This feels a bit like the home stretch… but it is still going to be a couple months long!

Now the “punch list” starts – endless details as we make sure the tiling, cabinets, lights, electric switches, flooring, shelves, baseboards (not to mention the final connection of the electrical and water and sewer!) all happen.  Many many details..

The kitchen cabinets being installed

The kitchen cabinets in place

A picture from months ago – laying out the pattern for the “stream” mosaic on Natalie’s bathroom floor in the garage of our townhouse

Countless hours later, Catherine’s insane art project is mostly done on the floor of Nat’s bathroom – still waiting on the special order dark blue grout for the “bubbles” in the stream

The metal pieces ready to be assembled into the roof – these are a very cool material which have high reflectivity in direct sunlight (high albedo), but if you look at them at a low angle, they look dark green

The roof FINALLY going on

This week the big excitement was finally pouring the concrete for the downstairs floor!

The guys from Atlantic concrete with the truck and the pump

The concrete being pumped into the living room area

The guys hard at work

Floating the final finish

The final product setting up

After much back and forth, we decided we’d use wet “stamped” grooves for our crack control joints rather than having them cut with a saw afterwards.  The saw cuts would be a little less conspicuous, but they wouldn’t go all the way to the wall (the problem with round saw blades…).  The choice of wet grooves means the control joints are rather large, but we’ve seen places that have grouted the joints, and gotten beautiful contrasting lines.  In about 2-3 weeks after the concrete has had a chance to fully set up, it will be acid stained and sealed, and should be mirror finish.

If you’re going to be on a concrete slab anyway, concrete flooring is about the lowest energy flooring you could use, as you aren’t adding anything but sealer.  It is still pretty good if you already have a plywood sub- floor (like on a second story) as, per square meter, it has about the same embodied energy as hardwood… but there may be other considerations I haven’t thought of for second story concrete floors.

If you want to put something else on top of your concrete or plywood sub-floor, the energy adds up:

stone tile 3 kWh/m^2 (+4 kWh/m^s mortar bed)

3/4″ thick solid hardwood flooring 8 kWh/m^2

3/4″ thick concrete floor 9 kWh/m^2

engineered wood flooring  28 kWh/m^2

plywood underlayment 28 kWh/m^2

ceramic tile  30 kWh/m^2 (+4 kWh/m^2 mortar bed)

carpet (synthetic, including pad) 181 kWh/m^2

Wow! carpet…