Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Little Carpentry

Monday and Tuesday this week were spent handling some personal chores and paying some contractor bills. But I got back to work on 3283 today. As all of my faithful readers know, when the heating/cooling duct work was installed some that fed the second floor needed to be run in the open in the corner of rooms. One was in the west downstairs bedroom, one was in the south east corner of the living room, and a couple were in what will soon be the new laundry room.

All of these need to be "boxed in" and enclosed with drywall, paneling or bead board. Today I began installing the studs to which the wall material will be attached. I finished framing in the bedroom and living room corners. And I got a good start on the laundry room walls. Below are pictures of some real studs......

Simple stud work in west downstairs bedroom.
We'll probably cover this with bead board to match adjoining walls.
Slightly more complex stud work in the living room.
I'll cover this area with paneling that was removed from the south wall.
The ducts in the laundry were much larger and needed a full wall to be built to hide them. This wall will also connect to a small wall containing the door to the basement steps. Today I framed the laundry wall and temporarily secured it in place. It will be completed when I frame wall containing the basement door [maybe tomorrow?] 

The duct work that needs to be enclosed.
[Sorry about the ladder in the picture.]
The framing for the new south wall of our new laundry area.
There will be a small wall with the basement door where the blue tape is on the floor.
Its great to have a basement to work in. Last week we stocked the basement with the lumber for this and some other projects. Today I set up my "shop" down there and had a convenient place to easily cut all the studs seen above.

Ten foot 2x4s were easily cut to the the nine foot plus length
that was needed in my makeshift basement shop.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Exterior Activity

Friday saw landscape beds completed, sprinklers turned on and the professional painters working. First to arrive was the crew from the Aesthetic Gardener. While they had finished laying the sod on Thursday, not all the beds were covered with bark/mulch. Friday morning a crew of two arrived. They finished this task and fertilized the lawn and applied Preen weed retardant to the bed areas.

The rest of the big trailer-full of bark was used.

We'll have to come up with some plants to hide the AC unit.
Before noon the crew cleaned up and were on their way.
[sorry for the sun-spot in the picture]
Jay Strahl, owner of JJ's Express Painting, arrived mid morning with his helper and went to work on the walls above the basement door and the east dormer. They primed bare wood and filled nail holes first...then went to work on the final coat. It looks very very good.

We hadn't planned on painting the dormer
...but it had some mold that was power washed off....
...and since they were up there a fresh cost of paint seemed like a good idea.
32 foot extension ladders are tools of professionals...
It was a good decision to contract out this part of the work.
Looking Good ... Very Good
Just after noon Jason from West Ottawa Sprinkling came and turned on the lawn irrigation system [sprinklers]. He made sure all the sprinkler heads were operable, set the controller timing, and adjusted the spray pattern. Now the new sod will get a good soaking 3 times every day until it gets established. Sorry, no pictures.

Before Thursday when the sod was installed we were tracking a lot of mud up onto the new entry decks. They got pretty grungy. I decided to clean them off on Friday. And in doing so reverted to skills...and tools... I had gained as a boater. The entry decks are a composite material [plastic] just like the fiberglass of the boat we used to own. Buried in the garage was our old boat cleaning stuff, which has now become deck cleaning stuff. [I guess we just exchanged one "deck" for another.]  Bobbie snapped a couple pictures of me swabbing the deck......

I found the old boat brush and even a bottle of boat soap.
But the deck was quite different.
3283 will be hosting some guests this weekend. It's nice that most of the landscaping is complete. We'll be able to sit on the deck with friends and enjoy our home with friends without the construction site feeling. And we all will definitely:
Be Happy and Have Fun.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Greening of 3283

I posted earlier today. And shortly after I did, Mervin and the crew from the Aesthetic Gardener showed up here at 3283. Their first task was to slightly re grade and prepare the site for lawn and flower/shrub beds. Bobbie and Mervin walked the edges of the lawn and decided on the final shape of the bed-line. Then the crew began spreading shredded bark on the bed areas. Meanwhile Mervin was on hid ford tractor smoothing out the top soil where the sod would be placed.

