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Old 06-28-2012, 03:12 PM   #451
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Glad you caught it! dorf dude...

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Old 06-28-2012, 08:12 PM   #452
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


A look at the damage:





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Old 06-28-2012, 08:19 PM   #453
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More pics:





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Old 06-28-2012, 08:23 PM   #454
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


On the bright side, I finally offloaded the dirt bike in the back yard. I'm fairly certain I've pictured it at one point or another.

It was a 2004 Yamaha TTR250 that has minor seat cracking and needed minor carb work. Traded it for this sweet 1986 Gibson Les Paul Standard (1958 Re-issue) in Sunburst. Shown next to the carpenter's Epiphone Les Paul in... Whey?



Near mint condition. :D
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:31 PM   #455
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thadius856 View Post
Please excuse my grammar if this post comes out a little funny... I'm still a little shaken.

Last night while BBQing, we smelled something like a grass fire, but real faint. We walked up and down the road and smelled it everywhere, so we figured somebody was smoking some meat.

Woke around 2:30 to the same smell, but much stronger. Rolled over and grabbed my new tablet and checked for wildfires in my area on Google News. Nothing. Checked the CDF page, nothing. Went to get a drink from the fridge before grabbibg my shoes to take a stroll down the block and heard some rustling. Figuring I woke the bird, I turned on the light to check on him. No bird. Oh, right he sleeps in his other cage in the guest bedroom.

...and thats when I noticed the ceiling was bubbling...

Several bubbles about 6" across and 2" tall were on my newly painted ceiling. I woke the carpenter, we gatgered a ladder and work lights quickly, and opened the attic. Tons of thick, white, stinging smoke up there.

He crawled up and discharged a fire extinguisher while I called 911. He dumped another 3-5 pots of water on it before they arrived.

A dozen firefighters took down a 6'x10' section of my living room ceiling, spraying water and foam all over. We may have lost a load bearing beam and definitely lost parts of 5-6 joists, some electrical, some lighting and all of the 6" of celulose insulation. The floor may also have been damaged by the falling debris, but its too soon to tell (and too dark). I suspect the room will need to be reframed to bring it up to code.

The culprit looks to be a junction box that carried a 220V circuit and at least one other 110V circuit. It had no cover and was burried several inches under cellulose. The inspector and adjuster haven't seen it yet but will probably agree.

Looks like insurance will probably cover all of the damage. I have coverage on the house of almost twice the puchase price, plus over $100k on personal property. Hooe this pans out well...
Wow. I've missed a ton lately, but GLAD that this was caught soon enough before it caused major damage and could've made your lives very different. Hope to catch back up on my thread soon. Again, glad everyone is OK. When our air conditioner blower motor seized up about 11pm the other night, I was very afraid we'd be dealing with a house fire shortly. Going buy a fire extinguisher today. Can't believe the things that are possible!
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:44 AM   #456
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A little update for anybody interested.

The city building inspector came by a few days after the fire. After a few "hmmms" and "ahhhs", he determined that replacement like-for-like would be acceptable replacement and that code upgrade would not be required for the structural in that case. If we wanted to re-frame in any way differently, other than adding hangers or nailing cleats, the living room ceiling would need to be taken down and re-framed to current code.

We had the fire investigator out at the insurance company's request (well, really, demand). He took over a week to get out to the house. He took plenty of pictures and concluded that while there was plenty of probable code violations with the junction box... that it was not the source of the fire. He said he was 99% sure that it was electrically caused, but couldn't find the burn pattern to support it as the source. He also pointed out that the black wires which I just naturally assumed were coax were not - the conductor was much too thick, and they traced back to that junction. He submitted a recommendation to the insurance company to bring in an electrical engineer to check it out, and of course, they did.

The electrical engineer took another 10 days or so to come out. He determined that the black single-conductor wires were polyethelene and design for high voltage applications, finding it very odd that they were used at the junction. It was traced back to the 30A dryer plug, which was not used that day. He also found a very loose connection in the junction and posited that ohmic heating caused the black polyethelene in the junction to melt, dripping down the wire and burning like a candle. He suggested that the source was probably about a foot away, where it laid on the drywall.

Another week later, the property was released for repairs. The contractors took a few days to come out, we signed the contract last Wednesday for a four week timeframe with the unstanding with the insurance company that the scope may need to be expanded (via Change Orders) once we start digging in. His guys would start sucking out the insulation on Friday morning before it got hot. It's now late Monday night and I haven't heard a word from him since. Not in such a hurry now that he has his contract signed, it seems. It's pretty obvious he was just trying to burn out the 'cooldown period' quietly and then pencil me in around his other jobs. I'll start calling incessently in the morning... I refuse for my house to become his sidejob.

