Monthly Archives: September 2015

Finishing up the countertops

For the past couple of days it has been rainy and generally pretty crummy outside, so we have taken the opportunity to finish up work on the countertops.

There was a fair amount of preparation involved – first I made a wood fill paste using sawdust from when we cut the countertops and some wood glue mixed together.  I smeared that paste carefully along all of the seams where we joined the various countertop pieces together, and let it dry, then went back over it with a small orbital hand sander to smooth it all out.  Because the countertops are birch, a hardwood, we started off with 80 grit sandpaper just to knock most of the excess wood fill off, then sanded the entire countertop surface with 150 grit, then 220 grit sandpaper.  This was a quite long and very dusty process but in the end it came out pretty well.

From there we had to seal the countertops, here’s a few action shots of that process.

Essentially you just wipe on the sealer quite liberally, then after 15 minutes you wipe away any excess.  The process is repeated several times to ensure the wood is completely saturated with the sealer.

Here’s a final picture of the countertops after the whole process is complete:

Finished countertops ready to use!
Finished countertops ready to use!

Now that that is done, we can focus on completing the drain connections for the sink so that it will finally be usable!  After that, the only thing left will be to install our pantries and get the fridge/freezer in their final position and the whole kitchen will be complete!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures, stay tuned for more updates!

More work on the solar array

Today I spent much of the day installing solar panels on the racks.

More panels installed...
More panels installed…

I got pretty far along, and with Heathers help tomorrow I hope to get the rest of it finished off.  After that, I’ll have to figure out how to run the wiring back to the house into our charge controllers to get them charging the batteries, but one step at a time!

And even more panels!
And even more panels!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and stay tuned for more updates!

Working on the solar array

For the past couple of days since my dad left, I have been hard at work further assembling our solar racking.  The last part we needed (channel nuts) came in at the electrical supply so I was able to get all the rack bases fastened to our strut and continued on with the assembly.

Today I even managed to get one of the panels installed to get a feel for how it all goes together.

First solar panel installed!
First solar panel installed!


While I was busy with all that, Heather has been hard at work, unpacking boxes, finding all the stuff we packed away oh so long ago, and making the place a lot more homey.

Flowers in our milk jug
Flowers in our milk jug

I expect I will be back at it again bright and early tomorrow, and will try and get all the racks assembled and the solar panels tested out and installed.  Stay tuned for more updates and we hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Installing the new countertops

This morning when we got up and had our morning coffee, we decided to tackle the installation of the new countertops.  As I mentioned previously, we got the solid birch butcherblock countertops from IKEA, we needed three pieces 98″ x 25 5/8″ and it’s 1 1/8″ thick.

I ended up picking up a new AC powered circular saw with a fine toothed blade to cut the counters – my battery powered unit would never make it through all that hardwood – and my dad has his Kreg pocket jigs here that we were able to use to cleanly connect all the pieces together.

There were some concerns that the countertop wasn’t going to be thick enough – the IKEA apron-front sink we are planning to install calls for countertops at least 1 1/2″ thick, but I’d read some reports on the internet of the sink going in ok with the thinner counters.  Turns out that everything was fine after all!

Test fitting kitchen sink
Test fitting kitchen sink

I am not too sure what we will get up to tomorrow, but I am sure we will get something done!

Passed partial occupancy inspection!!

Today was a huge milestone in the house building process…it’s been about 13 months since we received our house kit and we today passed a partial occupancy inspection.  This means we can finally move out of the RV and into the house, and finish off a few remaining items over the next couple months to get everything completely wrapped up.

Partial occupancy certificate!
Partial occupancy certificate!

While dad and I were finishing up the handrails on the stairs, uncle Paul finished off the first stage of assembling all the solar racks so they are ready to go as soon as we get the last few parts we need.

Dad and I started installing the new countertops but only just got started – more on that tomorrow I expect!

Passed electrical inspection!

This morning, pretty much first thing, the electrical inspector from the ESA showed up to do the final house wiring inspection.  It took him all of about five minutes to test our circuits and check out service panel, and then we got the sticker indicating that we passed!  This will hopefully clear the way on our path to occupancy.

