Monday, March 28, 2011

Final coat of paint on bricks and eaves. Next is... windows? Depends on the weather this weekend.

Old sill plate under the living room window, showing termite damage and rot.

Old redwood decking, termite damage and rot necessitated the removal.

New OBS T&G glued and screwed in place.

3.5" x 16" Parallam in place - a little something to hang the hood off of.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LED strip lighting is finally here from China. Hoping that we made the right choice. This strip is 5050smd, 60leds per meter, and light output is 14.4 watts per meter. Total cost of this small box was $880, but should show substantial savings in the years to come. Stay tuned to see these in operation.

A new beam and pylons in the living room break up the 14' span and essentially eliminate any of the pre-existing bounce.

Old redwood floors coming out, new T & G OSB going in.

Robern medicine cabinets. A ReStore steal at $50 each. The store tag said $1150. Missing doors, but everything else, including two GFCI's is there... and it is so easy to make doors to match the vanity.

Plumbing rough in.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Exterior siding

We are in the middle of planning what sort of exterior covering we are going to use. The stucco finish was unservicable on most of the exterior walls, and can only be salvaged on the garage and perhaps part of the living room exterior wall. The extensive changes that we are making to the front windows require us to modify the exterior finish, or redo the stucco. I'm not a fan of stucco (it's ok as a highlight or feature wall, but a bit overwhelming in this house, despite the stucco/brick mix.

We've decided, after much contemplation, to paint the brick a flat black (see pictures for primed brick), and tie that in with matching black soffits and fascia. However, to prevent the black paint scheme from being overwhelming, we will bend some stainless steel for the fascia, and use a mix of Ipe or Merbau and an accent panel of large (17"x26") glossy black tile with stainless or aluminum accents. On the back of the house and the wall facing the pool, we will use galvanized steel siding which will run horizontally.


In preparation for insulating the house, which will occur within the next month, I found a local insulation company that provides expanding spray foam. After two missed appointments, the owner of the company finally came by on Friday to give me an estimate. He seemed a bit surprised at my request for expanding foam insulation, and was almost ready to talk me out of it. I'd done my research and pointed out the benefits that I wanted which mostly centered around more R value per inch as well as the all-important air-tightness that foam cavity fill provides.

He seemed fairly intent on talking me out of the foam product, and we finally settled on a quote that involved a hybrid system. His quote was to provide a one-inch cavity spray on all exterior walls, which I would then fill with fiberglass batts. I also asked him to provide a quote for spraying the top of the roof to an R30. Since the current tar and gravel roof is serviceable, this could wait until later, however, I'll be installing at least three new skylights and changing around several roof vents for plumbing and fireplaces, etc. It would be nice to do everything at once. I've explored several modalities for roof coverings, ranging from a living roof (my dream) to an EPDM roof, to new rolled double-layer fiberglass systems.

The life-cycle costs all seem to be about the same, therefore the main variables that come into consideration are the ease of installation and environmental impact.

I was a little bit surprised when I received the quote in my email this morning, and the price quoted was $13,500.
This involved the following:
Spray one inch of polyurethane foam into the exterior wall cavities (giving us approx R5)
Spray the floor joists with one inch of polyurethane foam (R5)
Spray the roof with 4.5" polyurethane foam (R30)

After spending $13k, I would still be left with the task of insulating the remaining 2.5 inches of the wall cavities, plus 9" of the floor joists.

The options I am entertaining at this point are:

  • 4.5" foam board application on roof with a membranous covering
  • Cavity fill polyurethane foam system. In this case I would apply a 6mil poly after passing the rough plumbing and electrical inspections. I would purchase the required product, which I found on Ebay and pour the insulation into the cavities. To ensure a good, seamless pour, I was contemplating pouring four feet of height at a time. This system would allow me to obtain R7 per inch, plus an excellent air-tight seal, effectively giving me almost R25 in my exterior walls.
  • 9" fiberglass batting on the floor joists, coupled with a 6mil poly underlay. This gives me R28 on the floors, not including the insulating effects of the radiant barrier that I am installing prior to the radiant floor pour.
  • Foam Board XPS (Owens Corning  Formular 15) Roof R5 per inch, 4 inches at $1.55 per square foot. Total material cost of $2558 for R20  Pros: easily available from Home Depot, easily transported to work site, perfectly flat surface as a base for whatever covering we choose. Cons: potential gaps between joints means a possibility for air leakage.
  • Pour in place two part polyurethane foam from these people which will give me R7 per inch, 4 inches at $1.53 per square foot. Total material cost of $2524.50 for R28. Pros: ease of application, minimal waste, can be poured in place relatively quickly providing a seamless roof covering. Higher Rvalue per inch. Cons: not a perfectly flat surface, leading to the possibility of dips in the roof and a potential for standing water.
  • Estimate of 600 cubic feet of wall space. Pour in place two part polyurethane is $2760 giving an Rvalue of 34.5. Pros: Air sealing of building envelope, higher Rvalue per inch. Cons: Difficulty of installation, involves multi-step process of 6mil poly, several pours per wall cavity, plus the risk of cavitation.
  • Fiberglass batting. Estimated material costs: $1700. Pros: Low cost, ease of installation. Cons: No air sealing, substantially lower Rvalue per inch.
  • Fiberglass batts with 6 mil poly in a staple-up configuration. 9.5 inches of fiberglass batting will provide R28 on the floors. Total cost $975.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ariel was of enormous help for the month that he spent here. Thanks Ari!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More painting, etc

Third prime coat

We also bought dream appliances yesterday. We had been looking for the past three months for a 48" Viking stove. I found a foreclosure sale where the people were selling out the appliances prior to being foreclosed on. We bought a 48" fridge and stove, as well as a matching dishwasher and hood. Sheer awesomeness.

New appliances, picture taked prior to removal from kitchen