It could get messy – again

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It could get messy – again

Well I was right: the second coat of stucco was pretty messy as shown in these photos, but in all honesty, they did come back to put a third base coat down to make sure that they had it all covered properly before they sprayed it.

Basecoat meet house. House meet basecoat

I think all stucco jobs are messy.

Today they sprayed it and it looks really good! Its not quite the stark white that we had originally; its warmer which I like. The coat is nice and even so that part is great. The part which is not so great is that they oversprayed the area a bit so that my hose, and gate are now a slightly stucco’d. Not sure if it comes off but we’ll see.

Nice clean look; makes me want to repaint entire house? Nahhhh.

Speaking of messy the contractor was in on Monday to pickup the rest of the trim pieces and assorted garbage that has built up since the bin was taken away about two weeks ago. What we also looked at was the backsplash. He agreed that its not the tiler’s best work and asked me what should be done? I said that given the really stellar quality of everything else in the kitchen it stuck out like a sore thumb and he agreed. So what does that mean? It means that the backsplash on the kitchen side will be ripped out (ugh) and re-drywalled and re-tiled. What does that mean? It really means more mess, just as we were starting to get all cleaned up!

So I am waiting to hear when all this will start. I am hoping that it will only take a few days to demo and patch. Then waiting for the tiler to come back and re-install the tile and re-grout. I hope that the finished product will be worth the impending mess!

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Sink + cabinets = progress

Last Friday the contractor put in a temporary sink just as we were leaving to go away for the weekend. Which was a great thing as we haven’t had water on the main floor for about 6 weeks. But as we were going out the door, I heard them say, “Wait its leaking!” This is not what you want to hear as you leave the house for two nights and you have newly installed hardwood floors. Hardwood and water; not a good mix.

But they of course found out where the leak was and replaced that connection so when we got home everything was dry!

Water in the kitchen- what a concept!

Its been really great to be able to use the kitchen to do basic stuff like wash and chop veggies without going up and down the stairs. Now that we are using the kitchen, we are really looking forward to when the countertop arrives and all the rest of the tasks can be done. Seems a bit strange that the countertop holds up most of the stuff required to complete the job, but when I saw the fabricator template using the cardboard, I understood that since the walls are not perfectly square there would be no sense to fabricating it then having to re-cut and fit it on site. Better to do as much as possible at the factory and do small (again, cross fingers) customizations on site.

I’ve spent a bit of time patching the damage from the electricians doing a bit of re-wiring in the upstairs hall. It made sense to do this extra now because they ran a feed up to the hall for the track lighting and we could then use that to put in an additional outlet in the office and replace an old one in the middle bedroom. I just hope I have enough paint (and that it hasn’t dried out) to paint over the drywall compound.

Today they are installing the range hood which is great because not only does that finish off one more task, but it gets that big box out of my basement where I’ve stored it for the past 3 months!

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All quiet for the time being

Its been a few days since we’ve had work on the house here. Last week Wednesday the flooring was finished and after some cleanup, the contractor came by Friday to put down some paper and masonite to protect the flooring.

It’s actually been a good break for us- a chance to catch our breath while we wait for the cabinets to arrive. I haven’t heard confirmation if they are on the truck, but I am crossing my fingers that they arrive towards the end of this week and they can start the work of installation.

I have a feeling that it may be a tricky install because in my last conversation with the contractor about the reframing of the back wall, he mentioned that the wall is about an inch out which will affect how the cabinets (especially the lowers) go in.

But we are really hoping that once the lowers go in we can get a temporary sink and faucet hookup and some plywood counters so at least we can start inhabiting the main floor of the house again. Its been a bit trying to prep food (well I haven’t really been too ambitious, mostly microwave reheating and toaster). It will be such a relief to get some things back into the cabinets and drawers. Here is what it looks like currently:

Wow! Where’d all this stuff come from? I’m so embarassed.

Compare that to how it looks when our stuff from the main floor isn’t all piled together.


And the baseboard arrived today from Central-Fairbank Lumber! I am installing it myself and the trim around the new window to save a bit of money. My neighbor told me that the profile of the original deep baseboard was still being produced and this saves me from having to get it custom milled. He even has a paint sprayer, so instead of priming and painting  with a brush, I will see if its possible to spray it on (outside) and save a ton of time. At least that’s the theory.

