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October 2007
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The Fence n Driveway Project 7.5

Concrete is Complete!
View from the street.

View from the back.
The Patio is done as well! Looking East.
Looking West.
Seriously great concrete. If you are in Phoenix or around, you really owe it to yourself to use Chayce Concrete!

The Fence n Driveway Project 7

At the end of the day yesterday, the forms had been placed.Driveway2

The lads arrived at the crack of dawn to prep for the concrete. Here they are tamping the dirt for the slab.
Here is a new innovation in concrete. Site Mixed Concrete.
I have a narrow driveway, so it was like threading a needle.

With really big thread….

First up was the patio and heater slabs. Here they are tamping the concrete, to eliminate voids and pockets.

Here is the first pass toward the finish.

Here it sits waiting for it to cure…

The Fence n Driveway Project 6

Driveway formwork is underway. The lads from Chayce Concrete are forming up today. Concrete tomorrow.

In the back they are forming for the water heater and the new alcove for the reefer.

It will be nice to have the heater enclosed.

While I am at it, I am having them form and pour a patio.

The Fence n Driveway Project 5

Last block

Clean up and the gates will be installed next week

Soon to be 75′ of driveway. Much less to mow.

The Fence n Driveway Project 4

This morning at 8:43 am the first block was laid.
An hour later…
High Noon…The front is 4′ high, the back is 6′ high.
5:30 They are done for the day 161 feet of block. 2 Guys laying block, 1 guy mixing mortar, and moving blocks, and striking the joints.
All the way to the back and across the back.

I live in what is euphemistically know as the ‘inner city’, and we still have meter readers.
Here is the only custom work. This is the meter readers block. The electric guy and the gas lady are both around 5’5” or so. I have dogs, who don’t like the ex, the kids, or the grand kids, so the meter folks would not have a chance.
The weirdest part was the 2 hours I spent at 4 different block yards, chasing down this block, which is most often used as either a decorative top block or as a bottom drain block.

Lorenzo from Chayce Concrete stopped by to check on progress. The block guys will probably be done tomorrow early, and it will be a couple of days for the gates. Lorenzo’s crew will probably start grading for the driveway and the slab in the back on monday. Meanwhile, I am thinking about patios, and grass. I would rather not deal with grass, but it is the only way to control the dust and crap that floats around here. Sprinklers, timers, lawn mowers, blah, blah blah….

The Fence n Driveway Project 3.5

Block showed up at 1:00. A lot of Block. All mine. Desert Brown.
By 3:00 the lads had most if it staged and ready to go for tomorrow…


I have a friend who does stained glass, and has given me a bunch of books to look at for a pattern for the window in the media room. The pillows on top is the answer. It is a good looking counterpoint to the pillows below which was the inspiration for the living room

Meanwhile I bought a new table saw, so I can build the DVD Storage Cabinets I am designing. I have seen nothing in the market that even comes close to something I like. If the prototype works out, I have a friend with a millwork company, who can whack out parts 4 sheets of material at a time with computer controlled laser accuracy. I spent 3 1/2 years working for another millwork company cutting parts on an industrial panel saw. Serious cutting and production.

The Fence n Driveway Project 3

9 am the concrete truck arrived. Two guys with wheelbarrows moved the concrete and poured the footing. The third guy spread, leveled and installed the rebar for the columns.
They were done by 10:45.

300 feet of footing, 9 yards of concrete. This is the west side.
Once the block is done, I will redesign and rebuild the supports for the awning on the west side.

This is the east side, soon to be home to the new driveway.

While they were here, I snagged a bit of concrete to square off my porch.
Since it is day 2, Blackie is resting.

Flo and Walnut are resting, although Flo is still cranky about strangers wandering around

Here is the casa at 11:30. The guys will be back to start doing the block at noon…

The Fence n Driveway Project 2

Monday was a wash with me finding out if I could extend my fence to the back of the fence behind. I called the city and ended going down there. The city has an alley guy. Nice guy. The short version is no, unless the utilities or the city needs to dig up the sewer.
So this morning I opened up the casa lemurzone canine internment camp.
The lads from Hurricane Fence showed up at 7:30 and began dismantling fencing, and began trenching for the footings. By Hand.
We also moved my old gates next door to Maggie’s house. The gates she had before didn’t meet and she had no small entrance gate.
Now before you get all soft and mushy thinking that I am a softy, I am not. I am known around here as that crazy white motherf***er. I did this so I did not spend anymore mornings chasing “Puppy” around and getting him back into his yard.
There is a back story to this dog involving a prickly pear cactus, and a 700 dollar vet bill. I was the owner of this mutt for 48 hours…. But the kids next door like him.

