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Old 11-03-2013, 08:04 PM   #201
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Sort of losing my WIM.

Finished up the doors for real. Had to trim the shims and make sure they were secure. Even though I don't think I had to, I went ahead and put that window tape around the doors. Also sprayed that foam insulation around them.

Started putting the trim around the windows. It's a bit of a pain because of the window nail strip. I had to shim the trim.....

Shim the trim? I lost my WIM to shim this trim! Not to mention trimming shims.

I digress.

Anyways, it's kinda hard to hold it and shim it and nail it by myself. Got the back and side windows done except........

If you notice from the pics there's a few double windows where there's a gap between them. The gap is about 6 inches. Unfortunately, trim is only 4" and fascia is 5 1/2 ". I thought about ripping 2 pieces to fill the gap but I'm pretty sure I would really hate how this looked. Hardie makes 7.25" trim but Lowe's doesn't carry it. I'll see if I can special order it.

Anyways, here's my progress.





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Old 11-04-2013, 04:32 AM   #202
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Dude hang in there. You're doing amazing, and as soon as you get the wrapping off, it's gonna look great.
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:39 PM   #203
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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... Started putting the trim around the windows. It's a bit of a pain because of the window nail strip. I had to shim the trim.....

Shim the trim? I lost my WIM to shim this trim! Not to mention trimming shims.
Really enjoying your blog and sense of humor. Shimming the trim reminds me of the time I saw a guy put a dab of lipstick on each screw head of the window nail strip and then carefully place the trim in place. The lipstick marked where he then used a countersink bit to make depressions in the trim so it would lay flatter. I wondered if he was going to plane 1/16" off the back of the trim to compensate for the thickness of flange, but he drew the line at countersinking for the screw heads.

The funny thing was that he was working on one side of the house and the guy on the other side just nailed up the trim tilted. Guess he ran out of WIM to shim too.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:31 PM   #204
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Dude hang in there. You're doing amazing, and as soon as you get the wrapping off, it's gonna look great.
Thanks. Yeah, I wish I could just channel Penn and Teller and lift off the wrap and VOILA!

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Really enjoying your blog and sense of humor. Shimming the trim reminds me of the time I saw a guy put a dab of lipstick on each screw head of the window nail strip and then carefully place the trim in place. The lipstick marked where he then used a countersink bit to make depressions in the trim so it would lay flatter. I wondered if he was going to plane 1/16" off the back of the trim to compensate for the thickness of flange, but he drew the line at countersinking for the screw heads.

The funny thing was that he was working on one side of the house and the guy on the other side just nailed up the trim tilted. Guess he ran out of WIM to shim too.
Thanks.

Ha - yeah I probably get a little anal but I know it will bug the heck out of me if I don't do it.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:28 PM   #205
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

So, it's almost 8:30 and I hear a knock on my door. It's Lance, looking for work. I'd pretty much given up on him.
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:00 PM   #206
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

This will be a sort of rambling account of dealing with contractors. Probably not worth reading but I'll post it anyways.

Went through angie's list to get some contractors. I called 3 and emailed 3. So far, only half of those responded.

The first guy seemed really scatterbrained. He never gave me a bid.

Second guy was really friendly. I got the impression he was honest and all that, but I'm not really convinced he'll do the best job. Additionally, he wasn't much help with helping me get stone. He basically just told me how much to get and it was up to me to order. I wasn't all that confident in his material estimate either. He sort of just eyeballed it. More on this in a bit.

The last guy seemed really professional. I haven't gotten his bid but I have no doubt he'll come in the highest. He also left the material choosing up to me.

After I met the first guy, I headed out to the stone place he recommended. The girl there was really helpful. She walked me through the yard and spent quite a bit of time with me. However, I just didn't find what I wanted. I want limestone, but I want some blue/gray in it. Everything they had was either solid white or had a lot of brown. Nothing with blue/gray. I was pretty sure I've seen it before. We went back in and she gave me some prices. We talked a little about the contractor I talked to and she gave me a card of some guy she highly recommended (Juan).

So, I called Juan. After quite a few phone calls I finally got him over to the house - he doesn't speak English very well and getting the address to him was more difficult than you would think. Anyways, once he was here we communicated just fine. I told him about the stone. He pulled out his phone and showed me some pictures of another job he had done. It was exactly the stone I had in mind. He gave me a price that was a bit higher than the first guy (taking into account the material cost). And, he would take care of the materials. I'm pretty sure I'll use him.

