Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ready for the floor

We spent the afternoon putting the final coat of paint on the kitchen/dining/living area. I don't mind painting, but there's a LOT of wall to cover, and it takes about 3 hours to do a single coat. I'm glad it's done so we can uncover the beam, install outlets and start laying the floor. Here's a couple shots of the primed walls before we did our two top coats of color:

Here's a little sample of our new floor and cabinets with some furniture. It's pretty dark and not a great photo, but you'll get the idea:

Yesterday was a pretty productive day outside. We finished trimming the windows, removed the old siding from the bedroom wall, and installed more siding on the house and shed. The Princess turned out to be a pretty good helper. Note the golden hammer she's using:

We're pretty much ready to install the gable siding on the shed, but I think we'll prime what we've installed already first because it's supposed to rain Thursday. Some of the siding has been on the house for a little over two weeks, and we need to get it primed before it absorbs a bunch of moisture, so the gables will have to wait.

I think we'll use up the rest of the siding we have here on the two remaining walls tomorrow. I've got about 400 feet of siding waiting at Dunn Lumber that's paid for, and I'm hoping to get credit on that to pay for the gable siding. I'll be happy when all the siding is on and primed so we can install the gutters and finish the drainage system.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back in the saddle again

Our trip to Hornby Island was fantastic. The hosts were great, the food was delicious, the scenery was beautiful, and the diving was excellent. We came back with renewed enthusiasm for finishing up the house, and jumped right into painting. Over two days, we painted the ceiling, primed the walls and got the first coat of color on the walls.

We pushed the appliance delivery back a couple days, and everything showed up last Friday. Jen's very excited about using her new stainless appliances. I caught her hugging the Jenn-Air fridge the other day.

Our plan was to start laying the floor today, but we're in the middle of a four-day dry spell, so we're going to continue working on the siding. We need to get it primed before Wednesday when it's supposed to start raining again. We have two of the five walls left, and we'll hopefully get most of that up today.

With any luck, we'll have the kitchen operational by the end of the week, albeit with plywood countertops for now. We're deferring the concrete countertops until we finish some more important projects.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The last day is upon us

The texture guys were inside spraying the walls all day while dad and I worked outside on the siding and other miscellaneous projects. Here's a shot from the inside of the five windows on the back wall:

Installing siding is a lot like shingling a roof, except it goes much faster. Oh, and it's a LOT more expensive. At $2.39/foot for beveled cedar siding, you really try to make the most of each piece. Here we're hanging some siding on the laundry room wall:

And here's a shot showing how we trimmed out those five rear windows. We had a beautiful sunset this evening!

Tomorrow, we'll make a dump run and then try to get as much siding on as possible before we wrap it up and pack for our trip to Hornby Island. When we get back, we'll be ready to paint, lay the floor and install the cabinets so we can have a kitchen again. Then we'll move on to a whole slew of interior projects that we'll probably drag out for several years. =)

Monday, September 15, 2008

T minus 3

We've completed two of our four projects so far. We've braced the kitchen and laundry room floors with 4x8 beams and Tiger Brand adjustable floor jacks. The jacks were relatively cheap ($30 each) and worked great! We also rented a floor sander and leveled the transition between the old kitchen and addition as best we could. Considering how bad the old floor was, we did a pretty good job.

Here's a shot of the shorter floor brace under the laundry room. Each jack is sitting on a 16x16x4 concrete pad we dug into the slope (those were fun installing). Sorry for the bad exposure, but I just stuck the camera down into the crawlspace access hole and took a quick shot for tonight's post:

We did a lot of running around today (Home Depot twice, McLendons and Dunn Lumber), but still managed to finish the floor bracing, put up some more siding and install the first 50 feet of our drain system. The first drain head is at the low spot of our driveway, and the pipe runs 100 feet to the back of the lot. We got about half of that buried this afternoon before it got dark.

Tomorrow we have to run the extra insulation back to Lumbermens in Fife, then come home and install the window fascia and dig more of the drain trench. I think we might delay installing the gutters until we get the roof fascia painted -- otherwise, we'll need to either paint or remove the gutters to paint it.

I'll try to get some better pictures up tomorrow!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Four days, four projects

The tapers showed up yesterday morning and quickly decided the mud wasn't dry enough to do a top coat. We had a little surprise for them, though, because we had been working late into the night to build our archway into the kitchen, and we needed it taped. Luckily, they didn't mind, so we narrowly escaped having to do ANY taping on this project (so far).

We have only four work days left before my dad goes home and we head up to BC for a dive trip. Here's what we're hoping to get done before then:

#1 - Trim and install siding on shed and house (we've already started the shed)
#2 - Install some bracing for the laundry and kitchen floor to remove bounce
#3 - Level floor between the addition and existing kitchen
#4 - Install gutters and drain system

If we can get all that done, Jen and I will be in good shape to start painting, flooring and installing cabinets when we get back.

Here's a shot of the archway from the old living room into the kitchen:

Here's a closer shot showing the inside of one leg of the archway. I'm going to build bookshelves in each leg, stained to match the floor. This will be the new home for all of Jen's (vegan) cookbooks.

