C3 – Kevin Catlett

Kingsland, TX – 210-394-3325

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Latest News

A Playhouse for Christmas?

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Is it  time to upgrade your child’s Playhouse? With Christmas just around the corner there are still a few weeks left to plan the perfect gift!

Let us design and build a Christmas surprise for you son or daughter. Maybe Grandmas’ house needs a new play space.playhouse_green

Or maybe a little space in the trees might make some new memories of cousins spending the night in the backyard.

house on tree in evening garden

Send me your ideas and let’s get creative and surprise someone for Christmas.

Kevin C – C3 Construction
Serving Central Texas and Beyond
210-394-3325
kevin@c3co.info

 

Why I build with Zip systems!

Have you ever seen a building with GREEN Walls and wondered what it is? It’s a wall system that is made of OSB (oriented strand board) that includes a moisture barrier. No more house wrap blowing around in the wind or getting torn.

Photo Oct 20, 4 25 25 PM

I first used Zip Systems sheathing on my own house approx 8 years ago. After leaving a few pieces in the scrap pile exposed to the weather for several months I noticed that they still looked good. The material was weathered but it wasn’t coming apart like normal OSB. The product was holding together very well for being left completely exposed to the elements.

So when I started C3 Contracting in April my local lumber yard didn’t stock Zip Systems. So I built with regular OSB sheathing and applied Tyvek wrap to the project. What a pain! And the sheathing just wasn’t very good quality. Even with a sharp saw blade the cuts weren’t clean and any material exposed to rain quickly started to peel and swell. So I ordered some Zip for the 12×24 workshop you see above and the product quality is better than I remember. The sheets are very dense and cut cleanly. And edges that were exposed to our recent rains held up extremely well. The photo above is before the tape sealing the seams has been applied but given my personal experience I’m not worried of a little rain before the project gets tape and siding applied.

I want my customers to have the advantage of the best quality materials available, even on small projects. Click Here to learn more about the product or send me an email with any questions.
Kevin C.

Hacienda – Flooring Complete

Here are some updated pics of “the Hacienda”. The vinyl plank flooring is finished. The temporary blocks under the deck are being replaced with the permanent footings and the decking is going down. The kitchen cabinets are in and it’s time for the trim and back-splash.  Bathroom to follow next week.

Photo Oct 12, 3 46 42 PM
The bunk-bed wall goes here!

Photo Oct 12, 3 47 00 PM
Kitchen cabinets with concrete counter top.

Photo Sep 29, 12 37 16 PM
Stucco finish concrete siding.

Photo Sep 29, 12 37 04 PM
Main stairs will go here. Maybe some stone steps or rustic metal hand rails.

 

School Cafeteria Remodel

Summer kept us busy remodeling a school cafeteria. The Central Texas campus shown below had been remodeled at least two previous times in it’s history. The cafeteria currently serves approx 80 students a day at an alternative campus for computer based learning. The kitchen also does double duty to serve the training center and board room used for teacher education programs and school board meetings. So it was time for a face lift and some new equipment!

Photo Apr 08, 11 57 19 AM
No serving line and over-sized equipment.

Photo Apr 08, 11 58 24 AM
Outdated and inefficient dish washer.

Photo Jun 01, 1 56 51 PM
Everything must go! Sections of this wall were removed for better traffic flow around the kitchen.

Photo Jul 09, 1 27 50 PM
Non-slip rubber flooring by Eco-Grip and new white FRP walls. Time for some trim.

Photo Jul 31, 9 51 01 PM
Here is the view from the new entrance. The serving line  equipment is being unwrapped for startup .

Photo Jul 31, 9 51 23 PM
And the updated cooking line view, with the new dish room in the background, as the final cleanup was being done.

This project took approx 60 days to plan and stage the equipment and contractors and approx 8 weeks from move out day until completion.

I’ll try to get some “action” shots from the school district since they have been using it since the end of August.

Thanks for looking –

Kevin C – the C3 company

 

Walk-in Freezer Ramp

One of our commercial customers needed to replace the ramp for their walk-in freezer. The existing ramp was to steep and was starting to come apart from moving heavy loads of frozen food in and out every day.

Photo Oct 01, 1 12 11 PM
Old Ramp needing replacement.

So we built a solid wooded base covered in aluminum diamond tread plate (concrete was not an option) and lengthened the ramp to 6 1/2 feet. The gentle slope was much easier to roll product down.

Photo Oct 02, 12 23 02 PM

And the safety rails along the sides prevent the pallet jack from rolling off the edge before reaching the smooth warehouse floor.

And another satisfied customer!

Kevin C – the C3 company……….

