Monday, July 06, 2015

Whirlwind Bathroom Remodel

After two years in the house we are finally getting a decent bathroom!  I've had seven new bathrooms over the last ten years, so having to live with this mess after all those new bathrooms is making me crazy.
I slapped some antique white paint on the walls to tone down the green but this space has been driving me nuts for the last twenty-two months.  So when Luke suggested that we start the remodel over the 4th of July weekend I jumped at the chance.  Within a week we had bought our materials and installed a toilet in the basement bathroom (not exactly private, but more convenient that driving to the nearest gas station)

I even tested out a few tile patterns on the bathroom wall.  It's actually an improvement and I should have taken a sharpie to the walls years ago.
We have a lot of changes to make.  To begin with, the bathroom is larger than necessary.  At 8'x9' it is the same size as our kitchen.  It didn't take much debate before we agreed to change the bathroom to 5'x9', giving us another 3' for the future kitchen.  This requires that we change the entire configuration of the fixtures and plumbing so we gutted the room to the studs and rebuilt it at the new, smaller size.
A conflict between tub drain locations and floor joists necessitated using a 54" bathtub instead of the standard 60".  It's not ideal but nothing in this house is going smoothly so I shouldn't be surprised.  Last night we managed to get the drywall and durock up so the room is feeling considerably more finished.
 
We now have some dead space next to the bathroom.  Until we actually start the kitchen remodel this will be a useless space, accessible only through the linen closet door.
Unfortunately we have to go back to our day jobs so progress on the bathroom is about to slow down.  But having to drive 10 miles into town to shower at work is a powerful motivator and we'll be working hard in the evenings to get this thing done.




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Slate Veneer Finished

Time for a confession...this project has been finished for two weeks.  I took photos but it was too late in the day and they turned out very dark.  I took more pictures after work yesterday, but they turned out even worse so I'm back to the original too-dark photos.

Anyway, I did finish the veneer.  It took 55(ish) hours to install approximately 150 sq ft of veneer and cost about $300 in materials.  Since it would have cost $150 to put on the regular lap siding the upgrade only cost $150.  Although I have a lot of time invested in this project the results are worth it.  Like the new siding, it helps to really make the new garage look like it is part of the original house.  Plus the stone dresses up the entire facade.

When we bought the house...
 Just a few weeks ago...
And now
You can see the color of the slate a little better in this shot.

We're not quite done yet.  I have to finish the front porch, texture the foundation and eventually do something about the landscaping.  But the bulk of the work out front is done.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Installing the Slate Veneer

Now that the siding is up and the garage door is painted it's time to put the stone veneer across the lower part of the house .  Our neighbors are starting to think that we're going to live with tyvek forever.
My brother and sister-in-law have a crazy of habit of coming over to help us with the house.  During this visit they helped us get the scratch coat on and ready for the stone veneer.  With four people on the job we were able to get the scratch coat on in just an hour and a half.
My brother also helped us haul our "new" concrete mixer home.  We got this ancient homemade monstrosity off of craigslist from a nice couple who just wanted it out of their driveway now that their project was over.


The concrete mixer also came in handy when setting up my dropcloth shelters.  It took the mixer, our boat, my truck and the garage to get this shelter up so the mortar would not dry out too quickly.
 
I was able to arrange for a few days of work to focus on the veneer.  I am making the same slate product that I have used on our last two houses.  It’s a slow process.  I have to cut each tile into thirds, then each piece has to be "buttered" individually and tapped into place with a rubber mallet to ensure a good bond to the scratch coat.  Slowly, the veneer begins to go up.

I put in about forty-five hours over the last four days and was able to get all of the stone up.  I still have to finish a little mortar work and sealing before I can show off the finished product.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Back to the Front

Last year when we were choosing siding for the house and new garage we toyed with the idea of using stone veneer again.  I made my own slate veneer for our last two homes but finding a way to use it across the current house was a struggle.  I made some very basic mock-ups of what the house would look like with a few different options (don't laugh too hard...I don't have photoshop).
Option 1 - Veneer on exposed foundation
While it would tie in with the veneer I intended to put across the front of the garage the effect on the house was too subtle.

Option 2 - Stone veneer up to the windows on the front.
This version involves a lot more work that option 1.  However it also looks much better than option 1 so I decided to ahead with the extra work and expense.  I did not have time to get the veneer on last fall so the front of the house has looked like this since November.
I have to install approximately 140 sq ft across the house and garage which will take quite a bit of time  It may be at least a few weeks until you see how the finished product turns out.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Soffit and Siding

It's been a while since I posted, but not because of lack of progress on the house.  In the last few weeks Luke and I have both been putting in long days at work and tiring weekends on the house.  When you saw it last the a back of the house had been wrapped and was weatherproof, but obviously there was a lot of work still to be done.
I neglected to take any photos while we were actually doing the work.  But to sum it up we installed soffit and fascia and finally put up siding.

