December 18, 2016

Beating a Polar Vortex

In my last post I mentioned that this next week would consist of enclosing the garage, getting the furnace set, and getting plaster on the walls.  It also included sub-zero temperatures.  I had to buy a heated water dish so that the cats could survive (they have). I was thinking of getting a dish large enough that I could dual purpose it as a hot tub, but apparently the heaters in those things are only designed to barely keep the water from freezing. I'll have to find another way to get a hot tub.

Despite the arctic blast, the guys at Andrew Hurst Construction braved the weather, and got the garage done. 

Roof on. The day before it got cold 

 Roof on and covered with snow. Garage Doors on.  If you really have nothing better to do, you can see the inaugural "opening" via this link. A note about the garage. Andrew had the garage enclosed, but we were waiting for the garage door contractors to come.  They needed power to the garage.  In order to do that, we needed to get wires run through the basement crawlspace.  My last time in the crawlspace, I couldn't make it all the way to the wall, because my dad bod wouldn't fit any further without getting stuck.  Seth hasn't been married, or a dad, as long as me, and his dad bod is still a work in progress, so he actually fit.  He made the 25 ft. trek through the cobwebs, and so we were able to power up the garage doors.

We moved in to where it was only slightly warmer (it may not have actually been warmer) removed the doorway to the upstairs and installed plaster board and recessed lighting.

In addition to getting the garage together, Andrew and the Hurst Construction guys removed the wall between the kitchen and the living room.  It makes the space feel so much larger now.

The old wall.

 Where did the wall go?

 Looking into the living room from the kitchen.

In addition to all of this, the plasterers have the base coat of plaster on all but the hall and bathroom upstairs (no pictures yet). While all of this has been going on, I've been working on running ductwork because the furnace was installed.

 This is the furnace during installation. It looks a little different now.

 I brought home some of the ductwork so that I could work on it in the warmth.  I convinced CJ that this was a good idea.  He didn't stay in there too long.

Due to a scheduling miscommunication, the propane company didn't come to install my propane until after it snowed and the ground froze, so they only do a temporary setting of the tank, and run the gas line over the ground.  The driver asked if he could just set it in the front of the yard, because he thought he might get his truck stuck. I insisted that it be as close to the permanent location as possible.

Truck in place. 

 Tank getting set. You can also see this in video (it's truly the best thing you will watch all day - sarcasm noted).
 And the truck got stuck. the little Kubota couldn't quite do the job. It ended up working well for me though.  They send those tanks basically empty, and they had to send a big propane truck to pull him free. As soon as he was free, I got my tank filled. The furnace works, but not all of the ductwork in the upstairs is connected yet. I should finish that on Monday, and then can start building the shower, plumbing, and putting up plaster board in the bathroom.  Within about a week, all of the really nasty stuff upstairs should be done, and we should be ready to paint, remove the carpet, and start the final touches.

We are approaching the Christmas Holiday, and so life apart from the house has been busy too.  If you are curious about some of the things that our family has been up to when we aren't at the house, you should check out Vanessa's latest blog post.

That's it for now.

December 4, 2016

Starting to Put it All Back Together

What could have been a bust of a week (I was sick and lost a couple of work days/nights) turned into a pretty productive week. 

The guys at Andrew Hurst Construction got started on the garage.  After one day, they had the walls up.

 After 2 days, it looked like this.

The garage is going to be huge!

The wiring and register ducts have been installed in most of the rooms upstairs. This means that the plasterers can start refinishing the walls, and the HVAC guys can set the furnace. 

1 Ceiling boarded and ready for plaster.

 CJ's Room, ready for plaster.

 So close, and yet so far. This kid was a big help today. He got Seth and I everything that we needed, fed the cats, and cleaned up after our messes. He really wanted to put the last piece of plasterboard up in his room.

The hallway is ready for plaster. I may or may not have cut the cord for the attic ladder in half while notching out the board for the lights.

In order to get the return and supply lines in place for the furnace, I needed to remove a portion of an 18" thick stone wall in my basement. Fortunately, my brother, Justin, has this amazing tool called a hammer drill.  But this isn't like any hammer drill I've ever seen before.  It did in seconds what the sledge hammer couldn't do at all.  When I grow up, I want one of these!

 The tool meets the wall.

 Sometimes it was still useful to have a sledgehammer and a chisel (courtesy of my mom and dad).

On a previous post, I mentioned how much I dislike spiders.  I'm not sure if it is all of the construction, the cold weather, or something else, but I haven't seen many spiders in a long time.  So while I was knocking out the stone wall, this enormous wolf spider ( this picture doesn't do it justice, but his body alone was over a 1/2" in diameter ) crawled out.  Although he put up a good fight, ultimately he was no match for the hammer drill.

