Diary of our upstairs- personal residence

38 Replies

This is a little late starting, but I'll catch up quickly from planning to mid-project in this first post.

We have a small house, started off at 750 sq ft when I bought it. I've added a sunroom (in 1995) and extended our bedroom (in 2001) bringing the house to 1100 sq ft. This year the roof was leaking so it was time to decide if we wanted to change the roof line when we replaced the roof. We added a 500 sq ft second floor. 

The work started this November 13th, and the framers were done before the end of the year. The outside is now complete. For the inside- the contractors took care of some of the insulation- air sealing so that the electrician still has access to what he needs.  For the rest - we're taking it from here!

We've got a favorite electrician, who will come in early March. We've been talking to HVAC people, have three bids already. The first floor has forced-air gas system and it's looking like we'll go with a minisplit system for the second floor. Then we'll do the drywall and trim. Probably hire out for the flooring, or maybe we will do it. We're not in a rush.

First week:

Week 3:

Exterior finished

We can't afford to re-side the whole house right now, so we picked a color that coordinated well with the existing.

More updates on interior progress as we have them. Pretty boring looking right now.

Ok, electrician is coming March 1, We're going  to go for LED strip lights pointing upward from exposed crossbeams. With a couple of can lights on the sloped ceilings. That will be interesting to see how it looks. 

The plumber came for a bid a couple of days ago- he probably won't do his work until close to April 1. 

We talked to four HVAC guys and the score is 3-1 minisplit vs ducted. We haven't decided between the two finalists of the HVAC companies- will do that soon. 

So it looks like maybe we will pass the mechanicals inspection sometime in April, then insulate after that.

We have an old chimney in the garage. It's no longer used. If it were made of small bricks we would certainly take it down ourselves (we've done that before), but it's made of huge cinder blocks that would be significantly harder to remove. Any suggestions for what sort of contractor we should call to take that down and how much that should cost?

Last week our contractor told us about some free maple flooring, well, free if we pull it out. So we did.  450 sq ft of 3.25" wide maple, excellent condition. It's now upstairs, fully denailed (we made a YouTube video showing how) and stacked up waiting for other mechanicals to go in. Retail price $7.50 per sq ft, our price- sweat. Some of the boards became damaged on removal, not sure if we will re-rout the edges as needed, or just buy a few replacement boards. We may still have more than enough for what we need.

The electrician is more than half done. He'll finish this week.

Electrician finished, we'll range for the rough inspection this week. Meanwhile we have been inviting plumbers over and collecting bids. The first bid in seems high, but we don't have anything to compare it to yet. This is just for the rough plumbing, install pex supply lines, drains (but without hooking up the drain to the existing sewer), supply shower base and include that, but that's it.  How much should that cost?

Been checking off several smaller items this week...

Passed rough electrical inspection.  

Met with the contractor this week to tweak the bathroom layout.  Decided on a 36 x 48 shower, toilet closer to the door. Continuing to collect plumbing bids.

Found a demolition contractor to take down the unused chimney from the garage- that will mean a good deal more space in the garage.

Haven't updated in a while.

Demo guy took down the unused chimney that was running through the garage. I gave him $50 more than he was asking. Took he and another guy an hour. Was super impressive how quickly that all came down.  Part of it was made easy because we set up scaffolding for them to use to take down the top parts.

Around where the chimney was, the 1940's sheathing was pretty much disintegrating. We decided to pull all of that down and replace with 1/2" OSB. Did that last weekend. Haven't put all the OSB back up again yet. We'll do that next weekend. The electrician is over this week and he's doing a little rewiring in the garage

Bought a cast iron shower base (Kohler) on eBay, for $499. List price is over $1200.

HVAC minisplit installed.

Rough plumbing is scheduled for next week. That's the last item before inspections and final insulation can be installed. Over the winter it was just air-sealed with spray foam, but was pretty chilly up there. Now it's pretty warm up there. Insulation is scheduled for 4/30.

We had our first torrential rainstorms since the new gutter system was installed. We did a fair amount of mopping in the basement.  Check out the downspout in the photo above right where I say exterior finished. See the downspout extender? That one wasn't long enough. So we have one of those plastic extenders that we put on the end of the white pipe. So now the downspout is extended more like 9-10 feet.  That seems to have solved the problem.

Things are blooming in the yard, here's a photo from today.

If you look for it, you can see where the refrigeration lines run for the minisplit. I think they did a good job making them not very noticeable.

Updated over 1 year ago

We told the contractor about the mopping we did and the downspout extender we added. Mysteriously last week an additional downspout was added and there's a white metal extender on the main downspout.

Oh, even though we made this YouTube video on denailing the reclaimed flooring we got, nobody is watching it.  So here's a link. Check it out. There are 25 views so far, and I think 20 of them are us.  

If you watch, it'll be one way that I'll know that someone's reading this. 



Updated 11 months ago

update 3/2019...We're up to 125 views of our youtube video now!! And we've installed all the flooring - see below.....

Sigh. Plumber is injured and rescheduled for 6/4, and we rescheduled the insulators for 6/8. 

We ordered a router bit so we can start cleaning up the reclaimed flooring that needs its edges cleaned up a little.

We're replacing the sheathing in the garage that was rotted because of moisture damage around the chimney. The garage is going to look so good!

Hang in there, it will be great. We just had a three week delay on getting our countertops installed in our flip, which was pretty much finished. A transformer blew near their fabrication shop, so they lost a week of work and couldn’t catch up. But they finally came today! There is always something.

Are you living there for this addition? Aside from the noise what disruption did it cause. Good find on the flooring!

