Little things

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 that.

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 thinking about.


Nope

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.


What's goin' on

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 new slab.

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 framed out.

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.


Snow!

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.


Return from vacation

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 slopes.

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.


More considerations

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 addition.

The framing out of the ground floor is continuing apace.


Thinking about Windows

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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BHO!

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 solid.

I didn't get into the house today, but will try to do so tomorrow.


Waterproofing

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 noticeable.


New picture site

Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Sun 18 January 2009.

Everybody needs a day off. It's Sunday and there's no activity, but we did get a chance to show Jane's sister, brother-in-law, and their kids around the site.

Because of limitations in Flickr and because there's some nicer integration with blogger, I've moved the canonical location of the construction pictures to Picasa.