Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ducts, Paint and The Deitz Work Is Done

Today was for the most part more of the same. Sheet metal going up in the basement...painting outside.  Doug installed more large duct work coming off the furnace and heading toward various sections of the house. I continued my front porch painting. The entire west and north walls of the front porch are now primed. The "only" PRIMING that remains is the south front porch, the south trim board and all the "wow that's high, I need a long ladder" sections of the addition and the replacement boards in the exposed eves. Once those are primed...we can start all over with PAINT.
The front of the cottage is primed. It's starting to look normal again.
The sides and risers on the steps will be white, too.
But I have been counseled to let the treated wood dry very well before painting.
The furnace now has the supply air duct attached at the top.
Doug is fitting the filter rack into the return air duct to the right.
There is a lot of sheet metal in place already.
And there is quite a bit yet to be installed.
When I got tired of painting, I decided to move some dirt around. The spot where the air conditioner compressor unit will be located was no where near at the fnal grade; nor was it level. While the unit won't be installed until next week, I wanted to get some sand built up in the area where it will reside so the rain predicted for this weekend has a chance to help compact it.  There was nearly enough excess sand near the spot to bring the ground to grade...but I also borrowed a couple wheelbarrows full from the north side of 3283. The borrowed sand came from the next to the two basement windows where I installed window wells.
Is there anything more boring than a picture of window wells?
The [eventual] topsoil will add 4" or so to the ground elevation.
The AC unit will sit in this general location.
Since there won't be topsoil under it, the grade
needed to be higher than the surrounding sand.
But, the most significant "event" of the day was a visit from Dan Deitz. Dan owns Deitz House Moving Engineers. As those who have followed this blog from the beginning know, Deitz is the contractor I hired to do the majority of the work completed so far. He lead a team of contractors who each handled their special part of the work. The Deitz Team was responsible for:  
  • supporting the structure;
  • installing lifting beams;
  • jacking the house up off the existing foundation;
  • excavating for a 9 foot deep basement;
  • constructing a full concrete block foundation under the house and an addition;
  • constructing interior support walls and beams;
  • pouring a concrete basement floor;
  • building steps to the basement;
  • back filling around the new foundation; and, 
  • disconnecting and reconnecting water supply [well], sewage [septic], natural gas, and electricity. 
Their work is done. So, Dan's visit today was an "event" since it was to pick up my final check. We walked around the site and looked over each aspect of the work. I am very happy with their work product. They completed the effort substantially on budget and with the only delay caused by me. The only extra costs were for some small items that either I requested or improvements to the original concept that Dan or a sub-contractor recommended. I would, and will, unquestionably recommend Deitz to anyone who has a similar project in mind.

I did hire some of the team members to do additional work on 3283 that was outside the scope of the Deitz contract. That work was to complete tasks I expected to hire out or do myself once Deitz was done.

I have been asked who all the contractors I have used so far are. Within the next few days I'll devote a blog to providing a "contractor list" identifying each, the work they did, and giving contact information. But, today I'm done typing. I'll be away from the site until Monday. More blog posts after that.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sheet Metal & Paint

It's Wednesday already. The middle of the week comes quickly when Monday is a holiday. And, I'll be heading to Livonia tomorrow evening. It was cool, damp and foggy this morning. And, since I didn't sleep well last night I got a slow start this morning. I wrote Tuesday's blog and posted it this morning. Had something to eat [breakfast?lunch?]...then got started on 3283.

Doug arrived with a bunch of sheet metal and went to work in the basement. One of the contractor's tasks was to install a vent from the new laundry area -- which is not on an exterior wall -- so a clothes dryer can eventually be installed. While this doesn't sound like a big deal, it's important to get it in place before the large  ducts near the furnace are installed. Doug worked on both the dryer venting and the large return air ducts today.
The dryer vent fit above the plumbing.
Part of the large return air duct work.
The furnace cabinet is fabricated at the factory allowing for the return air to be fed from either side. So, the installer has to cut through the cabinet where the return air and the filter will be located. Doug cut through our furnace cabinet so he could measure for the vertical duct connecting the return air to the furnace.

