Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Week #20: Nov 20 - 26

WHOA!!! I'm caught up on my blog!!!! I must really be re-energized.

The handyman was back again this week to work on installing the fire-rated door, cladding the front post and installing the front porch beadboard ceiling. It's been really fun, i.e., challenging and a learning experience, figuring out how to dress up the front post. I wanted to beef up the 4x4 and also hide the metal brackets that tie it into the slab and header. It was a 3-way pow-wow with Steve, Bob and myself. Throw in the guy at Bruce Bauer and we found a solution!

We'll add the bottom part of the trim later. Our top priority was to get everything stucco-related done.

That leads me to my new strategy. From now on, I'm just going to call the next sub in line and give him a start date. Then tell all the other subs what the drop dead date is and watch them scramble. Well, at least that's how it worked with the stucco job. I called the stucco sub Wed morning and said, "I'm ready for papering and lathing. When can I get on your schedule?" He said, "OK, I'll meet you at the house in 20 minutes and then tomorrow my guys will start." Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day! I was incredulous. Your crew is going to work on Thanksgiving Day?? "Oh yeah, they want to make money." And here I thought nothing would happen during the holidays. Maybe I can get a lot done during Christmas - New Year???

Well, after that conversation, I got on the horn with the window guy. "Oh yeah," he said. He was also going to be at our house on Thanksgiving Day, finishing up stuff so the stucco guy could do his thing. Or I'm thinking, it's going to be more difficult for him to install any remaining windows, trim, drip caps, etc., after the house has been papered and wired. So there's his motivation.

And now with the impending arrival of the stucco crew, the handyman finished cladding the post and installing the beadboard (which we bought, primed and ripped to size).

We're ready for stucco! And here's what it looks like after papering and lathing:

Sooo, I also went ahead and scheduled our rough-in inspections: framing, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, plus added paper/lath. THIS IS THE BIG ONE! Tuesday AM, November 28. Hopefully, there won't be any major issues, but just in case, my plan is to forewarn the subs and ask them to block out some time Tues PM to come and take care of any problems.
I would really like to be drywalled by Xmas so we can start some finish work then. Especially since it sounds like people might be interested in working during the holidays! Me and Tristan included!

Week #19: Nov 13 - 19

Sigh. Not a lot of work got done the last 2 1/2 weeks. Mostly because we had no power.

We finally got back on the grid on Tuesday. It took another week after we passed inspection to have utilities come out and reconnect us. I guess that's how long it takes to process "paperwork". During the blackout period, we "borrowed" power from our kind neighbor, Bob. I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again, he's been a great neighbor to have on this project!

You know what's interesting about getting a new electrical starts at zero!!

I hired a handyman to help us get thru a few punchlist items. And here I thought punchlists happened at the end of a project. No siree. Here was our mid-way punchlist:

- Misc blocking, including 12"h all around shower stalls for hot-mopping
- Install 3 bathroom fans, duct to outside
- Replace, repair, plus new 2nd floor siding
- Install/trim 2 ext man doors
- Plumber: install all new gas lines, outdoor hosebib, icemaker water line
- Beef up front 4x4 post, plus add decorative trim
- Install beadboard ceiling over front porch
- Remove old baseboards/trim
- Add 2x4 cleats for attic plywood
- Record where all blocking is before drywall goes up
- Wrap old plenum with metal duct tape
- Vacuum, clean all walls before drywalled in
- Demo stucco around garage door
- Sawzall ceiling joist

So now with power, things are starting to roll again. The plumber came out and in 2 days installed all of the new gas lines, the outdoor hosebib, plus the soft roll for the icemaker. Plumbing rough-in is done!

The new handyman installed the front door (had to do a lot of adjustments to the opening which was not framed plumb or square), plus installed siding along the gable part of the new entry.

The electrician came over the weekend and we reviewed all the kitchen wiring, outlets, appliances. He says he's going to finish everything by next weekend.

I got myself some new toys: a 12" Bosch compound miter saw, a circular saw and a Makita cordless driver/drill. All the guys were oohing and ahhing over the Bosch. I thought to myself, aha, so this is what it must feel like to tool around town in a Porsche or strut your stuff in a pair of Manolo Blahniks. Meanwhile, I'm really enjoying cross-cutting 2x4s like they're a stick of butter.

Tristan and I got a lot accomplished over the weekend. To date, we've DIY'd the following:
- Installed 3 bathroom fans
- Installed membrane and sheet metal to waterproof sheathing
- Demo'd trim, baseboards; toilet and tile in BA
- Primed beadboard, ripped panel to size
- Finished blocking for showers, heat registers, towel bars
- Dug out dirt around house
- Cut down wisteria vine
- Removed ceiling joist, old 2x4s in BA

Could it be I'm getting my 2nd wind????

Week #18: Nov 6 - 12

Spending a lot of time finding the materials req'd to waterproof the sheathing. Inspector says must use Grace Ice and Water shield. I check Grace's corporate website to find out who carries it. First of all, according to their website, the Ice and Water shield is for roof applications. For vertical, wall applications, Grace Vycor 40 is used. After calling 6 or 7 stores, finally find one in Newark that carries the product. Also trying to find a sheet metal fabrication shop to make the "special" L-shaped 26 gauge galvanized sheet metal needed to go over the Grace Vycor 40.

Finally, inspection for service panel passes. But not without a parting comment from the inspector "Why did he (the electrician) do it like that? Now, we'll have to send out the utility crew again at the end of the project to disconnect and reconnect. You're costing us money. That's why we want people to put up temporary power poles." Yeah, and at a cost of $900 in city and permit fees, that's why I didn't want to put up a temporary power pole.

The inspector and his protege also questioned my use of the Vycor 40. I had the pleasure of sharing my new found knowledge with them.

Week 17: Oct 30 - Nov 5

Electrician replaced the service panel with new 200A one. Called to have utilities come and reconnect the power. They told me they didn't have the paperwork. I said "What paperwork?" They said the paperwork saying the inspector signed off on it. Huh???? Another "Ooops, I didn't know about that" moment. Apparently I had to call the building dept. and schedule an inspection first.

The inspector came the next day; unfortunately it was you-know-who. along with his protege', I mean the rookie inspector. He actually had a few words of praise for the electrician's work, but didn't pass the inspection because the service panel amperage was 200A and the temporary construction outlets had a 100A fuse (hope I got that correct). Plus, he found additional busy work for us to do - waterproof a section of our exterior sheathing because the grade was too high.

The electrician came out the next day to fix the "problem", but I was unable to get a re-inspection this week. Will have to wait till Monday next week.

Meanwhile, I worked on demo'ing all the remaining trim and baseboard around the house. In hindsight, I should have had the demo contractor demo everything, but at the time, I thought I would try to salvage as much of the house and minimize new work. Live and learn. Next time, let's tear the whole house down!

That's kinda indicative of how I'm feeling right now about the remodel. Nothing's happening; we're bogged down; this is going on forever; it'll never be finished. I need a second wind!