Friday, January 16, 2009

Foundations

I had a chance to see the poured foundation walls today. Originally, we were thinking to use block construction, but there's no arguing with the speed at which the poured concrete walls went up. Our builder has a lot of experience with this construction method, and our architect is cool with it so it's the way we went. Jane's not psyched about the formed brick impressions (she detests fake attempts when something tries to look like what it's not), but all that is going to get stuccoed anyway so you'll never see it.

(Aside: Jane gives me grief because this is all boring and not funny. I keep telling her that things are moving so fast, and there's so much information to get in that there isn't time to be funny. Don't worry! I'm sure there will be plenty to laugh about later.)

One big question that we have is whether we're going to need an ejector pump in the basement or not. The basement bathroom is above a step-up at the bottom of the basement stairs. We don't really know what's under that step-up. Ideally of course, the sewage line is below the grade of the new basement bathroom and we'll just let gravity do what it does best. If not, we'll need an ejector pump to get the, er, goo up from the lower bathroom into the main sewage line. If necessary, we'll hide the ejector pump under the stairs just as we're doing with the sump pump. We think there's enough room there. Tomorrow hopefully, we'll get that step-up jackhammered and take a look at what's there.

The other issue is the gas meter, which is currently inside what was the utility room, but what will be the family room if we finish the basement. Of course, we'd rather not have the gas meter in that location, but it may not be feasible to move it. There's no room outside that wall because of the new bay window, and it will probably be cost prohibitive to move the meter to the far side of the house where the new utility room is going. The plumber indicates that even with the additional BTUs of Jane's New UberOven we apparently won't need a new meter, so the gas company would be reluctant to pay for moving it. It won't be that big of a deal if we keep it where it is; we'll just hide it behind a closet or some such.

We're still thinking about finishing the basement. It's an additional cost (not part of the base contract), but it sure would be nice. We have some time to decide. We also have a bit of time to decide about the new back porch and new front walkway. Jane really wants to flagstone it, but that's also an extra cost. The difference is in the finish and depth of the concrete we're pouring in those locations. Obviously if we don't flagstone it, we'll have a nice smoother finish, but if we do cover it in flagstones, we'd want a more rough and thinner slab there. Again, we have time to decide.

As a cost saving measure we decided to keep the existing vinyl replacement windows in the old house and match the new windows as best we can. The problem is that new windows have a different reveal (the border area) than replacement windows. This won't matter on the front of the house because the only new windows are the bay and that will look different anyway. On the back, it's all new windows and on the Scutt-side it won't matter too much because it's not really visible from the street. On the Louis-side though there will be a mix of existing and new windows and Jane is concerned about the different looks. We'll have a better feel for that when we see some window options.

If the lumber arrives, we're told they may begin framing tomorrow.

Um, how the hell are the pod guys going to get their pods back when they're done?

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