500 sq/ft Hacienda

With a flare of Spanish influence this 500 sq/ft guest house is shaping up nicely. With steel exterior accents, stucco finished walls and a wrap around porch defining the outside.  And the interior finish is all custom; concrete counter tops, a bunk-bed wall and ship-lap siding will complete the project.

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The  concept drawing above was the first time to put the customers ideas into print.  The client was looking for an exterior reminiscent of the southwest and Spanish hacienda’s. A wrap around porch with heavy wood accent’s and a stucco finish are preferred features.

 

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And here we are under construction. Notice the galvanized steel panels above the porch. These panels will also be used on the roof of the porches and the rear walls. Stucco finish Hardie Board Siding panels will finish the walls below the porches.

 

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And heavy cedar posts, beams, and trim finish off the exterior style. Lots of details still to add including antiqued metal brackets on the posts and beams, stained decking on the porches, custom wall sconces and more….

Stay tuned for future updates.

How much does a “Tiny House” cost?

Little_house_layer

Let’s expand our question: How much does a Tiny House, a cabin, a mother-in-law cottage, efficiency apartment, etc…. cost? More than $5000, despite what you’ve read on the internet. You may be a able to build a weather tight shed but if you want insulation, double pane windows, running water, electricity, and climate control (air conditioning) it’s going to cost a little more…. How much more? Read on……..

Keep these two number in mind – $30,000 and/or $100 per sq. ft.

Certain costs vary with the size of the structure. Framing, siding and roofing costs will rise as the overall square footage grows, but the cost per square foot will decrease. An online quote from a national small shed company shows a cost for a 8′ x 14’unit, 112 sq/ft, of $4469 or $39.90 per sq/ft.  A larger 16′ x 20′ unit, 320 sq/ft, has a base price of $8479 or $26.50 per sq/ft. So in our basic example, the more you build the less it costs per sq/ft.

Now we need to add some features that make our shell into a house. Things like insulation, interior walls, paint, etc…. For the purpose or our exercise we will double our cost per square foot. Our little house now costs between $53 and $79 per sq/ft.

What else will make this a home? How about a toilet, vanity and shower? As an estimate lets use $700 for the shower, $150 for the vanity and $150 for the toilet. And we need a place to cook so a sink, faucet, compact refrigerator, 2 burner electric cook top and two base cabinets with a basic counter top will cost approx. $1500 if we shop for the items on sale. And last but not least we need a hot water heater, approx $250, and an air conditioner with heat will be approx $1700 (I prefer min-split a/c system).

So we have added another $4450 to our grand total. This price does not change as our house grows in size. Our cost per square foot on our little 112 sq/ft unit (probably to small to fit all this stuff) is now just over $118 per sq/ft and our larger 320 sq/ft unit is still just under $70 per sq/ft.

So here’s our totals so far:
8′ X 14′ – 112 sq/ft = $13,437 or $119 per sq/ft
16′ x 20′ – 320 sq/ft = $21,460 or $67 per sq/ft
home_money
But we’re not through yet, we need a somewhere to sleep, a place to sit, and probably some shelves or a closet for storage. If we buy these items new or if we build them in place (such as a bench with built in storage) they still cost $$$. And we need to hook up our house to electricity, water and sewage. (Yes, you can build this to live off grid but that is an entirely separate set of expenses) Again, we are going with a rough estimate – Electrical installation and connection to power already on the property, approx $3200.  Plumbing installation and connection to existing water and sewer, approx $2800. Beware, electrical and plumbing prices are highly varied across the country, the prices mentioned are only estimates for our exercise.

Adding another $6000 brings us to $19,437 ($173.55 sq/ft) for our 8′ x 14′ and $27,460 ($85.80 sq/ft) for our 16′ x 20′.

We still have lots of finishing touches to add and we might want to upgrade those low cost shingles to a metal roof. A porch would be a nice place to sit on those summer evenings. More expenses……..

Remember our two numbers we started with? $30,000 or $100 per sq/ft? How did we compare? Our ultra tiny 8′ x 14′ unit is packed and every space has been used. It’s not uncommon for ultra tiny units to exceed $300 per square foot, but we have stayed on a tight budget and probably finished in the mid $20’s including our finishing touches. Our larger, and more practical efficiency unit with 320 sq/ft went over the $30,000 mark with finish out and comes in at slightly below $100 per sq/ft.

So how much is your little house going to cost? Remember, we are building a small home, not a shed in the woods: Plan on spending over $25,000 (probably over $35,000) and even though we might build ultra-tiny, don’t expect a huge savings. A sink and toilet in a 3000 sq/ft home costs the same as it does in a 112 sq/ft tiny home.

Kevin Catlett
C3 – Owner, Dreamer, Builder

A Shed is not a Tiny House

Yes, you can live in a shed. You can add some finishing touches that might even make it feel like a home. But don’t confuse the construction of a shed with a home.

