Nearing Completion

I hope I’m not being stupidly optimistic in saying this, but the building seems to be nearing completion. In  December my friend Craig took over managing the project and dealing with the Builder for me. I was at wits end, ready to commit assault, and he very kindly stepped in and has been saving the day.

Craig reminds the  Builder that he also has to come to work everyday, stay for most of the day, and get some work done. Amazing that a so-called professional needs that babysitting, but he does. It hasn’t been 100% successful, in that some days the Builder still doesn’t come or do anything or stay for any meaningful length of time, but it has helped significantly as we’re nearing completion. I’m quite confident I would not be saying that if Craig hadn’t been babysitting.

Right now we have my beautiful windows installed, the insulation is almost complete, and poly on, with City inspection in a few days. If Craig hadn’t been on site, the Builder would have then disappeared for a month after he’d installed the windows. That’s his “m.o” But with Craig’s help, the Builder came back the next day to keep on working! Amazing!

One issue with the insulation is that some frost developed behind some temporarily installed pink insulation, where the Builder now has to put in foam insulation. Foam insulation can’t go onto frost, so we have to get rid of the frost. So, today, since the weather is supposed to be nice, I’m going to remove the pink insulation and set up a strong fan. It’s a small area. Hopefully by tomorrow the frost will be out and Builder can get sprayfoam done and final poly installed.

Then there is a chunk of concrete in the basement the Builder has to crack out. He’d installed it as a landing, but it is no longer needed. Then rim joist insulation down there and all small holes filled, widen the doorway area to the original basement, and clean up. The doorway area has to be widened because the plumber installed heating ducts through that door and now I can’t walk under it without ducking. So, new door location required.

Then sub-floor, and  upstairs: bathroom fan, poly, attic hatch, et voila! Builder should be off my property until the springtime, when he comes back to  clean up his work site, grade the elevation, and do a gravel driveway.

Oops, one more unresolved issue: the Builder did not put any heat into my upstairs bathroom. Yes, that’s how clever he is. It is wired for in-floor heat, but that is not sufficient in my climate So, either electrician comes back and installs electric wall-heat or plumber comes back and installs furnace duct.

Final electrical and plumbing inspections will be my responsibility, because I’m installing the drywall, flooring, and fixtures. With my friend Craig helping, I think I’ll be able to be motivated and educated on how to get that all done. It’s possible that by March I could be sitting in my addition, at least with sub-floor, drywall, and fixtures. Final painting, wood trims, and decorations might be longer.

Update – or lack thereof

I know a blog with no posts is worth little. There isn’t a lot to talk about, however.

I have a builder who is treating my project like his hobby and dabbles at it a few hours a day for a couple of days a week. He does not have a full crew and brings ’round whomever he is able to rustle up that day. Many days nobody shows up at all.

When I talk to him about moving this project along, he sounds reasonable as to why things can only happen in a certain order and what the hang ups beyond his control are. He really does sound reasonable. But when I step back and see that this is a build that he started in JUNE, then the fact that he’s still puttering at it in DECEMBER is unbelievable.

I’m shocked at myself for allowing it to go on.

But, the updates for the last month: Most of the shingles have been installed. Not completely, of course. That would be too straightforward for this builder. But day by day someone comes and does a bit of work and the so far the shingles have taken 3 weeks. Apparently he has ordered a special material to cover the flat spot on the roof, which of course he couldn’t have ordered any time in the previous 6 months. But now he’s waiting on it.

The shingles themselves are beautiful. I’m glad I ordered them.

Carriage House




Now the builder is working on flashings, fascia, soffits, eavestroughs etc.

The HVAC appears to be done. I elected to go with 5 vents off my current furnace (3 on main, 2 upstairs), with in-floor heat in basement and in upstairs bathroom, as well as wall-mounted electrical heat. Had I been offered choices a few months ago, I probably would have chosen a high velocity furnace for the addition.

My main concern was having air conditioning on all floors.

The plumbing is roughed in. I had to take the advice of the plumber on where the toilet and sink HAD to go for the powder room, so we’ll see how that looks in the end. (I’m afraid I might be so renovation-weary that I make those “I don’t care – just do what you want” decisions).

The electrician is scheduled for next week. Then after that will be complete insulating and sealing up.

Very funny is that my end of the bargain – refinished windows – is not completed. When reglazing, the putty takes weeks to set, and I can’t paint the sashes until the putty is set.

Further, I have to build the window jambs, and I’ve been balking on that. I went to the hardware store and saw that fir for this project (8 windows) would cost $600 or so. It’s hard for me to just go and buy that. On the other hand, new wood windows would have cost $12,000, so I should just go and do it. I think another thing slowing me down is that I’m not a carpenter, so I’m not sure I’m making the right decisions on the wood or building the jambs correctly. Obviously they have to fit the actual sashes, so there is some customizing of the jambs as well. Plus, the sill has a downward bevel to it, in order to allow water to pour away from the window. Don’t know how to do that.

The stairs are still in the planning stage. Builder says he does not want to start those until after the building inspector has been by on the other parts. I’ve reiterated that I want the builder done before Christmas, so I expect we’ll come to blows shortly because there’s no way he can do all of what is left in the next three weeks.

Being a customer of a useless builder is no fun.