Third meeting of the busiest week yet for Steven with Ron Dahlke, who is cranking hard and fast on 12 cylinders. And it’s only Wednesday. Today’s agenda:
Roofing. Ron met with and Steven approved quote from Potter’s Roofing Co. to install sheetmetal and waterproofing at several locations; to remove existing and install new vent flashing in the lower and upper roofs; to patch where mushroom vents and the skylight are removed — and other damaged areas; and to replace the chimney flashing with a new cricket that will move water away from the brick at the back of the chimney where it meets the roof; water flows directly against the brick and existing flashing when it rains. This is wrong. Some of these tasks are built into existing line-item budgets. Some of this work will require change orders. Why the change orders? Ron and the framers opened up the framing behind the chimney and discovered signs of water penetration traveling down the brick.
Pocket doors. Ron finalized and Steven approved quote from BMC for interior pocket doors — built into the framing materials line-item in the budget.
Exterior doors. Steven also approved second quote from BMC for exterior doors at the kitchen, back door and at at the mudroom into the garage — not including the front door and not including the back door to the garage. The front door is an entirely different task — and Ron is researching whether the back door to the garage must be fire rated.
Vanities, medicine cabinets, electrical. Steven delivered dimensional plans for the bathroom vanities, and the medicine cabinets that will be used in bath 2, the mudroom and master bath. This enables Ron and the framers to properly nail lumber into position for the medicine cabinets, which insert into the wall between studs. It also enables Ron, Sean the electrician, and Steven and Jacquela to properly position electrical outlets for the medicine cabinets, which feature built-in LED lighting, and for wall outlets adjacent to the vanities.
HVAC. Ron advises that the HVAC rough-in begins Thursday/tomorrow, 23 July.
Kitchen cabinets. Also 23 July, Aaron Pratt at Centex Custom Cabinets is scheduled to visit, to begin measuring for the kitchen cabinets.
Pending. Ron continues to track pending submittals from subcontractors for refinishing the wood floors and laying new wood; how to get electrical power through the slab to the kitchen island; and the candidates for the potential front door.
Discovery 1: Structure. Taking out the hearth to the left of and in front of the fireplace reveals the brick may be the only thing holding up the ceiling beams above the fireplace — and we may need to add structural support across the front of the fireplace under the ceiling beams. Ron is researching this with the structural engineer, Ben Feldt at Feldt Consulting Engineers.
Discovery 2: Insulation. Ron advises that the sheathing between the brick and studs on the first floor may need additional sealing — every time that demo took out an old cable or fixture, that left a hole in the sheathing. One way to fix this may be to deploy the painters with silicon before we begin insulation. Another approach might be to use expanding foam insulation instead of blown-in insulation. The building plan already calls for foam in the attic, upper and lower roofs, with blown-in insulation in the walls. There’s a cost delta to switch out to foam — should we do this selectively, only where needed, stud bay penetration by stud bay penetration? Or, should we just foam everything? Ron offers to schedule a meeting with the insulation contractor. Steven notes his history with foam — the current house is the first built by John Hagy Homes that is insulated with foam, helping to qualify the house for 3 stars with the Austin Energy Green Building Program — 11 years ago, when foam insulation was new to market. And … the foam yields an airtight house that is much easier to heat and cool, and vastly more efficient.
Separately, Steven met with and walked the house with one of the candidate companies to install the structured wiring system — security, low-voltage cables for TV, sound and phone, and the computer network.
The only addition to the house takes place at the front entry, dictated by the need to rebuild the stairs to code. See Stairs, cascading.
Here are the new exterior walls, erected by the framers, yesterday and today. The front door is turned 90 degrees, away from the street. There will be more windows cut into the OSB sheathing, to spill more light into what was a dark hallway.
Ron Dahlke, site supervisor, Ranserve, is wranglng five framers at Emerald Hill. Steven is staying out of the way.
Brett Grinkmeyer, architect, called to research a question asked by Ron. How do you want to finish the passages — one between the entry and library, one between the library and family room, and one between the entry and family room?
The options are: 1. Drywall, or, 2. Trim material over drywall.
This gets complicated at the first passage between the entry and library. That wall is home to the plumbing stack. Ron is going to frame it wider to give the plumber more room to connect pipes. This also requires reframing the ceiling above the library to create chases in which to run the pipes — chases that do not compromise the structural integrity of the house by slicing through lumber the way previous remodels have done damage to the house. See “this is wrong” posts. Ron has to frame around the stack. If he covers the framing with drywall, this narrows the passageway to 32 inches, down from 36.
Brett and Steve test a different idea — replicate the trim around the doors — replace the drywall on the interior surfaces of the passageway with 3/4-inch trim, run the drywall on the walls behind the trim up to that trim, then cover that joint by running 2×2 poplar up the walls at the joint between the drywall and the 3/4-inch trim.
Here’s the detail drawing from the plans:
The ensures consistent trimwork throughout the house. The wood used for the trim will be less prone to damage than exposed drywall in high-traffic passageways. Labor and material costs should be a wash, Steven hopes.
Brett will discuss with Ron.
That took 20 minutes … but it’s an important leap into the future. Framing may be underway, but planning for everything after must proceed without pause.
10 am, Steven meets at Emerald Hill with Don Waters, designer, Waters Design Group, recommended by Ranserve, to consider door handles and other hardware.
