On August 5th and 6th the framers came out and framed out the first floor decking.
The sill plate went on over the sill gasket with two beads for caulk, and the rim boards, I-Joists and subfloor followed.
We used Weyerhauser 1 1/8″ TJ Rim Boards. I don’t like them. We’ve been experiencing a lot of rain, and some of them swelled to anywhere from an-inch-and-a-quarter to an inch-and-three-quarters. Everyone tells me that it’s fine. But I’m still convinced that I want to use 1 3/4″ LVLs for the 2nd floor rim boards. They’re three times as expensive (about $1.50/lf vs. $4.50/lf). But that only amounts to a few hundred dollars. And since the porch roof will be cantilevered off of the 2nd floor rim boards with blocking (more on that later), I’ll feel a lot better about the connection.
It took a bit of effort, but I got the building inspector to OK the use of Weyerhauser Flack Jacket I-Joists (for the first floor).
This allowed me to avoid having to drywall the basement ceiling to achieve the fire protection rating required by the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC). In addition, it actually appears to be a money saver. For instance, considering the 360 Series 11 7/8″ I-Joists, when we checked on pricing, we found that the Flack Jacket version runs about $3.40/lf, while the regular version runs about $2.53. Figuring that we had about 500lf of I-Joist in the first floor, that amounted to an increased cost of approximately $565. However using the Flack Jackets would preclude the need for drywalling the basement ceiling, which I am told would be about $42/sheet installed, or about $1,300. So we figure that use of the I-Joists will result in a savings of approximately $700.
The inspector’s initial concern was that, while the evaluation report that I provided him said that Flack Jacket I-Joists were approved under the 2012 IRC, it said nothing about the 2009 code, which is still in force in Pennsylvania. His thinking seemed counter-intuitive to me. So I contacted one of the Tech Reps at Weyerhauser, who was extremely helpful, did the research, and provided me with the following explanation:
“I dug into this a little and it is an interesting issue. PA is enforcing the 2009 IRC code with a couple of legislative changes. The base 2009 code does not require fire protection of floors over basements. This is new requirement in 2012 IRC. The base 2009 IRC does include a controversial requirement for sprinkler systems in residential construction. The PA legislature decided to add the fire protection requirement- based on the 2012- while allowing the sprinkler requirement to be waived . So while it is true that our code report does not comply with the 2009 IRC, it is only because membrane protection was not required in the 2009 BASE code. I have attached the bill related to this issue. It begins on the bottom of page 10. Our code reports list only the base codes and do not include special state provisions or amendments. Flack jacket does provide the 2×10 equivalence as the provision intends. Ultimately it is up to the code official in each jurisdiction to determine what he will accept, but we are certainly willing to work with him and address any concerns.“
Based on the above explanation, I provided the inspector with a letter of explanation together with the Pennsylvania legislation, and he gave his approval.
I should also note that, prior to giving his approval, the inspector suggested that I use a product called No-Burn. It’s a spray-on coating that achieves the same purpose. But it just seemed like more work, and more of a mess, than the Flack Jacket alternative.
When it came to the sub floor, I was particularly concerned with its ability to hold up in the rain (given that we’ve had a particularly wet summer and things were moving forward rather slowly). I was also concerned with floor bounce, which we had experienced in our last home and just seemed to detract from a feeling of quality. To combat the latter problem, I’m certain that I over-killed the issue by using the 360 Series 11 7/8″ I-joists for the longer (16′) spans (we used the 210 series for the shorter spans, and their specs showed that it would have been fine to use them throughout). But to avoid any issue that might be caused by the rain, and to provide double insurance against bounce (particularly since the I-Joists are 24″ on center) I decided that I wanted to use Advantech flooring. The floor is rock solid, and looks like it would support an elephant. And since it was installed, we’ve had at least a half-dozen days of rain. But it looks like it’s holding up well.
The Advantech sub floor (we used 1″) ran about $41 per sheet, while the 2nd choice, 7/8″ Weyerhauser EdgeGold, came in at about $34 per sheet. At approximately 80 sheets,that resulted in an increased cost of approximately $560.
Once the decking was on, we had the precast Bilco well installed. It’s a $3,200 unit (with primed steel doors), and bolts to the foundation in four spots (two high and two low). In our case, we had it bolted right to the exterior foam, ensuring a complete thermal break. The only issue encountered was a couple of pieces of rebar right where the fourth hole was to be drilled. After several hours of struggling, they were able to cut through it and get the well installed. We then covered the seams with Resisto peel and stick, and wrapped the dimple board around the inside corners, and we were ready for back-filling.
I still don’t quite understand how Bilco sizes these wells. We ordered (and received) a size “E” well, which is supposed to be used for applications where the distance from the footer (i.e. the bottom of the well) to final grade is anywhere from 83″ to 91″. But given that the outboard edge of the well casting is only about 5″ inches thick, that simply doesn’t seem possible; particularly when considering that the grade should fall away from the house. Our final grade will be about 4″ above the dimple board (which is about 86″ from the footer). With a bit of creative landscaping, I’m sure we can make it all work out fine.
It took three of us a day-and-a-half to backfill; using a jumping-jack tamper for every two-foot layer. We didn’t bring it all the way up to final grade because the EFIS still has to be installed everywhere other than under the porch.
Then we sealed every seam, inside and out, with Sica Polyurethane Caulk. I think it took somewhere around two dozen tubes at just under $6 each: