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Project: Kitchen Addition/Remodel
Size of Addition 12′ x 21′
Timeline: January 1, 2015 – April 30, 2015
Cabinet measure first week in March (structure must be framed and enclosed)
Cabinet installation – 2nd week in April
Hi my name is Jen Hunsberger. My husband and I own and operate a design/build firm. As such, we are very familiar with home renovation projects. However, those projects have most always been in other peoples homes—not our own.
We live in a ranch home that was built in 1968 and until I moved in in 2011 had not been updated in any way. Everything from bright blue tile in the bathroom to split pea green appliances were anxiously awaiting my arrival. First things first: the house had 1 bathroom and it was old and nasty. That needed to go ASAP, so on nights and weekends my husband gut and renovated that while I painted every wall in the house. That was it, we were exhausted. We lived with unfinished rooms, partially painted doors and an 8×8 space that was the biggest excuse for a kitchen that I have ever seen. Not really even seeing our incomplete projects anymore, in 2014 we focused our attention on our basement. In 2014, we finished our basement and replaced a very outdated, large and non-operational window in our dining room with a double hung triple window, but those things seem so minor compared to this addition.
So, I thought it would be a great idea to highlight a project in our own home, where we have to live with the construction day in and day out. Everything from bumps in the road, to successes during this project will be highlighted. We will now know first hand, what it’s like for all of our customers, and how at the end of a hard work day, we are still living amongst a messy, messy construction site! Our hope in writing this blog is to provide our new and existing customers the confirmation that we REALLY do appreciate the predicament of living through construction!
One thing to note here is that my husband will be doing most of this work on weekends, and we are on a tight deadline so anything minor that effects that will be felt in a huge way!
Day 1 – January 1
Happy New Year! Our New Year’s Day consisted of lots of loud jackhammering and house shaking as my husband removed the stone from the back of our house in the section where our new kitchen will be. While he is preparing his tools, I am unloading cabinets and taking things off the walls so that they don’t break or fall during the pounding the back of our home will take today. Today’s bump in the road is that he unexpectedly needed to purchase a new tool to assist with the stone removal. I see sticking to the budget is out the window – already! On day one! With the assistance of the new tool (and the weather cooperating), my husband had all of the stone off within 8 hours. Unfortunately, the following day is a work day, so we tarp the entire back of the house and the project goes on hold until the weekend. Our New Year’s Day consisted of lots of loud jackhammering and house shaking as my husband removed the stone from the back of our house in the section where our new kitchen will be. While he is preparing his tools, I am unloading cabinets and taking things off the walls so that they don’t break or fall during the pounding the back of our home will take today. Today’s bump in the road is that he unexpectedly needed to purchase a new tool to assist with the stone removal. I see sticking to the budget is out the window – already! On day one! With the assistance of the new tool (and the weather cooperating), my husband had all of the stone off within 8 hours. Unfortunately, the following day is a work day, so we tarp the entire back of the house and the project goes on hold until the weekend.
Day 2 – January 3
Well, the weather isn’t cooperating this weekend. By the time my husband removed the tarp and started digging the “hole” it starts raining. Since he can’t dig in the mud – and it rains all weekend, we lose 2 work days. Project is now officially behind schedule. FRUSTRATING!!!!
Greg was up and out the door by 6am. Removed the tarp from the back of the house in the dark and started digging our monster hole. All was moving along quite smoothly – sun was shining – we weren’t encountering too much rock in the ground, and then, it happened. Another glitch came late in the day today. We have a well on our property, and we knew where the well line was. Even using his excavator (which I have nicknamed The Transformer), Greg did not hit the well line! He dug all around it with that machine and didn’t so much as hit it, something that I couldn’t even have done with a hand shovel! After doing such a great job digging out the well line, we discovered that our well was in the same spot – we thought it was further out in our yard. Anyway, Greg took a few minutes to call the inspector, go into the hole, investigate and check on how we should move forward with this most recent find. Once he was given the go ahead, he began climbing out of the hole, lost his footing, and tripped – and, yup, you guessed it, cracked the well line! After a panic of running through the house trying to find out how to turn off our well pump so the house wouldn’t flood, we had a plumber out for an emergency Saturday visit to repair the crack in the pipe. This was an inconvenience, and actually sounds worse then it was. Thank goodness it wasn’t something more major!!!
