Metal Works

Last week we had a meeting for the metal railing system in the house with Centerline Studio based out of Indianapolis.  They are an awesome metal fabrication studio in town who do a broad range of work, with a lot of experience doing metal railings for architectural projects.

We are going for somewhat of an industrial vibe in the house and want to keep the railings relatively simple but still look contemporary.  We have a few different instances of railings in the design, both on the interior and on the exterior.  We have railings on both the bridge and as a barrier between the loft and the open 2-story section over the kitchen.  We are also hoping to continue the railing down the staircase.  Further, we plan on having a railing system in conjunction with a partial parapet wall on the roof garden directly off the loft on the second floor.  It is our goal to continue the same railing look from the interior out onto the exterior of the house, to maintain continuity.

We have opted, at this point, at going with a cable railing system with mild steel square tube posts and rails.  It will give us that slightly industrial look but will still maintain a contemporary appearance and allow us to keep costs down by minimizing the number of posts needed.  Here are a few examples of Centerline’s work that are along the lines of what we are looking to implement:

Centerline Studio

Centerline StudioCenterline Studio

Quick Update…SIPs

After pouring the slab last week, the next step is the fabrication of the Structural Insulated Panels.  We are currently tying up some loose ends, with the focus being on final decisions on windows and doors.  We are also awaiting final shop drawings from the SIP manufacturer Thermocore, a local company based out of Moorseville, Indiana.  Here is a quick blurb from their website describing the benefits of SIPs over traditional framing:

Thermocore’s next generation of stud-less framing eliminates thermal breaks and air leaks associated with traditional stick-frame construction. The result is a wall system with twice the insulating power of traditional exterior walls. Thermocore’s structural insulated building panels slash energy demand and shrink monthly energy bills.

What makes Thermocore structural insulated panels different from other SIPs? Only Thermocore’s patented 4-inch insulated wall panels accommodate standard building materials, eliminating the need for costly window and door jamb extensions. In addition to cost savings through energy efficiency, Thermocore’s wall and roof SIPs provide:

  • The highest insulation value possible with heavy-duty polyurethane foam
  • Customization for each building design
  • Virtually waste-free production
  • Faster installation
  • Better air quality and noise reduction

After we receive the final drawings we will review them, approve them, and then Thermocore will proceed with fabrication of the wall system.  Currently, we are not aware of the lead time for fabrication but should find out in the near future. The wall panels will be fabricated off site and will then be brought to the site and will go up rather quickly.  So the time waiting for the walls to be fabricated will be made up for in the time it takes to erect the panels on site.

It is a busy schedule upcoming, involving meeting with various trades to ensure all things run smoothly.  Next week involves meeting with a local steel fabricator for the railing systems, meeting with a roofing company to ensure proper roofing installation for future green roof application, and a meeting to discuss countertops and tiling.  It is an exciting time and I will make sure we share all of our decisions with you.

Stayed tuned for updates on the status of the wall system and for more information on the various upcoming decisions.

The Slab

Yesterday the slab was poured for the first floor.  As you may or may not have known, the home is designed as slab-on-grade construction.  However, the slab has been slightly lifted out of the ground to avoid the slab appearing to be right at grade from the front entrance.  Further, you will notice in the photos that the slab at the front entry is lifted 8″ higher than the rest of the first floor to give that space a bit of definition and also allow for a nice transition from interior to exterior.

The final finish of the slab is to remain it’s natural gray tone, simply sealed with the soy-base sealer Acri-Soy.

In terms of the slab itself, we did some research into proper insulation for both the slab itself and also the foundation walls.  We made some changes along the way and have learned some things during the process as well.  We feel the end solution will perform much better than our initial details had shown.  We wanted to make sure the slab was properly insulated but still stayed within a reasonable budget.  The initial thought, before additional research, was to use 2″ rigid insulation up the interior face of the foundation walls and then to extend it parallel to the slab 2′ in around the entire perimeter.

There were two places in particular, however, that we modified this initial insulation strategy.  We decided, after some research and recommendations, that it would be beneficial and more efficient to provide some sub-slab insulation under the entire slab…as opposed to simply this 2′ band around the perimeter.  As a result, we continued the rigid insulation under the entire slab which will provide a greater insulation value and allow the floors to stay warmer in the winter.

The second modification was to address the issue of the thermal bridge between the foundation block and the slab itself.  Originally, and what is typical in many slab-on-grade details, is to simply allow for the slab and the foundation to essentially butt up directly to one another…with some sort of expansion joint.  This, however, creates a thermal bridge and can cause a temperature differential between the edge of the slab and the underside of the slab.  As a result of this bridge, we placed tapered 2″ rigid insulation between these two elements, eliminating this thermal bridge.  The reasoning for the tapering was to allow the slab pour to extend completely to the interior wall edge.  Below is an illustration found during our research which demonstrates this detail (ignore the radiant heating aspect though):

We are very pleased with the results of the pour and can begin to envision the living spaces a little more.  In other news, we received the money from the city today for the manufacturing of the SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels).  So, we should be moving forward with the walls as final shop drawings come in the near future.  Can’t wait till we see some walls going up on site!