Heathers uncle Paul came to help out and has been hard at work getting more of the solar racks assembled.

Uncle Paul assembling solar racks
Uncle Paul assembling solar racks

While he was busy with that (and heading out to get our new countertops – more on that later), dad and I continued working on the front stair railing to bring it up to code.  This is pretty painstaking work, cutting each baluster to fit and then fastening each one with a couple of pocket screws for a good, solid connection.

We got one entire side of the steps complete (20 balusters), and hope to get the rest of them finished tomorrow morning.

We also took the opportunity to bring up Chewie from the basement, where he’s been living, up onto the porch.  He seems to be really enjoying the fresh air!

Chewie relaxing
Chewie relaxing

After we got those balusters installed, we realized we needed a railing at the back stairs as well, so we quickly roughed up a temporary railing that will hopefully be satisfactory for our occupancy inspection – scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Back steps handrail
Back steps handrail

During all the chaos today, Heather and uncle Paul drove up to Ottawa, to the IKEA, to pick up our new countertops.  We decided to get solid birch (hardwood) butcherblock countertops and we were able to use our IKEA gift cards from our kitchen cabinet purchase to pretty much cover the entire cost – hard to beat that price.

Three slabs of birch butcherblock countertop
Three slabs of birch butcherblock countertop

That’s about all that’s going on for today.  We will be up bright and early tomorrow morning, and can hopefully get a few last things squared away before the building inspector shows up around 10am for a possible occupancy inspection.  Fingers crossed that that goes well!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures, thanks for reading – we’ll be sure to post again soon with the results of our inspection!

Cleanup before electrical inspection

Today we have what will hope will be our final electrical inspection.  To prepare for that, yesterday we went over everything in the house with a fine toothed comb – ensuring all our outlets, switches, and junction boxes had their cover plates installed, fixing a small section of conduit near the well pump, and finishing off the remaining bits of drywall around the fireplaces.

When we started working on the drywall around the bedroom fireplace, our little friend Miss Ivy thought she’d be able to help out:

Under her keen supervision we got the last of the drywall installed and tested out the bedroom fireplace.

All in all, a very successful day.  Today we hope to work on the front steps railings so we can have that ready for a potential occupancy inspection on Thursday (tomorrow) morning.

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted!


Working on the front steps and porch

It started out rather grey this morning, but it quickly cleared up.  We took every advantage of the clear weather to get back out there to try and make some more headway on the railing for the front steps.

During that process we also ended up installing more OSB sheathing around the porch to close it in.  All in all, a pretty successful day!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures, stay tuned for more updates as we get ready for our final electrical inspection on Wednesday!

Another handrail, and some drywall

Yesterday it was raining all day, so we retreated indoors and installed a proper handrail for our basement stairs.  It still needs to get trimmed a bit and painted, but it sure is a lot better than the 2×4″ board I had up there previously.

We also had a gas inspection yesterday afternoon – on that front, we had two small changes to make, and we addressed one of those yesterday (just had to shift the vent pipe for the bedroom fireplace slightly.)

Today my dad was visiting family up in Ottawa so I was here picking away at this and that.  I managed to get a shelf built in the side of our fireplace to hide away our PVR and also got most of the drywall installed on the fireplace as well.

We are hoping the rain will stop tomorrow so we can finish off the railing for the front steps leading down from the porch, we’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Stair railings in progress

Today we ended up going to the hardware store first thing in the morning to get some more supplies for our front stair railing.  We spent the better part of the day cutting and installing the main support posts for the railing, and even got one segment of railing in before the end of the day.

We also spent a few minutes doing some final checks to make sure that we’re ready for our gas inspection – mostly everything is done already we just had to install the exterior vent hood for the living room fireplace and also apply some high temperature sealant around the venting for the bedroom fireplace.

Applying high temperature sealant to bedroom fireplace venting
Applying high temperature sealant to bedroom fireplace venting

After our gas inspection tomorrow we will probably work on our stair railings some more, as well as continue on drywalling down the basement stairwell – stay tuned for more pictures!