Category Archives: demo
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.
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.
More demo inventory and donations
Peeling back history
With the drywall down, the insulation out, demo continues to reveal the history of the house …
Week ending 19 June 2015
Mark Rehberg from Ranserve files this week’s update.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
“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.
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.