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The hardwood flooring installation is done – now to cleanup!

I got a call from the flooring installer that they finished yesterday at about 3 PM, just like they promised. We used hickory, because it is arguably the hardest domestic wood (not tropical) and liked the product and the color looked good on the sample. Rich and dark, but a shade lighter than what was existing.

Well now that it’s all in, it looks fantastic!

New hickory hardwood really brings richness to room.

I can’t believe what a difference it makes to the room. Before we had to worry about nails popping constantly and the incessant squeaking as you walked across it. I can understand why as the floor was about 80 years old so there was bound to be some soft spots. But what really bothered me were the badly patched areas from the former reno. They just used pieces of plywood and random bits of hardwood to fill in the gaps where the walls had been and the patches were not holding up well to daily wear and tear.

Now with the 5/8” tongue and groove subfloor they glued and screwed down to the joists (and of course the repair work I did a few years ago on the joists before I finished the basement the floor is really solid. Like new house solid! I am pretty happy with how it turned out and the flush mount registers look totally sharp.

Flush mount registers- contractor mixed 4 batches of stain to get them to match the rest of the floor

When the contractor was showing me the final product he described it like a person. He said, “You have nice flooring here- Beautiful but sensitive.”

“Beautiful, but sensitive”

He went on to talk about how to clean it so as not to mar the finish and treat it nicely. We have about a box and a half left over. I am bringing the full one back to Brampton Hardwood so we’ll have some replacement boards in case something does happen. I am hoping that the finish will hold up to a pre-schooler, little white dog and other daily events.

So now the task is to clean up all the dust from the sanding upstairs and the cutting. Pretty much every surface has to be cleaned so I think the best way will be to work from room to room to tackle it all. At least the smell is going away so I think we will be able to be back in the house for the first time in 3 days.

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No break on weekend for me

Even though the contractors were not here on the weekend, I was still here working to take advantage of the fact that the finished floor had yet to be installed.

Just to back up a bit, last week the mason and the installer were here on Thursday ripping out the old window to make a new opening for the new one I just picked up on Wednesday morning from Brock. I felt good that the old one is not going to the landfill but the contractor is taking it away for a shed he is building.

I am glad I was here to help with the questions as they sized the new opening and cut the brick. Man oh man what a mess! Since our house is double walled brick construction, they had to cut the exterior and interior brick with the quick cut saw. There was dust everywhere! So instead of going down to my mother-in-laws on Friday like we were going to, we just hightailed it out of here Thursday night instead after a short cleanup.

Even though they were here till about 8:30 they weren’t able to get the new window into the frame so they nailed up some plywood over the opening.

Plywood for a window? Seems hard to see through

The weather held out and we didn’t get any rain so things are looking good today for them to get the duct run above the window and the window installed.

New window opening with new brick.

The plumber put in the new copper on Thursday and the water pressure is fantastic in the bathroom. It improved in the rest of the house when we updated the water main from lead (ugh) to copper about 4 years ago, but because of the last bit of galvanized, we weren’t getting the benefit in the bathroom. Now just the ceiling needs to be patched.

Nice copper!

So why then was I here on the weekend? Well since the flooring is going down this week, I took the opportunity to finish patching some access holes the electrician put in so I could put a coat of paint on the ceiling. I know, I know, I will just  have to paint again after that hole gets repaired but it wont be as much work and I will only have to tarp a smaller area rather than the whole floor. I also painted (Aura by Benjamin Moore) the first coat on the walls and the new color (Feather Grey) looks great. I have to say that this is the best paint I’ve ever used. Goes on really quickly because it covers really well. So now have to do a second coat for the walls when I get a chance.

So today it seems like everyone showed up! The plumber was here to move the drain line in the basement so the HVAC guy could re route the duct into the main plenum. The installer is here to put in the window and frame and drywall the south wall. The electrician is re-wiring something (I don’t even know what exactly…) And on top of that the flooring guys showed up to repair and sand the upstairs hall, and start the finished flooring on the main floor. It’s quite a challenge to move around in here today and even work as the power is on and off. Good thing I’m using a laptop!

