Monday, September 2, 2013

Final Inspection

We are not scofflaws by nature. However we have been living in our house while it has been under construction. It just didn’t make any sense to move everything back into the yurt when the water, bathroom and sleeping quarters (all heated) were nearly finished in the house.

So, to make everything legal, we asked the inspector to come back one more to time to give the stamp of approval and sign the necessary papers.

We can now "officially" move in and continue working on the long list of things to complete.

A Cork Floor

In A Comedy of Errors, Balthazar said, “Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.” He did, however, neglect to mention that it’s easier to be cheerful and welcoming if one has a kitchen in which to prepare an actual feast. After working toward that end for almost the entire summer, Scott returned to Logan from Torrey on Saturday with a smile on his face because, at long last, our kitchen is finished!

It was actually almost done on August 5th. Unfortunately a series of events caused a delay. The foremost of those events was a miscalculation on the amount of cork we needed to cover the floor. When we decided to use cork, we looked at several products and decided to purchase Cleopatra Chocolate Brown Floating Cork Flooring made by DuroDesign, a Canadian floor manufacturer whose Salt Lake City dealer is Underfoot Floors.

This is a pretty pricey product, but the color was exactly what we were looking for. In addition, according to DuroDesign’s website, “Cork is a completely renewable resource harvested as bark from living cork trees, never harmed by the harvest. Our cork flooring is composed of 100% post-industrial recycled content from wine-stopper production.” This was the product for us.

Unfortunately, because the product comes from Canada, the cost of shipping was almost as much as the actual cork. Yikes! Luckily for us, the folks at Underfoot Floors combined our order with another client’s order, and we were able to split the cost of shipping with them. Whew!

Everything arrived right on time. We carefully read and re-read the directions and went to work, following the instructions step by step.

 “Before installing DuroDesign Floating Floor, cover concrete floor with 6 mil polyethylene sheets, run up the wall 3”, overlap seams 8”, and tape the sheets together. Install plank over this moisture barrier.”

As we began setting the cork in place, we were careful to follow the official instructions exactly even though the instructions were a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. Eventually we resorted to reading with a magnifying glass but finally went to the internet, which yielded easy-to-read directions.

We doggedly used the special tool provided by DuroDesign because of this warning: “IMPORTANT! To do this you will need a hammer and the SPECIAL DURODESIGN TAPPING BLOCK. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER TAPPING BLOCK. Using any other tapping block may result in damage to the cork wear layer.”

This is the “special DURODESIGN TAPPING BLOCK.” Only, because we could hardly use the special block without hammering our fingers, we had to modify it by adding a piece of 2X4 so we could actually hold the tool. There were specific instructions about labeling on the special DURODESIGN TAPPING BLOCK. “Using DURODESIGN tapping block and a hammer place block FLAT on floor, with the side up that is labeled: ‘This Side Up For Tapping On Groove’, tap on block gently until the ends of the two planks are firmly joined.”

Not only did we need to modify the “special” tool so we could hold it, there was no labeling to be seen. And the word “tapping” was an understatement. We had to “tap” with a mighty heavy hammer and with an alarming amount of force to get the pieces to click together.

As we neared the end of the project, it was apparent there were not going to be enough cork pieces.
We made zero mistakes and this was all that was left.
Unfortunately, we needed one more piece of cork to finish. The only time in the entire five years of building this house when we left the material estimation up to someone else and we came up short. (The folks at Underfoot had calculated for us from a detailed drawing of our floor plan.)

A terse phone call to Underfoot Floors registered our displeasure. Eric promised to quickly place an order to DuroDesign for three more pieces - three because we might need an extra piece or two for future repairs. And we left Torrey with an almost-finished cork floor.

One week ago Scott returned to Torrey. He stopped by Underfoot Floors to pick up the new pieces. The pieces were there, on time, with our name on them. They didn’t even ask us to pay for them. That went a long way to make us feel better about their miscalculation.

In the course of three days Scott installed the last piece of cork, washed the entire floor,

Applied the required four coats of polyurethane,

Made and attached all of the trim on the toe kicks,

And on the curved walls (before),


Manufactured a transition between the earthen floor of the living room and the kitchen and finally moved the refrigerator into place.

Kitchen complete. Let the small cheer, good welcome and merry feast begin!