Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Posts Tagged ‘contractors’

Flooring Day Two: Installation

 These are pictures from the day I wrote the two “S.N.A.F.U.” posts about. Once Brandon got the kinks worked out with the flooring contractor they got to work.

(These pictures aren’t of the same quality as my usual pictures because Brandon took them with his phone’s camera, but I think it gives the whole thing a certain romantic antique look.)

The bathroom, sans toilet and sink pedestal:

The bathroom, sans bath tub:

The bath tub plumbing:

The toilet base:

Installing the subfloor in the kitchen:




Installing the subfloor in the bathroom:

Check back soon for pictures of the finished floors and some adventures with the bath tub!

[tags]ceramic tile, plumbing, contractors, kitchen, clawfoot tub, bathroom, photos, shower, flooring[/tags]

Update on my S.N.A.F.U. morning

First of all, I’d like to thank the members of the Des Moines Rehabbers Club who kindly offered me advice this morning.  I sent a rather panicked email to the mailing list this morning and got some really excellent responses.  It helps so much to have someone to turn to in a crisis like this! 

The flooring company has secured the right color grout, but they didn’t order enough tile for the bathroom.  They will finish the parts under the tub, toilet, and sink and finish the rest when the tiles are in.  They’re going to cut the tile to fit around the pipes in the floor, rather than some other way.  I’m glad of that because it didn’t seem right to have to cut all the pipes down and redo all that plumbing. 

When I talked to Brandon (who’s at the house today while I’m at work) he said they’d laid the subfloor in both the kitchen and the bathroom and were going to get the kitchen done today.  That was earlier this morning, so I hope there’s been some good progress made.

 While the flooring guys were working in the house, Brandon took the ladder out and broke the rotted fascia off the roof and removed as many nails as he could to prepare for new gutters being installed.

 Our quote from the gutter company arrived.  It is over $2000, which for a single story, 1000 square foot bungalow seemed ridiculous.  Our neighbor down the street with a similar house had theirs done for $450 or so.  Will keep looking.

We’re heading out to the Iowa State Fair this afternoon to blow off some steam.  Pictures coming soon of all our adventures!

[tags]gutters, thanks, ceramic tile, bathroom, Des Moines Rehabbers Club, contractors, plumbing, kitchen, flooring[/tags]

S.N.A.F.U. and how!

We’ve hired a professional flooring company to install tile in our bathroom.  We worked with them for several weeks, stopped in at the store twice, and had several phone discussions in setting all this up.  He told us we’d need to have our clawfoot tub disconnected so they could move it out of the room, which was fine.  The sink is wall mounted, so that’s not a problem.  They didn’t say anything about the toilet.

 This morning the crew arrived for installation and informed us that not only were we supposed to have the tub disconnected, but that the pipes needed to be cut down below the floor.  Also we’re supposed to have a plumber to re-set the toilet because they need to remove it. 

Was this stuff I was supposed to know already?  And even so, shouldn’t they have checked to make sure this was done before showing up for the install?

 Oh, yeah.  And they showed up on site and asked Brandon, “What kind of grout did you want for this?  We don’t have it on the order.”  DON’T HAVE IT ON THE ORDER?!  We discussed this in the store!  Pointed to the one we wanted and the guy wrote it down.  So they showed up with the wrong grout and will have to see if they have the color we wanted before going ahead with the job. 

As if that wasn’t enough, the gutter company that was supposed to stop by at 8am to give me an estimate didn’t come.  I left for work and half an hour after our appointment was supposed to be, the guy called me.  His scheduler (who I confirmed the address with three times, once by my entering it on their website for them) had given him the wrong address, several blocks up the street from my house.  When no one came to the door he spent half an hour working up an estimate on the wrong house before he bothered to call me. 

This is going to be one helluva day.

[tags]flooring, ceramic tile, contractors, bathroom, shower[/tags]

Big Day at Our New Old House!

Brandon thought he was getting a day off when his flex schedule worked out that he didn’t have to go in to work today.  I fixed that in a hurry!

At 8:00 this morning, the storm window company, Corn Belt Aluminum, began removing our old storm windows and installing our new attic windows. 