Still waiting on the third guy and I need to meet Juan one more time, but I'm pretty sure he'll be the guy.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:05 PM   #207
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

So hard to get motivated.

I'm sort of waiting on the rock guy to do anything major. It's a long weekend so I figured I'd do some painting.

Powerwashed the garage.

Put the first coat of paint on the soffit on the house.

Finished the window trim (pics below).

I feel like I worked a lot but didn't do much.



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Old 11-10-2013, 07:21 PM   #208
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I woke up to no electricity. That sort of motivated me to get to work since there wasn't much else to do. Worked out pretty well because my game plan for today was to paint.

I decided to paint the garage today. My plan was to use a roller but I did a little test with it and it came out all funky. Like a popcorn ceiling. I didn't like that at all. So, back to the brush.

I got a bit done on one side and stood back to see what it looked like. It was not the color I thought I was getting at all. Looked sort of green. I figured it just needed to dry so I plowed on. Got the whole side done and it just didn't turn out like I wanted. Even Blotkis was concerned.

But, I just plowed on. Finished another side and went back to look at the first side. It really looked funky. I figured I was just going to have to put on 2 coats or something. Or maybe find another color. Ugh.

But, I kept on trucking. It took me pretty much all day but I finished. I went back and looked at the first part I painted. It had finally dried and it looked MAGNIFICENT! Whew. And, it looks like I won't need a second coat. The folks at Lowe's told me this was really good paint and I believe them.

Anyways, it turned out pretty good.

I'll post pics when I get the trim painted - hopefully tomorrow.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:42 PM   #209
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Got sick last night. Didn't sleep much at all. Got up at 6:30 feeling like crap but I figured I'd feel like crap sitting around so I went to work.

Went to the far inferior building supply store to get the wider trim for the area between the double windows. I guess they aren't all that inferior if they carry stuff Lowe's/HD doesn't.

Got the trim in. Probably doesn't help my burning sinuses cutting that hardi with no wind. I wish I had taken a picture. Huge cloud of dust just sitting there.

Put second coat of paint on house soffit.

Put 2 coats of paint on the garage trim.

The garage is done. I'm really happy with the result. The paint was lighter than I thought it would be but I'm still happy with it. I hope the pics do it justice. I'm posting a before and after.

I guess I should get sick more often. Got a lot done.

Window trim pics.





Garage before



Garage after

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Old 11-11-2013, 07:29 PM   #210
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

nice job so far.

I do have a question though as a first time home buyer. Do you think all of the work is worth it? Do you think the average person would be better off spending 50K more on a house to have many of these repairs done before purchase, or do you think that is throwing money away and it is worth it to DIY?
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:23 PM   #211
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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nice job so far.

I do have a question though as a first time home buyer. Do you think all of the work is worth it? Do you think the average person would be better off spending 50K more on a house to have many of these repairs done before purchase, or do you think that is throwing money away and it is worth it to DIY?
Thanks.

I don't think I'd ever recommend doing this sort of thing yourself to anyone. There's a lot of things to consider. It takes a ton of time and most people don't have it. And, it's not the amount of time a contractor would take. They do it for a living. Someone like me takes 2 or three times as long to do things. Not just doing things but driving about a jillion times to Lowe's. Another thing to think about is you need a buttload of tools. That's a pretty big expense. And, you need a place to work and store everything. I have a pretty big garage. I think the bottom line is, if you ask someone if it's worth it, then it probably isn't. I'm just sort of a stubborn butthead about doing things myself.

This sort of reminds me of when I bought this house. My real estate agent asked me about 10 times "are you sure you want to buy this house? are you REALLY sure?".

I'll let you know if I think it's worth it when I'm done.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:23 PM   #212
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Garage looks good. Window trim, too.

shaft, I agree with what bb said. Renovations like this are far outside most people's skill range. Save your weekend warrior time for general maintenance and yard work imo.

Last edited by zikzak; 11-11-2013 at 09:24 PM. Reason: 8k!
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:32 AM   #213
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Thanks.

I don't think I'd ever recommend doing this sort of thing yourself to anyone. There's a lot of things to consider. It takes a ton of time and most people don't have it. And, it's not the amount of time a contractor would take. They do it for a living. Someone like me takes 2 or three times as long to do things. Not just doing things but driving about a jillion times to Lowe's. Another thing to think about is you need a buttload of tools. That's a pretty big expense. And, you need a place to work and store everything. I have a pretty big garage. I think the bottom line is, if you ask someone if it's worth it, then it probably isn't. I'm just sort of a stubborn butthead about doing things myself.