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While a simple shed from your local lumber yard may keep your garden tools dry or make a good play house for your grandkids, it is not built with the same details that make a house last for 50 years or more. When you look at the picture above, you can immediately tell that you are looking at a shed. But the photo below looks like a tiny house.

small_house_700

 

Let’s compare a few details. Look at the roof overhand, referred to as the roof eave. The eaves on the shed barely extend past the edge of the wall. The tiny home has eaves that extend further to help keep water off of the exterior walls and windows. You can also see that even though the doors are very similar, the doors on the tiny house are protected by the extended eaves. The doors on the shed are exposed to rain and more susceptible to water damage.

But the biggest differences in quality construction can’t be seen from the outside. Terms like jack studs, double header, flashing tape and vapor barrier aren’t things you will hear when building a shed. But any house, tiny cottage or the White House, needs to be built with good construction methods that hold up over time.

window-drip-cap

These small details make a big difference. And if you ever have plans of finishing the interior or adding heating or cooling, you will need to make sure your house is built correctly to prevent mold growth and provide a comfortable space.

So don’t buy a shed from your big box lumber yard for your small house project. Make sure you are buying a house, however small it might be, and your perfect space will be around for many years and might be passed down for many generations.

Kevin Catlett
Owner – C3
Outdoors & So Much More!

 

Uses for Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

Copied from my Facebook Timeline: Not my work but some really great ideas.

ORIGINAL BLUE DAWN . . . IT’S NOT JUST FOR DISHES ANYMORE

Wild Life
Ever wonder why Dawn Dishwashing Liquid is the wildlife cleaner of choice after an oil spill? According to the International Bird Rescue Research Center, Dawn effectively removes grease but does not cause harm to the skin of the birds. It’s also biodegradable and contains no phosphates.

BUBBLES
According to Bubbles.org, Dawn dishwashing liquid makes great homemade bubbles. Here is the Giant Bubble Recipe used in bubble makers at many children’s museums: 1/2 cup Ultra Dawn 1/2 gallon warm water 1 tablespoon glycerin (available at any drug store) OR White Karo syrup works too! Stir gently. Skim the foam off the top of the solution (too much foam breaks down the bubbles). Dip bubble wand and get ready for some good, clean fun!

GREASY HAIR PROBLEMS
Kids get into the darnedest things! Like Vaseline and baby oil rubbed into their hair! Dawn is mild enough to use on their hair and strong enough to remove the most stubborn grease.

HAIR PRODUCT BUILDUP
Once a month use original Dawn as you would shampoo. It will remove excess oil from your hair and scalp and strip away any build-up of styling products without any damage. Perform this once a month and you won’t have to buy expensive salon products that do the same thing.

MANICURE SECRET
Soak fingers in full-strength blue Dawn. It makes the cuticles soft and easy to work with. And it removes the natural oil from the fingernails, which allows the polish to adhere very well.

REPEL HOUSEPLANT INSECTS
A safe, effective way to repel insects from your houseplants, including aphids, spider mites and mealy bugs. Put a drop of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid in a spray bottle, fill the rest of the bottle with water, shake well, and mist your household plants with the soapy water.

CLEAN YOUR WINDOWS
Try this recipe from Merry Maids: mix 3 drops Dawn in 1 gallon water and fill a spray bottle with the solution. Spritz and wipe as you would with any window cleaner.

PETS AND PESTS
Use it to bathe the dogs. It kills fleas on contact and is much cheaper than expensive dogshampoos.

CLEAN AUTOMOTIVE TOOLS
After you have finished your automotive repair project, soak your dirty tools in Dawn before you put them away to remove all the oil and grime. Dawn also helps prevent rust from forming on the tools.

ICE PACK
Partially fill a strong zip-type sandwich bag with Dawn dishwashing liquid, close and freeze. The liquid soap stays cold much longer and it can be re-frozen many times. It will conform to the place you need an ice pack.

TUB AND SHOWER CLEANER
Take a spray bottle and fill it halfway with white vinegar. Heat in the microwave. Fill the rest of the way with blue Dawn. Put lid on and shake to mix well. Spray on your tub and shower walls. Allow to sit for a few minutes and rinse away. It will totally melt all the gunk, slime, sludge and other stuff that builds up including a bathtub ring.

REPEL ANTS
Spray counter-tops, cupboards and any other area where you see ants with a solution of Dawn and water. Wipe dry. The slight residue of Dawn that remains will not be a problem at all for kids or pets, but ants hate it. Should you see a trail of ants, go ahead and hit them with the Dawn spray.

