Monday, February 23, 2004

The Sickness of Home Remodeling

I finished most of the insulation this weekend. I probably spent 10-12 hours working on it and today I’m pretty sore and tired. But, I feel good about the contribution. However, I still haven’t covered the Kraft paper in the ‘dead space’ above the hallway, and I haven’t covered the open area above the living room, or some of the wall space next to the main stairs. I’m going to fill the space above the living room which a bunch of left-over insulation scraps, but I’m sure what I’m going to put in the walls next to the stairs. The walls are only 2x4 and won’t take the R-21 insulation. I may need to use the left-over rigid insulation. I’ll have to talk to Dave about that the next time I speak with him. Also, there are a few other miscellaneous odd-and-ends. I couldn’t pack insulation in one cavity of the ceiling above the computer area where the kitchen vent will go. I also couldn’t pack the wall where the tv cable is going to come into the house or where the phone wire will enter. Hopefully I can get these miscellaneous issues resolved this week.
One funny thing worth noting. We visited some friends of ours, Mike and Adina this weekend, who are recent home purchasers. After a bit of champagne and ‘other’ libations, we got to talking about house structure and the differences between their first and second floor. There is a gable-end roof above the first floor bath that they hadn’t really noticed. They would really like to add a bath to the 2nd floor and it appears relatively easy to put a second bath above the first one. It seems they would only need to raise the gable roof a few feet to make it work. Also, there are currently no west windows on the 2nd floor, which would otherwise provide a beautiful view of the downtown skyline. If they add a bath and perhaps another dormer, they would greatly increase the value (not to mention the livability) of their house by making it a 2 bath house with a nice view. The project would likely pay for itself, in terms of equity.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Insulation Insulation Insulation

Still working on insulation. Didn’t see Dave all week, but I know he visited the house one day and I think he may have fixed the leaking plumbing vent. It has rained quite a bit this week, but I haven’t noticed any more water on the floor. So, let’s hope. I did talk to Dave on Tuesday and he says the windows are scheduled to arrive next Friday (2/27), which means they can start installing them on Monday (3/1). Hope so. That will be a major milestone in this project.
I hope to finish up the insulation this weekend, but realistically, it may drag into next week. I still need to wire for phone and cable before I can finish insulation, but at least I think I know what to do there. I’m just going to run the phone up from the basement into the 2nd bedroom closet, then along that wall into the master suite. The cable will come up from the box outside the kitchen, then up into the ‘computer area’ above the kitchen, then over the hallway and down to each bedroom. I think, in this day of wireless, that that will be enough coverage.
After I get this wiring done, I will finish up the fiberglass insulation. That leaves the issue of the ‘exposed’ Kraft paper. Dave recommended something call ‘FS paper’ or fire-spread paper. However, I have not found this, nor have I found someone else who has heard of this. Instead, I’m looking at something called Reflectex, which is an aluminum insulation product. After reading their web site, it’s not clear that the product will fit our needs, but I will ask Dave about it next week and probably just go with it. It appears to be fire resistant and easy to install, the two things I’m looking for, at this point.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Friday the 13th! Ooo!

I’ve been working on hanging insulation all week. A lot harder work than I had expected, especially around the plumbing and ductwork above the upstairs hallway. Except now, Dave says that we probably won’t get away with the craft-paper backed insulation up there. In general, you cannot leave the craft-paper ‘exposed’ because it is considered a fire hazard. Most of the rest of the insulation will be covered with drywall, expect in that dead-air space above the hallway. Grrr! Don’t know for sure. Dave suggested I call the city. Hopefully either we can just get away with it or we can cover it with some other kind of material. I’m seriously hoping I don’t have to remove what I worked so hard to get up there. In the mean time I plan on just finishing what is left, which is above the master closet, and the walls. Hopefully I can get it done this weekend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Mysterious Pipe Noises

We started putting the insulation up this weekend. Definitely harder work than I had thought. The ceiling batts are hard to pull into place, especially around the heating duct work. Jenn helped out by getting some of the wall cavities filled, especially in the sun room. Anything she can do will help a lot. The tough part is that both Jenn and I are just getting over colds and we are both a little lacking in energy. Hopefully we can finish up it this weekend though. After we get the insulation inspected, we can get the drywall guys in there. Dave said they are asking for more money, $7000 in fact, but he thinks he can get them down to $5k. Hope so, considering I only budgeted $4400.

Dave also said they think they can get the windows in before the end of the month (February). Hope so, since he plans to go on vacation in Italy during March. I also asked that he redo the archway over the main floor hallway. At first I thought combining the two closet doorways was enough, but I decided that it left too awkward a hallway into the old bedroom. Now the archway will be almost 9 feet long and go almost the entire length of the original main floor hallway. I’m thinking that I still may try and put some kind of columns in to give the house a little more style. I felt really bad about asking them to redo something they already did, but he didn’t seem too bothered by it. Hopefully this is the last major change that we’ll need.

So, the last major things remaining are the drywall, windows, porches, balcony, and the siding. It feels close! Then when the house is finally ours, we will just need to paint, do the floors, stairs, bathrooms, lights, and trim work. Yippee!

Probably the biggest concern that we have at this point is the incredible noise our pipes are making. All night long they make this rattle and screech noise. Very annoying!!! Dave said the plumber thinks it might just be air in the lines. I hope that’s all, because I’m not signing off on this project until that rattling stops.