Category Archives: demo

Final demo?

Kevin Rehberg chips away at the last of the original linoleum and glue in bath 3 upstairs, prepping the room for tile. This may be the last demo we need to do inside the house at Emerald Hill. Milestone.
Kevin Rehberg chips away at the last of the original linoleum and glue in bath 3 upstairs, prepping the room for tile. This may be the last demo we need to do inside the house at Emerald Hill. Milestone.
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Week ending 26 June 2015 part 1

  • It’s Friday. Emerald Hill is quiet. There’s no one working, because we can’t move forward without the framing plan from the structural engineer. Time is going to waste.
  • Barry at Custom Plumbing Services approved the plumbing selections, no changes, no additions. Kathleen at Ranserve alerted Jonell at Ferguson to start the order and delivery schedule. Jonell confirms and is also assembling the specification portfolios needed for construction and installation.
  • Kyle at Elite Heating and Air Conditioning updated the Manual J to four tons at the request of Austin Energy Green Building. Steven forwarded the update to Miki at AEGB.
  • Framing lumber is delivered to Emerald Hill.
  • Steven is working through change orders 1, 2 and 3.
  • Mark from Ranserve, Brett the architect and Steven are scheduled to meet 1 July to review options for exterior siding — what reveal, smooth or cedarmill finish, mitered corners or not, vertical or horizontal. Steven and Jacquela promise a quick decision.
  • The house across the street is sold. There’s a dumpster in the driveway. Looks like another remodel is underway.

Here’s a photo tour of the house as of today.

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Leaks like a sieve

See the horizontal metal flashing that runs across the inside of the exterior wall, about one foot higher than the floor? Light penetrates gaps in the wall under the flashing.

In other words, the exterior siding is open to critters, bugs and the elements. This house was not a sealed envelope. Heated and cooled air escaped through the walls.

This is wrong.

This is not a surprise; it is, instead, another example of why we are taking this house down to studs — find what’s wrong, fix it.

This is not permitted by building code today.

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More demo inventory and donations

The pile of lumber collected, so far, for recycling per the Austin Energy Green Building program.
The pile of lumber collected, so far, for recycling per the Austin Energy Green Building program.
The downstairs HVAC air handler and furnace, soon to be decommissioned and donated to Habitat.
The downstairs HVAC air handler and furnace, soon to be decommissioned and donated to Habitat.
The upstairs HVAC air handler and furnace, also to be decommissioned soon and donated to Habitat.
The upstairs HVAC air handler and furnace, also to be decommissioned soon and donated to Habitat.
Plumbing fixtures, shower door components, a screen and other pending donations to Habitat. Not sure about that backer board ...
Plumbing fixtures, shower door components, copper pipe, a screen and other pending donations to Habitat. Not sure about that backer board …
Bath exhaust fan parts and one of the just-discovered attic fans, to be donated to Habitat.
Bath exhaust fan parts and one of the just-discovered attic fans, to be donated to Habitat.
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Peeling back history

With the drywall down, the insulation out, demo continues to reveal the history of the house  …

Ghost image of a former closet painted on the decking, closet removed by a previous homeowner in a previous remodel.
Ghost image of a former closet painted on the decking, closet removed by a previous homeowner in a previous remodel.
Previous homeowner added this door in the upstairs hallway, to create a master suite when they combined two bedrooms. The framers did not remove the drywall; they just nailed over it.
Previous homeowner added this door in the upstairs hallway, to create a master suite when they combined two bedrooms. The framers did not remove the drywall; they just nailed over it.
What is this oversized pencil in the wall between the kiddie bath and master bath?
What is this oversized pencil in the wall between the kiddie bath and master bath?
This was a door into a bathroom. It was apparently taken out and the wall closed off  in order to create a master bath. The irony is, Steven and Jacquela are putting a door at almost exactly this location, to create a laundry/utility room -- we are again returning the house to its original footprint.
This was a door into a bathroom. It was apparently taken out and the wall closed off in order to create a master bath. The irony is, Steven and Jacquela are putting a door at almost exactly this location, to create a laundry/utility room — we are again returning the house to its original footprint.

 

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Week ending 19 June 2015

Mark Rehberg from Ranserve files this week’s update.

This week:

  • Continued demolition
  • Received approval on plumbing fixtures from S. Leon
  • On site meeting with Ben Feldt to discuss existing/planned modifications
  • On site meeting with Barry/Custom Plumbing

Next week:

  • Continue demo
  • Disconnect and remove (2) HVAC units
  • Habitat to pick up donation materials
  • Plumbing submittal finalized
  • Confirm with second opinion that existing wood floors cannot be refinished.  This is most likely the case.
  • Possibly start framing

CPI:

  • Simpson exterior door
  • Hardie siding and soffit specifications (Steve, you may want to request input from Brett)

We had a productive week and may start framing next week.

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Structural engineering and plumbing

With the house down to studs, it’s time to map framing changes with the structural engineer, Ben Feldt from Feldt Consulting Engineers, and the plumber, Barry Samsel from Custom Plumbing Services.

Plumbing needs chases for pipes — waste, hot and cold water supplies, venting stacks — with enough vertical height to ensure the 1/4+-inch slope required by code.

