Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How do you cover your deck?

With deck coating, of course- We have 2 outdoor areas on the 2nd floor- one above the garage for the 2nd and 3rd bedrooms (see the rendering above) and one for the Master bedroom. In order to provide a walkable surface that also serves as a waterproofing membrane AND provides a class A fire resistance rating (very important in LA's hillside areas), we had to pick a deck coating product, that would fulfill all these requirements, and still look good.
We went with Endurokote, a local manufacturer and installer of deck coating products. They have a long track record, offer a variety of finishes and do a nice job- The deck coating consists of several layers: A base coat with a metal lath, a second, elastomeric layer, a third cover coat (the current state shown on the photo), a texture coat and a finish color coat. The last 2 coats will go on, once the stucco is in place to avoid damage by the plastering crew. Over the years, the finish coat needs to be maintained, the other ones should last a long time.
The bright spots on the deck are mini-puddles from condensate water that collected over the night on the roof ran down the metal panels onto the deck.

Solar water heater panels are waiting to be installed

This week, the two solar water heater panels from Heliodyne arrived. They are big but look cool and will provide us with hot water from the sun for the largest part of the year (we also have an instant backup heater for cloudy days. They will go on the roof of the main house and attach to the standing seam metal legs with S-5! clips (in order to minimize penetrations thru the roof membrane).
We changed our plans from a passive system to an active system- due to the higher efficiency and the lower cost of the latter.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Finally, we got our windows delivered- and some of the have been installed so far (The picture shows the garage window). In terms of window manufacturers, there are a lot of different choices- some are really cheap (and you certainly get what you pay for there), others deliver quality that will last. We had the choice between Arcadia, based in the City of Industry and Torrance Aluminum, based in Perris. Both offer good quality windows and the profiles we needed for our house. In the end, we went with Arcadia, since they could offer a shorter turnaround time, have most of the facilities in-house and they're much closer to the construction site, thus we were able to have several pre-fabrication meetings at short notice and could work out tricky detail questions with their engineers rather quickly.
Customer service was very good and the windows are awesome- Energy efficient Solarban 70 glazing, nice hardware and thermally broken sturdy frames- We simply love our windows (Bill Gates can only dream of someone praising his "windows" like that)!!!
Our special Thanks go to James, Eric and Neal from Arcadia !

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Preparations for the windows

On Wednesday, the installer will start to put in the doors and windows. What might look like a simple straightforward action is in reality a sequential process that involves a number of steps that need to take place before the windows and doors go in. Take the sliding glass doors in the living room for example:
These sliders provide access to the deck area which uses cantilever beams that backspan into the house. cantilever beams are nice to look at, since they don't come with the typical heavy looking post and girder structure in front of the house, but they go back inside the building and thus they need to be protected from decay and insects. In order to do that, we had to flash around each of the beams with a self adhering waterproof membrane (called bituthene in construction), over that membrane, we installed the joist jackets (see photo) and over that goes a sheet metal beam flashing that protects the beam-to wall connection from water damage. On top of that flashing goes the door sill pan and then finally the door.
So, we are understandably excited about out new doors and windows-and tomorrow, we will see the first ones in place!