembled the gutter for the verandah, this was relatively straight forward as we had done exactly the same thing for the house verandahs previously. For the stop ends, holes were drilled through and then riveted together.

Then for the downspout, a rectangular hole was cut in the gutter, the spout put in place and then holes drilled and riveted together.

To finish the whole thing off, silicone was spread over all the joins. Here is our collection of tools for this job.

Then I spent an afternoon and two mornings screwing in the gutter brackets. First one was put at the top end, and then another put at the bottom end with a 20mm fall. Then a string line was stretched between those two, and the other brackets screwed in to follow the string line.

After leaving the silicone to cure, we put the gutter up into the brackets, this was easier than I expected – since the gutter is slightly over 6 metres long it is a little difficult to handle while standing up a ladder, but one of our best 'tools' is an old broom which we found at the tip. I used the broom to push the gutter to click into each bracket while Josh held it up, and then he folded down the clips over the top.

We decided that it would be worth the effort of putting insulation underneath the roof sheeting, so we cut up one of the rolls which was provided with the kit home into sections which fit the width of the verandah. By lucky coincidence our 180cm level was exactly the right length so I used that as my measuring stick.

This is the paperwork that came with the insulation, which I suppose we will have to show to the council when it comes time for approval that we met the energy requirements for Basix.

Then we joined the pieces with rolls of insulation tape. This is a special type of tape which is a cross between gaffa tape and alfoil. This photo is looking up at the underneath of the roof after the insulation was placed on the top.

We were provided with 8 sheets of colorbond which were 187cm long and 85cm wide, so we laid them on the ground to measure how much we should overlap them to achieve our 6 metres for the verandah size. They are laid upside-down in the photo, showing the underneath colour. By the time I took the pic, we had already taken away a piece to put on the roof.

This is the colour of the top of the sheets, it is known as Slate Grey. This is the first time we have actually seen the colour, and it is actually a lot darker than I was expecting.

Then Josh got up on the roof and laid the sheeting, screwing it in as he went. The perfect length was achieved by overlapping the last sheet a little more than the rest, luckily avoiding the need to cut a few centimetres off the end. The metal roof in the sun was VERY HOT, so I am glad that we put the insulation up, as it will keep it a lot cooler under the verandah. Even the blue framing metal is cool to the touch compared to the Slate Grey roof.

I can't believe that we finished the whole thing in one day! It is actually very difficult to photograph, as by the time I am far enough away to see the roof there are small trees which block the view. I went up on the roof this morning and finished screwing the middles of the sheets, and the next thing that needs doing is to put silicone over the screws. After that we need to attach the downpipe to the gutter, and into a small tank.

Finished Deck Roof

Just a quick tease of a photo of the finished deck roof which we started and finished yesterday.

I would do a longer post but I want to get down there and finish screwing it in before it gets too hot this morning!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Finished Verandah Beams

A few more days work and we now have the verandah beams up. First we had to put up the 6 metre long very strong, thick and heavy end beam. It was a tricky task to consider, but Josh had thought about it carefully and had a clever plan. First he screwed some brackets to the posts, one of which was held in with only one screw so that it could rotate.

Then we lifted it up so that it rested on the rotating bracket, tied it to the post with some rope, and then lifted the other end up on the bracket on the other post and screwed it in. Once that end was secure, the first end was also screwed in.

Then we put up the three cross beams. These connected to brackets which were on the posts, or on the big beam, and on the end of the house.which had already had their brackets screwed on while on the ground. The two end beams had two brackets each, facing inwards, and the middle beam had two brackets on each side.

Then we put up the four long beams, which slipped into the brackets on the cross beams. All of these beams required screwing through the brackets, which was around 60 screws altogether.

Each of these screws were through thick metal, and required very strong pressure to get them in. This was quite difficult at the top of a ladder, so for some of them we had one of use drilling, and the other person pushing on the end of the drill to get it in easier. This helped save us some muscle pain later down the track.

One side of the house was easy enough to get to from the ground, and we could use the ladder in its triangle form.

The other side of the house is a fair way off the ground though, and we had to extend the ladder to its full length. We moved this ladder what must have been hundreds of time, changing it back and forth from triangle to straight, on the deck and off the deck, and were very glad that we bought it many years ago when we still lived in Sydney.

The next step is to put up the guttering on the end of the verandah, and to put the roof sheeting over the beams. The weather forecast is for thunderstorms!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Verandah Beams

     The deck is mostly screwed down, just need a few more screws, and progress has been made on the verandah roof.

     This piece was cut from the top of the middle post to make it the right height, cut by hand with a hacksaw! Then the beam was screwed in place.
     The screws were quite difficult to get through the thick metal, and my muscles are aching today from the odd angle.
     It is exciting to see the angle at which the verandah roof will be coming down.
     While Josh was cutting the post, myself and the mother-in-law busied ourselves removing big clumps of raspy grass from around the house, and it was surprising how nice it was to have a clear area to sit on our chairs when we had a rest.
     It's a lovely shady cool place to sit on a hot day. Since then Josh has cut another post to the right height but we haven't taken any photos of that as yet.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Finished notches

     I snuck back down after the sudden downpour of rain and managed to finish cutting all the notches for the verandah boards.

