Friday, March 26, 2010

Insulation Day 2

Eric says we have the fuzziest house on the block. It's also very appropriate colors considering Easter is right around the corner: mint green, yellow and pink! Every interior wall has either thermal or sound batt. Today we're heading to Charlottesville for a scholarship dinner and stopping at lumber yards on the way to check out window trim options (this was the only way I could get Eric to agree to come).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Insulation Day 1

Today the house was sprayed with 1" of closed-cell insulating foam. Tomorrow the crew comes back to install batt. There was a lot of work leading up to this day. Eric and I have been working every weekend for as long as I can remember and both of the past 2 nights taking care of pre-insulation/drywall details, such as tightening bolts that sister the floor joists, running any wires for future outlets, TVs, etc., moving tools and equipment out of the house, and installing blocking. It feels good!

Next we need to put finish trim on the windows (this goes in before drywall due to Eric's finish details) and hire a tile guy to install durarock before drywall can start. We have a handful of quotes but aren't in a position to hire anyone yet. We'll try to make some more progress on this tonight.

Just a quick reminder of how far we've come...

Back of house - Jan 2009

Back of house - March 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lots done but still no insulation or drywall...

It rained all weekend but we got a lot done inside, including:
  • Continuing to tighten bolts on old joists sistered to new joists (turns out our framing contractor was lazy about this, imagine that)
  • Removing trash & cardboard from the house so that there's more room for our insulation & drywall subs
  • Building a floor in the attic with the plywood that had been covering up the windows. This is basically all of the storage we will have in the house. It's over our bedroom but the height is only 2-4', so today I experienced drilling while laying down. We will have a drop-down ladder to access this space in the hallway and we're planning to build some little carts on wheels so we can overcome the low clearance and utilize the space for storage as much as possible.
  • Running a conduit for the subwoofer wire from the front wall around to where the receiver will be
  • General sweeping & vacuuming

We signed our insulation contract so hopefully that can be installed this week. We're starting to get bids in from contractors on various components of the finish installation. So far GCs have quoted between $64K and $128K, which is insane, especially with us providing all of the finishes! Looks like Eric will probably be GC'ing til the end.

Monday, March 8, 2010

More lights!

Yesterday was beautiful, high 50s and sunny. Although it wasn't on the critical path for insulation or drywall, we couldn't help but want to be outside, so we installed 3 of our 7 outdoor lights. The one here is our front light, which shines up and down. It was dusk at the time of this photo, but at night it lights up the top cornices and even the neighbor's houses and it only has 90W bulbs currently but can support 250Ws! We also finished up some more fireproofing, bolt tightening (on our sistered joists) and assisted Helen, who officially finished untangling Bruce's mess yesterday (which incredibly, has already cost us over $2,000).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And then there was light

Sounds like Eric & Helen sorted out the jumble of 3-way and 4-way switches created by Bruce today. Eric likened it to Christmas morning he was so excited to test everything out, including our very cool remote-controlled skylight! Helen should be able to finish her corrections to Bruce's work in 1-2 days and then we can move to the next step, which is insulation. I've been in LA for work but am looking forward to a weekend of tightening bolts in the basement joists and who knows what else Eric has in store for me?... He's also got a lot of finish guys touring through the house. Today Eric checked out the work of a builder completing a 16,000 sf home with all of the bells & whistles in Potomac. I doubt we can afford this guy. So crazy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Electric Untangling by Eric

Helen and I got most of the wiring figured out today and a game plan to make it all work. We are also consolidating a number of under-used 15 amp circuts which gives us more room in the panel. By doing this we can also run a line up to the attic area to provide lights in that space which can be later converted in the future phase to be used as a power feed for lights / outlets in the master bed room. So with the additional line run to the attic combined with the current subpanel we should have enough juice for our 3 floor and deck.

I'm actually pulling a few if the lines myself to help speed the process along. We also discovered today that Bruce did not run power the back bedroom light / fan, ran power to a switch bank twice in the kitchen, did not run the switching correctly for the entryway recessed lights and did not run power to the switch back by the front door.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Electrical Corrections

We hired Helen to finish/check/correct Bruce's work. She works full time at Pepco so was able to work Monday-Friday from 9-1 and all day Saturday. She fixed the numerous known errors including:
1. increasing amps to the basement microwave and giving it its own feed
2. correcting the ground wiring, which was wrong
3. powering the new stacked meter outside
4. wiring up the basement bath fan
5. installing all breakers in the panels so the wires can be powered and tested

By Friday she and Eric were testing Bruce's lines/circuits and found a whole slew of hidden problems, including:
1. most 3-way switches jumbled and not working correctly
2. gang boxes not big enough for the # of switches intended for that location
3. incorrect labeling
4. dual feeds coming into the same box

Unfortunately the electric needs to be right before insulation can go in because the spray foam in particular becomes really hard, making it difficult to access the wires behind it. Hopefully, Helen only needs a few more days. The photo here is of Helen and her helper from Saturday, a retired Jamaican guy who used to be her boss.