Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Who says you can't stain poplar? Granite, finish grading, the ERV goes in and the make-up air test worked well.

Since my last post the trim has been completed and we've had the painters in the house finishing the trim with EarthPaint stain.  We tried a couple samples using Minwax stain - some were done without pre-treating the wood and some done with pre-treating.  None of those samples had the right color nor were they even.  We are not looking for that "spray finish consistency" you see on some of the pre-finished cabinets - you know the ones that look like the wood is a lacquer finish without being able to tell what the wood underneath really is.  We want to be able to see the grain yet not have wildly inconsistent tones.  The poplar has wide variations naturally in color that range from brown, through yellow/green and include some black and even purple sections.  You've seen those in the raw wood pictures on the last post.   What EarthPaint did was even out those huge variations and it didn't "blotch" which we saw in spades with the other stain.  We chose a brown cedar for the poplar trim and stair risers while going for a darker Acorn for the beams.  I spent a weekend sanding down all the trim and another day sanding down the beams.  For the trim I used several different grits of sandpaper - where there were chatter marks from the planer or other deep marks I used increasingly finer grit starting at 120 and working to 220.  For that trim that was near ready I use a 220 grit.  For the majority of the sanding I used an orbital sander but I used an oscillating tool for the fine details and corners that the orbital sander can't reach. For the beams I used a 100 grit (and sometimes dropped back to an 80 grit when I needed to take out some deeper gouges or scrapes).
Left Pantry Door with Earhpaint Brown Cedar applied.  

Living room pocket doors with Brown Cedar stain applied.  Glass is covered in plastic and protective film  at this point until painting is complete.

Bi-fold doors in the quilting room.  

Master Bedroom window sill with stain applied

Master bedroom door.

Master bedroom doors - the one on the right is the "curtain door."
Stair risers and skirt board stained; the skirt is poplar while the risers are alder.  that light color on the face of the treads is the masking tape holding he protecive cardboard and paper on until the treads are stained and polyurethaned.
The painters applied the stain using a brush and after a short wait they wiped it off with lint-free painters wiping cloth.  We were very careful to put the rags in buckets of water when they were done and take those out of the house.  Our builder has actually had a bucket of the used rags which was soaking in water self-ignite in a parking lot so they take the cautions on the cans very seriously (as do we!).  As of today they had finished with the first coat of two on all the trim, stair risers and beams.  They also hand sanded the majority of the woodwork in preparation for the second coat of stain.

 The nice thing about this finish is it's the only finish you put on the wood - over time it hardens (several weeks) and protects the wood.  The labor involved with a product where you have to pre-condition the wood, stain it, and then apply a polyurethane coating alone outweighs the higher cost of the Earthpaint.  And it has a pleasant (though quite strong) citrus smell that lingers as it's curing.

  Before they started staining the trim, the granite folks installed the granite and quartz in the bathrooms.  The two hallway baths were pretty simple and went in quickly but the master was a bit more complex.  The tub deck was comprised of 4 pieces for the deck and another 4 for the backsplash so that took longer than the team anticipated.  In addition the shower sill, wall cap and vanities made this one big job for the guys.  Once they completed it though it was a great addition to the bathroom.  We did remove the tub during the installation so it was easier and we haven't yet reinstalled it.  Unfortunately we didn't get pictures before the painters descended with their rolls of tape, plastic and paper to cover it all in prep for the staining and painting work.

Today they finished spreading out the topsoil (two loads of a 50/50 screened soil/mulch mix and about the same of our own saved topsoil) in those areas where we'll be planting.  They also graded the land for final drainage and installed 5 sections of pipe ranging from 4" to 12" in diameter.  The main goal of this drainage system is to channel the water from the front of the house around to the back and prevent erosion.  The crowned the driveway and built berms that will route the water around the house and into the natural drainage on east but into the 12" pipe on the west.  That westerly route is there to prevent the water which can be significant in heavy rains from eroding the septic field.  Two downspouts on the back of the house were connected to drainage pipes leading to the rip-rap outlet below the house.  The 12" pipe as well as the overflow from the back rainchain will also channel into the riprap so during heavy rains there will be a nice flow going down the natural draw of land into our intermittent stream.

View of the driveway - we changed the shape from a circle to a more functional teardrop.  the middle will hold an  herb and/or flower garden.
Looking at the house from the driveway before they had spread the topsoil.  The pile on the left was moved to the back of the house as was part of that pile in the middle of the drive.  The pile beyond the loader was moved to the space between the drive and the house.
Last week the Boer Brothers connected the ERV into the ductwork and added a return from the laundry/mud-room completing the ERV ducting. Top out for the HVAC will encompass connecting the return to the ground-source heat pump, connecting in the desuperheater for hot water and balancing the system(s) so the conditioning and air turnover all works in unison.  As part of that "air" situation we did the first install of the range hood this week and tested out the make-up air solution.  Initially the air was flowing reasonably well through the dedicated duct but whistling through the open lockset hole in the laundry.  After a little detective work we realized the vent was nearly completely blocked by tape and plastic from painting.  Once we removed the tape the duct definitely provided a huge amount of air when the vent hood was on it's full 750CFM speed.  I'll take a couple pictures and post them before we disassemble the hood system for interior painting which starts in a few days.

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