11 am, Ron and Cris from Ranserve arrive, upend two garbage cans, lay two shelves across the cans to create a desk, unroll a set of plans, switch on Ron’s iPad to read the structural notes from Ben Feldt, scroll the touchscreen on Ron’s smartphone to navigate Ben’s location map, and convert Ben’s notes into plans for framing — what size beam, stud, LVL or hanger goes where. Ron and Cris say framing begins tomorrow.
130 pm, Steven meets at Ranserve with Brett Grinkmeyer, architect, and Michelle Hastings, sitting in for Mark Rehberg, who is at a job site waiting for an inspector, to review options for exterior siding — Hardie Plank, smooth, 7-inch reveal. Michelle has to compute cost of primed Hardie that must be painted, vs. Hardie with integrated color that does not have to be painted for 15 years; paint and painting labor vs. not having to paint — but how much more expensive than primed Hardie is the Hardie Plank with integrated color?
5 pm, Steven picks up Jacquela at work and they meet at Austin Stone Works with Kim Strmiska to review options for fireplace hearth capstone and shelves in the master bath.
Decision 1 — the vanity in the master bath will be white.
Decision 2 — the countertop and backsplash that come with the vanity will be grey — because the square sample of the countertop is a near-perfect match for a quartz slab in the boneyard at Austin Stone.
Decision 3 — the shelf behind the vanity will be surfaced with the grey quartz in Kim’s boneyard.
Decision 4 — We will use the same grey quartz for the shelves in the master shower.
Kim, Jacquela and Steven walked the yard, eliminating multiple candidates for the potential fireplace hearth capstone by comparing stone with samples of the kitchen tile and family room oak flooring.
We narrow it down to two candidates — a fine-grained grey granite, photo above …
or a heavily veined and honed granite with a lot of reflective mica that reminds everyone of Vincent Van Gogh.
Kim has to estimate costs based on approximate dimensions that Steven will supply.
Back from NYC and “day job” earning money to pay for this remodel, tackling the to-do list:
Manual J. Kyle from Elite advises that his math now calls for 4 tons HVAC, after reviewing numbers with Austin Energy Green Building. Kyle updated system configuration, saving the Leons approximately $500. Kyle advises he will contact AEGB with updated numbers and share copy with Steven.
HVAC observation. Emerald Hill at approximately 3200 sq ft heated will have half the HVAC "tonnage" as the Leon's existing 4200 sq ft heated -- 4 tons dual speed at Emerald Hill vs. 8 tons multispeed at Sea Eagle View. Emerald Hill is getting new insulation -- foam in the attic, blown-in in the walls, new exterior sheathing, new siding, new dual-pane insulated windows, and more, but will that suffice when Sea Eagle has foam everywhere? This math is worrisome ...
Kyle messages: "Bigger system will give you the extra capacity to cool the house more quickly if you wanted it cooler than 75 degrees when it is more than 100 outside and also will give you extra capacity if you have a lot of guests.
"The smaller system will run more often and remove humidity better and generally speaking be more efficient."
Habitat. Mark Rehberg from Ranserve reports Habitat pickups #2 and #3 of donated items are now scheduled for 2 July and 8 July.
Structural Engineer. Steven pinged Ben Feldt to ask for ETA on structural engineering needed for wood framing, plumbers, HVAC chases.
Exterior siding. Brett Grinkmeyer, architect; Mark and Ron from Ranserve; and Steven will schedule a meeting at Ranserve to review options for Hardie exterior siding — what reveal, what finish, what labor budget, what materials budget.
Front door. This is a Critical Path Item (CPI). Steven is working with Mark and Ron to identify options — wood species, paintable or stainable, glass or no glass.
Doors. Additional exterior doors at kitchen, back door, garage, and interior doors. Mark tells Steven that Ranserve has received proposal from BMC West. Ron is reviewing. Steven asks to share.
Door hardware/handles. Steven began contacting 2-3 weeks ago suppliers of door “jewelry” recommended by Ranserve. He’s starting to get responses.
First draw. Steven is coordinating paperwork for first draw payment to Ranserve by SouthStar Bank SSB. It’s a process. Brett Grinkmeyer completed his architectural signoff. Kathleen Baker at Ranserve has to complete form supplied by Dawn Embry at SouthStar. Steven will sign. Larry Weisinger at SouthStar will inspect house. Ranserve will receive money.
Plumbing fixtures. Ron, site supervisor, and Barry at Custom Plumbing are to complete review of plumbing fixtures selected by Jacquela and Steven. With that review, Kathleen from Ranserve and Steven will be able to finalize the Ferguson order.
Flooring. Will we be able to save and refinish the existing oak floors?
Habitat. Lauren Gregory from Habitat scheduled pickup for 24 June of items staged in the garage for donation.
HVAC. Kyle Bacon at Elite HVAC and Bryan Mitchell at Carrier are reviewing the HVAC systems and selections. Ross Britton finalized bath vent/light units with Elite. Elite updated quote to include vent/light units selected by Steven.
Doors. Ron Dahlke from Ranserve obtained quote for potential front door from Brian Wolter at Stock Building Supply. Steven will review with Ron. Still waiting on additional exterior and interior door quote from BMC West.
Countertops. Steven is scheduling a meeting with Kim Strmiska at Austin Stone Works to walk the “boneyard” for “remaindered” material left over from other jobs that might be adopted for use as shelving in the master shower and at the fireplace hearth.
Plumbing fixtures. Steven received updated quote from Jonell Speak at Ferguson and forwarded to Ranserve and Jacquela for final review and approval.
Kitchen appliances. Steven messaged Kristin Nauert at Harway with questions about the appliance selections, working toward final review and approval.