At noon, Joe Kemple is coming over to tune the piano.

Sometime between noon and 4pm MidAmerican Energy is sending someone over to check our gas meter.

At 4pm Brandon is taking the car in for some work on the tinting. 

Kinda makes my day at the day job seem boring. 

I’ll have pictures of the storm windows when I get home this afternoon.  I’m so excited!!!

[tags]attic, windows, contractors, storm windows, awning window, gas [/tags]

MidAmerican Energy Audit

Last week I had a visit from an energy efficiency specialist from our local energy company, MidAmerican. MidAmerican has a program called EnergyAdvantage: Save Some Green. Homeowners who get their electricity and natural gas from MidAmerican can call for an hour long appointment in which a specialist will walk through your home with you, take notes on the current state of your home’s insulation and energy usage, and then make suggestions on how to improve the energy efficiency.

He started by going over a printout of the last year of my energy bills. He gave me an idea of the averages used by other similar houses and let me know where our usage for the past year falls on that scale.

When I told him were looking at the possibility of replacing our furnace and adding central air, he explained to me the factors that go into determining the size of units we need.

  1. Square footage to heat and cool
  2. Number of windows and doors on exterior walls
  3. Existing value of insulation

With that in mind, he figured that our house probably needs a 60,000 BTU furnace.

Now, one important thing about the existing furnace is that the home inspector we had to look at it wrote down the wrong date for when our current furnace was installed. He accidentally wrote down 1983, which is correct for the water heater. But the furnace was installed in 1997! Keep in mind that three contractors came out and looked at our furnace and also didn’t notice what year it was, or did notice and didn’t choose to point out that our furnace is supposed to last 20 years and probably doesn’t need to be replaced. We were thinking of replacing it based on it being nearly 25 years old! With this new information, we’re not necessarily bent on replacing the furnace part. It’s still under consideration.

He went through the house and helped me identify the weakest spots in our insulation. A lot of that was painfully obvious, but it was good to get a few suggestions on how to most cost effectively repair those weaknesses.

One major weakness is the coal chute. He recommended bricking it up with hollow glass bricks. That way we can let in light, but it’ll be a good insulation for the spot.

Another important aspect of our insulation that’s lacking is the attic. Everyone thusfar has described the attic as a “half story” but on account of the insulation properties he noted, the MidAmerican guy said it’s just a converted attic. The things that indicated to him that it’s never been considered “living space” are that the floor and crawlspaces are packed with insulation but there’s no insulation under the roof. He said I can change that and then it’ll be more efficient, but it will require tearing down the plaster and lath ceiling, insulating that space under the roof, and then putting up drywall. I suppose that’s an option, but I think we’ll go ahead and improve the window insulation, put doors on the crawlspaces, and see how well the place stays heated and cooled this year before deciding to add that task to our list. It may be possible to remove some of the insulation from under the floorboards in the meantime, but I don’t think that’s really even necessary.

Finally, he was satisfied with my intentions to fix the windows, but told me it would be wise to insulate the walls. They currently have nothing inside them. He recommended hiring a contractor to blow insulation in from the outside. They’d have to take off the top strip of siding, drill the holes there, blow the insulation in, and then put the siding back. Also, his suggestion for agreeing on price was to say we’ll pay you for the labor, plus we’ll count up the bags of insulation at the end of the job and pay you according to that. That way they have more incentive to use more insulation in our walls so they can get paid more for it, thus doing a better job of insulating the place.

Now that I have specific recommendations for improving the insulation, I can qualify to have MidAmerican energy pay up to 70% of the cost of insulating my house, up to $600. We’ll probably apply that to having the insulation blown into the walls.

So with all that information in mind, we’re going to contact back the people we got quotes from, ask them to adjust the quotes for leaving the current furnace and just adding A/C and ductwork and then see what we’re facing as far as cost. I’m guessing it’ll just be as simple as deducting the cost of the new furnace from the total and probably adjusting the labor cost a bit, but I guess we’ll see.

[tags]insulation, furnace, air conditioning, contractors, energy usage, attic, coal chute[/tags]