The End result.  I mentioned above that CJ was a huge help.  He carried all of those broken blocks and stones out of the basement (some weighed about as much as him) loaded them in the RTV, dumped them, and then swept up all of the little debris.  He was so tired that when we got home, he headed straight for the shower and then to bed with no prompting and no fussing - we'll have to do this more often!

The best part of the week was that I got some good snuggle time with these two cuties.  I think we are all looking forward to the day when that can happen at our new house.

A lot of big things - plaster, furnace, enclosing the garage, will happen next week!

Until next time!

November 28, 2016

What do you do after Demo?

It has been some time since the last post.  There's been the holidays and an unfortunate few days of illness that have caused a few delays with the progress. Nevertheless, the work has progressed.  It's still fun too! 

Honestly, making the transition from demolition to putting it all back together has been hard.  There's so much to do, and all of it seems important.  Although it has gotten colder, we have been really fortunate to continue to have good weather.  Today was 45 degrees, which isn't bad for Ohio at the end of November.  We have continued making significant progress, however much of it doesn't show well in photographs, like we've basically got the entire upstairs rewired, and we moved a bunch of salvaged insulation from the first floor, to a room upstairs, and from there to the attic. 

Below are a few pictures of some things that do show well in pictures.

Here are the cement contractors prepping for the new garage floor. There was a really small window of opportunity with the weather, so they stayed until after 8 pm one night, and started at 6 am the next morning.

Cement Trucks lined up.

The guys getting the cement spread evenly and sloped properly.

The final product.

We also got a new attic ladder installed. This was the old access into the attic.

Here's the new one.

And another angle.  I actually forgot to double check to see if the door was level before I attached it. So I got to uninstall and reinstall it. That was fun x2.

Once the attic door was in, it made it easier to access the attic to install all of the register vents (as seen on this diagram)

The attic has blown in fiberglass insulation, which I'm told is a really good exfoliator.

Here's a shot of the other side of the attic.
CJ's room (not to be confused with Alli's room - ignore the door), had a closet with drywall. I removed that and installed plaster board so that the plasterer can make it all look the same.

The finished closet.
 I've gotten to know Menards well. And sometimes, you need your helpers to come with you.

And sometimes when you start too early, your helpers fall asleep in front of the fireplace.

That's it for this episode.


November 13, 2016

Time to get (un)plastered!

Still working on the demo this past week.  In my last post I showed a couple of pictures of the bathroom demo.  While doing that, I discovered that the walls needed some more insulation. When we started the project, I knew that there was a possibility that we'd need to re-insulate, and early on we discovered that the ceilings had been lowered.  The existing drywall had some damage, and we are rewiring and re-plumbing the entire house, and all of that taken into consideration resulted in a decision to remove the drywall and plaster of the entire downstairs.  Some before and after photos are below. 

Just getting started on mater bedroom closet demo.

My demo partner for the week. Jeremy swings a mean sledgehammer and crowbar. I couldn't have done the demo without his help.

Obligatory selfie, mid-demo.

Ceiling down and drywall off the walls.

A couple of days later my friend, Matt, joined in the fun.  This shows the walls with the plaster completely removed.  The entire house has these 12" wide boards.  Would those have been the original walls?  I've never seen anything like it before.  Please comment if you know.

East End of the living room. Pre-demo.

West End of the living room. Pre-demo. 

Low Ceiling removed, and drywall off of the walls. The beam in the middle of the room was used to hold up the lowered drywall ceiling.

Wall drywall and plaster removed.

Demo completed around the fireplace. The fireplace still made a nice fire.

Without the drywall, there wasn't a need for the beam anymore.  My Brother-in-law, Seth, helped Matt, Jeremy, and I on demo in this room and in the kitchen.

Kitchen pre-demo.

A view in to the kitchen from the living room.  The kitchen ceiling is out.  Soon this wall will be replaced with a beam and the entire space will be opened up.

Kitchen ceiling removed.  This one was tougher, because there was drywall and also a plaster ceiling only one inch above it. So I guess we technically removed two ceilings.  The higher plaster ceiling will stay, and we will just put drywall over it.  If I open it up, all of the insulation in the attic above will fall down.

We all wore respirators and safety glasses or goggles during this phase in the demo, but I still came home pretty much like this every night. Only a small bit of drywall remains to be removed.  That should happen right away next week.

This coming week is a big week.  The garage foundation goes in, and then the garage construction can begin.  Additionally, the plasterers said that we did a great job on the drywall removal, and that they will start plastering as soon as we have the plasterboard install on the ceilings, and any additional outlets installed in the walls. Finally, we've got our furnace and A/C picked out, and should be ordered next week as well.

It's exciting to be transitioning from wrecking to fixing.

That's all for this episode.