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New duct plan

The installer working with the duct situation came up with a great plan.

New location for the duct.

The duct would run up the wall behind the fridge, along the top of the cabinets, between the joists and into the existing hole. This would eliminate cutting the joists, losing headroom in the basement and having the duct in a cold space.  The box on the wall would be eliminated and placement of the window does not have to be exact and providing more room for the casing.

Only one outlet would have to be relocated, so I think that this looks like a pretty good option. We will see once I pick up the window tomorrow.

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Duct tape is not really for ducts

One of the key things in this reno that I’ve talked about before is moving (actually replacing) the existing window with a new one in a location that allows us to get the upper cabinets right to the south wall. Thats becasue the existing one is too tight to the corner and too low to get a countertop in. But whats required is not only work on cutting a new rough opening (hope to pickup the window today or tomorrow so contractor can measure off it for the opening) but moving a duct that runs from the basement to the second floor office.

The original plan was to extend the duct run along the joist space in the basement, notch out the joist closest to the south wall and run the duct up about 14″ closer to the door. When the contractor thought about this, he decided that wasn’t a good idea as the joist was already notched for the existing duct and had been structurally compromised.

They have cut the floor to prep for putting in the headers.

So what they are going to do today is put in a header of 2 x 2×8’s back to the next joist over and sit them into the brick exterior of the house. That will allow them to cut the joist and join it to the header giving them room to move the duct.

Also, the are running the duct in a straighter run in the basement eliminating some of the 5 or 6 bends which are currently there. No wonder that original duct doesn’t really do much to supply the office! Hardly any air is getting by all those bends! I am hoping that the new supply line will be much more efficient.

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Reno – Work and its not even my fulltime job

How long till I had a chance to sit down and write a post? I thought it would only be a day or so and I could keep posting on a day by day basis to update the progress of the reno, but so far no luck… it seems to be really taking up a lot of my time to keep the trades going and get things sorted out.

Lets go back to the beginning. We decided that it would be cheaper for us (that’s me) to take out the existing kitchen and the vinyl tile flooring. So my good friend Tim and I made pretty short work of the kitchen and actually had someone from Freecycle take the whole thing off my hands! Including the sink and dishwasher too. I felt pretty good about not having to put the whole thing in the bin and they were very appreciative of it as well.

So the flooring… not a big deal, but it did take somewhat longer than I had thought originally…. The problem was that there were 3 types of tiles. One looked pretty old and hardly stuck down. The other was ugly and I covered it up a while back and thought that they also would come right up. Little did I know that there was some sort of trowel on adhesive put down before the peel and stick tiles went down?  I know! So it took a bit longer but really once I got a system they came up in about 4 hours.

So the packing took a long time too and we are pretty cramped in the basement, but making ends meet using the bathroom sink and the microwave setup we have on the bookcase under the fuse panel. I just keep thinking “it’s like camping, but without the mosquitoes.”

After the first day, they had about ½ of the floor ripped up and the electricians had roughed in a lot of the pot lights in the living and dining room.

Flooring coming up. Right Winston?

After some work on the next day they turned them up and they look fantastic! It is great to get good quality light in the room and finally be able to see what the room is going to look like.

The subfloor was kinda rough. But it is about 80 years old.

After the rest of the old flooring was ripped up they screwed and glued down 5/8” tongue and groove ply and the floor feels really tight and strong. Its nice to know that when I did the work to the joists before finishing up the basement that it went to good use.

And the kitchen is moving along. The plumber roughed in the supply and drain lines in a couple of hours and put the vent down the drain run, about 8 feet from the fixture. He says it will be fine and actually is much cleaner than taking the vent up the wall across the joist space and drilling through a few ceiling joists to get it to tie into the existing vent stack. So we will see!

Lots of patching was done on the kitchen to fix all these holes.

The last few days have seen a lot of patching in the kitchen where the electricians fished wire, but my latest efforts are in the living room where I thought it would be a straight forward task to take out the last remaining galvanized piping supplying the upstairs bathroom… but as you can see it has expanded as the original reno in the 70s never took it out.

I think we’ll have some ceiling left at the end of this…

They just tied the copper into it, can you believe it?

Ugh. Thats all I can say