STRIPPING CLOTH DIAPERS
Add a squirt or two of original Dawn dish soap to your washer and run a hot wash, then rinse until there are no more bubbles. Dawn is a degreasing agent and helps stripping by removing oily residue. Be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse until the water runs clear.

UNCLOGGING TOILETS
A cup of Dawn detergent poured into a clogged toilet allowed to sit for 15 minutes and then followed with a bucket of hot water poured from waist height will clear out the toilet.

POISON IVY
Poison ivy spreads through the spread of the oil within the blisters. Washing the affected area with Dawn, especially on children who keep scratching the blister’s open, helps dry up the fluid, AND keep it from spreading.

DRIVEWAY CLEANER
If you have gasoline or motor oil stains on your driveway, you can use the kitty litter method to clean up the excess oil and then use a scrub broom and a solution of biodegradable Dawn dishwashing detergent and warm water to safely and effectively remove excess motor oil from the pavement.

OILY SKIN
Dawn makes a great facial cleanser for oily skin. A drop or two combined with warm water will do the trick.

PAINT OR GREASE REMOVER FOR HANDS
Dawn combined with corn oil makes for the perfect paint or grease remover. Simply combine a little bit of both in your hands then rub it over affected areas. The corn oil and the dishwashing liquid both help to dissolve the grease and paint – yet leave skin soft, unlike harsher paint removers.

CLEANING THE KIDDIE POOL
Plastic wading pools can get very gunky, very fast. Dump the water, then scrub the pool with Dawn and a sponge. More potent cleaners like bleach will weaken and dry out the plastic in the sun.

MULTIPURPOSE CLEANER
Merry Maids recommends using a drop of Dawn in water to clean ceramic tile and no-wax/linoleum floors. You can also use the spray on:
• Bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks.
• Woodwork, e.g., baseboards, shelves, and wainscoting. (Dry as you go–wood doesn’t like prolonged contact with water.)
• Tubs and toilet seats.

LAUNDRY PRE-TREATER FOR OILY STAINS
For oil-based stains such as lipstick, grease, butter, motor oil, cooking oil, and some pen inks, simply apply some Dawn dishwashing liquid directly to the stain and scrub with a small brush or toothbrush until the oil is removed, and then launder as usual.

NON-TOXIC LUBRICANT
Sliding glass doors, door knobs, hinges etc. It lasts much longer than any aerosol type spray that I have tried. And Its non-toxic! It does a great job of cleaning the parts that its lubricating as well!

SIDEWALK DE-ICER
For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures, mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon hot/warm water and pour over walkways. They won’t refreeze. No more salt eating at the concrete in your sidewalks

POOL CLEANING
Squirt Dawn down the middle of the pool and all of the dirt, suntan lotion, etc. will move to the edges of the pool for easy clean up! AND it makes the pools sparkle.

EYEGLASS DEFOGGER
Simply rub a small drop of Dawn on eyeglass lenses, and wipe clean. It will leave a very thin film that will prevent them from fogging up.

SHOWER FLOORS
Cover greasy footprints on shower floors with a coating of Dawn; let sit overnight. Scrub away the gunk in the morning with a stiff brush.

APHID CONTROL ON FRUIT TREES
Mix two tablespoons Dawn to a gallon of water and put in your sprayer. Try to get spray both sides of the leaves, branches and the tree trunks. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse the trees THOROUGHLY!

Hot Water Everywhere!

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Maybe that’s an exaggeration but I noticed some water by the utility room door and discovered my old hot water heater had sprung a leak. The old utility room already had water damage from a leak in the upstairs bathroom and you can see most of the dry wall had already been removed. I was planning on moving the hot water heater to the new utility room anyway, just not today! So I made a quick trip to Home Depot for a nice 50 gallon unit by Rheem. The new utility room is on the back of the house so if there are any future water leaks they are not in the main house. The main electrical panel is also in the utility room (on the opposite wall) so running the new electrical was easy.  It only took about 15 feet of #10 MC cable and a new 30 amp breaker.

The water line enters the house in the utility room and I ran all the new plumbing in flexible tubing (PEX) so I installed a tee in the cold and hot water lines and connected them to the new water heater and we were in business. I used crimp on fittings at the water heater connections and SeaTech slip fittings to tie into the existing water lines.

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Back inside I double checked to make sure the power was turned off to the old unit and removed the wiring. Since the dry wall was already removed, I was able to cut out all the old wiring and remove the breaker from the sub panel. Then I disconnected and capped the old water lines and hauled out the old water heater.

IMG_2168All in all it took about 3 1/2 hours, not including the drive to home depot.  A little bit of cleanup and once the space dries out I’m ready to begin replacing the dry wall, unless something else goes wrong!

Kevin Catlett
Owner – C3
Outdoors and So Much More!