I was Hoping I Would Find Some Money in the Walls. Instead I Found This.

I finally am getting over a sinus infection that kept me hovering over a humidifier all weekend long. I was pretty upset that I had a free weekend and wasted it by being sick. I got out of work today and wanted to kick a little ass and finish up some demolition work that had to be done in where the new entry way will be. I took two hammers, my HEPA mask, and started knocking plaster off the walls. I have been hoping to find something, anything, cool in these walls. Up until today the “coolest” thing I found were old Coin World newspapers with a bunch of classified ads for now long deceased people looking for buffalo nickels and wheat pennies.

All that changed today when I found a half pound of arsenic in my walls.

Lucky for me this thing was still sealed up when I came across it. I currently have it double zip locked and will be taking it to the hazardous waste disposal site tomorrow.

I read up on this stuff and apparently it was used as a rat killer in Parisian sewers and a pigment for paints. In some cases it was used to color candy and you can guess how well that worked out. Anyone else out there come across anything cool in their DIY adventures?

Bitchin’ Kitchen

I’ve decided to use more video walkthroughs to show how far along the kitchen is. With how tall the ceilings are and how small the room is it’s hard to get any good shots without some type of fish eye lens. I’ve taken a few though, but I don’t feel they show the space as well as the video can.

So, here is my future kitchen layout.

Here are a couple snaps of what it looks like now

The doorway will be moved over to accommodate the cabinets.

Eliminating the windows is going to obviously get rid of all the natural light. To counteract this I bought a solar tube which I am going to install over the peninsula.

And here’s a quick 5 minute video walk through of the house and showing the kitchen.

I Should Have Put in a Firepole.. or a Slide.. or a Rope Ladder

Well now that my fantasy football season is over I guess it’s time to actually work on the house again(Rob Gronkowski broke into my house and raped me with a broom handle).

Before I could decide just what the hell I wanted to do in my kitchen I had to get the stair situation figured out. For reference here is what they used to look like

Going down them was described as “going down a ladder backwards” by a few crybabies. So this weekend I brought in some mexican day laborers and slammed in some steps.

So as you can see in this picture I switched the direction of the steps and since I am moving the door, I was able to cut out some floor to make some more headroom.

And this is how the stairs look from the basement. Much better than what was there. Wasn’t ecstatic over having to put a landing in, but I think they turned out nicely. You’ll also notice that I now have my 200 amp breaker box mounted.

Home is Where the Heat Stays.

It is now mid November, the height of the “oh shit I should have stopped procrastinating on finishing this house” season. Outside high temperatures are around 30 degrees and will only be falling. So whats new since my last update?

Well, I finally put a front door on the house. It is really comforting being able to actually lock your house instead of hoping that none of your neighbors have a crowbar and a pill addiction. The door is fiberglass, which means it will take stain like wood and is very well insulated.  My parents both came over and just swung it open and shut jealously. That’s what they get for buying a crappy Mastercraft door from Menard’s. The best part is that this door was only $350. The pictures don’t really do the glass in the window justice. I love how it looks.

After the door went on I started to demo the second bedroom. I don’t have a lot of pictures from this part but imagine shit getting knocked onto the floor and me shoveling it into a trailer.

With moving the walls to make the bedrooms bigger I was also forced to move a lot of the ductwork around. Crawling on my back with a spray bottle filled with water, a VOC mask on, then wetting and removing asbestos tape has inspired me to never get into HVAC as a career.

With the ductwork all moved I then ran new ceiling stringers, put in drywall nailers, pulled wire, placed outlets and switch boxes, insulated the exterior walls with closed cell spray foam, insulated the interior walls with R13, and then hung drywall. It all sounds so easy when squashed into one run on sentence.

Yesterday I had my friend come over and help me blow cellulose insulation into the attic. I put in around 16 inches of it, which according to the packaging, should be near an R-60 . I now have the furnace set to 65 and the house holds the heat incredibly well considering the fact that 1/3 of it(the kitchen and bathroom) are still basically uninsulated.

