Thursday, March 31, 2011

Started painting!

Wednesday was another 14 1/2 hour day... They guy who I hired to help me called in the morning to say that he was not able to come the rest of the week. Fortunately Dale was kind enough to come over and help me after work. We had barbecue chicken and Freda made some yummy smashed potatoes.

One of the things Dale did was apply the first coat of paint inside the pantry, and also to the shelves (not shown in this photo). It's nice to see the colour coat go on the walls because it signals that the end is indeed near.

This is a close-up of the bulkhead around the heating ductwork. I had hoped to be able to complete the third skim coat of drywall compound but I was too tired last night, so I stopped so I could get a good nights sleep. (Taz woke me up at 6:30 barking at something!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Amazing antigravity dogs

something curious here
The drywall is complete, but there is something funny here...

muddy doggy prints
What drywall ceiling would be complete without antigravity dogs? See their muddy footprints on the ceiling.

first pot lights
I installed the pot lights on the one side of the lower level - one light is not installed because I had to patch the drywall right where the hole is - the wires are hanging down at the left. You can see the entire ceiling has been taped and mudded. All that's missing here is the corner bead at the wall/ceiling joint.

Something not working

Something has changed with Blogger and I am unable to upload photos.

Still working on figuring it out...

Monday, March 28, 2011


I took this photo early Sunday morning because the basement lights are currently not connected. You can see that the big sheets of drywall are installed on the ceiling. What's left to do for the drywall is to complete the little bits around the ductwork, etc. I hope to do that today, as well as tape and mud the ceiling.

These are the two colour panels again. Freda has chosen the green on the right, with one accent wall in the colour named "Cup of Cocoa".

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ready for ceiling drywall

On Thursday evening, we completed the preparations for installing the drywall on the ceiling on Saturday. One the last things we had to do was disconnect the old lights (4) and complete running the wires for the new pot lights. There will be a total of 19 pot lights in this space now on two separate switches. If it is too bright then I will install a dimmer. I am going to get the 4" PAR20 type of pot lights as they are on sale at Rona this week and I have a store credit there too for when I returned the excess tile.

Because there are no lights now, we have to install the drywall ceiling in the daylight so we are doing that on Saturday. Since it is all ready, now we can take Friday evening off.

Eco-Energy Audit Follow-up
We had the follow-up Eco-Energy Audit assessment. We will get some kind of rebate for all of the energy improvements we have done, like all the insulation in the walls, attic, upgrading the furnace, the HWT, windows, doors, low flush toilets, etc.

The air leakage test showed a dramatic improvement, which will make the house much more comfortable. Before we had 7.29 air changes per hour (ACH), due to all the drafts in the house. Now, the house is down to 3.76 ACH - almost half!! (51.6% to be precise)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wall gone

[Photo taken from stairs to kitchen.]

The wall is now gone and the house is being supported on the new steel posts. It's starting to look like the end product now!

[Photo taken from stairs to basement area.]

Wow - it looks so spacious!

This photo shows all the little framing that we had to do around the steel beam and the heating ductwork. This is so we have something to fasten the drywall to.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Accomplishments Mar 22nd

This is the attic access to the attic over the living room and kitchen. You can see it is a bit dirty from the insulation guys who added the insulation to the attic. I have caulked it to seal the drafts out.

This is the attic hatch to the area over the bedrooms. It is caulked properly too.

I installed the rest of the shelving supports in the pantry and then David primed it, so it is now ready for painting. Freda is working at picking out the paint colour for the this area.

Look at the top of this photo above, just above the drywall. I couldn't fill the outside header space with insulation because there was only about a 3/4" gap above the 2x4 wall that had been framed inside the basement as there just wasn't enough room to install any insulation properly. Instead, we slide a piece of 1/2" foam into the gap and then I foamed the rest of the gap with spray foam. Today I will staple the plastic up and seal it with sheathing tape.

David primed the laundry room walls where we put up the drywall and mudded. Now that wall can be painted and then the shelving and freezer put into its final location.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Replacing the lower level support posts

Before. After I took this photo I cut out part of the 2x4 wall (top plate and bottom plate) to expose the steel beam and the concrete floor.

After I cut out the section of the wall, I found there was a hollow in the concrete. I mixed up some cement patch compound and filled it in.

Marc, cutting the posts to length. The base plates were welded to the posts in the shop and the posts were slightly long, so they could be cut to length on site.

Drilling the holes to fasten the bottom plate.

Welding the first post.

This is the post after it was welded, before the slag is chipped off.

And this is the post after it was primed.

This is the after photo, with both posts in place.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's a dog's life...

It's a dog's life... well, it would be nice to live a dog's life... a dog who is a pet, anyway...

Tawny, claiming ownership of the bed.

King Taz, ruling the world from the couch.

Cabinets are complete!!!

Heinz, our cabinet guy, came today and finished up the cabinets.

This is the dishwasher before, with the panel leaning against the sink cabinet.

This is after the panel was installed. Heinz installed a piece of wood for the toe kick, so it matches the rest of the cabinets (instead of the black plastic piece that came with the dishwasher.

This is the ensuite vanity after the doors were installed.

And this is the vanity after the knobs were installed. It looks really nice.

All I have left to do in the ensuite is install the shelf under the sink, install the baseboard (on the wall with the window - at right) - this will require a bit of caukling and painting to finish it up.

Monday - light snowfall

The snowbanks at the side of the driveway were no higher than 2 1/2 or 3 feet, but they were almost all gone. This light snowfall makes everything look pretty again, but frankly - everyone is ready for spring.

