Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Tue 10 February 2009.
The builder is recommending that we rip off the old roof entirely and rebuild
it from scratch. The cost came in at $4700 but that does not include
insulation (or the 20% change order markup), so we'll need a complete price in
order to decide if we should do it. This is a big hit to the budget, but it
seems like it's really going to be the best option. We'll need architectural
and structural plans for the new roof, which basically must look like the
original roof in front (hip with dormer) and like the plans in the back (hip
joint to match the front).
We looked at the shingle colors - I think Jane would love to go dark dark, but
that's not nearly as energy efficient as a lighter color. I think we'll end
up compromising on something like Forest Gray which is just a shade or two
lighter. Wouldn't it be great if we could just layer solar panels over the
entire roof? Maybe in Max's first house.
We met the stucco contractor today, who dropped off some samples and a color
palette. Seemed like a nice guy and he offered to take us around to some of
his jobs to see his work. I'm sure Jane will take him up on that. Sounds
like he can basically match any paint color in the stucco; we also need to
pick a finish. Jane's leaning toward the coarse grain for the majority of the
house, with a fine finish for the trim. The really coarse finish just didn't
do it for us.
The cabinets are killing us! We did a plan at HD for some fairly standard KM
cabinets. I'm not very psyched about them, and it's really difficult to get
cabinets that don't look like they belong …
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Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Wed 04 February 2009.
Lots of little things today, but not too much progress. Tom came up with a
great, simple idea for the stair posts, involving bearing the load on the
existing steel beam in the basement, then pull that load across to the outer
wall. This means we won't need to break up the concrete and pour another
footing, with the sleeve around the waste pipe.
We don't want to overbuild the existing roof, nor do we really want huge
trusses because both options will severely limit the amount of usable space in
the attic. We need to get options and costs on our alternatives.
Jane is still thinking about the RTA cabinets. Everyone's saying "Don't do
it!" because of the amount of work involved and the low margin of error.
Still, to get close to the cabinet allowances, we may have to do it this way.
No decision on the cabinets are made yet.
The bay window will be insulated after the close-in inspection, so there's
plenty of time for that.
Tom will get Jane square footage for tile, so that she can start looking into
We're still waiting on the electrical proposals.
We'll need to pick the shingle colors this week. This is especially important
because we need to match it to the stucco color, which we also have to start
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Sat 31 January 2009.
We got some cost estimates on the two alternatives we talked about previously.
As suspected, both the additional insulation in the exterior walls, and the
beadboard in the porch are too expensive so we'll pass on those.
The porch, with a wood flooring, is framed up to the headers. We're still
waiting for structural on the bathroom and roof, and we're still waiting for
the partial lien wavers.
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Fri 30 January 2009.
The porch deck is being built now and the basement plumbing is done.
We've talked more about the structural options for keeping the existing
bathroom. One option is to bring a footer down through the corner of the new
basement bathroom. The unfortunate thing is that this drops right onto the
waste pipe, with a sleeve to protect against any future settling. This would
entail tearing out more of the original cast iron.
We also learned that the basement slab falls 2" from front-to-back but nothing
significant side-to-side, so this will probably be easy to level out in the
There's a conflict in the roof drawings. We noticed that the architectural
drawings say to tear the back roof off, while structural says to build over
the existing roof. We'll have to think about options for resolving this and
work out some numbers.
One time sensitive decision coming up is the rough-in kits for the showers,
and we'll need to research the water heater a bit. We're also waiting on
structural for the stair support options. In the meantime, the porch will be
I had a thought about some extra porch steps leading down from the small
corner jog to the Louis side. Steve said he'd think about this, but I get the
sense he's not crazy about the idea. I don't think Jane is either, so I'll
probably be convinced to drop it. :) Jane is also thinking about doing
beadboard between the porch roof beams and the ceiling, but again, it probably
won't be cost effective to do.
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Wed 28 January 2009.
Today's production meeting needs to be rescheduled due to the snow, but we did
get the window list in an email and will review that.
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Tue 27 January 2009.
We were on vacation for a few days, doing some much needed detox on the ski
On our return, we saw that the whole addition is framed out, but not yet under
roof. The brick exterior on the back of the old house has been demoed but not
yet cleared. There's some kind of weird contraption on the roof. I wonder
what that's all about?!
There's not much other activity at the house, probably due to the snow.
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Thu 22 January 2009.