So what’s next? The two most expensive rooms in the house.

Here’s a video with my nasally childlike voice giving an updated walkthrough of the place.

Home Wrecker!

Got a lot done on the house since my last update.  I now have all of the drywall hung in the living room and I have the second bedroom nearly all demolished. I also have a new pedestal installed on the outside for where I will be running my new power. I currently have 60 amp service, but will be upgrading to a 200 amp breaker box.

Here are some pictures :

I promised and promised a walk through of the house, and now I have two!

This first one is from August 18th, before the majority of work got done.

This second one is from today, October 30th.

In other news : Even though I have no insulation in my ceiling and one room in my house is completely gutted, the house is staying around 55 with the furnace running only a few times a day. I also still need to put a front door on. I decided to wait until after Halloween so that I don’t have to deal with trick or treaters. I was thinking about sacrificing a neighborhood child as a warning to the others not to bother me.

Here’s me in my Halloween costume : “dusty guy who still thinks it’s cool to give a thumbs up”

So what did you guys do this weekend?

Here’s a bonus video of me enjoying myself(pants on)

Much Ado About Spray Foam

This is what my living room looked like a few hours ago.

This is what it looks like right meow.

What you are looking at is a little over $500 worth of spray foam. Expensive? Very. I’d like to think I’m worth it though. Once again I used our touch n seal cpds closed cell foam. It was cold, and I had limited time, so I didn’t get the optimal expansion, but it turned out okay. I sprayed around 2 inches,  giving me an air tight, moisture proof r14. I could have filled the entire cavity, but opted not to for cost reasons. I’ll be picking up some drywall later and throwing that on.

I had an opportunity earlier this week to use another type of closed cell spray foam so I figured I would share my experience. What I used was Dow chemicals refillable set up. I’ll start with what I liked about it first. The cost per board foot of dow’s chemicals is cheaper than what we are paying right now, the applicator gun feels more expensive and does a better job at keeping a 1 to 1 ratio, the tanks are larger so there is less down time swapping out product, and they had a much longer hose reach.

Now, the negative. Instead of an air compressor with a doubler like our machine has, it uses a nitrogen bottle as it’s propellant. Setting and maintaining equal pressures in each tank was kind of a hassle. The tanks are refillable, which means that there is the possibility of some jack ass pounding to much product into a tank at one time and creating excess moisture in the tanks. The problem with moisture is that it makes the chemicals crystallize and not mix properly and clog up the system. Finally, it seemed like there were more air voids in their foam than ours. Granted, the foam was a few months old, but it just didn’t seem as rigid as what we are applying.

All in all though, I wouldn’t have an issue with using either product but give a slight edge to our touch n seal based on my familiarity with it.

My House is out of Square and Freezing.

Internet:

Firstly, pictures

Secondly :

This house is so out of square it is driving me insane. It is over 3 inches out of square in a 23 foot long run. Frustrating, but a good drywaller is capable of hiding nearly anything. I am by no means an expert drywaller, but I can sure as hell try.

Thirdly:

My house is old, therefore there is no plywood on the walls, but instead 3/4 boards. You can clearly see the daylight coming in which means as cold as it is outside, it is in my house. Will be insulating the walls later this week, so it won’t be long until I can turn my furnace back on. I am super excited about that. I’m sleeping in my bedroom with a space heater right now. Sleeping is fine and a comfortable temperature, but getting out of the room and using the bathroom is a nightmare. I’m afraid I will end up getting my ass frozen to the toilet seat soon.

Fourthly:

As you can see I tore out the carpeting, carpet padding, and removed the door. Hopefully should have a door in in a day or two. I am having some issues on deciding what I want to do with the floor.  I have a few options. I love the look of hardwood, but there are some parts in the floor that need to be replaced. I could try to tie some new flooring in, sand, and re stain the entire floor for not a lot of money. New hardwood flooring is around $3 a square foot, Laminate flooring is also a fast install-able option, but it is starting to look really cheap and trashy to me. I refuse to purchase carpeting for the main portion of the house. I’ll allow it in the bedrooms, but that’s it.