So, now 5 weeks in the hotel and counting. As good of a rate as AAA gave for insurance, I can now see why. The adjuster almost never returns my calls and takes several days to take actions. They wanted to investigate the hell out of the place in an effort to not pay or to recoup from a third party. The contractors are slow as hell. The hotel booking agency keeps having billing issues with my hotel, the one that they chose for me. The list goes on and on. They're making it really hard for me to want to keep them after all this is done.

On the bright side, I did manage to get out to the range with my newfound free time. Put 100 rounds through a 22 Ruger and another 50 rounds through an M9.

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Old 07-31-2012, 12:51 AM   #457
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


So I was sitting at the hotel a few days ago when reality hit me:

Nobody is living at the house. Now is the perfect time to be doing work on it!

I'd managed to keep my fingers off of it for over four weeks. Since I have 6 ceiling fans waiting to be installed (yeah, I know, that's a lot) that I just picked up on sale, I figured I should start there. I picked up 6 new work fan hangers, tooks down the existing dome lights, and prepped for the new boxes.

Again, I realized:

The wife's not living here. This is the perfect time to tear up the kitchen and re-do the flooring before the renovations next spring!

So I did.
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:58 AM   #458
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


I unhooked the range and moved it beside the fridge. Only one base cab was held in, and only by one screw. The counter top lifted right up. The sink plumbing was a matter of spinning a few PVS collars. Easy peasy. The carpenter helped me move the cabinets into the entry/dining room.



Since I've seen the same sheet vinyl flooring for sale still at the big box, I figured it probably doesn't have asbestos. So I tore a little to see what was underneath. Of course, it delaminated from the paper backing.



I pried up a corner of the plywood it was glued to and found... another layer of laminate! In the meantime, I noticed that I had just uncovered several receptacles burried behinds cabinets. Arrrgh. That will have to be dealth with before the reno.



The drywall around the sink is a complete hack job as well.



Somehow, despite being the same thickness, it's recessed back a full 1/8", plus a gap between the two pieces. I don't know why they even bothered taping if they weren't going to mud over it.

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Last edited by Thadius856; 07-31-2012 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:09 AM   #459
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The first layer was glued to 1/4" plywood and nailed about every 4" along the edge, and every 6" in the field. Literally pounds of nails came out, all about 2" long.

Here's a better shot of the second layer of vinyl.



The second piece of vinyl was on 3/4" plywood, again with 2" nails. Slightly better frequency this time at 4" on the edge and 6-9" in the field.

I tried to not peel it wherever possible to keep the dust down. Instead, we'd pry a section up an inch or two, then push it back down. The nail heads would pop, then we'd pry them out and start over. After a while, the whole sheet would come off in one piece. I was surprised that both layers didn't look all that old.

After we dropped it off at the dump, I found a small piece we'd missed. I picked it up and turned my head sidways at it for a few seconds. Underneath the second layer lurked something sinister and rather ugly... this third layer that we hadn't seen.



We had worn respirators just in case we unearthed something like this. I just wish we'd found it before we finished dumping it.

Here were are with a clean subfloor. Looks like 2x8 over 4x8 joists 48" OC.



And a little closer.



Finished the day by making a trip for " engineered tongue-and-groove, " hardibacker, thinset, grout, tons of tile, grout sealer, spacers, etc. Think I'll take tomorrow off from the project.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:33 PM   #460
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Ended up not taking a day off. Instead, we laid out " StudiFloor. Three sheets at $26/ea. Screwed into place with 2" coated decking screws with star-drive heads. Still have over half of the box left. Screwed 2" in from each corner, ~8" OC along the edges, and every 12" in the field. The thread I asked for opinions in stated to used 1" (I assume that's 1-1/8"), but I also thought that I was dealing with 2x6 back then, not the 2x8 that I'm happy to have discovered. I figured this would make up for some of the strength while providing adequate deflection and keeping the height difference to a minimum.



I figure at " plus 1" for the nominal 2x8 TnG, I have just shy of " sticking thru the underside. Haven't crawled in the crawl space yet to verify, though. Will need to verify that I didn't hit any of the grounding retrofit down there before we turn power back on, though I doubt it, as I haven't retrofited the kitchen.

With temperatures already climbing through the 90's and our knees hurting, we called it an early day. Boy is the floor stiff now!
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:57 PM   #461
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Went out to dinner with a friend who won't be working with us any more due to a volunteer assignment. We'll still see him, but much less often, and only outside of work. After a few tall beers, I decided to sleep in. The next morning, the carpenter got up early and cut down the hardibacker while I snoozed.

I spent the entire morning screwing it all down. I was going to apply thinset to the ply using a "x" notched trowel, but I decided not to. I tried to read all that I could about why it should be thinsetted down and the three reasons that stuck out at me were:
  1. To "cushion" the tiles from deflection.
  2. To even out any voids in the substrate and provide a flat surface.
  3. Because the tile manufacturers say so.

