It started raining when we were driving home and became a real storm by the time we walked through our apartment door. Unable to decide what to do, we watched Fred for awhile. Then, with the evening window of time slowly evaporating, we decided to rent a movie. We [i.e. Chelsea unilaterally] rented The Age of Adaline….the disc was scratched and refused to play beyond the first 20 minutes. We switched to watching Monster Squad on Netflix instead – fanTASTIC movie.
I went through the posts we’ve written to update the titles to something more descriptive. In glancing at our posts, a list formed of everything we had to DO OVER that we paid the crew to do.
- Remove windows in order to install the Pella Tape sill flashing
- Remove door and make the opening the correct size so it wouldn’t distort the door jamb
- Cut down the ends of the welded-in steel cross beams so as not to stab through the insulation (3 of 8 ends complete)
- Install more studs in the end-caps. The lack of studs was ridiculous.
- Re-do ALL of the sheathing nailing on the end-caps
- Caulk all of the nail ‘caves’ that the crew’s nail gun left
- Caulk the seams between the sheathing panels (this was not a re-do, but the crew originally said it was included and changed their mind on the last day)
- Re-nail the entire subfloor because it was sometimes floating above the joists on beads of glue
- Sand the bowed up seams of the subfloor boards because the crew left the floor uncovered during multiple rain events
- (This has not been noted previously, but they also left our primed-but-not-yet-painted door out overnight, uncovered and it rained. We happened to notice prior to the rain, so we wrapped it in pallet wrap before the storm and then took the wrap off the next morning before the crew arrived.)
We got to the house later than usual but managed to complete another round of flattening via the sun ray method. After cutting down our red lines and rechecking levelness, we marked areas that needed more work. There are only a few spots left on the inner circle.
We finished up the inner circle but had to call it a night before progressing much further. A completely innocent looking storm cloud rolled into visual range and we figured we’d close up, just in case, and see what happened. It was a good thing we did! More flattening on the horizon for Sunday.
While I began sanding the inner sun rays with the belt sander to create smooth transitions between the curve-bottomed saw troughs, Brian initiated the first of the outer circles. We are working from a point of reference height in the southwest corner and making another clock face.
We took an unexpected 3 hour break in the middle of the afternoon. The break started when we realized our reference level was not accurate (what?!!?) and was extended when a rain storm appeared out of nowhere. We buttoned up the house and went level shopping.
Every once in awhile, we use our fancy 48″ Irwin 2050 box beam level as a reference to confirm that our aluminum beam is decently level. Then we put our somewhat accurate & much smaller 9″ torpedo level on the aluminum beam and orient it in whichever direction more closely matches the reading of the reference level. The torpedo level is much lighter so it doesn’t weigh down the aluminum beam and create a sag in the middle, which could distort our flatness readings.
Anyhow, today we found out that our big Irwin level was not reading the same when rotated 180 degrees, which means that it’s not a good reference. It was never dropped by the way, and it used it read correctly on that vial. We knew it would be covered under warranty but couldn’t be brought back to Lowe’s today. We decided we didn’t need a big level for the subfloor project, but maybe it would be nice to have a super-accurate small one that could sit on the aluminum beam, so we went shopping for one.
After comparing a Craftsman digital torpedo level ($40, stated accuracy of 0.1 degrees) and a Swanson Savage 9″ bubble level ($30, stated accuracy of 0.029 degrees), we almost decided to go with the digital option. It’d be much easier to read the lighted LCD screen from different angles on the ground and we could see exactly how much it was off.
The only problem was that neither of the brand new levels were as accurate as the 9″ torpedo we already had, which wasn’t terribly accurate. The Swanson Savage which was WAY off, even bragged about “Ultimate accuracy”. What the heck is wrong with the level industry? We took the digital option back to the store and asked if we could open the other unit to check its accuracy. It was also off by 0.2 degrees, which can end up being a lot over 8′.
[In case you don’t know how to check a level – see what it reads when oriented one way, flip it 180 degrees and then see what the bubble reads. If you are checking levelness on the same surface with the level in the same orientation, it should read the same thing in both directions.]
By the time we were done playing with levels, the hardware stores were closing and we still had a substantial amount of work time available. Thus, decided that our current torpedo level was ‘good enough’ if we read it a certain way and we went back for more flattening work.
Brian also wants to add two things – Even though the Irwin let us down, the brand has the advantage of allowing lifetime warranty returns/exchanges at place of purchase, as opposed to shipping to the manufacturer. Being able to swap out a bad level for a good one, without going through a warranty mailing process, is awfully convenient. Irwin is therefore not a bad choice. Empire seems to offer the same exchange service through Home Depot. On the other hand, a more expensive level that maintains its accuracy indefinitely might also be nice.
For a full summary of our experience with Arched Cabins, please read Arched Cabin Summary.