Meanwhile the lads are almost finished with the trenching.
Tomorrow the footing, gets poured, Thursday the block work begins….

Temporary Structures

I am known in certain circles as the guy who builds stuff to last. I am a victim of my craft. I built this temporary structure 3 years ago, to enclose the water heater. Yes, folks do put them outside. It took me 9 hours to build this. Including paint.
One of the stranger things that the PO did was to brick up the old backdoor in the kitchen and put it at the side of the house. I used the old back door slab as the foundation for the shed, knowing that I would at some point pour a new, bigger slab so that I could open up that doorway, and build an alcove to stuff my 25 Cu Ft refrigerator into it, opening up my kitchen, and enclosing the water heater.

Since the driveway folks are going to be here, I decided to have the slab in the back of the house poured at the same time. To move that project along, I started to tear down the shed to clear the area for the concrete folks.

This is what I got done yesterday.
(note to self; If you know it is temporary, stop building shit to withstand category 5 events!!)
It took me all day to remove the side wall and move and reconnect the water heater. I only spent an hour and a half going to and coming from the parts house. The largest part of the day was spent removing the plywood paneling on the side and front wall, which I had attached with 2” ringshank nails and was nailed every 12”. It took 3 hours to remove the toe nails on the rafters to the top plate, unbolt the roof from the block wall where I had used sleeve anchors to attach it to the wall, and finally lever it far enough to be able to tip it off the walls.

I finished it up this afternoon which didn’t take as long, as I drove up to a clients house and worked on their computer, stopped by the Walk in Closet project, to see how that is going,(just fine as it is painted, he installed the closet rods, she is moving the clothes in)

The new slab will be 8′ wide and 10 feet deep. I will be here all week as the blocklayers and concrete guys will be here, and I don’t want my dogs eating anyone. I will be going to the parts store after they leave for the day. I will frame up the exterior walls, move the water heater, frame up the alcove ,add a valve for the ice maker, wire in a receptacle for the fridge and build a new roof that will extend 3 feet beyond the wall, giving me a nice overhang. Then I will go in the kitchen and open up the doorway, sheetrock, tape, paint and move the fridge.

The Fence n Driveway Project 1

In remodeling, there is a great feeling of accomplishment in doing it yourself. If the numbers of housebloggers is any indication, there is a lot of accomplishment going on. There are times when you need to step back and balance your life against your skill and time.
I have been remodeling full and part time for 30+ years. Residential and Commercial. Recently the pendulum is swinging toward more full time as the web design market is changing, and there is no money in commodity computers. With houses, I can build them, tear them up, remodel them and even design them.

Sometime you need to call in the pros.

When I first moved in, I had enough money to either do the fence or to foam the roof. In retrospect I made a wise choice. Having won a lottery prize, the work on mi casa continues.

Next up is the Fence n Driveway Project. Early on I recognized, that the guy who did the house flip didn’t have a clue about construction. The driveway in its current location has a couple of problems. 1. It slopes to the house. 2. It also slopes to the center of the driveway. Runoff and standing water are the major problems.

Since I enclosed the carport, I wanted to rip up this driveway and move it to the other side of my property. I have a straight shot on the east side for my plans.
At some point, I want to build a workshop/garage in back.

So having some money, I went in search of a fence company to build my fence. I found the folks at Hurricane Fence. They are a neighborhood company, and were able to give me a reasonable price for my fence. Shop Local. They also have built a lot of the fences in my neighborhood, and understand my concerns during construction regarding making sure that the neighbor dogs are secure during construction. As an added bonus, I will be able to recycle my old gates to the house next door. This will help her keep her dog in her yard. No this is about me. I don’t want to chase her dog in the mornings. Nor do I want to be woken up by dog fights by the packs of dogs that develop and roam around.
So my new fence will be brown concrete block, 4′ high in front, 6′ high in back with 2 rolling gates, and a new entrance gate. Sort of like this.
They are standard iron gates that I will be covering with wood of some sort. On the other side I found the folks at Chayce Concrete, who will be doing the driveway for me. Lorenzo was outstanding in answering questions and providing answers.

So the other side of the house will look like this.
After this is done, I will be installing an electric gate opener for the driveway, and hopefully make enough money to build my workshop.

This project kicks off Monday Morning.