Colorado Earthship Build: Day 17 (Door frames and window plates)

After the previous day’s screw up with the position of the door, we arrived this morning and started right away on that. Having gone through the whole process yesterday, we were much quicker in getting the door into its proper location.

Here is a picture of Sean and myself after our awesome success at getting the door in place and braced and all ready to go.


Phil did final inspection (it was our first door) and said it was good. So we immediately moved on to the exterior door right beside it. With three sets of hands (Sean, Kat and I) we were able to get the second door in place and braced lickity-split. When the second door was finished, Sean and I moved over to the east side to mount the doors there and Kat stayed on the west side to porcupine the second door for Heather.

Here you can see Heather working on the first door and the second one with all of Kat’s screw work to porcupine it.


It took Sean and I a bit longer to put the interior east side door into position because we first had to check everything that the other people (who weren’t there today) had done on it yesterday. We had to shim the one side as it wasn’t level. After checking everything we tried fitting the door into its position only to find that it looked crooked. We discovered the one thing we forgot to check: the string line. We had a string line across the door to make sure it was straight, but the one the previous group had put in wasn’t, so we had to take the door off and fix that first.

We also had numerous interruptions as others were trying to work on the greenhouse framing around us so there were a number of times we had to wait while ladders were moved and people climbed up them to get their jobs done.

Here is a picture of Sean and I putting the door back in its frame.


After we finished that, we couldn’t install the last door, as they had just poured the concrete for the footing under it, so we had to let that one wait until tomorrow.

As I mentioned, there was a lot of framing and other stuff going on around us and while we were putting in the doors, the struts for the green house were installed as well. Here is a picture looking from east to west down what will be the green house corridor.


With the struts in place, we (as in Kat and I) were assigned the lovely task of putting in the cross plates at the top for the windows to sit in. Here is Phil telling us the details of the task. You can see a string line going across where my hands are. Well, there is another one above close to the plate the struts are attached to. That was our line to work with.


I should butt in here and mention that they don’t usually use 6×6 posts as the window struts. They usually just stack some 2×6 if they need more support, but in this case, the owner wanted a particular look and paid the extra price for the posts, which roughly double the cost of the window frames.

Putting these upper plates in was straightforward in concept, but complicated in practice as there are ladders involved. Also, not all of the plates were cut correctly; some of them were a bit short, like by 1/4″ (around 6mm) so they were difficult to hold in place while you screwed them in.

Here is me, up on a ladder using a framing square to draw the line that we will align the plates too.


Through much juggling of tools and foot work on the ladders, Kat and I made our way across the east side. Behold, the glory of Kat screwing in one of the plates.


We worked on that and then someone said it was clean up time and we hadn’t finished all of the windows yet. We did manage to get all of the ones on the east side done, except for one, so we’ll do that first thing tomorrow morning. Then we’ll head over and do the same thing on the west side. We’ve been told that the glass is arriving on Friday, so there is a big push to get all of this ready for that.

So, Dave, what else was going on around the build site today? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Remember those arches over the garage entrances? They started to put the mortar on the west one today.


There are several (like nine) wood supports under that thing to hold it up and keep it in its shape. There will be a few more layers added to that as the days go by.

The can wall form at the back was completed, the second bond beam was poured and they have already started to pound the tires for the back/upper level.


Here is a good, clear picture of the two doors on the west side we put into position this morning.


Phil is prairie-dogging out of the green house framing here, inspecting the lines. This picture also gives you a good idea of how it will look now that the framing is in. They also have the form for the next atrium pour just about ready.


Inside the house, where the atrium will eventually be, I took this picture of an interior can wall that is currently under way.


Things are moving fast now and it’s pretty amazing what you find completed as you walk around the build site. The plumbers and electricians are all really busy as well, trying to get all of the systems up and in place while all of this is going on around them. I’m sure it must seem pretty chaotic if you were just an outside observer watching all of this.


2 thoughts on “Colorado Earthship Build: Day 17 (Door frames and window plates)”

    1. Yes, I had heard about that one. They also have Earthship builds in Mallorytown, ON (near Brockville), Spencerville, ON and there another one underway up near us in Bancroft. You can also check out this blog for one that was completed out west, but they also have a map they maintain of anyone who has (or plans to have) an Earthship across Canada.

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