Saturday, March 30, 2013

This and That

Hello, old oak floor
Goodbye, old oak floor
Time for a bonfire!
This is not grass.  What is this??

We've been working on some odds and ends today.  First up, removing more of the old oak floorboards from the former bedroom/new den so we can move some more stuff around and eventually get ready for drywall.  Since we ordered all of our new flooring when we needed it for the second floor, we now have boxes and boxes of it just sitting around taking up space (as you can see to the right side of the top pictures).  So, we often have to do half of a project and then stop, move things around, and finish it up.  I'm not sure there's any other way to deal with it, unfortunately, as we wouldn't want two different batches of flooring but it can slow things down.  Nevertheless, we're nearly done with oak floor removal at this point.  We still have to take up the living room but that will probably be the last thing on the list since it won't be in the way of the new drywall or framing - unlike the rooms that are being reconfigured.  In any event, we now have plenty of kindling for the fire pit.

We're also figuring out a plan for landscaping the yard.  After last summer's garage and patio construction, we put down grass seed to make sure our yard didn't erode away over the winter.  In that sense, the "grass" did the trick but now we seem to have more weeds than actual grass.  We're leaning towards replacing the whole thing with sod this spring, which will also give us a second chance to re-level the yard but first, we'll need to kill off what's already there.  I took a first shot this afternoon with some RoundUp Grass and Weed Killer so we'll see how that does and then plan accordingly.  Stay tuned for more outdoor progress as we enjoy the warmer weather!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Plumbing progress

When we haven't been on vacation lately (which seems like most of the time), we've been working on getting the bathrooms ready and installing the sump pump.  Drains are now installed for both the first floor full bath and the basement bath - just a couple of vents to run and then we'll be ready to call for an inspection.  After that, we'll be mixing up quite a bit of cement to fill in the floor and start putting in the fixtures - and then it's onto finish work and these construction zones will finally start to look like real rooms!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Clean-Up

It felt like spring yesterday so we spent some time in the yard.  Our side gardens, which flank the patio, have been overrun with weeds and invading grass so while we were cutting back the grasses and flowers and trimming the shrubs, we went ahead and put down landscape fabric.  Hopefully it will kill off the weeds and then we can throw mulch over it later this season.  In another couple of weeks, weather permitting, we'll start tackling the front of the house, where we need to tear up the old walkway, lay in the new pavers, and regrade the yard.  There will be lots of work to do but we're looking forward to getting outside again!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Concrete (and back) breaking

We're getting back into the construction routine here after a bit of a lull - and spent Saturday tearing up more of the basement floor with a 60 lb. jackhammer to get ready to install drains for the full bathroom and add a sump pump.  Regular blog readers may remember the Flood of Fall 2011, when our basement was inundated with water after several days of heavy rain.  Most of the problem was caused by the other hole we had already opened up in the floor to move the main plumbing stack but we also had some very small leaks from a couple of cracks in the concrete walls.  We think it was just a fluke issue - our neighbors reported 30 years of dry basements preceding this one storm - but it seems worth it to install an insurance policy in the form of a sump pump just in case.  Breaking concrete is no easy task and Brian handled about 95% of the jackhammer work (after letting me try my hand at it for awhile and declaring my progress to be too slow!) while I was in charge of collecting and hauling away of the concrete chunks.  We now have about a dozen heavy bags of concrete to feed into the Arlington trash system over the next several weeks.  We'll tackle some more work around the house today but will probably take it a little bit easy as well - I feel like yesterday was enough hard labor for one weekend!     

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

(No) Snow Day

View of our backyard - these small traces of snow shut the city down today
Old wall
New wall with door framed

Old wall

New wall, with extra framing

We had an unexpected day off today when the threat of snow shut the city down (but unfortunately, very little snow actually materialized) and took advantage of the opportunity to do some work on the first floor bathroom.  With most of the electric done, it's time to tackle the two remaining bathrooms and get started on the plumbing but first, we needed to fir out the wall to accomodate the HVAC and drains and create a new doorway for the bathroom.  The old bath had the door in the hallway but we're changing the orientation so that it will now be en suite with the new bedroom/den.  Not a big project but one that's good to get done.