This is the back yard. There is some icy stuff underneath that fresh snow now s o it's a bit treacherous.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Boxing in the heating ductwork

This is the view from the stairs. As you can tell, all the boxes that were piled up here were taken down to the storage area so we can finish up this room. You can see the ductwork running the length of the room, and the framing around it so we can put the drywall on it.

We will be removing that load-bearing 2x4 wall in the middle of the room (it originally was part of a partition wall that enclosed a bedroom at the left rear). I have found a welder who will supply and install the properly sized posts, according to the structural engineer that we hired. I hope that he can come early this week.

This is the view from the stairs to the storage area. The room is very bright with the two big windows and quite spacious - about 21' square.

This is a view looking toward the pantry so you can see the framing around the ductwork and also the shelf supports that I added yesterday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Insulating overhang

One of the strongest recommendations from the energy audit guy was to properly seal the underside of the overhang to stop drafts. The floor at the front of the house on the bedroom level overhangs by about a foot. He recommended removing the plywood that covered the underneath to expose the joists, then add some rigid styrofoam that was properly caulked to seal the drafts and add a bit of insulation. Since there was an incredible draft coming into the basement from that area, I really wanted to do that. This is their story. (Apologies to Law & Order.)

This is the underside of the overhang after the plywood was removed. The black stuff there is called Black Joe - it is like pressed fiberboard (made from wood pulp) that is impregnated with some sort of black stuff, tar or something. If I installed the rigid insulation on top of the Black Joe, then the effectiveness of sealing against drafts would be dependent on how the Black Joe was sealed. Due to the age of the house, it was pretty clear that this was extremely unlikely.

This is what I saw after removing the Black Joe. You can see that the insulation doesn't extend all the way to the end of the joist space. Obviously I needed to add insulation before I put the rigid stuff up.

What a surprise! There was absolutely no insulation in the area under the front coat closet. You can see why that is in this photo - there is a piece of blocking across the joist space (at the back left of this photo). Not sure why the blocking was there as it totally prevented anyone from putting insulation in this area.

This photo shows the empty joist cavity was filled with insulation (Roxul). That's the equivalent of R-28 in this cavity now.

This photo shows the joist cavities were filled with Roxul (R-14 per layer, so it is R-28 for the two layers). Then a 1" thick piece of rigid styrofoam was added, on top of a bead of acoustic sealant - that's the black squiggly line on the rim joist at the left.

After the 1" piece was put in, another 1/2" thick piece was added. These two layers fitted above the top row of bricks. This photo shows the two layers of rigid styrofoam.

Looking down the side of the house. You can see it was so nice that we were wearing just t-shirts. Of course, it was a bit chilly if you were in the shade.

We added another 1/2" thick piece of rigid styrofoam under this, for a total of R-10 for the foam, so the total insulation added is R-38.

I had to rip the plywood narrower because (a) the edge got a bit chewed up when it was removed, and (b) the plywood could no longer fit on top of the brick because that space is now filled with styroam. This photo was taken after the plywood was installed - with screws, because it would compress the layers of foam together, helping eliminate any paths for air to take.

Oh, I had exactly enough Roxul to finish this! I only had a little piece about 4" x 5" left. Zowie!

Lower level pantry and closets complete

The drywall is now complete on the closets and the pantry for the lower level.

This photo shows that the complete far end of the room. Starting from the left is the book shelf nook, then the coat closet, then the stairs to the basement storage room and laundry, then the pantry, then the broom closet (around the corner from the pantry), and then the stairs to the upstairs. The pantry and broom closet have had three coats of mud and are now complete (except for a final sanding). The stairs to the basement, coat closet and book shelf nook still need to have the first coat of mud (except the stairwell) and the corner bead. I am using regular drywall mud for the first two coats because we are using the drywall sanding sponge which doesn't make a lot of dust. The third coat needs to be sanded, so for that I am using the low-dust drywall compound (the tubs with the purple lids in the center of the photo). I think the low-dust compound does the reduce the dust a bit, but it certainly does NOT eliminate it.

This is the view looking from the stairs towards the windows on the lower level. The floor at the center foreground is exposed for the first time in months -- it has been the location of a pile of drywall since sometime in December. Now all that is left there are scraps. The doors are not yet installed, you can see them leaning against the far wall.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drywall update

Still working on the closets in the lower level, but shifted over to framing the bookshelves and the new coat closet, on the other side of the steps to the stoaragae area and the laundry room. After we did the framing, I started again on the mudding while Louis continued with cutting the drywall for the closet.

This is the corner at the stairs down from the kitchen. This corner was somewhat beaten up when the oil tank was removed, and I had to fill the end of the wall with quite a bit of mud. It's pretty good now, almost perfect.

This photo shows tne pantry and a little bit of the closet for the vacuum cleaner and dog food.

This annotated photo shows the layout of the rest of the other side of the lower level. I am putting some book shelves under the coat closet (by the front door), and then another coat closet beside the stairs. That coat closet is for storing winter coats in summer and summer coats in the winter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finishing the pantry and broom closet

After finishing the storage room, and moving stuff down there, I now had room to start finishing the lower level. First on the agenda was to frame and drywall the pantry and the broom closet - that is where we will put the vacuum cleaner and the big bags of dog food.

This photo shows the pantry after it was framed and drywalled. It is a bit of an odd shape because we had to work around all the house infrastructure - plumbing, heating ducts, stairs, etc. You can't see the broom closet in this photo - it is to the right, between the pantry and the stairs.

This is another view of the pantry. We are trying to make the most possible use of the space.

This is after the drywall taping and the first coat of mud.

There are a LOT of corners to tape and mud in this pantry!