Monday, March 30, 2015

Day 331: Kitchen Underway

Our kitchen is underway! Last Monday, a Budget rental truck with two guys wearing Best Buy shirts showed up and unloaded about 300 boxes of various sizes from Ikea. I guess that's what you call team work.

Mandy started the assembly. Krista and Kim helped as well, so that when I got home, we could start hanging them.

The cabinets hang on metal rails screwed into the walls. I used my handy dandy laser level to ensure that all of the rails were, well, level.

I had some good help putting the cabinets together. After hanging the cabinets on the wall, I screwed the faces of them together so that they would be perfectly flush.

We installed the cabinets around the fridge and almost all of the other cabinets. We ended up being five base cabinets short, due to a mis-delivery by Ikea/Budget/Best Buy. The missing bases showed up a week later, and are now installed.

Nate came over and helped lay out the island. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Day 346: Finished Floors


After much work, we can finally put a stake in the ground and call our hardwood floors done! We stained them and added the first coat of polyurethane. After it dried, we noticed a lot of little bumps and bubbles from dust that had settled into the drying poly. We rented a floor buffer and picked up some screening disks.

The buffer and screening disks ended up working wonders. Took off the rough spots and prepped the floor for the second coat of poly. It also gave the floor a nice worn look by taking the stain of the high edges of a few areas.  We'll post some more pics of the finished floor soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 342: Hardwood Floors

Hey there. Thanks for checking in. We're still in the process of finishing up. For the last couple months I've been saying "we'll be done in about a month." At this point we're looking at finishing up sometime in April, i.e., in about a month.

We've just about wrapped up the hardwood floors. We have about 1,600 sq ft of hardwood on the main level, along with the stairs and two landings. We opted to install it ourselves, going with red oak as our choice of material. Rustic has been our theme, so we went with mixed widths, combining four widths: 2 1/2, 3 1/2, 4, and 5 inch boards in a random distribution.

To start the installation, we scrapped up all of the excess drywall mud that had dropped on the floor. The floor needed to be as smooth as possible, as any bumps or defects would translate through the floor.

After cleaning the floor, we installed an asphalt paper as an underlayment. The underlayment helps act as a moisture barrier, as well as provides a smooth sliding surface to help the floor boards move during installation.

The hardwood had been inside for about four weeks acclimatizing to the temperature and humidity of the house. We then used a floor nailer to nail through the tongues and into the subfloor. I picked one up on Amazon for about $100. Matt and Steve helped set up the process, and which we were able to install the floor over a two week period.  

Since we had red oak floors, we wanted red oak stairs as well. I purchased some rough cut 5/4" boards about 11" wide, and cut them to fit as treads. I sanded them smooth, which took off any splinters but left the character of the rough cut. Extra flooring was used for the risers.

After all the flooring was installed, Mandy filled in any big gaps using a professional putty that I ordered from Chicago. It was mainly used to fill knot holes and end gaps.

Next up: staining and finishing the floors. I also need to catch you up on the stair rail installation and front yard drainage.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 300: Exterior lights, and MAJOR milestone!


I just noticed that today is a huge milestone for us...Day 300 of the house build! Unfortunately, this is a milestone I never thought we'd hit, since I expected us to be done by now. Ah well, the more the merrier.

We've made some good progress lately. Today I put in quite a bit of electrical trim out, i.e. outlets, switches, lights, etc. I finished the craft room, laundry room, closet, powder room, master bedroom and garage. I also put in three outside lights above the garage. They're wired to a dusk-to-dawn sensor, so they'll come on when it's dark and go off in the morning. They're LED and only draw 7W each.

Abby was my electrical helper. I taught her how to put on plate covers using a screwdriver and a level, and she followed me along as I installed the devices. She eventually got faster, so that she was waiting on me to finish each time.

Reed finally found a job that he liked, and took to sealing our tile grout seams, painting on the sealer with a small brush and wiping off any excess. Emmy also helped with this endeavor.

Emmy also cleaned all the drywall mud off the girls bathtub while I installed a toilet.

Did someone say toilet? Yep, we have one now. Hello indoor plumbing. We got the new eco-friendly toilet that has two buttons on it: a small one for number one, and a big one for number two. The kids thought this was the funniest thing they had ever seen. Who know saving the planet could be so hilarious.

This week we also more-or-less finished painting the interior walls and ceilings. Since we have a 26 ft vault (who's idea was that?) we had to be a bit creative. We opted for a long extension pole instead of scaffolding. I rolled the highest parts, because I'm so tall.

Wednesday I took the day off to take advantage of our 70 degree weather and finish the ridge cap. I've been dreading this part of the project for some time now, since it involves being on a 12:12 (45 degree) pitch metal roof, which is a pretty fast and dangerous slide. I ended up getting some S-5-S roof clamps to secure a 2x4 to the standing seam. I put in about 20 feet, and would then have to slide the clamps and 2x4's down, which was a precarious and time consuming feat. I thought it would take a day, but it took all day Wednesday, several hours Thursday evening, and another couple hours Friday evening. Steve helped, and I couldn't have finished it without his assistance.

Daily StatsHours Worked
All Time3008788761637$13,496.75
Summary of 1/31/2015
Work Done Today
Painted vaulted ceilings, electrical trimout main level, exterior lights above garage, installed first toilet
Materials Used Today
Who Helped Today
Emmy, Abby, Mandy, Reed, Will
Contractors On Site

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 281: Let There Be Light!


It's funny how certain little bits of progress on the house seem to have a big impact. For me, its the things that start making the house more functional. We made progress in a couple of those areas recently. One of them was getting some interior lights installed and working on the main level.

Since one of our goals was to build an energy efficient house, we're using almost all LED lighting. For the main level, I installed recessed can light housings on all the flat ceilings, and purchased LED lights to go in the cans. Mandy worked hard during the day to get the ceilings painted, giving us the green light to get some lights working. Since I returned to work full time today, I only had about an hour in evening to work on the house, and lights were the focus. Steve installed the lights in the cans, while I wired up a few switches to get them working. Here's a shot of the lights installed in the hallway from the garage entrance to the master bedroom door.

Daily StatsHours Worked
All Time2818056711637$13,496.75
Summary of 1/12/2015
Work Done Today
Painted ceilings, installed interior can lights in hallway.
Materials Used Today
Who Helped Today
Steve, Mandy, Kim, Reed, Emmy, Abby, Will
Contractors On Site

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 275: Sheetrock is In!


It's been a while since my last post...expect some catch up posts...sometime. Being busy on the house means less time to update the blog. We've had a lot of things happening lately and hope to bring you up to speed.

One of the most exciting areas of progress is the sheetrock in the interior of the house. We decided to hire out the sheetrock to a pro. It was actually one of the easiest and earliest decisions we made. I know my strengths, and I'm not a good mud and tape guys. I'm too slow and too much of a perfectionist to ever be satisfied with my own work.

So, on Dec. 19 we had Juan and three of his pals from Hi Definition Drywall show up and start hanging sheetrock. It took about three days to hang it all.

After hanging was done, another crew came to do the mudding. It took about three days as well for the mudding to be complete.

After mudding, another came in and gave it a good sanding.After a couple days of sanding, it was time for the final coat. We opted for a "Level 5" finish in the great room. A level 5 finish consists of a thin coat of mud and primer mix that was sprayed on like paint. After drying, the coat was sanded smooth. This level of finish is typically used in areas were there is a lot of light or long walls/ceilings that would show minor imperfections in the walls.