Doug is cutting the furnace cabinet. The filter rack is in front of him.
I spent the day in my paint clothes. [Remember I am a sloppy painter. So if I'll be near paint I dress appropriately.] I had hoped to start painting the front porch walls this morning. But the drizzle and fog suggested I put that off. But I had paint clothes on. So I went to work on the small wall inside the back porch that encloses the new "boys bathroom."

The wall looks like it belongs now that it's white.
I need to get some 1x4s to trim it out.
Around 3:00 or so the clouds parted and we actually saw sunshine at 3283. This meant the front porch was back in play. We had scraped the old paint and caulked over the weekend. So I only had to protect the split-faced concrete block from paint splatter and get the primer and brushes out. After a few cold cloudy days the sun was very warm where there was no shade. I chose to work on the side with a little shade first. Not for my comfort as much as to be sure the primer, which dries fast anyway wasn't being painted onto a warm surface.

I painted the entire south half of the wall. The primer s nice and white. It made the new trim boards and the scraped bead board wall look very good...especially when compared to the --still unpainted -- north side. i took a few pictures to show the contrast. One is below, but due to some shadows the picture doesn't look as dramatic as it did in person. Weather permitting, I'll paint the north side tomorrow.

The cottage is (relatively) level....I just cant hold the camera right.

Long Weekend Ends

Tuesday was another wet day at 3283. No drought in West Michigan this spring. Bobbie extended the holiday through the day and left with her mother in the early evening. [Their trip home was interrupted by heavy thunderstorms. Bad enough that they pulled off at an exit and waited them out.] Thanx for being here, Bobbie and all your support...real and moral.

In the morning we had a few "visitors."  Most notable, probably was the truck to remove the dumpster used by the roofers. This is notable because for the first time since March 1st there is no dumpster at 3283. Could this be a sign that a corner has been turned?  I'm hoping so.

The dumpster-less back yard.
Doug, from Bremer and Bauman was here until early afternoon working on the heating duct work. This process has seemed to be going very slowly to us. So much so that I called "the boss" and asked that he stop by later in the day. Doug did do a lot of work on the ducts feeding the two west upstairs bedrooms -- but I still have questions about them.  Ron did stop by in the afternoon....I expressed my concerns but didn't get a firm completion date....and still wonder about how well the ducts in the 'unconditioned' attic space will be insulated.

Two other visitors came to give us quotes on some future work. First was Lane from Pavers Plus. We need walkways leading to the cottage and around it to the lake. These can be concrete or paving block. We like the look of block....but didn't have a clue about cost.. So we called Lane to get an idea. He had some good suggestions on layout, and will be sending a cost estimate.  We'll need to compare that to a concrete price. I have a contractor coming to give me that estimate.

The second was Emily from Great Lakes Window Coverings. She came to measure and give ideas for "solar screens" to be installed along the west wall of the front porch. The late afternoon sun can make sitting there uncomfortable -- hot and very bright.. And this is where we most often have dinners.

Since the weather ranged from heavy sprinkles to thunderstorms all day I didn't get any outside work done. I did, however, spend some time in the afternoon pulling electric wire to feed the addition. Bobbie captured a few pictures of me up on a ladder in the basement drilling holes and running wire up to the new room. Here's a couple.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Holiday Weekend -- A Little Progress

Life was a little slower at 3283 the last few days. A good thing. So there is not much to post. Bobbie and her mom have been here since Thursday afternoon. The weather has still been quite cool. Thursday we got the Internet. I posted about that.

Friday we were into "provisioning:" Sam's Club. Lowes. Post Office. The roofers were here for a while. And, Doug continued fitting heating ducts inside hard to see places. Then, we spent some time at 3283 with the shop vac removing contractor left overs.  Finely, we made the decision to replace the windows in the living room. So we called the (self proclaimed) Pella Fella and ordered them. This will delay the finishing of the south living room wall by a couple weeks. But it's best for the house.

Saturday we got a late start....we actually relaxed for a while in the morning. Eventually, Bobbie went to work scraping old paint from the front porch so it could be painted along with the new trim boards. Meanwhile, I worked my way around the house filling nail holes in the least the lower trim.