Up and at it bright and early today…my husband worked 12 hours today, roughly 4 hours in the dark! Thank god there are lights on those machines! A TON of progress was made today. The hole is dug and most of the dirt has been moved away from the general construction area to another location in our back yard. I am thankful for the fact that we have an acre and room to store all of this dirt! While doing this phase of construction, we are running two machines. The Transformer (excavator) and a Skid Steer to move the dirt from one location to another. Our SNAFU today was that the machine panel fell off of the Skid Steer which means that machine was out of operation while an employee of ours climbed under it and repaired it. I was a nervous wreck the entire time this was happening, hopeful that this HUGE machine wouldn’t fall off the lift and crush our employee! All went on without incident, but we did lose several hours of precious day light and the use of our second machine during that time. By the end of the day, the hole was completely dug with the exception of a small area that needed just a little work to prepare for footers being prepared. My husbands hope was to work Sunday, the 18th, but unfortunately, Mother Nature had something else in mind. ANOTHER RAIN DAY! Things just keep getting pushed back. ARGH!!!!!!!! With the concrete truck coming Monday to pour the footers, losing Sunday is KILLING us! The forms have to be set and the hole needs to be stoned. GRRRR!
Day 5 – January 19th
Happy Birthday to Me! To my husbands absolute dismay, he and one of our crew members are on site at our house today instead of an actual job site because the concrete truck is coming and they have to prep the “hole” to get ready for the concrete. Not to mention, our second crew – on yet another job site, is out with the flu! So, we are extremely upset over the fact that we don’t have any representatives on our 2 job sites today! I have been hearing all day how bad of an idea it was to build an addition on our home! He will thank me later, I hope! Once he got past all of the “bad news” of the day things actually moved along without any issue. They were able to get the forms in place and spread the stone in the hole before the concrete truck showed up at 3:00. They then poured and spread the concrete in the footers, cleaned up for the day and called it a night. The cinderblock truck is scheduled to come in 2 days at 7am.
Cinderblock truck arrived at 7am today. Today our mason is on site laying the block for the walls of our new basement. However, with the weather being so cold, he can only lay 1 row. Hopefully the weather will warm up next week as he will need 3 full days to finish with the walls before we can begin framing. Greg needs to get to framing as soon as possible as our first deadline is rapidly approaching.
Frustrations are growing … the cold weather and snow have literally stopped us in our tracks. Our mason can’t lay the block walls for our basement because the cement will freeze before he can use it. We have a deadline of March 1st for the addition to be enclosed and the demo of the existing house to be done so that we can measure for our cabinets. With Greg only working weekends, we are definitely running out of time.
The weather finally breaks for ONE day (at least for part of the day) and we get 2 out of 3 walls done for the new basement! I am so excited to see progress after nearly 2 weeks of everything just sitting. The snow comes in later in the afternoon – but the guys work through it! Real troopers if you ask me!
BIG DAY! Our basement walls are FINISHED! Along with the actual addition, we are creating a new space in our basement; which is why the hole is so deep. It is so exciting to really see what the size of the addition space will be once we are done. Greg and the mason finished the walls and layered the outside of the cinderblock with a coating of cement. The next few steps include tarring the basement walls, back filling the hole, setting the sump pump and framing the floor! We are hoping for nothing but dry weather the next few weeks as our first deadline of March 2nd is rapidly approaching. That is when the cabinetmaker will come to measure for our cabinets. What all needs to be done by that time you ask? Well, besides what I mentioned above, the floor and walls needs to be framed, roof trusses need to be set, plywood needs to be laid on the floor and roof, siding needs to go on, windows/doors need to go in, the shingles need to go on the roof, and the million other things that I know I am forgetting!
Today is an exciting day! Greg painted a coating of tar on all of the exterior walls, poured stone around the perimeter of the foundation and laid the pipe in place for the sump pump. In addition, we took delivery of all of the lumber needed to build the addition!
Day 9, 10, 11
These next few work days have been a long time coming. We lost an entire weekend because Greg got the stomach bug. Poor guy is burning the candle at both ends and needed a break!! However, since then, he has been working through snow, rain and cold to get our addition built! As you can see from the pictures, he has made very good use of his weekend time the last two weeks!