Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Exterior, Drilling, and Interior Doors

It's been a few weeks since my last post and visually, the house looks completely different. After waiting nearly two months for the delivery, the exterior siding finally arrived and was installed. Now the house finally looks like a house on the outside. In addition, the masonry heater entered its second phase (stay tuned for a separate blog entry), they completed the drilling for the geothermal system, and the interior doors arrived.

Let's begin with siding.  Both Virginia and I have always been attracted to wood and stone for the house exterior.  We knew in advance that real stone would be out of our budget and in addition to cost, I was worried about maintenance issues with wood.  Instead of wood, we ended up going with a fiber cement siding that is low maintenance, is made from recycled fly ash from coal-fired power plants, and has the look of feel of real wood.  Even up close, its pretty hard to tell it's not real wood.  Instead of true building stone, we looked into using a (real) stone veneer for some of the exterior, but even that was fairly pricey.  In the end, we chose an artificial stone that is made from a concrete cast.  One of the big advantages of such a product is that the pieces come in consistent shapes that make it fairly easy to install.

House Exterior (Click image for more photos.)

We finally had a long enough stretch of dry weather to allow for dirt removal and drilling for the geothermal system.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to ask too many questions so I can't really explain the details of this process.  Basically, the drill is part of a big truck, and as the drilling progresses, they push 20-foot sections of steel (I think) pipe down into the hole.  At some point, water comes gushing out of the hole and continues until the pressure equalizes.  Initially, they had planned on drilling two holes, each about 220 feet deep.  But apparently, they ran into some trouble around 165 feet so the ended up drilling three 150-foot holes instead.  A tube that will carry the working fluid runs all the way down and back out of each hole.

Drilling for the geothermal system (Click image for more photos.)

While all of this is going on, interior work continues with the installation of doors.  To save money, we purchased unfinished doors and are doing all the staining ourselves.  This really provides a sense of personal ownership.  Even though it's a lot of work, I'm very glad we took on this task. We even got some help from our good friends Kerry and Rachel as they were passing through town.

Stained Door (Click image for more photos.)

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