Finally, here's a shot looking at the archway from the addition:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Jensen just passed through

The past two days flashed by in a blur. We worked super late Tuesday tearing out the back wall. It took a while because we had to remove electrical and plumbing, as well as be careful about messing up the cabinets and countertops.

Jen put our whole kitchen on Craigslist Monday, and by Tuesday we had a taker. Now, this is nothing short of a minor miracle because it saved us the time and cost of disposal, plus we didn't have to heap the old cabinets somewhere in the meantime. The buyer lives in Sequim and was in town for a class, so the timing is pretty extraordinary. Anyhow, it paid for about a fifth of the sheetrock contractors.

Yesterday, the crew (two Mexican guys) hung all the sheetrock. Those guys were amazing. Their drills were running almost constantly, producing a sound not unlike an Indy 500 pit stop. Today, the tapers (two different Mexican guys) taped all seams and mudded the screw holes. We picked the right crew 'cause everybody did a fantastic job.

At any rate, we're all totally beat and trying to go to bed at a decent hour tonight, so this post will be more of a short photo essay on sweat equity and living in filth.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back on track

We installed about three quarters of the insulation today, and also lined up some guys to hang the sheetrock, tape and texture. The cost wasn't really in our budget, but we're running a surplus and have lots of other stuff to do, so it's definitely the right move. Besides, I'm super tired and just want to be done. =)

Tomorrow's the big day: we're removing the back wall. We just have to finish up some insulation, then start ripping it out. The guys will be here Wednesday to hang sheetrock and hopefully mud Thursday. Here's a couple shots of the insulation we installed:

We hooked up the washer tonight and started a load of clothes. After about 20 minutes, Jen noticed a *very* slow leak in the threaded fitting to the hot water valve in the washer box. UGH! Plumbing totally sucks. I'm seriously considering tearing out some of the copper we sweated and replacing it with PEX and SharkBite fittings.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

When you think you're about done...

... it usually means there's a ton of busy work right around the corner. Over the past week, we've done a LOT of wiring and plumbing (including cleaning up a bunch of existing wiring), had a few inspections, installed two new ground rods, got the furnace replaced, made a dump run, installed a new fan and shower light in the main bath, unloaded sheetrock and insulation, and a whole slew of other little things I can't remember right now.

I feel like I've spent half the past week crawling around in either the crawlspace or attic, and there isn't a spot on my body that isn't cut, bruised, dirty or sore. After we redo the washer box and shower drains/vents tomorrow, I shouldn't have to venture back into the tight, dark spaces until we get to the kitchen.

Here's some pics of the stuff we've been working on. First, here's our first and second attempt at the washer box. The first attempt is on the right. The inspector kindly let us know that each fixture must have its own vent, so we had to move the washer box to the left of the window to make room. We also decided to return the shock arrestors and just get a washer box with them built in. So the washer box on the left shows the p-trap (which has to be above the floor) and our new vent.

Yesterday, we replaced the two bar lights in the old movie room with three can lights in what will be the laundry room. We moved these to the 15-amp circuit for the crawlspace/attic lights and ran new 14-gauge wire for the 3-way switches.

The mornings were starting to get chilly, so we called Eric at Mountain Valley to install the new furnace and air filter. Those guys do great work, and our new furnace is super quiet, blows more air, and we added an awesome filter. I guess they just figured out that the filter is capable of killing the flu virus (see filter details here), but I'll be happy if we just don't have to dust so often.

Man, I feel like we've just about rewired the whole house. Four home runs to the addition, including the shed, and lots of cleaning up of old wiring. Here's a shot of the panel. You can see the arc-fault circuit breaker in the lower-right section. Apparently, these new breakers can detect a short in a device (e.g. a lamp, heating blanket, etc) and kill the circuit before a fire can start. That's all fine and dandy, but they cost $40 each. We had to put one on the circuit for the master closet because all bedrooms now require them, and we modified part of a bedroom. In a few years, arc-fault breakers will likely be required throughout the house.

We originally installed four 4" can lights in the TV area of the addition. We were immediately on the fence about whether they were bright enough, so when the inspector pointed out we were going to have to block 3" around the cans we quickly decided to replace them with 6" IC-rated cans. They're definitely bright enough, and now we can pack insulation all around the cans.

One little side project that ended up taking half the day was putting a new fan in the main bathroom. Our fan there has always been super noisy and pretty much ineffective. I bought a high-CFM, low-noise fan for each bathroom about a month ago, but we didn't get around to installing the one in the main bath until today. Well, the old fan had a built-in light, and the new fan doesn't, so Jen suggested we add a shower light like we did in the other bathroom. That translated to another trip to McLendons, more wiring, and lots of monkeying around in the attic.

It's all worth it, though, because now the shower is nice and bright, and the mirror wasn't fogged up at all after a nice long, hot shower tonight.

After we wrap up the plumbing tomorrow, we'll start insulating the addition. With any luck, we'll get it all insulated and start sheetrocking Monday.

I'll try to be better about posting each day again. I got a little off track over the past week because we've been working really long days.