Friday, August 26, 2011

Judgment Day

No, not the impending Hurricane Irene, but Arlington County inspection day. How did we fare with the building, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical inspections? Well... let's see... everything we did ourselves passed no problem (yay!). However, the one thing that didn't pass was the drains/waste/vents that we paid a master plumber to do (boo!). Hmmmm go figure.... it's possible it would have passed if he showed up today when he said he would (or at all for that matter). So the inspector rejected the vents and drains, but gave us the OK to go ahead and insulate. Our insulation isn't getting here until Friday so we should be able to get the plumber and the inspector back on site early this week to get everything hashed out. We have to get the insulation inspected so we can't put up the drywall yet anyways. All in all it was good news from the inspection department.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake Tuesday

I marked Earthquake day here in Arlington by continuing work on the house. I'm off this week on a little staycation to finish all the odds and ends so we're ready for our inspections. The plumber came out to finish up the drains. The tubs are hooked in and theoretically ready to use. All the valves are installed and the PEX rough in is complete. It is holding a steady air pressure for a few days now so I'd say the install was perfect. Not one leak... not too bad for a part time plumber. I also got the attic baffles installed so we can insulate as soon as our inspections pass. Looks like we're going to save $2000 by doing the insulation ourselves. Plus we're using a higher quality insulation called Roxul. Its rock wool so it's not itchy like fiberglass and the r-value is about 4-5 points higher.

The house also survived its first decent sized earthquake.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Picture Perfect

Saturday was a busy day - we got up early and picked up a cargo van so we could buy a whole mess of lumber (see below for why), a bathtub for the second upstairs bath, and other assorted bulky items.  Then we spent the rest of the day finishing the exterior trim on six first floor windows, a task made much easier by one of our new toys, the Kreg jig.  Using the jig, we drilled pocket holes in the trim pieces and then screwed them together to make picture frame window trim.  Because we're working with old brick window openings, we also had to add trim pieces to level the windows before we could put the frames on.  It took the entire afternoon to do all six windows but now all the windows that are exposed to the weather are finished and caulked - a nice feeling given all the thunderstorms we've been getting lately. 

Early morning

We got up early to beat the heat in the attic to install a storage platform. It took us a couple hours, but we gained some nice storage space. Kristin protested with a sit-in halfway through since I woke her up too early. I met her demands of a nap today and work continued.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It ain't over til it's over

A few weeks ago, we posted about running Pex for the two bathrooms upstairs.  Words like "quick" and "easy" may have been thrown around and we thought we were just about finished with the plumbing.  It turns out we were overly optimistic!  On Sunday, we tackled adding the valves for the tub and the showers.  We have a double shower in the master bath so we had to install a total of three shower valves, plus the tub valve, and it took much more time than expected to figure out where and how to install each valve.  After a long day, though, we now have all four valves installed and we're that much closer to being ready for inspections...though just in case something else comes up, I'm not going to say it's finished, having learned that lesson once already...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And now...

...for a little relaxation. A little water would be nice, though. We unpacked the tub and started laying out the rest of the bathroom. Tomorrow we'll finish up the shower pan and all the valves.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Big delivery

Lots of goodies came via freight today. All our bathroom fixtures and our master bathtub showed up. Now I have to hit Home Depot for all the fittings I need and mount up the faucet valves for everything. Most of the other work is complete - electrical is run, plumbing and hvac are done. Just a few finishing touches and we should be ready for inspection soon.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Shopping Spree

We have not, despite the appearance of this blog, packed up and moved to a hotel.  In fact, we've been continuing to make progress on the house over these last two weeks, with Brian taking advantage of the non-100 degree weather this week to run cable on the second floor and finish up the electrical wires in the attic.  Last Sunday, we spent the day running one of the three HVAC lines through the crawlspace and into the new addition.  It took longer than we expected but now that we've got the process figured out, it should be much faster to run the remaining two.  On Saturday, we spent the entire day shopping for, and deciding on, various fixtures and bathtubs for the house.  It was one of those tasks that sounded fun and easy (showrooms! shiny fixtures!) but in reality was just frustrating and exhausting.  One complicating factor was that our master bath needs just about every fixture known to man - faucets, tub filler, regular shower, diverter, and rain shower.  Trying to find a line of fixtures that we liked and offered all the options quickly became an ordeal.  Fortunately, at the end of the day, we decided on some options that seem to fit the bill.  At the top is our big soaking tub - the Kohler Escale, a 72" freestanding tub.  I can't wait to take a bath in it (someday).  Just below are the faucets for the master bath from the Moen Icon line in brushed nickel.  Below that are the faucets for the other bathrooms from the Moen Eva line.  (Don't be fooled by the picture - they are not faucets for giant people and are, in fact, normal-sized.)  Once we picked out the fixtures, tubs, etc., we spent a long time online researching prices and put together a spreadsheet to track everything.  Initially I thought we were going to have to order from six different stores to get the best prices but then I called, who offered to price match.  So, we were able to place our entire order through them and save several hundred dollars in the process.  Most importantly, we're now done with this project and I'm avoiding all kitchen and bath stores from now on.