We thought about a couple of extras today:
Since the front wall where the bay window is was torn out, we noticed that the
existing house is basically uninsulated. One of the things we're considering
is tearing out the few outside walls we aren't touching, insulating, and
re-drywalling them. It's tricky though because we've got some weird 1930's
pre-drywall covering on the studs. There's only a few walls we're talking
about, but it's still probably more work than we want to pay for. We've asked
for an estimate and will get it from the builder soon.
There's another issue with the existing bathroom that we're not touching.
There's a question about how the support for the new stairs is going to tie
into the perimeter wall. This beam runs under the existing bathroom, but the
plumbing is essentially in the way. We've asked for an estimate to tear the
bathroom out and rebuild it, but it will probably be cost prohibitive. We're
looking into other options, and are consulting the structural engineer to see
if we can just drop a post down into the basement.
I also walked the site with one of the electricians, looking at what we want
(especially with some kind of X10 setup, the network cabling and the
additional outlets in the office and computer closet. We'll review his bid
when it comes in and probably get a second bid as well.
Good news! The plumber's come in and verified that we will not need an
ejector pump. I'm really glad we won't have to worry about that gross little
The framing out of the ground floor is continuing apace.
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Wed 21 January 2009.
We had our weekly production meeting this morning, Steve, Tom, Jane and I.
Tom brought the tentative window order by and we went through them. Would you
believe how hard it was to remember what was in the original house, at least
until I pulled up the pictures from the web! To save money, we're matching
the new windows with the vinyl replacements that already exist. Those are all
3x2 on top and no mullions on the bottom. We can match all of those except
for the casement windows we'll be using in the new bedrooms to conform to
egress code. The small 25" wide windows will be awnings, and everything else
will be double hung windows. The dormers will probably be fixed and we'll be
getting half screens all around. The only tempered windows will be the small
ones in the basement, which are just above grade.
We noticed that the bay window is fully framed in now, but the guys forgot to
insulate the well underneath it, so Tom is going to get them to pull up that
flooring and insulate there. Supposedly the plumber was coming by today, but
I never did hear the verdict on that.
We talked at length about the stucco seams that are needed at all material
joins, and runs over 144 square feet. Since the Louis side marries the old
brick construction with the frame construction of the new part, there will be
a vertical seam right there. We really need to match that well so that its as
unnoticeable as possible, as it's going to be 1/2" wide the height of the
house. There will be some horizontal seams as well, and we may place them low
on the house, and draw them all the way around, with a color …
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Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Tue 20 January 2009.
I just have to take a moment and say what an amazing day today was. BHO is
now our 44th president and there were millions of people on the mall to
witness it. Our neighbors biked down as we're only about 6 miles or so from
the center of DC. Me, it was too darn cold and I had to work, but I did take
a long lunch break to watch. I have nothing more profound to say than what
everyone else has said, but it sure was cool.
And what's that with Cheney? Could he be any more Mr. Potter than that?
George Bailey > Mr. Smith > Barack Obama anyone...?
Anyway, back to (as my wife would say) my boring house blog. Although we
talked to Tom about the windows, there's no feedback on that yet, though we
have a production meeting tomorrow morning. I went over to the house and it
looked like the bay was framing was complete, including the roof. The one or
two poor guys working out on that frigid day were putting a wood cap on the
poured concrete walls of the conditioned area. Now the bolts sticking up make
perfect sense, as the wood planks are literally screwed onto them nice and
I didn't get into the house today, but will try to do so tomorrow.
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Mon 19 January 2009.
Looks like today was a fun day with gooey black tar. This stuff is used to
waterproof the foundation poured concrete walls that form the conditioned part
of the house. The walls forming the unconditioned parts apparently are not
waterproofed, such as the area under the entranceway, the stairs leading down
from what will be the back porch, and the unconditioned area under the porch.
I bet it wasn't fun to be slather that stuff all over the place in the cold
we've been experiencing lately. I also hope that the stuff still works when
it's slather on in that cold!
The bay window was framed out today, or mostly so. That's gonna be a really
nice touch to the exterior view.
No word yet on the ejector pump. Tom dug down about 12" and did not see the
top of the sewage line, but the plumber still needs to come in and take a look
to give us the final word. We discussed re-arranging the bathroom in the
basement to make it fit if necessary. We'll see...
The framing of the new living space was delayed because Tom was waiting for
word from the stucco guy, just to make sure tolerances were set for marrying
the old and new part of the house. The old part will of course be stuccoing
over brick, while the new will be wood. The wood needs to be 1/2" back from
the brick so that it can accept the mesh that the stucco will be applied to.
The one bummer is that there will have to be a seam between the old and new
parts of the house. This makes sense because the original house has been
settling for 70 years. We're concerned that the caulk seam will be too