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Old 08-31-2007, 10:04 AM   #1
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


I was wondering if there would be interest in following my trials and tribulations on my extensive home remodel project. Basically this is the home my grandfather built (had built) in 1964 and has been in our family ever since. My parents bought it in '78 and remodeled the ranch in '87 and my wife and I bought it in 2002 and now are doing a MAJOR remodel to say the least.

I'm currently in the middle of the project right now (basically have it dried in with the roof finished and doors and windows installed), but would like to solicit opionions/reviews/discussion on how well the trades are doing their jobs as we go along.

This came to mind as I was reading the excellent post by Kraze on why someone would use a national builder. It seems like everything is catch 22, where if you spec out how you want everything done in very specific detail and ordered list (the right way as discussed on this forum), the subs are going to look at you like you're a lunatic and quote you something exorbitant since they consider doing somthing the right way as a huge extra. If you let them take the easy route and do it their way, then you build quality goes to hell. So how do you spec quality work without getting nailed for ridiculous labor costs or treated like you don't know what the f$%# you're talking about?

I have pulled the permit as the homeowner and am dealing directly with the subs......through my project manager who is also the architect and is managing all the materials and subs on a day to day while I'm living next door and writing the checks and doing the accounting.

Anyway, I'm keeping a written log and photo log as I go and would really like to get everyone/anyone's feedback so I can get that 2nd/3rd/4th opinion as things progress as now I'm entering the 10 million decisions a day phase and being the detailed guy that I am, like to research each and every one before deciding. And I can give detailed prcing as we go...this is in SE Michigan.

Here are the pics....Before and After (current)

http://s186.photobucket.com/albums/x...emeel/Remodel/

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Old 08-31-2007, 11:02 AM   #2
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


I do not think you will get many GC takers on this. Maybe a retired old GC that has nothing better to do?

This looks like a wonderful project. You decided to be your own GC and now it sounds like you want some help to micro manage the project.

Do you have a bad gut feeling about any of the subs?
Did you go with all the low bidders? Do you not feel good about your choice of architect / & day to day project manager? Did you hold a pre-bid and/or post- bid meeting on site with all parties and get a meeting of the minds? Did you have the subs price out options at bid time? Or will you drive yourself crazy checking prices on each little extra?

If you don't step back and let them do their jobs you will be adding weeks if not months to the project, find yourself shopping for subs to redo work that really might be ok, but not the way Johnny used to do it.

I think you will find out a good remodeling GC earns the money they charge.

Best of luck.

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Old 08-31-2007, 08:10 PM   #3
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


I'm not sure what you mean on GC takers.....I'm not looking for someone to physically come and take a look for free, more of a forum thread to track the progress and discuss options as they arise and review the work through pictures on the photobucket web site.....might be a good learning experience for other DIY'ers.

Don't get my wrong, my PM/Architect is doing a great job especially with all the details and sequencing of materials and labor that must be handled each day. The basic plan we agreed on was to use the subs he knows from experience that will do a good job at a fair price with quality work and trades that work well together. He's been in the construction biz around here since the 60's (and he is 60 too so tons of experience).

We figured this would save us a bunch of time/effort/frustration trying to bid out each sub with unknowns just to save a few nickels and then run into problems with the unknowns or the unknown whereabouts of the unknowns. The only questions arise are of technique and material and to some extent labor actuals vs. bids/estimates.

One other thing is he may not be up to date on the newest developments in materials in all cases. For example, we're using Typar house wrap and I mentioned that I thought the house wrap needed to be cut back and go over the step flasing on the roof where the 12-12 pitch met a vertical wall on the 2nd floor since we haven't sided yet and water is leaking into the house in this area. He said he never heard of that. So I would like to use this forum to get a 2nd opinion or discuss these types of issues as they arise. Another thing is the framer said you can't always follow the manufacturer's instructions like on the windows....says you can't always set a window plumb and level or it won't work.

I'm a very curious person by nature and love to learn about all the details of building the house and do a lot of things myself but there is always a ton of differences of opinions and I like the discussions and tips gleaned from this forum.

Last edited by Stonemeel; 08-31-2007 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:50 AM   #4
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonemeel View Post
One other thing is he may not be up to date on the newest developments in materials in all cases. For example, we're using Typar house wrap and I mentioned that I thought the house wrap needed to be cut back and go over the step flasing on the roof where the 12-12 pitch met a vertical wall on the 2nd floor since we haven't sided yet and water is leaking into the house in this area. He said he never heard of that.
You don't have siding on and you are worried about water leaking?

Sure you could put the housewrap over the flashing, but the purpose of the wrap is to form a vapor barrier. If you cut it back, what seals behind the flashing and how to you make the seal below the flashing?

I've never heard of doing this either. It sounds like a bad idea. Let the siding keep the water out.

This isn't a reflection of someone being behind on developments in building technology so don't worry about it.