Sunday I started with a routine spring cottage chore: I removed the caulk used to seal the four front porch windows that are operational and installed the screens. I had to use a taller ladder this time....the cottage is two feet higher than last year. The front screen door installation was more difficult than usual this year. Due to the new porch floor it had to be cut down to fit. And slight shifting during reconstruction required it to be shaved down width-wise too.

Bobbie made a grocery store run....allowing for real home cooking at 3283. I sanded the hundreds of spots where nail hole filler had been placed on Saturday....we scraped most of the porch...and caulked the edges. All ready to paint today.

Last night our son Mike came by 3283...after coaching 12 games at a soccer tournament in Indiana. It was his first visit since the construction began, so we spent some time showing him around.

We hoped he could help paint today....but the weather didn't cooperate. It threatened rain all morning....and drizzled this afternoon. So we found inside stuff for Mike to help with. First he got our wireless router and Verizon mini-tower up and running. Then he helped move some large items to the trash dumpster that we still have here from the roofers. He helped me re-size a piece of paneling that buckled when the floor was leveled. Helped me move paneling removed from the living room wall to the basement. And attempted an old house archaeological expedition.

In the room that became the hall to the addition a section of the bead board wall had obviously been cut and re placed. He removed about half the boards to see what may have been in the opening. All that was there was insulation....nothing to explain why the boards were cut. The mystery of the cut boards will not be solved now....if ever.

Mike has headed for home.
Bobbie is making pot roast.
Starting to smell really good!!!!

Tomorrow roofers should be finishing up....and the heating work should continue. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

21st Century Communication and A Sunset

Slow progress at 3283 the last two days. Doug spent more time on duct work yesterday. But had another job he needed to attend to today. I spent some of my day completing the paneling and insulation removal from the south living room wall. And I drilled a bunch of holes. Some to prepare the addition and living room for new electric circuits. And, some to allow easy installation of cable service.

Charter Cable showed up around 1:00. Well, actually a outside contractor for Charter shower up. He made the connection at the utility pole using the cable wire previously installed by the electric company. He then made the connection at the house and ran wires through the basement to get our service set up.

We now have cable TV, internet [Yes, today's blog is coming directly from the front porch of 3283.] and telephone service all being provided by our cable company. They were able to keep our decades old phone number...and the cost seemed we'll see how the service works out. Our  neighbors have had all three through Charter and seem content.

Bobbie and her mom came today for a loooong holiday weekend. As they showed up the rain stopped and the skies cleared. It will be a cool couple days, but dry.  Some of the best things about 3283 are the sunsets. Today we saw our first of the year. Here's a picture so you can see it too.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Shingles and Ducts

More roofing and duct work at 3283 today. The roofers showed up first and immediately started to tear off the old roof from the garage. Shingles and old felt paper were totally removed in about 90 minutes. And, as expected, a few “soft boards” were found. Those were repaired, new roofing paper was nailed in place, and the new roof went on. Shingle by shingle … row by row. The south side of the garage faces the main entry way to my neighbor’s house. The roof there was especially bad looking. Now there is a brand new roof facing the drive and walkway.
Here you can see the tear off and some of the replaced boards.
The completed south side of the garage roof,
as viewed from our neighbor's drive.
The Township Electrical Inspector stopped by for a while this morning to look over the work done by B&L Electric. It all passed without problem. And, as importantly,  I was also able to talk with him about the electrical work I will be doing myself in the addition, basement, front porch, laundry, and [maybe] living room. I just need a permit and I can start running wire.

Doug returned to continue the heating/air conditioning system installation. He didn't arrive until later in the morning, but the brought a truckload of sheet metal components with him. His day was spent installing some of the major supply and return-air ducts to the second floor. The major runs that go up through the new laundry area and in the north west bedroom were completed. He also installed the wall registers in the addition and porch bathrooms.
Doug is working in the basement under the duct that will go
up the wall in the northwest bedroom.
The shiny sheet metal duct in the NW bedroom
will be boxed in to hide it.
In the soon-to-be laundry room these two ducts will
provide supply and return air for part of the second floor.
I was away from the site for a couple hours handling a property tax issue with the Ottawa County Treasurer’s very helpful staff. Well, I didn't exactly “handle” it…my check book did.  Because of that, I wasn't around to watch the old flat roof being stripped off and the start of installation of the new membrane roofing material. And, I didn't climb up to take exciting, action packed photos. 

