Adventures in structured wiring

Over the past months, Steven has walked the house with multiple installers of structured wiring, also known as low-voltage wiring — network, telephone, audio-visual, security.

It has been a frustrating, disheartening, difficult process that delayed the start of drywall installation by at least two weeks.

Steven takes the blame.

Oversimplifying this miserable saga …

Company #1 walked the house with Steven and Ron, sent the quote to Ranserve, would not communicate with Steven.

Company #2 delivered a quote with touchpads even though Steven specified touchscreens. On the third attempt to get it right, a specialist arrived in a truck, pulled boxes from the back seat, unboxed devices to show Steven — and it still took days to get an updated proposal.

Two installers quit Company #3 and the manager instructed Steven to find someone else to do the job.

Recommended by one of the companies that participates in ShowStoppers press events, Steven walked the house with company #4 days before he departed for Berlin and ShowStoppers @ IFA. The quote arrived in time for Steven to ask questions before leaving for the airport — and during a 50-minute phone call from Berlin. How does dialtone get from the panel in the closet to the jacks in the walls of each room — what distribution module by number and hyperlink and spec goes into the panel? How does Internet signal distribute to the rooms in the house from the panel? Using what module, by hyperlink and specs? “I will have to get you that answer.”

Also recommended by a ShowStoppers company, company #5 could not schedule the install until late September — but referred Steven to another company that could possibly comply with the already-late schedule.

Company #6 missed the count on glass breaks, nailed the network, telephone and AV details, but blew the budget by more than twice the allocated amount.

At this point, Mark and Ron at Ranserve intervened. They scheduled a second meeting with Company #1. Two hours. Walking everything. Talking everything. Speccing everything. The company asked for and received Ranserve permission to communicate directly with Steven. Steven received an updated bid the next day. He reviewed it. Carefully. There were several question. Steven approved it Thursday, 10 September.

Friday, 11 September, Granite Security delivered coils of cable to Emerald Hill and began stringing wire.

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Staging drywall

While Steven was traveling to Berlin for ShowStoppers @ IFA, Ron Dahlke arranged for delivery of drywall, stacked nearly everywhere …

In the family room ...
In the family room …
In the library/dining room ...
In the library/dining room, with the family room next door …
In what will be Jadin's bedroom ...
In what will be Jadin’s bedroom …
Upstairs in bedroom 4 ...
Upstairs in bedroom 4 …
And in the master bedroom, with Jacquela walking past.
And in the master bedroom, with Jacquela walking past.
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Foamed and batted — insulation

Energy Guard Foam Insulators began work just before Steven departed to Berlin for ShowStoppers @ IFA. Steven returned to an insulated house, almost ready for drywall — if only the low voltage and structured wiring decision was made and the house cabled for network, telephone, AV, security.

Even at this stage, the insulation is keeping out some of the Texas heat. Two weeks ago, if you walked upstairs, the thermal layer boundary in the stairwell hit you in the face and triggered sweat. Not now. The temperature difference between the cooler downstairs and warmer upstairs — heat does rise — is probably less than 10 degrees.

Here are a couple of shots of the foam sprayed into the stud bays on the exterior walls and underside of the roof, and conventional batts on interior walls used as soundproofing between rooms.

This will be Steven's office. Drywall delivered and stacked on the floor. Foam in the exterior walls.
This will be Steven’s office. Drywall delivered and stacked on the floor. Foam in the exterior walls.
This will be bedroom 3, also known as the model train room. Drywall delivered and stacked for installation. Foam sprayed into the stud bays on the exterior walls and the underside of the roof.
This will be bedroom 3, also known as the model train room. Drywall delivered and stacked for installation. Foam sprayed into the stud bays on the exterior walls and the underside of the roof.
The laundry/utility room upstairs. Batts in the stud bays at left of photo, in what will be the wall between the laundry/utility room and the master bedroom. Foam sprayed on the exterior wall at the front of the house and the underside of the roof.
The laundry/utility room upstairs. Batts in the stud bays at left of photo, in what will be the wall between the laundry/utility room and the master bedroom. Foam sprayed on the exterior wall at the front of the house and the underside of the roof.
Foam sprayed on the underside of the roof over the master bedroom.
Foam sprayed on the underside of the roof over the master bedroom.
The exterior wall of the master closet, insulated with foam.
The exterior wall of the master closet, insulated with foam.

 

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Paint a story

While Steven was traveling on business for ShowStoppers in Berlin, David Garcia and  his team of painters went to work on the exterior of Emerald Hill.

The scheme is Sherwin Williams Wall Street for the body of the house — siding on the second story, brick on the first; Cyberspace for the fascia boards; Snowbound for the underside of the eaves.

Wall Street is a cool grey with blue tones exposed by strong Texas sun; the darker Cyberspace defines the horizontal lines of the house; the white of Snowbound reflects light and makes the house feel lighter.

Here are shots taken of the painting process across a week.

Monday, 7 September -- the siding on the second floor is painted while the brick on the first floor has been primed.
Monday, 7 September — from the front of Emerald Hill, the siding on the second floor is painted while the brick on the first floor has been primed.
Monday, 7 September -- the south side of the house -- office at left, kitchen to the right, master bedroom upstairs. Brick is primed, siding is painted.
Monday, 7 September — the south side of the house — office at left, kitchen to the right, master bedroom upstairs. Brick is primed, siding is painted.
Monday, 7 September -- the back of the house -- second story painted, brick primed.
Monday, 7 September — the back of the house — second story painted, brick not yet primed.
Saturday, 12 September -- Jacquela and David Garcia review the stain sample for the cedar at the front porch. Jacquela approves.
Saturday, 12 September — Jacquela and David Garcia review the stain sample for the cedar at the front porch. Jacquela approves. David and his team of painters are beginning to paint the brick with Wall Street, covering the light-grey primer.
Saturday, 12 September -- the street-facing wall of the garage is painted with Wall Street.
Saturday, 12 September — the street-facing wall of the garage is painted with Wall Street.

 

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Week ending 11 Sept. 2015

Ron Dahlke at Ranserve files this week’s report:

This week:

  • Set plumbing for pot filler
  • Selected low voltage company and started prewire
  • Hvac passed duct leakage test thru ATS.
  • Continued on exterior paint
  • Received replacement panel for mud room shower
  • Tile delivered to Austin

Next week:

  • Install surrounds on two shower stalls
  • Complete low voltage prewire
  • Start wallboard install mid week
  • Deliver tile to house
  • Habitat pick up for donated items
  • Finish exterior paint
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