-Jack
http://zo-d.com/stuff
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Old 09-01-2007, 06:26 PM   #5
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


Heres something for you to read.

Tyvek or Typar IS NOT A VAPOR BARRIER.

http://www2.dupont.com/Tyvek_Constru...nstallers.html

Looking at the pics it looks good I'm not sure what you are concerned about.
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:36 PM   #6
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


So the siding would be the only thing keeping the water out? Can snow or water get in through the siding? Is the siding supposed to be waterproof....as in there wouldn't/shouldn't be any concern about water getting in behind the siding and leaking down the Typar and then behind the flashing on to the drywall ceiling of the kitchen?

I can snap a pic and post on photobucket and maybe this would be a good item for discussion.

I have read the Tykek instructions on layering from the bottom up so upper layers overlap bottom layers but the instructions seem to imply that you would wrap the house after the walls are up.....all walls were built on the groung with wrap and then lifted in place......so there are seams all over the place. Is that how its done? I would assume you might get a better wrap after the walls are up but would be a bear to do it......wrapped on the ground for efficiency?
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:43 PM   #7
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


jiggyjack

I'm not really worried, its just that things come up and I would like to get some 2nd opinions on which way to proceed. A lot of time you go with what works historically, but for example, I'm spending this entire weekend priming rough-sawn spruce trim boards when we could have used Miratec trim or something pre-primed to save a bunch of labor (mine...primed for 12 straight hours today and am only about half done!) for almost the same cost as the wood siding (according to a builder friend of mine).
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:48 PM   #8
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


And another item coming up is insulation.....my PM wants to do all fiberglass bats......I was interested in the foam for some exterior walls since I kept a lot of the 2x4 exterior walls that are west and lake facing since I didn't think you could get much R value out of a regular bat in a 2x4 wall.

I know the foam is a lot more than bats but would it make that much of a difference? Also, the old part of the house has the floor joist sitting on the block with no sill plate or gasket....would it be good to foam these instead of bat? Would it be a good idea to do both...foam in the walls and joist cavities on the foundation and bats in the ceiling/attic and some interior walls?
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Old 09-05-2007, 03:51 PM   #9
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


Just out of curiosity, with your admitted "curiosity", do you have a hard time retaining subs? Any close calls with a swinging 2x?
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:49 PM   #10
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


Most trades don't seem to like it when anyone is looking over their shoulder, but I haven't really been there during working hours much since I'm at my day job. I'm living next door during the remodel so I'm very close to the action and I'm keeping a log of what is getting done along with progress pics.

I've really only dealt with the framers so far and we're not getting along too bad.....mostly has to do with my remodel progress log turning into a labor tracking log since the framers were averaging about 25-30 hours per week for the first five weeks and that included lunch! I was getting a little annoyed with all the wasted dry days since we were trying to save some rooms in the house with plaster cove ceilings. This made it a "true" remodel where we had to peel back the old house in sections so we could tarp in case of rain. This slowed things down but I paid handsomely for the extra work too. This is Michigan, not the best economy right now, and the framers hadn't worked in 2 months and said they were "hungry". I didn't really correlate being hungry with 25-30 hour work weeks so I let them know. They do good work when they show up but it started to seem like a crap shoot on whether they would show up or not.....and don't get me started on the excuses....this 4-man crew would put most soap operas out of business. And when the rains finally did come I spent my nights pumping water out of my basement with a shop vac when the house could have been dried in much sooner.

I took this week off work and have been painting trim for 12 hours/day since last Saturday.....raining today so I'm taking a break to catch up on work and emails. During the week I had the framers, plumbers, HVAC, insulation, and drywall guys at the house working and quoting. They all laugh when they see me, "the homeowner" up on a fully extended 24' ladder with a paint brush.....think they kind of respect the fact that I'm not afraid to do a litte work......also keep the work site spotless which seems to keep the subs morale up too!
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Old 09-17-2007, 01:46 PM   #11
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


Well 10 days later and I'm FINALLY done trim painting......what a workout!! Brushing it on is VERY labor intesive....especially with only me doing the brushing.....painting is much better as a group activity but friends and family were suspiciously scarce the last few weeks.

Cultured stone guys started this morning and I have a list of questions I need to get answers on that I will try to post on in a few.

Posted some updated pics too....
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:40 AM   #12
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Anyone willing to critique my Remodel as it progresses?


Finally got the outside buttoned up and have been pecking away at the electrical and low voltage on evenings/weekends.

I'm close to having my electrical inspection so I can get my framing inspection so I can start insulating......it's getting cold up here in Michigan.....can't believe we're only a week out from Thanksgiving! Time flies when you're building a house I guess.

So I guess I'm still looking for advice on insulation. I have a quote for all fiberglass bat and am waiting on a quote for the closed cell foam which should be here in the next few days. I guess I'm trying to find info on all the pros and cons of a breathing house vs. a very tightly foamed house and how this impacts the HVAC system for controlling humidity and fresh air throughout.

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