Ron needs Ben to spec the locations and sizes for the chases.

Ben confirmed we can take out the non-loadbearing wall between the kitchen and family room, to create a “Great Room.” He will properly size the beam that will replace the undersized beam between the family and living rooms — the beam that is visibly deflecting under the second-floor loads. He will size beams for the ceiling in order to properly move the rabbit-warren of walls in what will become Jadin’s bath, aka “bath 2.” He will spec beams and studs elsewhere in the house to fix structural issues — at the back door and windows in the family room, in the master bedroom and the kitchen ceiling under the master bedroom, and elsewhere.

We knew the house needed these fixes. There are no surprises. We did our homework in the planning and discussion phase for this remodel. And we went spelunking, opening up holes in the drywall to confirm our suspicions, drawing the changes into the plans with Brett the architect and Michelle, keeper of all things budget at Ranserve.

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From left, Barry, Ron, Ben and Jorge Santiago (from Feldt) talk through and sketch structural changes to the ceiling over the living room.
In bath 2, figuring out where to insert beams to carry loads.
In bath 2, using the LED light of a smartphone to figure out where to insert beams to carry loads. Yes, there is an app for that … Jorge at left, Ben in the middle, Ron at right.
Barry and Ron. This may be Steven's favorite photo of the remodel, so far. The lighting makes it look and feel reminiscent of a Renaissance painting.
Barry and Ron. This may be Steven’s favorite photo of the remodel, so far. The lighting makes it look and feel reminiscent of a Renaissance painting.
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“Saving the house from itself”

We did not want to take the house down to studs. The aluminum wiring from 1968 forced reluctant Steven to take that decision early in the planning and discussion phase between Steven, Jacquela, Brett the architect and Mark at Ranserve. Take down all the drywall, remove all the insulation, keep going until  you see the whites of its eyes. It’s daunting. It’s expensive. The job evolves to an entirely different order of magnitude.

Lesson learned: Never ever buy a house with aluminum wiring.

The irony of exposing the entrails is … you get to “save the house from itself,” as Ron told Steven today — the exact phrase Steven used when making that awesome decision to proceed.

Here are today’s revelations during demo that this remodel gets to fix.

No jack studs holding up the header. Instead, the framers opted for metal straps.
No jack studs holding up the header. Instead, the framers opted for metal straps.
The roof flashing failed at this corner of the house, at what will be the corner of the master bath. Water penetrates and leaks down to the kitchen. Good thing it is raining today, to help spot this mistake in action.
The roof flashing failed at this corner of the house, at what will be the corner of the master bath. Water penetrates and leaks down to the kitchen. Good thing it is raining today, to help spot this mistake in action.
The front windows on the second floor were replaced sometime in the 1980s, we think. The framers undersized the header, using 2x6s instead of 2x8s or 2x10s. This error repeats across several windows, because "consistency is the mother of failure."
The front windows on the second floor were replaced sometime in the 1980s, we think. The framers undersized the header, using 2x6s instead of 2x8s or 2x10s. This error repeats across several windows, because “consistency is the mother of failure.”
Ron tells Steven that this is how they built houses in the 1960s -- a hole in the slab, open to the dirt below, through which the builder ran the plumbing. Here's the highway to termite infestation under what was the tub in bath 2.
Ron tells Steven that this is how they built houses in the 1960s — a hole in the slab, open to the dirt below, through which the builder ran the plumbing. Here’s the highway to termite infestation under what was the tub in bath 2.

Steven talked this through with Ron and Cris from Ranserve. They reassure that they have seen worse, that every house in Northwest Hills would exhibit similar failures if opened up for remodel, that everything here can and will be fixed, that we planned for all this, and the budget funds these repairs.

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Demo continues

The HVAC chase across the family room is gone, as is the ducting. The thick grey and black cables power the HVAC system at right side of photo. Ranserve is using the system to cool the demo crew and push insulation dust out of the house.
The HVAC chase across the family room is gone, as is the ducting. The thick grey and black cables power the HVAC system at right side of photo. Ranserve is using the system to cool the demo crew and push insulation dust out of the house. The HVAC systems — upstairs and down — will be decommissioned next week and removed for donation to Habitat.
Upstairs in bedroom 4, looking toward what will be the master bedroom. Most of the insulation original to the house is removed. The demo crew continues.
Upstairs in bedroom 4, looking toward what will be the master bedroom. Most of the insulation original to the house is removed. The demo crew continues.
What's left of the framing around the skylight that we think was added in the 1970s. The skylight will be removed and donated to Habitat.
What’s left of the framing around the skylight that we think was added in the 1970s. The skylight will be removed and donated to Habitat.
Ron and the demo crew ran out of storage room in the garage for the items staged for donation to Habitat. That's the master shower door resting against sheets of OSB, with the OSB protecting two mirrors -- one from the master, one from bath 3. To the right, the quartz countertops from the master bath.
Ron and the demo crew are stacking at the back of the garage after running out of storage room for the items staged for donation to Habitat. That’s the master shower door resting against sheets of OSB, with the OSB protecting two mirrors — one from the master, one from bath 3. To the right, the quartz countertops from the master bath.
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