Monday, September 22, 2008

Time for a Silobration

As (bad) luck would have it, I was ready to start the stucco job just as the monsoon season arrived in northern Minnesota. It seemed to be raining- or threatening to do so every day, so I decided not to fight it and took the time to cover the entire silo with a big giant tarp. Way to be proactive for once, Self.

Over the course of two days, I applied the cement basecoat of Parex to the walls. Is is basically troweled onto the EPS foamboard in a thin layer, covered with a reinforcing mesh, then troweled again to embed the mesh in the basecoat. After the basecoat cured, Keith came over and helped trowel on the finish coat of Parex, which is like a thick gritty paint. This layer went on much faster, and we were done in only a few hours this time.

After another day of touch-up work, caulking windows, and installing the vents, I was FINALLY ready to climb down the ladder for the last time. It's been almost 2 years since I sketched out this crazy idea on some graph paper, and about a year since I first buckled up the tool belt and started building the big upside-down test tube. No doubt there have been several hundred (if not more) labor hours invested and likely a hundred more spent lying awake at night wondering how to actually finish it. As I started to disassemble the scaffolding, a friend stopped over and the first words out of his mouth were, "Now do you know why people make square buildings?" I think I get it...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The pot of gold?

After a day of rain showers, we got this.

The Silo.

The last task before the stucco goes on the silo was to install a 'skirt' around the base of the roof to divert the rainwater out and away from the wall. After spending several days talking to every sheet-metal fabricator within a 60 mile radius of The North Pole, Minnesota, I finally gave up on the hopes of getting something custom formed to fit the curved wall. So, on to my backup plan. Using the leftover flashing from the milkhouse roof, I formed my own 'curved' skirt by lapping short pieces and screwing them together. I also added several vents around the perimeter to flush out the airspace above the 2nd floor ceiling of the silo. It's not as pretty as I wanted, but when you are standing on the ground, 20 feet below, it looks just fine. The silo is now ready for stucco!

Bending drywall- 2nd attempt

To finish the arched ceiling of the barn meant that I'd have to force drywall to bend beyond its theoretical limits. Since my previous method of using 2 layers of 1/4" drywall added alot of cost and time to the job, I was determined to find a better way. So I fashioned a very simple station to elevate and wet the concave face of the sheet using a couple of water-soaked towels. After sitting for an hour or so, the sheet turned into a noodle and slowly sagged to the floor. I removed the towels and let the fan blow on it for another hour, which "set" the sheet into its new taco shape. Since this seemed to work so well, I cut and formed all 14 sheets needed for the ceiling so they were ready to go up when help arrived. My dad came over and we double-teamed the installation. With the sheets pre-curved, we just needed to screw down a couple of cross bars to pull them into the exact shape of the ceiling, then secure with ALOT of drywall screws. The last sheet ready to go up. Now if I could just find a crew to tape and mud all these seams!