Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stone Cold/Hot

Feelin' good in the Thanksgiving Challenge! Last night we started preparing the area where we'll install the second stone threshold; this time, under the beam between the dining room and kitchen. We started by chiseling away the what remains of the hardwood floor, against one of the oak posts. If we had a toe-kick saw, we could cut the floor flush with the post in a matter of seconds. But alas, we don't, and so we chiseled. Next, we used the circular saw set to just the right depth and cut along the hardwood, flush with the kitchen floor. We used the pry bar to pry out the flooring. Again with the circular saw, we cut the tongue from the edge of the hardwood running the length of the entire area.

So far, the biggest obstacle is this gap in the floor...the actual subfloor. And on either side of this 16"x6" gap, the subfloor is a bit bouncy. That's two problems for stone: no support underneath that section, and a bounce which would likely crack the stone over time. After some pondering, Erika suggested that we fix a couple of 2x4s running parallel with the the joists, attached to the cross-bracing on one side of the gap and to a more sturdy part of the subfloor itself on the other side of the gap. And you know what this means: crawlspace action! Once we've got these 2x4s screwed into place, we will glue and screw a 1" thick oak piece on top of them, flush with the subfloor. This should do it. Tonight, as the challenge rolls on, we plan to do the bracing, and cut and install the vapor barrier and plywood substrate.

This morning, we took a ride over to the soapstone quarry. Last time we were there, it was May and it was hot. This time, it's November, early morning, and very cold. It felt good to roll in though! We donned hardhats and wound our way through the various stacks of slab in the yard. We even visited the scrap pile, just to say hello. We found a nice-looking slab of proper dimensions and they came over with the forklift to weigh it and load it onto our truck. About 220 pounds. Tomorrow (if we're still on schedule), we'll cut the second threshold from this slab.

Finally, I should mention that last night we fired up the Heatmor for the first time this season. Earlier in the month we got it ready to go by cleaning and oiling the blower motor, wiping away spider webs, and giving it a basic check. We had also bled/pressurized the radiant system and tested the pumps. So all we had to do last night was get a fire going. In less than 45 minutes the water temperature went from 38 degrees to 190 degrees. Switched on the floor heat and heard the familiar creaks of the tubing snugged up against the floor. Less than 12 hours later, there's a very noticeable difference. Welcome to the season!

- John

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