The bed area along the north side of the lawn is being defined.
A large trailer full of shredded bark was delivered.
The crew began covering the beds with bark while waiting for the sod.
The recent months in West Michigan have not been favorable for sod production. We had waited a few weeks to see if good quality sod could be obtained locally. But that was not to be. AAA Turf, headquartered in Hudsonville, MI was our supplier of choice. They couldn't promise local sod but were able to ship in sod from their farm in Indiana. Given that our daughter is an alumna of Indiana University I guess it is appropriate that the 3283 legacy is incorporating Hoosier turf.

A large truck delivered nine pallets of sod around 1:30 this afternoon. They were quickly unloaded and the guys went to work installing instant lawn.  No need for any captions on the following pictures. Bobbie spent a lot of time behind the camera today and her work tells the story of The Greening of 3283.

It has been nearly six months since the yard surrounding the cottage was stripped of grass, top soil [and snow] and became a construction site. Amazing transformations have taken place to the cottage structure and its mechanical/electrical systems. But it still sat in a sandy, dusty, dirty -- construction site. Until today. Today much of the feeling I've had for this place came back as the lawn where four generations of kids have played was returned. There is still a lot to be done: much more inside work and eventually more landscaping. But with green returned to 3283 it looks "right" again.

Hiatus Explanation -- A Little Progress

I wonder if I have any followers left after my long hiatus. If so, you all deserve an explanation of my absence. First of all, 3283 is in somewhat of a lull period in its transformation. Lots of decisions need to be made and certain work must wait for other things to happen first. But more on that later.

Second, and more important to me personally, I took a little "vacation."  Since my first day of retirement (March 1st) I've spent the vast majority of my time here in Holland. I had returned to Livonia for a few weekends...and one two day work assignment; but nothing longer. That changed a week or so ago when I returned there for a week. Much of that week I spent watching my grandson JJ while his mom and dad tended to other commitments.  I'll admit that playing with a soon-to-be two year old for six-plus hours a day can exhaust a 64 year old body. But I loved every minute of the week we were all together.

OK, Back top 3283. Over the past weeks my mantra of "Before you can do anything, you need do something else first" was well served. Much of what needed to be done "first" involved decisions. We received quotes from three potential contractors to do the drywall installation. But before they can begin we need to make bathroom tile decisions since different tile installers use different "systems" inside the shower. So before we can drywall, we need to decide on tile so we know which installer will be used. Bobbie and I spent much of this week getting more and more confused about what tile we want in the bathroom. Stay tuned...we will decide soon.

Some work was done here the last two weeks. Though it was more baby steps.  As I mentioned earlier, we bought flooring for the front porch. And, in preparation for installation we wanted to paint the outside walls. These are simple beadboard strips between 2x4s at the top and bottom. Most are tightly interconnected, but some have formed gaps over the years which were sealed with caulk. Bobbie and I spent a day scraping loose paint and old caulk from these walls in preparation for paint. Then I caulked the bottom board and the gaps. The walls are 50 feet in length and there were dozens and dozens of gaps. It took three tubes of caulk to do the job.

Here I'm starting to scrape -- lots more ahead of me.
Eventually, lots of old paint and caulk came off the front porch walls.
We hired a painter to deal with the high walls around the basement door and retaining wall. They came on Tuesday and power washed the walls. Paint will be in a day or so.

Two heavy duty power washers were used.
Since some mold/mildew formed on the east dormer wall,
we are having it washed and painted, too.

It was good to clean off even the new siding.

Of minor note: We previously combined all of our communications systems [telephone, internet and cable] under one umbrella provided by Charter Communications. Thus our AT&T line was no longer in use. This week they came and removed our last overhead wire from 3283.

The box and wire were disconnected from the house....
...and the wire disconnected from the main line.
And, one other item of preparation took place on Wednesday. After I finish the porch floor I will begin to frame in the heating ducts feeding the second floor, build the knee walls in the bathroom, frame the south wall of the laundry area and some other miscellaneous carpentry. I needed a bunch of 10 foot studs and some large 4x8 sheets of plywood. Rather than dealing with them in Bobbie's Jeep, we had the order delivered. It was due "after noon" on Wednesday. The Zeeland Lumber truck pulled in at 6:30 PM and dropped off a bundle of wood. Bobbie and I then spent a hour or so moving it into the garage and basement.

The last delivery of the day.
Small by their standards.
The bundle...waiting to be moved to the garage and house.
A 16 foot handrail sits on the walk.
The basement entry sure helps.
Two, three or sometimes four at a time all the lumber made it into the basement.

