Sunday, September 27, 2009

Master Bedroom Roof

Finally, I feel like I am meeting a milestone. I am now putting shingles on the master bedroom and private screen porch roof. It is a reasonably complex roof to shingle with an odd offset, metal valley pans, and 5 skylights to flash around. The weather isn't very predictable at this point either. But it shouldn't be long and the roof in this area will be complete.

The blue stuff in the picture is a new product I am trying out on this roof. It is a synthetic roofing underlayment that replaces the need for 30# roofing felt (a.k.a. tar paper). This particular product is DuPont RoofGuard. It has the advantages of being waterproof, lightweight, longer than tar paper so it goes on quicker, tear resistant, and grippy which is nice for a 6:12 slope roof like this one. One major appeal is that it can stay unprotected on the roof for 4 months. When you move at the pace I do, you need that kind of leeway.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stalled Again

Here we are again stalled for the 3rd time this spring. Rain for two days straight. We have already been stalled for a week or more due to the previous rain storms and all the mud. The mud is too thick to get the skidsteer through to begin the foundation for the screen porch. 
The screen porch roof is to comprise the southeast corner of the house and is an essential portion. The shingling cannot restart until the screen porch roof is finished and tied into the rest of the house.

Rain today; a break for a day or two then rain again.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Master Bedroom Demo

So, the master bedroom suite has been a real challenge but will hopefully reap the greatest rewards in the end. The initial take on the master bedroom was that it was definitely a late addition and certainly poorly built. The actual facts are more disturbing than the estimation.

First we found out that this 16' x 16' addition was added after a fire. The original house was 3 bedroom, 1 bath and in the SW corner bedroom someone had a woodstove (in a room that was only been 12' x 12' in the first place!). Well, as these things go, the front and side of the house caught fire but was put out before doing much structural damage; burnt halfway through the rim joist and just singed the gable truss.

So, the previous owner added a 16' x 16' addition, two feet away from the house but connected by a small corridor. Included in the addition was a 6' deep cellar with concrete floor, a cellar door under the deck, recycled rotten joists, a large unframed area in the floor for stairs to the cellar, a 5' x 5' picture window facing the road (the master bathroom had a 4' x 4' double casement window looking at the street), 1 wall that was not even sitting on the foundation, a deck with posts almost 16" in the ground, a cathedral ceiling using a 1x10 structural ridge beam, and a level valley in the corridor area of the roof that must have been a leaky spot from day one considering the 4" of tar that i chiseled out of it.

Of course all these design features created their own problems. The foundation bowed in on every wall, the worst wall bowing in almost 4". The floor joists sagged except the three in the center which were the most rotten so they got posts under them. This created a 2" hill in the center of the room. The stair framing was just plain dangerous, leaving a 3' x 4' unframed area in the floor spanned only by the plywood subfloor. The roof sagged 3" in the center and resembled a japanese temple. My favorite aspect was the picture window in the front. Nothing like giving the neighbors a view. The result was a total demo down to the footings.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Let The Chaos Begin

I wanted to begin construction with the demolition and rebuilding of the garage. I figured this would not only provide me with good secure storage space for the duration of the project but also I could begin assembling a woodshop/workshop for creating all the cust
om architectural details I envision for the finished home. 
My dad came through by providing a backhoe for
 the demo; pulling off the trusses first 
for reuse later. Then, using the teeth of the clam bucket, he pulled the walls off one by one. 

Later we pulled all the framing lumber off
 the sheathing and piled them up, also for reuse.

Once we opened up the floor of the mud ro
om, we found that the floor was grossly under built. Another surprise under the floor was that instead of a crawlspace there was a sidewalk and concrete steps. The steps were original as could be seen by the ove
r built solid 12" 

thick reinforced concrete top and block
 foundation that went all the way down
 to the house's footings. 

Fortunately the backhoe was still on site so we could excavate 
out a crawlspace area under what would later become the mechanical closet.

To pour the new garage floor we built short form walls out of pressure treated lumber. By custom cutting each little PT form stud to a level line set 12" above the highest point of the old slab, we were able to create a level surface to build the rest of the walls on top of. Then
 we layered 4" of compacted sand on top of the old slab as an isolation layer. Since my dad is a concrete laborer by trade, he and one of his co-workers poured the final slab; another 4" of concrete. 

Next, the old trusses were put back on (set 90˚ to the way they were 
before), the roof was sheathed and tied into the mud ro
om by custom framing a lay-on extension.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Where It Began

This house is to be the first in a series of low budget, high efficiency remodels completed by Dreamcatcher Design & Build. In doing such, I have several goals in mind:

1. to reclaim a property that otherwise would fall into detritus and be a sore on it's community.

2. to "flip" the house in a few years; appealing to a 2nd time home buyer who is more discriminating than a first time home buyer would be.

3. to learn from the process that which I haven't before had the privilege to experience while working for clients.

4. to prove that high end results can be obtained on a low budget.

5. to build my professional portfolio by creating my own "show" house.

6. to make at least enough profit after the sale to buy another house and start the process over again.

I have high hopes, I know. I have received nothing but negative comments on my plan from friends and family. Most don't think I should invest in this project; "just slap on some paint and put down new carpet"  is the most common advice. But, I have much more intentions.

We made the offer on the house on July 4th.

Our offer was accepted on July 6th. and we got to enter the house for the very first time (Yes, we bought a house without ever going inside). The home has "good bones" but someone had obviously tried their hand at DIY home improvement long before we got there. Unfortunately the home improvement done was actually quite poorly planned and executed. It would all have to go. 

The master bedroom was added late; after a house fire destroyed the south end of the house is what we are told. It is the worst built part of the house. The drywall is cracked, the floor is heaved, and there is a leak in the roof which has made a corner of the ceiling soggy and moldy. The ceiling is cathedralized and creates a nice area but from the outside I can see that the ridge is sagging; it will all need to be replaced. To add to it all, there is a giant 5' x 5' picture window in the middle of the bedroom, pointing straight to the road and the neighboors house across the road. 

The dining room is tiny, about 6' x 8' , and sits in front of the utility closet. The central heating system looks very old and has been rigged back together with tin foil. The water heater looks to be about 5 to 10 years old and appears to be salvageable. The other side of the dining room has two windows that don't match in size or style. It looks very dumb, but I can imagine adding a small bump-out in the future to gain the necessary room

The mud room/ laundry room is another DIY add-on. As you walk into the mud room, you have the option of walking straight through to the back yard, turning left and stepping UP into the garage or turning right and stepping UP into the laundry area. It is very weird and I can't say I like it but at least it should be easy to change by just raising the floor in that area and adding a step outside.

The garage is a typical garage....dirty. It has 
benches on two walls, cheap wood paneling and wall paper covering the walls, and a ceiling fan in the middle. The worst part is the concrete slab floor which looks as if it was poured one 80lb bag at a time and allowed to harden without any tooling. The mounds of each unleavened bags are obvious around the perimeter and at at least two locations it appears the exterior wall has been lifted and concrete poured underneath to support the wall. I will need to pour a whole new slab to remedy this.

One decent area is actually the kitchen. While the appliances are old and will need to be replaced, the cabinets and counter tops are decent. I am unsure if I will replace these or just find some way to artfully modify them. The countertops is simple laminate and will need replacement too; I guess the real redeeming feature is just that the layout is reasonable and can be lived with for awhile without major modification. But, I guess we will just have to wait and see.