Things at the house are moving along pretty well.
When I was tearing out the stone sorround in the living room I discovered that there was no insulation in the walls. We did a couple more tests in other places in the house and discovered our fears were true. We had no insulation! So, the next week we had Reagan's little brothers (Jamie and Jodie) tear out the plaster in the entire house. This gave us the ability to access the exterior walls for a number of reasons. The main reason is for the insulation, but the other benefits include.
- We are now able to tear our the wire in the house properly
- We are now able to rerun the electrical in the house
- We are now able to run cable tv where we want to, easily
- We are now able to run telephone where we want to, easily
- The plaster was in really really bad shape. The previous owners had tried to cover it up with wood paneling, but the wood paneling was in bad shape, too. We could have just put up 1/8" drywall, but it wouldn't have looked as nice as fresh, clean, sparkling, fancy new wall board.
So, we weighed our options. Tearing out the plaster seemed like a fun challenge, so we added it to our already large plate. It was nice having Jodie and Jamie help tear out our plaster. They did most of the grunt work during the day. At night Reagan and I would cleanup and stock the fridge with water and Gatorade. We called the city and for $165 they placed a 15 yard refuse bin in our driveway. When they came to pick it up, it was packed full of plaster and lathing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lath_and_plaster).
After the plaster was out, Reagan and I went on vacation for a week. Nothing was accomplished while we were gone.
Last week was recovery and cleanup week. We were mostly cleaning things up around the house by pulling nails and pulling pieces of lath that were remaining. We pulled a strip of lathing at the sub-floor level that was entirely missed during demo week. I can't tell you how many times we swept the floor during last week. Rex and Shawna were nice and let us borrow their shop vac for a couple days and we used it like crazy. Before vacuuming I could barely make out that we had a wood floor. There was a ton of dust.
Over the weekend we've shifted modes into putting up new stuff. We have a lot of projects going on simultaneously. I am about a third of the way done running wire (Thanks Rob, for helping me) and Reagan has started to insulate the exterior walls where she can.
Yesterday I placed a couple of sister joints in the ceiling next to the ceiling joists that were cracked. It was actually pretty fun doing this by myself as I had to build a small jig to help support one side of the 16 foot long 2x4 while I man handled it (a.k.a. banging it with a rubber mallet) into position next to the other joist. After the sister joints were placed I removed all of the old wiring in the living and dining areas. The wiring was a mess. To the left is a picture of a small rats nest, or a fire hazard that needed to be removed. I also had time to drill holes and run cable to two different places in our living room where the TV might go. When Reagan showed up she worked on installing the insulation. We're almost done insulating that big room.
Today and tomorrow will be more wiring and insulating. I am going to place eight recessed lighting fixtures in the living and dining areas and run wires to all of them. We are hoping the wiring in the big room will be done quickly. Currently, the only place in the house that still has electricity is the kitchen. All other breakers have been turned off for safety. Having the extra lights and the extra outlets will be extremely helpful. Especially when working on the rest of the house.
Sunday night we decided to start talking to people about replacing our windows. This means that salesmen and installers have started to show up every night to talk to us. We're going to hire people to replace the windows because we're busy enough. One person came on Monday, another on Tuesday and we're expecting two different people today (Wednesday). So far the quotes for our 12 windows (10 double hung and 2 picture windows) have been quoted in the low three thousand dollar range, installed. We should replace the windows before we move in. At least three windows are warped to the point that they will not close properly or the glass itself is loose. I will feel better about sleeping there when I know the windows are locked. Every night we either lock up our tools or take them with us.
We have developed a work routine that seems to be beneficial to us. On the nights that we are working, Reagan drops me off at the house while she runs errands for a couple of hours. She usually gets back to the house around 7:00pm. This gives her three hours to work with me. We try to work until 10:00pm and clean up until 10:30pm. That gives me five-ish hours to work on the house and her three-ish hours. I head over to the house straight from work. I usually keep a change of clothes in the jeep. Sometimes Reagan brings me supper, but most of the time we're not even hungry until we get home. We have been calling this the real estate diet plan.