I'm writing this on Thursday morning. Already there is activity outside that will be chronicled tonight. Mervin is here with a crew of 4 and is prepping the yard for sod. If all goes as planned tonight I will post again with pictures of grass around 3283. How cool will THAT be???

Thursday, August 8, 2013

More Baby Steps

A little progress was made the past couple days. Some involved potential contractors; some dealt with fixes; some concerned inspections; and some consisted of scraping and painting. Not much was very photogenic.

We had three drywall contractors come to 3283 to look over the project and give quotes for installing drywall on the living room walls and on the bedroom walls and ceiling. Their prices were relatively close....but one noticed a problem with the insulation. We will decide on the contractor in the next week or so.

Now I had to deal with the insulation issue. As I had described the other day, we used spray foam insulation. In the new bathroom wall the foam expanded behind a drain vent pipe and pushed it out slightly in front of the face of the studs. This would, obviously, cause a "bump" in the drywall. I called Holland Insulating and they sent someone out to fix the problem. The fix was chiseling out the foam and installing non-expanding foam adjacent to the pipe.

Over the weekend and on Tuesday I finished all the electrical work I'm planning under my current Township permit. So, I called fro the "rough inspection." The QElectrical Inspector came by yesterday and pronpoiunced my work "Apporoved." Only rough plumbing inspection is now needed....and that is scheduled for tomorrow.
I also spent some time yesterday with a paint scrqper working on the ceiling of the back porch. That's where the roofers replaced some boards that now needed paint. Obviously the adjacent wood also needed paint....and before you paint, you scrape. Wednesday was scrapiung day. Today was painting day. I put a coat on the entire ceilng and on the new bathroom wall and door trim. It all looks better. But it will definately need one more coat before it's complete.

The ceiling got a coat of paint, but the bare spots and new wood will need another coat. Tomorrow I'll be here for the Plumbing Inspector. Work should be resuming here the week of the 19th when sod will be installed [I hope]. The blog will be unattended for a while. Until I post again, be sure to:

Be Happy. Have Fun.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Short Post: Update

I last posted on Thursday. Bobbie spent a long weekend with me. And, while we don't have a lot of physical progress to show we did move forward with some significant actions. We swept a lot of "foam dust" from off the living room and addition floors. I think 95% of it is gone now.

Friday we visited a couple contractors and paid bills [and got some rebate forms for the heating/air conditioning system we had installed]. Then we went to a flooring store and looked at laminate for the front porch. we brought samples back and stared at them for a few hours. On Saturday morning we finely picked the floor for the porch. The store had more than the 13 boxes we needed in stock. So, we loaded up the Jeep and brought them to 3283. I don't think it will be a terribly difficult job installing the floating floor ... but I'm wondering if having someone here to help me would make it easier [Any volunteers?].

The front porch has bright white walls and the new, beautiful blue ceiling. Therefor we chose a darker floor color. We bought Shaw VersaLock flooring. I laid a few planks out on the floor to give a general idea of what it will look like. I'm sure I'll have a comprehensive photo story of the installation.

Flooring -- View One
Flooring -- View Two
Sunday Bobbie provided moral support and held the light while I made the connections from the five new electric circuits to the main circuit breaker box. I did much of the work with the power on but I was much more comfortable making the final connections with the main turned off.  It was a few hours worth of work -- and I make one error that needed to be corrected. But, the addition and basement are now "powered."  Sorry, no pictures. All four of our hands were busy and the camera wasn't close by.

Also, on Saturday and today we had visits from three potential drywall contractors to give us quotes on finishing the living room wall and all walls and ceiling in the addition. The three prices were similar, all seemed well qualified and the time frame for starting/completion was similar. We'll make the decision soon and hopefully have the work done near month's end.

Last fall, in preparation for the excavation, we moved some plants. We hoped they would survive and be able to be relocated once the landscaping could be restored. Along the south side of the cottage there had been for decades a group of Tiger Lilies. These are majestic plants that grow four to five feet in height and have beautiful orange and black flowers. I wasn't sure they would be able to be saved. We transplanted them to an area near the drive and kept our fingers crossed. They did survive. The stems and buds have been maturing all year. And this week they began to bloom. I guess they will continue to be part of the legacy of 3283.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Spray Foam Insulation

Holland Insulating Company came to 3283 today. Chuck and Earl made up the crew. Their first task was to cover floors, windows and doorways in the areas they would be working with plastic. I figured the work would be messy...but they prepared for MESSY. And, they have the experience to know just how messy it would be.