It took some extra calculations to make everything line up with the garage siding we installed six months ago but now the house and garage finally match.
The shake gables match the shake siding we used on the front of the garage.  I thought it was a waste of time because the only time we see the east end of the house is while mowing the lawn, but it's a nice little detail that helps tie everything together.
Now that the siding is up I need to finish caulking, get it painted and start on the stone veneer before the weather gets too warm for mortar work.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Finished Roof

Over the weekend my brother and his wife came down to help us finish the roof.  The synfelt has been great and we haven't had any leaks despite a few rainy days, but it was time to get the last side of the roof finished and the pallet of shingles out of our yard.
Despite having to take time to install the sun tunnel for the future bathroom we were able to get the shingling done in one day.
Sunday was spent on wrapping up some small projects but I did find a few hours to continue repainting the garage door.
It was a little dark when I took this photo but you can see some hints of the color variation that makes this look like wood.

Once I paint the raised panels on the lower three rows I cans start work on the horizontal painting.  It is slow, tedious work and I'm not sure the end result will be worth it.  For now I am getting lots of strange looks from my neighbors.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Wrapping Up the Back

Luke had a basketball tournament this weekend so we did not get a lot done on the house.  But he was able to find time to help me get the rest of the sheathing and house wrap up.

I dug out the basement window well that ended up under the addition.  But it was getting late and I didn't want to pour concrete into the opening by myself, so I am using a piece of osb and the boat trailer tire to close off the window. 

I also started painting the garage door.  We bought a used white door that looks okay from a distance, but has a mildly sandblasted look up close.
This is the first step in making the metal garage door look like wood.  This color is a base coat that will eventually be darkened to a mahogany color.  But for now it looks like I'm really bad at choosing a matching color.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Framing the Kitchen Addition



While sensible people were indoors watching this weekend’s snow and rain through the windows Luke and I were framing the kitchen addition.  This required that we rip the rest of the sheathing off the back of the house.
Luke removed the rim joist
Then it took both of us to sister the floor joists for the cantilever.  Once the new floor framing was place and the subfloor glued on we let the dogs test its weight bearing capacity.  We spent the rest of the day framing the walls, but did not get any of them set before dark.
Sunday was cold and snowy but Luke got to work on framing the walls while I built trusses. 
When we knocked off for the day the house was open to the elements with the roof and wall completely open and uninsulated so Luke and I came home early on Monday to get the roof sheathed and dried in. 
We were able to get most of the addition sheathed, but ran short of materials just as it was getting dark last night.  Still, we are now mostly ready for some snowy or rainy weather.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Other Half

It's been a while since I've shown any of the work on the back half of the house.  It was never much to look at and the deck was in rough shape.  All but one of the posts had rotted off.
Things looked even worse when we added the garage and replace the patio door last fall.
The view got much worse last weekend when we removed the siding and the deck.  Luke also stripped the old shingles off the north side in anticipation of our impending kitchen addition.  
As with the other sides of the house we pulled down the buffalo board to replace the insulation and sheathing.  We discovered that the builders did not put vapor barrier behind the bathtub which led to a mold problem in the foam insulation.  This looks worse that it actually is; the mold was just against the outside wall, not all the way through.  But still, it needed to go.

After removing and crushing the insulation we framed the new bedroom window, put in new fiberglass insulation and nailed on the sheathing.  We boarded over the bathroom window, which will eventually be replaced by a sun tunnel.

Sunday night was all about running out of materials.  We were short 6" of Vycor flashing and about thirty feet short of house wrap.  But at least we were able to get the window in the bedroom.

We plan to start on the kitchen addition this coming weekend.  We're both anxious to get the structure framed so we can put a roof on the back of the house.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Gutting the Basement for a Fresh Start

We are finally getting started on the house.  There's a lot of work to be done this year but one of our first major projects will be building an addition on our kitchen.  Because the addition will be cantilevered we need access to the floor joists.  Unfortunately for us the basement is partially finished so we had to tear our the drywall before we could move forward.
This is the "family room" at the bottom of the stairs. We had drywall on the ceiling and the interior wall and stained osb on the exterior walls.  The office is through the door on the left.
 We tore down the drywall and also removed the studs and insulation to get back to bare concrete walls.  We saved most of the studs and insulation to be reused later, but with much better installation techiniques (like actually attaching the bottom plate to the floor and not turning the studs sideways).
 This was our "office" in the basement.  It happens to be under the kitchen so we needed to get everything out of this room to run new plumbing and floor joists.
It looks different without walls, but we think the house would have actually been more valauable this way instead of partially and poorly finished.
Now that the demo is done we can start building the addition.



Monday, April 06, 2015

Garage Interior Finished

It's been three months since I posted anything.  I've been thinking about letting this whole blogging thing die because I've lost interest.  But Luke pointed out I will be in big trouble with my grandma if we are making progress on the house and she's not seeing any pictures.  So in the interest of family peace here's a quick peek at what we've been doing.

The garage is finally finished.  We worked our butts off and spent a ton of money, but at last we have something to show for it. At 24x30 there is plenty of room to work even when our large truck is parked inside.


I splurged and bought Luke a 48" tv with a sound bar and streaming blu-ray player for the garage.  It's part of my not-so-secret plan to get him to watch sports in the garage instead of in the house.
Now that the garage is finished we are actually working on the house.  Luke and I spent the weekend gutting the basement.  If all goes well I might post some new photos this week.