This sort of reminds me of when I bought this house. My real estate agent asked me about 10 times "are you sure you want to buy this house? are you REALLY sure?".

I'll let you know if I think it's worth it when I'm done.
thanks for the reply, looking forward to you wrapping this up.

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Garage looks good. Window trim, too.

shaft, I agree with what bb said. Renovations like this are far outside most people's skill range. Save your weekend warrior time for general maintenance and yard work imo.
Yeah I can definitely see this side, and it's definitely something the wife and I will have to consider the next couple months. My problem is that we live in an old, historic city, and the desirable neighborhoods in the city have two options- completely renovated homes maxing out or exceeding our budget, or homes that need work that fit comfortably in our budget leaving us the room to improve. I have some experience- finishing a basement with my dad and brother, hanging drywall, painting, plumbing, building walls, some foundation work and non-electrical wiring. Plus I have my dad pretty much begging me to buy a place and have him come help and renovate it when he retires in a year and a half. Big decision to make!
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:14 AM   #214
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Yeah I can definitely see this side, and it's definitely something the wife and I will have to consider the next couple months. My problem is that we live in an old, historic city, and the desirable neighborhoods in the city have two options- completely renovated homes maxing out or exceeding our budget, or homes that need work that fit comfortably in our budget leaving us the room to improve. I have some experience- finishing a basement with my dad and brother, hanging drywall, painting, plumbing, building walls, some foundation work and non-electrical wiring. Plus I have my dad pretty much begging me to buy a place and have him come help and renovate it when he retires in a year and a half. Big decision to make!
If you decide to do it (which I still don't recommend), you want to be looking for something that is structurally sound, has no leaks, and has no problems with electrical or plumbing. Those are the things that will absolutely kill you. Get a really good home inspection and make sure you fully understand the scope of any problems he finds, and what it will realistically take to fix them.

You also want something that is livable immediately AND while you're doing any renovations. If you need to rent a motel room because you're tearing up the only bathroom, you might as well be lighting money on fire. You need to be able to compartmentalize your projects. "We're going to completely gut and redo Bedroom X, and we can comfortably live without it for Y months" is fine. "We're going to stay in our apartment until we get the kitchen done and replace all the windows" is begging for disaster.

Also, in most jurisdictions it is now illegal for you to do any electrical, plumbing or HVAC work on your own home. If you try to get away with it, the chance of getting caught, slapped with a stop-work order + fine, and being forced to hire a professional who will now charge you $$$$$ is actually pretty high these days in most cities.

Bleh, I could go on and on. Just please trust me Buying a house that needs major renovations is a mistake for most people in most circumstances, and you sound like you fit the description of "most people". I don't mean that to be insulting, and I absolutely understand the urge for guys and their dads to do things like this, but it is very often a big mistake that will end up costing you a lot more in the long run and be a major source of stress in your life.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:09 PM   #215
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Also, in most jurisdictions it is now illegal for you to do any electrical, plumbing or HVAC work on your own home. If you try to get away with it, the chance of getting caught, slapped with a stop-work order + fine, and being forced to hire a professional who will now charge you $$$$$ is actually pretty high these days in most cities.
Que'?
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:26 PM   #216
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

The laws are changing fast. Basically, if you need to pull a permit to do the work, you need a license. And technically you need to pull a permit for anything more involved than changing a light bulb.

If you're replacing a few outlets or a kitchen faucet, nobody is going to care, but in more and more states you can no longer run wiring, sweat copper, replace your water heater, etc. without a license and permit. Even in your own home.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:53 PM   #217
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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The laws are changing fast. Basically, if you need to pull a permit to do the work, you need a license. And technically you need to pull a permit for anything more involved than changing a light bulb.

If you're replacing a few outlets or a kitchen faucet, nobody is going to care, but in more and more states you can no longer run wiring, sweat copper, replace your water heater, etc. without a license and permit. Even in your own home.
Well, that definitely isn't the case here, Northern Virginia. You do need a permit to do anything extensive and of course an inspection, but no licenses needed. I'd be curious on where this is so. Seems like rent seeking to me.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:57 PM   #218
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Well, that definitely isn't the case here, Northern Virginia. You do need a permit to do anything extensive and of course an inspection, but no licenses needed. I'd be curious on where this is so. Seems like rent seeking to me.
I'm in MA, which is definitely a 'regulate early, regulate often' place, but ending homeowner exemptions has been the trend everywhere for decades. I think the exemption may still be in the state code, but the building dept. of any decent sized city or town here requires a license. I know the situation is the same in upstate New York. The more urban the area (and the bluer the state), the more likely you need a license.

