Patrick's Barn: Wow! It's starting to look like something - Fine Homebuilding

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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad


Patrick's Barn: Wow! It's starting to look like something

comments (3) November 28th, 2011 in Blogs
patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, Associate editor

This photo was taken after the long Thanksgiving weekend. With four days of work, we made some visible progress. Our hope is to have the building tight enough so we can heat the space efficiently enough to continue priming the siding.
While my wife cooked a 12-pound turkey, I secured a mudsill to the concrete slab and fully fastened the lowest girt. My little boy helped for about an hour, which made the work take much longer, but I think this small investment of time will pay greater dividends later. And he really loved helping.
Carol is recording how many sheets of insulation weve installed. We have more insulation than the walls require, so well likely fill rafter cavities with whatever is left. 
Here Carol is cutting the insulation to width with a T-square and utility knife. Unfortunately, very few spaces can accommodate a full sheet, so most pieces have to be cut in at least one direction.
In addition to working on the barn, Carol put the finishing touches on next years vegetable garden. The dirt in the raised beds was left over from excavating the barns foundation. She amended the sandy soil with 2-1/2 yards of compost we had delivered.
One of the great things about doing your own building is you can fuss over stuff that hired contractors would find ridiculous, like finicky cuts in foam sheathing. I always tell people, Id never hire a contractor I could afford.
This photo was taken after the long Thanksgiving weekend. With four days of work, we made some visible progress. Our hope is to have the building tight enough so we can heat the space efficiently enough to continue priming the siding.Click To Enlarge

This photo was taken after the long Thanksgiving weekend. With four days of work, we made some visible progress. Our hope is to have the building tight enough so we can heat the space efficiently enough to continue priming the siding.



It was about twilight on Sunday when I was standing near the road that accesses our small subdivision and looking at the recent progress on our barn. A small car pulled up, and the driver put down her window. “It’s really starting to look like something,” she said. “Thanks,” I replied. “I’ve been watching you guys since this started. You’ve been doing all the work yourselves, right?” she asked. “Yeah, pretty much--just me and my wife, with help from some good friends on occasion,” I replied.

When you’re in the middle of a large project like this, progress can seem almost imperceptible, but this long weekend restored a sense of accomplishment, and the neighbor’s kind words further reinforced the point. I started work early on Thanksgiving Day by installing pressure-treated plates where the framing meets the slab. I always imagined that this work would be easy with a powder-actuated tool, but the nails just bent when they hit the concrete. 

I regretted waiting so long, because it wouldn’t have been a problem if I had done this when the concrete was green. I then turned to a rotary hammer and used Tapcons to secure the plates to the slab. My wife watched our boy and cooked Thanksgiving dinner while I worked on the barn. This work, along with framing a carriage-door opening on the shed-roofed part of the barn, took until the end of the day on Friday. 

Saturday was Carol's turn to work on the barn. She spent the day installing the first layer of foam insulation on the first floor of the main barn. She made great progress, despite the fussy nature of the work, which included cutting the foam to fit around the various framing members and the electrical panel and conduit. The following day, I turned my attention to putting the first layer of foam on the gable ends of the main barn. This was fussy too, but it sure looked like major progress when it was done. And it was especially satisfying to not be the only person who noticed.

You can read more about my barn here.


posted in: Blogs, patrick's barn

Comments (3)

GEide GEide writes: Wow, you were busy over Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing! -gina
Posted: 12:15 pm on November 29th

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: Thanks very much! I realy appreciate your tips and comments. You're not too late at all, as there's plenty of additional polyiso to install. At this point, I'm planning a layer between the girts and a second layer on the inside of the girts. We'll air seal on the interior layer with spray foam.

We have a ton of insulation, so there may even be a third layer on the walls, but my first priority will be to fill the rafter cavities after the walls are done.
Posted: 3:38 pm on November 28th

Aroonstock Aroonstock writes: Patrick,
Well done on the barn, it's really taking shape.

I may be too late for this, but here are some tips for working with polyisocyanurate:
*The Festool foam cutting jig saw blade cuts it like butter
*The Milwaukee 12V HackZall makes a very handy one handed tool for cutting the Iso.
*From the looks of your photos, it is currently exposed to the elements. Please paper it in ASAP. Nothing good can come from the Iso geting wet.
*For cutting the Iso by hand, use a barret knife. It's got a 3"ish long, non-serrated blade. We do all our Iso cutting with them, almost exclusively.

From the photo, I'm not sure. Are you installing a single layer between the poles, or are you also doubling it up between the horizontal girts?
Posted: 2:31 pm on November 28th

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