Week 23 – Joe
There are certain milestones that we reach in our renovation that have more significance than others. The first one was the framing of the new walls. It was the first glimpse of what this house will become. Up to that point, those walls were just lines on a piece of paper or pieces of masking tape on the floor. The home renovation process takes so long that it is almost impossible to comprehend that eventually we really will be living in this house. It sometimes seems like a slow moving glacier with occasional jumps forward. Two big steps were completed this week.
I’ll begin with the hvac…
We had such a thorough meeting with the hvac company representative that I assumed everything would be installed without any issues. Unfortunately, the chain of command and poor lines of communication between the higher-ups and the on-site workers taught me that I needed to constantly check the work of our sub contractors. I won’t go into all the details, but here are just a few complaints we had.
1. The contract clearly stated that all rectangular run outs would be replaced, but after they let me know they had completed the rough-in I went over to investigate and saw that none of the rectangular duct work had actually been replaced.
2. They added a floor vent right in the middle of a nook we were going to use as a play space. This was not on the original work list and was not discussed with us prior to cutting a hole in our floor. (Edit from Amy: a hole in the floor we plan to finish.) They did eventually relocate that vent to a spot that made more sense, but now we have to repair this floorboard.
3. They ran duct work to the wrong vents and then forgot to replace another rectangular run out even after they had already gone back to replace the other ones.
4. I had to notify them twice that the removed duct work was not hauled away.
5. They had obviously been smoking in our house and left cigarette butts and fast food trash on the floor. This irritated Amy a lot! (Edit from Amy: I have three things to say about that- 1. sawdust 2. Fire and 3. No running water. And for extra measure 4. Seriously?)
It wasn’t a completely negative experience. I do have to say that the two people in charge were always very professional, polite, and were quick to admit errors and fix any problems.
This picture below shows the upstairs furnace room with various run outs, returns, and venting.
Here is the downstairs furnace…
We are waiting to install the air conditioner units until spring so that we don’t have to worry about theft.
The plumbing process took place over several weeks. That was a good thing because it allowed Amy and I time to scramble ahead on some decisions we didn’t know we would have to make so early. We did have the downstairs and upstairs bathroom sinks picked out as well as the upstairs and downstairs tubs already at the house. We were surprised that we would need to have the upstairs tub faucet picked out. Also, there was some last minute debating about the exact placement of the upstairs sink. It seems like that would be a simple decision, but sometimes it’s hard to anticipate every possible scenario. For instance, how far should the sink be off the ground? The “standard” for a vanity is 31 inches, but that just seems SO low! We ended up doing 36 inches.
Another issue that complicated our decision making process was the discovery that the faucets that most people get for the sink we are ordering are not certified lead free. Apparently regulations recently changed and this faucet doesn’t meet those regulations. Several people have told us that those regulations are ridiculous because there is probably more lead in the plumbing to the house than in those faucets. BUT, we have two kids. Is any amount of lead okay? It seems terrifying to tell your kids they can have just a little bit of poison. So, now we are stuck.
We have lots of scrap to give away. Although, I feel like we could use some of this for some artwork or rustic furniture.
One great thing about this whole rehab process is that we will know exactly what is behind our walls and under our floors.
We do have an issue that was created by the plumbing scenario. In this picture below you will notice that the plumbers needed to cut out a section of the wall to allow the drain to travel down through the wall to the crawl space. Notice that we now have a floor joist that is largely unsupported because the beam that it was sitting on is now only sitting on one vertical stud. Not good. Other than that the plumbers did a great job and were super easy to work with.
Our sink that we are ordering is a 94 pound cast iron sink. You can see in the picture below how much additional support we needed to build in to the wall. Also notice the hot and cold outlets are stacked instead of side by side.
That is because our faucets will look like this…
So, now we have running water at the house! Actually, we only have water at this one spigot… but that is better than nothing.
Our friend has started on the new staircase. We are shopping around for the new upstairs windows. We thought we had exterior paint colors all picked out, but now we aren’t so sure. I continue to pull out my remaining hair as I wrestle with stains, finishes, removers, and general woodworking dilemmas related to our old windows, replacement old windows, and old trim. More on that later…