 Below are some pictures of the crew working on the semi-flat roof…taken from terra-firma.

Some trim work on the roof remained as the roofers left today. It involves specially made fascia trim and drip edge for the flat roof. I’m told they will be back later this week to finish that up.

Sorry this is short and un-edited. But, I'm blogging from Panera Bread and they are about to close the doors and kick me out.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Holes -- Some Good, Some Bad...New Roof

Lots happened today...and some of it involved holes. Some good, anticipated, holes. Some bad, though not entirely unexpected, holes.

First to arrive was the heating contractor. Bremer and Bouman had my sales rep there for a while. But most of the work, today, was done by Doug. He planned out the details of many of the duct runs and began cutting holes in floors and walls to get heat [and AC] from floor to floor. He worked alone. He was efficient and methodical. And he asked my involvement at just the right times. All the holes he made were good holes.

Doug is checking out the holes in the second floor where heat and return air
duct work will go up.
He is cutting an opoening in the NW upstairs bedroom for one of two heat registers.
Here Doug is making an opening for heat to the new bathroom.
Here are the openings for heat registers in the SW upstairs bedroom.
Also, today, the furnace was delivered and stored in the basement. Tomorrow more holes, and maybe some sheet metal. They hope to get the work done by week's end....but aren't promising anything before the holiday weekend.

Doug did work a lot today, but his results were nowhere as dramatic as those of West Michigan Roofing.  They showed up with a crew of at least 8 guys. I was quite concerned because we had thunderstorms forecast. But they are roofers...they can read the weather better than a PhD meteorologist at NOAA. They said it would be fine. It was. There were heavy storms 45 miles away. But not a drop fell at 3283.

They stripped all the shingles off of the existing sloped roof. And in doing so, they found [created] the bad kind of hole in two or three places. We knew there were some "soft spots" in the roof...especially over the back their discovery wasn't totally unexpected.

Off with the old.
These guys are much more comfortable on the roof than I would be.
One of the holes on the back porch roof.
The holes where rotted boards were found as well as those where abandoned plumbing vent pipes and the electric service mast were quickly repaired and the task of roofing was able to begin.

A "naked" roof over the front porch.
Getting ready to repair that hole in the back porch roof.
The roofers start to work their way up with shingles over the front porch.

The lowest 1x8 board along the entire width of the front porch was in less than perfect condition. I knew parts of it needed to be replaced, but it was the right time to rip off the 30 feet and put a 2013 board to replace the 1928 one that was there.

The west roof edge is all new.
As one crew worked on the front, another worked on the back and the north and south overhangs. That's where the repairs were so while the area they covered was smaller, the work wasn't any easier.

Repairs made and the water and ice guard in place...shingling begins.
The West Michigan crew was there from about 8:30 AM til about 6:00 PM. They had a warm sunny day to work in. Storms stayed away. And all of the shingle work on the house and addition was complete by the time they left. Tomorrow the "semi-flat" roof gets a membrane roofing material applied. [Doubt that I'll get many pictures of that.] and the garage roof gets stripped and re-roofed. 

Here's the front of 3283 at the end of the day.

 I'm not sure how colors will show up on the net.
The roof is a Hunter Green - Black Textured shingle.
It does look really good.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Chores at "Home"

Sunday. I woke up at 3283 around 8:00. It felt good to be "home." Before we put dirty work clothes on, we dressed normally and headed into town to get some supplies. First we went to Lowes. We picked up: light bulbs for the bathroom, heavy duty bug spray [the place has been 'open' for a while], a doorknob/lock for the new porch bathroom door, another gallon of primer [the new boards are sucking it up], a light to install at the top of the basement stairs, and a sheet of hardwood plywood to fill the opening where the north window of the west bedroom used to be.

Then to the grocery store. No need to report a detailed list. Suffice to say, we are stocking our home with the stuff we'll need all summer....and beyond.

We made it home before noon. And Bobbie began to make some order in the kitchen and the rest of the house. I went to work with my paintbrush to complete priming of the siding on the new bathroom walls. I had primed the lower siding boards before, so I needed to set up a couple ladders and a scaffold to reach the upper section of the east wall. Bobbie grabbed the there are actually pictures of me working.