I don't buy #1 because I found many posts that say cement board and thinset barely affect deflection. I don't buy #3 because I don't expect any manufacturer to actually stand by their warranty these days, instead using these types of "proper installation" clauses to squirm their way out of them. And as much as I wanted #2 to be applicable in this case, I couldn't find any uneveness using my 4' level or 8' straightedge. This is literally the flattest floor I've ever seen, with less than 1/8" of slope in one direction over 10'4".

If the tiles crack or fail due to deflection, I'll happily eat my crow. I just don't think it's going to happen, in my amateur opinion.



Just after I finshied sinking almost 400 1" coated cement board pan-head screws flush with the board, I decided that I didn't want to proceed with tile yet. As you can tell from the above picture, I wanted to know what was going on in the walls, electrically anyway. This fire has made me a little paranoid, and drywall is a lot easier to re-hang than fire damage is to un-do. I pulled down the first 4' the next morning.



Other than lacking mechanical protection, staples and stackers, there's not a whole lot of terrible stuff going on with the electrical. I think I'll be moving all of the existing outlets to counter-level, even out their spacing, replace the short runs of romex, and be done with it. But look... an abandoned... flue? No idea what that thing is, but it vents out of the roof.



Here we see the back of the tub. To the right, a doorway that was closed off really poorly. That will be rectified.

Interior walls are going to get bats of R0, while the apparently uninsulted exterior wall is getting the highest R-value I can cram into 2x4 framing (probably R-15).

Just after cleanup, I decided I want to take the drywall all the way down for that. So, upper cabs came down on one wall, I crammed the freezer full of food. We're preparing to take down the other cabs and the rest of the drywall Soon (tm).

The insulation guys came this morning and removed all of the attic insulation. I don't think they started until almost 9am, so I'm stur it was probably closing in on 150F (65C) before they finished. Tsk, tsk. I told them they could start prep as early as 5am as long as they didn't spin up the huge vacuum until 7am, but they didn't.

I certainly don't feel bad about it.
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:25 PM   #462
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Your kitchen looks a lot like my kitchen when I started...I was having a deja vu moment.
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:56 PM   #463
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Do share. How does it look now?
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:48 PM   #464
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Lots of progress since last post! I'll try to put up pictures tonight.

Electrician came to repair burnt electrical while I was wiring. He suggested I replace the home runs to get a ground. I traced them back, but most continue down a wall cavity in other rooms. Abandoned everything I could safely, capping them off in new junctions with lids. Pulled 6 new circuits for the kitchen and one for lighting in other rooms. That took two days.

Completed rough in to code on all the new circuits. Another day there. Added nailing surface to the bottom plate. Researched plumbing, and about to start plumbing the rest of the items now (on a shopping trip currently). Also picking up insulation and drywall while we're out. Bought some of the backsplash materials the other night... we'll see how crazy the wife makes the design.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:22 PM   #465
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So much has happened in the past... week and something.

After the shopping trip, we started tee'ing off the hot and cold lines to run toward the refrigerator and dishwasher. About 10 pieces of galvy in, I received a phone call. Out of the blue, the city building inspector decided to call me. As it turns out, after about 6 weeks in the hotel, the contractor still hadn't submitted plans to the city. Once he did, the city was quick to notice that the house had never had a single permit pulled in its 55-year history. The inspector zeroed in on the garage conversion, which is very common on my street (only 3 blocks long, and 15 similar conversions) but ultimately unpermitted. Locked the brakes; we capped off the stubouts off the tees and stopped work on the kitchen until everything was sorted out.

City ordinance requires a two car garage or two covered spaces of off-street parking. Each must be at least 9'x20', set back 20' or more from the road. As luck would have it, the entire subdivision was built with one car garages and we're set back 30' from the street, less overhang. As such, even if we converted the living room back to a garage, we would still not meet the ordinance requirements. Short of tearing down half the original house, there's no way to comply. The conversion probably pre-dates the ordinace (1991) because of the age of the faux-stone fascade on the front of it, but without permit paperwork, there's no way to prove that.

The city initially refused to issue a permit to repair the fire damage. After pleading our case to the city hall staff several times, they finally relented and allowed for a permit to be pulled for rough-in framing/electrical inspection on the repairs, but no final inspection until the parking issue is resolved. In the meantime, we have to do the run-around with the contracted planning department, which is a private firm about 20 miles away. Fingers crossed for a variance.

Rough-in inspection was this morning. My kitchen passed with flying colors. The contractor's subbed electrician was said to have missed some staples and fasteners on the cans.

Will get the rest of the details tonight. Would love to proceed!

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