@Colleen F.  Yes, we are living here. We were gone for the bulk of the framing in November to early December. We've been back and living in it since mid-December. There hasn't been any noise. The electrician and HVAC guys were quiet, and all their work was done in two days while we were away at work or out and about. It's not too bad, one room worth of furniture is scattered around the house- the guest futon is now temporarily a second living room couch, and the computer desk is now in our bedroom. So we're a bit cramped, but we can close a door and not feel like there is any construction going on (i.e. no dust). At the very end we will break through a wall to open up the space in front of the stairway, but that will be the very last thing.

Yes, I think it'll be great. We've been doing work outdoors, gardening, spreading mulch. Screening tenants for turnovers at our other properties. The delay isn't really a problem, except we'd like it to move forward!

@Tanya F.   Its great you can stay there. We are also considering a second floor add-on to one property,  just half the house because  a full second story may pose some issues for the town.  We are considering if living there would work. Post some photos when you get the chance on the interior.  How did you split out the minisplits, one per floor? one per room?

Hey @Colleen F. , we have one minisplit in the new part upstairs. The downstairs is the same ducted forced air gas system as it always was.  We decided if we'd put ducts upstairs we'd want zones, and that made it more expensive than the minisplit. Plus our existing furnace isn't big enough for the whole house. It's all one room upstairs (plus a bathroom), so we have a single minisplit. Someone may want to carve the upstairs into separate smaller bedrooms someday if we sell the house, but we don't plan on selling. So,  someone else can modify as needed if it's not all one open space 20+ years from now.

Will take photos after next week, but here's a drawing of the upstairs.

Rough plumbing and insulation, DONE! Minisplit is working, keeping the upstairs nice and cool.

We're currently getting bids for drywall. One company yesterday looked good, and he can do the work next week if we want. We've done drywall ourselves twice in the past. This bid is for his crew hanging and taping the ceilings, and we do the hanging and taping of the walls (but he'd provide all drywall material necessary for the whole job). That's nice that they're willing to work with us. We'll save about $1000 if we do the easy parts and they do the hard parts on the vaulted ceilings.

Another comes today, who said he's scheduling out about two weeks for doing the work. A third comes  for a bid next week.

Drywall installation Friday morning! He's delivering all of it and hanging the ceilings and we're hanging the rest.

Hi @Knute Haglund , The framers added three posts in the existing first floor walls for structural support. The post supporting the front wall was continued into the basement with a metal post that rested on a new footing dug into the basement floor.  No other reinforcements added below, but there are three long multilam beams in the upstairs (resting on existing first floor walls, with the new posts). Does this answer your question?

Here's an inside view before drywall. You can see the top of one of the multilam beams on the left, sticking up above the subfloor.

Just about done with the drywall!!!

We found a guy to estimate how much drywall was needed, and he had it delivered. He and a partner hung the drywall on the ceilings, we hung the wall boards.  His finishers came and finished the ceilings, we are finishing the walls.  We're applying sand texture to the ceilings this weekend, and adding the last coat of mud to the walls. We bought paint today, so the ceilings will be done in a matter of days!

The cost for supplying all the drywall, delivering, hanging and finishing the ceilings was $2800. We figure we saved a couple thousand by hanging and finishing the walls ourselves. The drywall guy was a super nice contractor. He took away all the scraps (that are recycled for use in agriculture http://www.landfillreductionproducts.com/agricultu...) and took away all the unused extra full boards and gave us a credit for them from his original bid.

We've picked out ceramic tiles for the bathroom floor.  Going to add underfloor heating- which will be nice in winter.  Currently we're trying to decide on the shower surround. Tiles or solid surface?  We like solid surface in our rentals. So easy to take care of, but it's pricey. One of the finalists is this product:

https://www.elitemarble.com/colors-1/ in the color #360, Seashells

We're back at it after a couple of months off, where we refinanced our home equity LOC (money was running short), and we also dealt with family issues that kept us well occupied in the past three months.

Anyway, now all the walls are painted except in the bathroom, and it's time to be choosing colors for the bathroom. So we pore through catalogs and look at showrooms.  The frontrunner for the shower surround is still the Elite Marble product #360, (seashells), but we found a vanity top from Home Depot that's like quartz (color is "champagne dunes")- much more resistant to scratches than the resin/plastic Elite Marble product (we thought the quartz-like material would be better for the vanity top), and 1/3 the price. We bought that and have that upstairs- checking it out in different lights to make sure we like the color, and that it goes with our Kohler mexican sand shower base. We found this Caesarstone option we like, but it could be 10X the price (!) of the Home Depot vanity top. Waiting on a quote, but the salesperson said it was a popular color so there might be a chance of finding a remnant, which would bring down the price significantly.

We're also trying to choose the styles for the railings and newell posts for the stairway. We're going to have our contractor put those in for us, before the wood floor goes down, to attach to joists and ensure ultimate sturdiness. I think we've settled on simple square newell posts, but unsure of railing and baluster styles. Oak, white, or metal?  We've been looking at photos of simple systems online like these and these and lots of other ideas on scotiastairs.com (can't directly link to photos). 

It's surprisingly hard to make these decisions!

Oh, and the can lights and the wall sconce lights are installed. So electrical progress has been made. We also bought a flooring nailer on eBay. All the reclaimed flooring is upstairs and we might try our hands at that pretty soon....

And, one more thing. We found a great deal on doors on Craigslist. French doors for the wall we're going to open up downstairs, and a bathroom door for upstairs all for $100.  Here are the French doors. (the left one is upside down, I know)

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