I've also worked in TX and CO, and the tide of stricter codes and tighter regulation is pretty constant everywhere. I don't think it's rent seeking so much as Average Joe not having a hope in hell of doing code compliant work without professional help these days. When I first got licensed in MA, the entire building code was one loose leaf binder run off a copy machine. Now it's the entire IBC, IRC, 300 pages of state addenda, plus another half dozen standards incorporated by reference. And they all get updated every couple years.

These trends are like an unstoppable force of nature. Libertarian Nevada is now the first state to require a license just to draw house plans. That's a pretty clear sign of where things are heading.
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:27 PM   #219
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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you can no longer run wiring, sweat copper, replace your water heater, etc. without a license and permit. Even in your own home.
oh wow. I did all of this my first remodel.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:26 PM   #220
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Well, it seemed Juan wasn't in a hurry to bring the stone he promised so I gave him a call. It seems he's working out of town and won't be available until next week (thing 1 he didn't mention). Then, he told me I should put the siding on before he does anything (thing two he didn't mention).

I probably won't mention to him that I won't be using him.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:30 PM   #221
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oh wow. I did all of this my first remodel.
Just checked your area out of curiosity. You'd still be ok on most stuff under the homestead exemption, but they've definitely gotten a lot stricter about it.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:12 PM   #222
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I've sort of run out of options for masons. I decided to give this guy a call. His name is Joe.

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Second guy was really friendly. I got the impression he was honest and all that, but I'm not really convinced he'll do the best job. Additionally, he wasn't much help with helping me get stone. He basically just told me how much to get and it was up to me to order. I wasn't all that confident in his material estimate either. He sort of just eyeballed it.
He came out again and I showed him the stone I wanted. The stone place won't deliver less than 10 tons so this guy said he'd go get it.

His helper met him here as well. I was really impressed with the helper even though he doesn't speak English. I'm pretty sure the helper is the brains of the outfit.

They got out here sort of late and it was last minute thing so they got a late start. They got the mesh put on the front and side.

The first pic is the front. I'm pretty sure I'll need to stay on top of them. You can't tell from the picture but they cut about 2" of sheathing off the bottom of the right and middle part, but did not do this on the left. Which would mean my siding wouldn't line up. I pointed this out to Joe and his helper immediately said "something something something siding something something" in Spanish which I translated into "yeah, Joe you screwed this up and his siding won't line up if we don't fix it".

Anyways, not much to see but here's a couple of pics.



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Old 11-15-2013, 07:09 PM   #223
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

D2 of Joe and his helper working. I'm getting more and more nervous about this. But, I don't know anything about masonry so there is that.

Just an aside - I think I mentioned this, but I had 4 other contractors look at this and none gave me a bid. I asked a friend if he might know of one since he'd had a lot of work done to his house. He didn't know of one but said he would ask a buddy of his who is a homebuilder. Homebuilder buddy told him that masons are swamped with work right now and getting a good one is hard.

So, I may not have a good one.

Here are today's pics.

The first one makes me really nervous because those boards are sticking out and Joe told me that there wasn't much he could do about it but he would do his best to sort of hide them. I'm not convinced he put the mesh in the right place. I dunno.



A couple more pics of the stucco. First coat.







Started pouring the footer for the gable wall.



Here's my stone. Another thing I'm a little nervous about. Not quite what I had in mind but maybe it just needs to be put on a wall.



Hard to tell from this pic, but that truck is really loaded down with sand. I think he said he had 2 tons but that doesn't seem right. Whatever, I wouldn't be driving down the highway with that weight. Joe said "I kept it down to 75 (mph)".



They are still working - probably until dark.
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Old 11-15-2013, 07:13 PM   #224
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

OK, now I see what the problem was. Hmm...

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Old 11-15-2013, 08:38 PM   #225
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

So, I just couldn't let that go so I went to talk to Joe and his helper about it. There was about a 2" gap between the stucco and the sheathing and you could stick your finger through some places that weren't going to be covered. After some discussion they decided to make that stucco thicker but after thinking about it he and his helper decided that it would be better to pour a small footer under it to hold the thick stucco up. I think. But, they assured me it would match up with the sheathing like all the rest of the house.

I got another surprise but I'll wait until I can post a pic.
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