When I finished the east wall using the stepladders and scaffold I moved around the corner to the north wall of the porch bathroom. It was higher...because ground level is terraced down behind the retaining wall. While priming that wall I also removed the old cable entry box and primed behind it and the spot where the electric meter used to be.  Since Charter Cable just replaced the box last year I figured they could re-use it for the new service I'm getting Thursday. And, if I put it in place it would go where I wanted it, not where the technician decided. I put it just to the left of the electric meter.

There was a lot of disruption around 3283 this spring. Much of the landscaping was destroyed. It is nice to see the plants and flowers that have made it through the turmoil. Most of the hostas, fiddle head ferns, and lilies of the well as all the pachysandra that we moved seem to have survived. And you've seen the few tulips that bloomed.

This week another traditional plant of 3283 came into bloom. Along our north property line and at the top of the dune we have some very old and apparently very sturdy lilac bushes. Their fragrant flowers began to bloom this week.

I said Bobbie spend the day making the cottage more like home. I didn't get pictures but the transformation was amazing. It was just what I expected from Bobbie. By the time I finished painting and hanging the door to the porch bathroom she not only had the kitchen back to normal, she had made dinner. And, it was one of my favorites: meatballs and rice.  Thanx, Bobbie.

This is my last blog from Value Place. Yes, I came back for an hour or so to use the internet. But, my time here is up. This week should bring the heating contractor and the roofer. But they are predicting rain and thundershowers. Roofing may be delayed. Stay tuned, I'll keep you all updated.

I'll blog if I can. I'm living at home...but still somewhat "roughing it."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eleven Weeks

Our contractor started some preliminary work on Friday March 1st.  I came to Holland on Saturday March 2nd to be a part of the transformation of 3283. Worked started in earnest on March 4th. The structure was "off the grid" since then. No power meant no water and no heat. No gas seconded the no heat situation. And, remember, March and April in Michigan were cold...very cold.

I have made my residence in a very convenient, very nice and very moderately priced extended stay hotel here in Holland.  Value Place. No fancy amenities, no pool, no bar, no restaurant, no free cookies at the main desk. I've referred to it as "the dorm."  The room was simple, clean, and secure. It had a mini kitchen [fridge, stovetop, microwave and sink]. It had a bath with tub/shower -- and good hot water.  My room had two double beds; but I lucked into that since all singles were taken when I arrived. So the put me in a double at single prices. I anticipated having to move...but that never happened. And, besides a little TV,  it has I could write this blog.

I moved 90% of my stuff from here to 3283 this afternoon. I'm sitting here with Bobbie. We just had dinner out. She is watching the Tigers Game and I'm using the internet to post this blog. But, we will be back at 3283 tonight....sleeping in our bed.

It has been Eleven Weeks since this project started. Eleven weeks that I've stayed at the Value Place of Holland. I can now live at 3283. Finely.

A lot has happened in those Eleven Weeks. The cottage has become a home. It is an unfinished home....but a home for sure.  The progress went very quickly in the beginning. In the first six to eight weeks the majority of the work was done. Then, due to the heavy rains I slowed the progress some waiting for the retaining wall to be built. Then there were some scheduling conflicts that delayed the final plumbing and electrical work. And the utility companies, Semco gas and Consumers Energy electricity seemed to take forever to make their connections.

Week One saw the contractors dig trenches under each corner of the house.
Week Two saw the house lifted on beams and cribbing.
Week Three saw the completion of the excavation under the cottage.
Week Four saw most of the main foundation nearly completed and ended with Easter weekend.
Week Five saw Interior framing, the house back on the foundation and the addition foundation completed.
Week Six saw the addition framed and the basement floor poured.
Week Seven saw completion of the foundation, beginning of plumbing and electrical work and the Flood.
Week Eight saw electrical work inside and trim work outside.
Week Nine saw retention wall construction and much of the addition being sided.
Week Ten saw underground electric and plumbing, porch bathroom framing/siding and entry deck construction.
Week Eleven saw  gas and electric service connection, completion of entry decks/railings and start up of water system.

Most of all Week Eleven saw 3283 become a livable home. One with much left to be done. But one that Bobbie and I can now live in.