I’ll post more pictures as the progress continues!

Windows ME

If you’re a nerd you’ll get the joke in my title. If you don’t get it, congratulations, you probably have friends. Regardless, I put some new windows in. 6 foot wide by 4 foot tall. The old widows were 5’5″ by 5’5″. I am not a fan of windows being close to the floor. I like having them above average groin height (which I’ve found to be three foot tall). The reasons for this are simple: 1, if you wake up hung over and have no pants on, you can’t be called in and wind up on the registered sex offenders list and 2, if you are drunk and fall over you won’t be as likely to fall completely through your window. Now I know this place will never have a huge resale value do to it’s limited square footage so I went with cheaper vinyl windows.  Something interesting about windows is that there are only a few companies that make the actual glass. What you are paying for is whatever companies hardware that surrounds the glass. So if you need some new windows, and can only afford the cheap vinyls and not the fiberglass or wood framed ones, don’t worry about it. You’re still  getting a high quality well insulated window, it’s just wrapped in a not gorgeous looking piece of plastic. If you’re not  completely lazy you should be framing out the windows with pine boards anyways, so the finished project shouldn’t look like a crappy apartment. Having said all of that, here is a picture of the new windows.

I later removed the window to the right and currently have it all boxed in. Tonight I was having fun in my crawlspace pulling wiring. I should have all of the wiring and insulation done for the weekend and then it’s drywall time again.

Demolition Sounds Like Fun But Then You Have to Clean it All Up

Now that the roof was on and the house was water tight it made sense to really start cracking the whip and get some work done. Bedrooms and living rooms are relatively cheap to remodel compared to bathrooms and kitchens so I started with the front bedroom and expanded it out into the front half of the living room. Since I knew there would be a giant mess I bought some 4mil plastic and stapled/taped it to the walls and ceiling in order to create a dust/debris shield. One unique thing about this house is that unlike most houses it has 9′ ceilings instead of the standard 8′. It will suck buying a little bit more expensive taller drywall, but the added height makes it feel a lot bigger(when half of it is not torn apart).

I climbed up into the attic and just like I did in the porn den, knocked down the ceiling with a sledge hammer. This whole process sketched me out since the ceiling stringers were rough cut 2×4’s which bounced and bounced with every swing.

😦 Time to work that shovel.

Blew out the bedroom wall’s lath and plaster and tore down the chimney from the attic down to the floor.

Two important things in these pictures : First, there are nice decently conditioned hardwood floors underneath the carpeting in the living room that I plan on refinishing. Second, my home made boom box. Took a PC power supply, grounded it so that it would turn on with the switch on back of it, have it powering a car amp, which pump really nice sound out of my eclipse 6×9 speakers. Truly, a ghetto blaster.

Removed the closet wall and put some new vinyl windows in.

New wall! The old dimensions of the room were 9’8″ x 9’7″ which makes a small ass bedroom. Now the room measures 11′ x 10’8″. Not a whole lot bigger but a room has no business being smaller than 10 x 10. Now for these pesky ceiling stringers…

See those rafters? See how they are not tied to the stringers by anything? Yeah, scared the hell out of me too. All that was holding my roof to my house were two barn spikes through every single rafter. Even better than that is the fact that neither the stringers OR rafters have any spacing scheme and differ from the living room and bedroom. If old houses like this have managed to stand for near a hundred years it is my belief that current construction homes will be able to stand for thousands of years.

Well, since they aren’t tied to anything I’m going  to tear them out.

And install my own!

Unlike the crazy miners who built this house I am going to tie my stringers into the rafters so that the whole god damn roof doesn’t collapse on me during 60mph winds!

Webbing and cross bracing to actually increase the structural integrity of the rough sawn 2×4 rafters.

New closet wall built with drywall nailers installed. Previous closet was 3′ deep, this one will be 2′ when finished. Next I need to move ductwork, pull wire, and insulate the walls.

Stay tuned!