     I also cut a couple more boards for the short end of the verandah, now it is also finished except for a couple of boards which need shortening a centimetre or two. They will be easy to do now I have the new blade on the hacksaw! Although cutting wood when it is wet is no fun, as the sawdust sticks to the plank and you can't blow it away, and then when you rub it off it disappears the cut mark.

     I have found a place which sells the screws I need - SDCWC31040 - and it's 'only' a 90 minute drive away. I have the day off work because of the rain, so may as well take this opportunity. What I have to do now is count how many I need...

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Another notch

     I had 10 minutes between rain showers to cut another notch for the verandah.

      The next notch is only slightly indented into the plank. I cut into each side with the hacksaw, then used the cordless drill to drill holes along the notch, and then hammered the wood chisel along the bottom edge to remove the unwanted wood. It all comes out surprisingly easily.

     I am very happy with my new blade for the hacksaw, it is 24 teeth per inch so perhaps not the best for cutting wood, the internet says 14 teeth per inch is ideal for timber, but worked great for this small cut.

Walking the Plank

      I have put in a few more half days work on the verandah and it is slowly coming to completion. Instead of driving the work 4WD down to the house site, as it currently functions as a very large and easily transportable tool box, I just loaded a few tools into the wheelbarrow and trundled it down. Of course Murphy's Law says you always forget ONE thing every time, and have to walk up the hill again, but that's just extra exercise, and exercise is good for you!

I got myself organised for some early morning screwing only to discover that we have no more screws. I looked EVERYWHERE - the 4WD, the shed, the annex, the caravan - and then looked EVERYWHERE again, but no luck. It turns out that yet again the kit home company has not supplied us with sufficient components. We have some left-over screws from the yellow-tongue flooring which are quite similar but just a little bit different. Unfortunately we can't just 'pop out' to the hardware store to buy more as it is long drive. It is great that we have the option to buy these things over the internet (and often cheaper than a real shop) but we have to know a) exactly what type of screw it is and b) have to wait for delivery. The kit-home company have 'helpfully' told me that I have to go and buy myself some more screws, but have not actually told me the specifications of what I need to buy.
In the meantime I have been cutting planks to length, and cutting out notches to fit around the verandah posts. It is quite the jigsaw puzzle as the last few planks of merbau all have something wrong with them - bent one way, bent the other way, have splits or notches or are too short. I have done my best to figure it out, and then had to figure out the best way to cut out the notches. There has to be one plank with a notch for the inside of the post, and another plank with a notch for the outside of the post.

      Also most of the planks for the end of the verandah have been cut now, just a few more to go. I popped out to the local hardware store and bought some new blades for the hacksaw, since the ones we had were so horribly blunt they were very painful to use. I am very much looking forward to trying the new blades, which only cost $2.50 each, but it is currently bucketing down with rain so I might not get a chance for a while!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Another day of screwing the deck

     A beautiful day of winter sunshine and some more decking drilled.

     The moment the smoke came out of the hole was captured, it looks like a smoking gun!

     I figured out that if I give the screw a 'bang' into the wood before I start screwing, it stops the screw dancing around and makes it easier to put the screw exactly where I want it. Two more lines of screws finished, each one neater than the last.

     I also measured and sawed a plank of merbau to length to help finish off the end of the deck. I had to go through about 7 planks before I found one which was not bent out of shape. The planks are all a bit out of whack so getting them to line up against each other without big gaps will be a bit of jigsaw puzzle!

     I put the measurement line underneath the plank, and so turned it over to cut it. This unfortunately meant that the messy side of the cut was uppermost at the end.

     Next time I suppose I should turn the plank over and then draw the line, so that I can saw from the top. I will just have to make sure that none of the line is left showing at the end as it would be a bit unsightly.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Screwing the Decking

     The decking has been nearly half screwed in now, looking good...
     It is so lovely to finally have somewhere on this 17 acres that I can comfortably walk barefoot - pure bliss!

     I was given a demo on how to screw in the screws, a bit more tricky than it may seem at first. The screw has to screw through the wood first, and then through the metal underneath.

     The hole in the wood is a little oversized due to the wings on the bottom part of the screw, so it is a little difficult to stop it from wiggling around sideways. And as the screws are heavily galvanised to protect from rust, they are not very sharp for cutting through wood. This means that it generates a lot of heat as it spins around quickly while very slowly moving downward, so some lovely wood smoke comes out of the hole and the sawdust comes out looking a bit black and singed. (Don't worry, it is not a bushfire hazard.)

     When the screw finally hits the metal it suddenly screws downwards very quickly. The wrists get a bit sore as it requires a fair bit of downward pressure, unfortunately the screw cannot be relied on to do the work for us.
     After doing a couple of rows I thought my screw lines looked a bit wiggly, as there were being lined up by sight from a plank layed down beside them. I fetched the chalk line from the shed and had a go at using that instead.
     It is a very pretty blue line, so that was nice, but not sure if it made much of a difference to my straight screwing! The screws always do a little dance at the start and end up a fraction of a millimetre all over the place. After only 2 hours of screwing the cordless drill battery was completely flat, and the wrists were a bit sore. The generator has blown up so we are without electricity for recharging batteries at the moment. Next step is to cut the rest of the merbau to length.

    * Oh and I forgot to mention in the last update - also the 3rd post of the verandah had been erected! Did anyone notice it in the photos?