Covering the addition was - relatively - easy: plastic on the floor, each of the four windows, and covering the door opening between the addition and the rest of the house. The living room was different. They actually constructed a plastic "room" enclosing about 3 or 4 feet of space north of the wall. These encapsulations did limit my photography some. And the light reflecting off plastic and newly sprayed foam wasn't friendly to the camera. But the picture story of today's effort is below.

I had the living room furniture well covered.
But, there was more protection required.
The plastic room is being built along the living room wall.

Plastic was put on the floor and over the windows in the addition.
The chemicals came in drums kept in their truck.
The long hose coiled up on the left brought them into the house.
There they were mixed in the spray nozzle creating the foam.
Chuck did all the spraying.
He was well protected with Tyvek and a respirator.
The addition walls were done first. Then the living room walls. Then the ceiling [underside of roof] in the addition. The spray expanded and covered some of the stud 'faces' but will be removed.

The first foam went in in the southwest corner of the addition.
Chuck worked his way around the room.
Here he is approaching the northwest corner,
Here he is working on the north wall.
The foam was applied in two layers. This is the first.
Here Chuck is inside the plastic room preparing to start the living room wall.
The first foam is being sprayed into the living room wall.
I couldn't stay inside to take pictures, so this is the best I got.
Here's a view of the work through the plastic wall.
Chuck is spraying the ceiling of the addition.
We chose to insulate the underside of the roof
since the space above the ceiling would not be vented.
Here's a picture of partially completed ceiling insulation.
Once Chuck finished the addition ceiling he moved to the basement where their task was to fill the cavities over the foundation where the joists end with spray foam insulation. This work went rather quickly -- except along the south wall where there was no "rim joist" built back in the 1920s. Here the siding/band board was attached directly to the joist ends. There were gaps that needed to be filled before the expanding foam was sprayed in. Chuck filled them with fiberglass and sprayed over it.

Downstairs Chuck changed to a air-supplied breathing system.
Not because he needed it, but because they had run out of face shields to use without it.
Foam was sprayed between the ends of each floor joist.
Where there was no rim-joist Chuck filled the gap with fiberglass before spraying the foam.
At the south end of the front porch the last floor joist was very close to the end joist.
Chuck forced the foam into the space and had some spill-out.

Decker SS Reversible Spiral Curry Comb
Curry Comb
Chuck's and Earl's last task was scraping. The foam was sprayed "between" the studs. But a lot found its way onto the faces of the studs...and some expanded thicker than the 3 1/2 inch depth of the wall. The guys went to work scraping off the excess foam. There was a lot of hand work done. And, the tool they used was actually made for grooming horses. Its called a curry comb and is a series of sharp serrated blades in a circle at the end of a handle.  I'm not sure what it's used for in horse grooming. But it takes foam insulation off very effectively.

A view of the sprayed, but not scraped foam.
[No, Damon, I know it looks like vanilla ice cream...but, its not.]
Another view...Not yet scraped
Chuck pealed back the Tyvek suit while he scraped the addition wall.
The over-spray was particularly heavy
in the northeast corner of the addition
Earl got the task of scraping the east wall of the addition...
including the heavy over-spray shown above.

The scraping created millions [maybe billions] of tiny pieces plastic foam. Thankfully I turned off the air circulation feature on our heating/air conditioning system before the work started today. Chuck picked up the plastic covering...and swept the floors...but particles remain. Static electricity is keeping them attached to many surfaces. We'll probably be sweeping/vacuuming them up for quite a while.

The walls do look quite good fully filled with insulation. And, I can tell already how the foam will keep us warm/cool in winter/summer.

Fully foamed and scraped living room wall.
Fully foamed and scraped north wall of the addition.
A view of the fully foamed ceiling.
No scraping needed here.
The northeast corner of the addition with final insulation.
You are looking "through" a future wall into the bathroom.
The crew worked until about 5:00. This was a longer day then normal for them. But since they got a later than normal start at 3283 the job took about one full day. They, however, are not quite finished. They need to return with a different [non-expanding] foam to fill the gaps between the studs and the window frames. I was promised a call tomorrow to schedule that [quick] work.