February 22, 2020
After a few weeks, probably time to update you on the progress on the homestead. \
First, the bathroom floor is progressing. The first layer of cob is in and some tweaking has been done to prepare the shower floor area to receive the flexible pan liner.
Second, there is now progress on the cob floor in the Utility room. Since the room is 10'5" x 12' I am doing 2' strips by 10'5" at a time. Two strips have now been completed. The cob mix I am using is 1 part clay, 1 part sand, 1 part gravel, 1 gallon can of straw and 1.2 gallons of water. That is mixed in a mixer then dumped in a form on the floor and tamped down hard and flat. The floor already has 4" of tamped gravel, then a vapor barrier was used in the form of an old tarp. Then the first layer of cob was placed and it is about 3.5 inches thick. You can see the straw in the cob and sometimes it sticks up. This will be covered with a quarter inch thick layer of clay render (25% clay mixed with 75% sand) in order to hold down tile. The utility room will be a major traffic area so instead of finishing a cob floor and walking on it, I elected to lay tile on the floor to deal with the high traffic flow and with the heavy appliances like the washer, dryer, freezer and storage shelves.
Third, also in the last few weeks I have been adding insulation to the ceiling in the utility room and the cottage cathedral ceiling. At the moment, I have re-purposed some insulation panels that were being disposed of due to some minor damage. I cut them to fit between the rafters in the utility room. They are about 2" think. I did not have enough for the entire room, so I am also re-purposing some insulation panels that were used in shipping boxes that were one inch thick. When using these, I doubled up by using a second layer that covered the but joints of the first layer. I have also stapled up and used roofing tacks to hold up a sheet of special insulation that is a closed cell poly type that functions as a radiant barrier on both sides, vapor barrier and R9 insulation. After all the insulation is finished, I will then use a drop ceiling 2' square grid pattern with insulation panels. The goal is at least R 30 in the utility room ceiling. Also in the UT room ceiling is a whole house fan that has insulation doors on top that open prior to turning on. The fan will act as an active transfer of air in the spring and fall when the temperature outside is pleasant.
Fourth, I also been working on some of the electrical items in the breaker box and cottage. I now have overhead lights and the high ceiling vent working in the high ceiling of pentagon shaped cottage. I also installed a few wall outlets and used the new code of an Arc Fault breaker in the breaker box. At first the breaker would trip every time I turned on an item plugged in. After some investigation, I discovered a mistake I had made in the breaker panel by not attaching the neutral wire to the Arc Fault breaker. I corrected this over site and now I have power outlets in the cottage. After doing some research, it would seem the county has updated their building codes to accept the NEC 2017 code and the IBC 2018. So, after reviewing the new codes, I will need to swap out most of my standard breakers to Arc Fault breakers. This is a serious cost increase and more labor in the electrical breaker box that will have to be done soon.
Fifth and lastly, it has been raining a lot lately. A few days saw as much as 3" of rain in three days. Roof shows no signs of leaking, but I did notice a spot on the outer UT room wall that needs attention with installing some flashing under some cedar siding that overhangs some clay stucco. Another over site that I need to address.
Well, that is about it for the last few weeks with work on the cottage. I have also been working a little around the property outside the cottage, inspecting for storm damage, picking up dropped limbs, cleaning out leaf liter in the stream and cutting down some dead trees. That is always a on going chore. I may add a few pictures soon.
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My name is Richard. I live in north Georgia with my family. I purchased 7+ acres a few years back and have been slowly developing it into a homestead. Follow me here for my up and downs on this journey. I hope to learn some new skills and pass some on to you. Perhaps on the way we will share a laugh or two as we go through this thing called life.