Monday, May 16, 2022

Foundation Repairs, Demo & Permits

When you rebuild a house something is always happening. Whether it's inspections, picking out and ordering doors, setting up times with subcontractors, digging trenches or removing landscaping...your days are full.  Right now if we have an hour to do something, we are over at the house doing it. 

Quick recap because some were confused - we are taking our house down to the foundation, with the exception of saving some exterior walls and rebuilding it adding a second story and new floor plan. Also, we are really involved-  Justin is the General Contractor. So everything essentially falls on us. So, its a lot and we are very hands on...but also fun and exciting.  Some days I cry, some days I laugh and cheer. No matter what, every day is good because we are one step closer.

So its been a quick minute since I posted anything - so where are we in this journey? A lot has transpired...

Demo&Asbestos Removal

Before we could get official and have our permits submitted and approved we had to have the house inspected for any asbestos and have it removed. We knew that a part of our exterior was asbestos siding but we were unsure about the inside. We found a great company to come and do a really thorough inspection (they checked every little thing)...we did find that under two sections of old flooring there was some asbestos. I was a little bummed because I was hoping we wouldn't have to pay for that removal but also I'm glad to have it removed and be safe. This is super common in older homes and totally not an issue as long as its not disturbed. But, it had to come out and be removed properly. We had another company (Remtech) come out and do all of the removal for us. They were quick and did a super job. We passed our air test and were good to go. Yay! Things we learned, asbestos is still used today in building materials (in smaller quantities). Our asbestos was in the newer section of our house after it was supposed to have been banned from using. You just never know and if you have an older home you should definitely not skip this step.

After the siding came off we needed to protect the house with a wrap, we used Tyvek bc we found enough at Lowe's.

Once we had all of the asbestos was out we got to work on demo. Everything is coming out. The only part we are saving is the foundation and some exterior walls. We are still working on the complete demo of the house but are getting close. Framing starts in 2 weeks and by then we have to be finished and that includes the roof removal...more on that to come!

Foundation Repairs 

One other piece we needed repairing before we could apply for permits was our foundation issues. We needed an all clear from an Architectural Engineer before moving forward. We discovered way back in the beginning that we had some sagging on the front and back corners of the house that needed reinforcements and the recommendation was to have helical piers installed. We needed 7 total. Seemed simple enough but this process ended up being one of those difficult moments because the situation became worse than first thought. 

These are helical piers and you add more length by 7' sections as you drill down.

Turns out, our soil is very soft that our house sits on (which apparently is uncommon for this area). There is no way to know this until you start drilling down. So what we thought was going to be a short helical pier fix turned into a major helical pier fix. The cost was wayyy more than estimated. Originally we were aiming for 21' piers and we ended up with 42' piers. Pretty much, we are tethered to the earth's core now. After that shock I decided it was best for us to have a strong and stable foundation. But boy, those are not fun surprises. It's all done now and we have moved on but if you ever need foundation repairs I would just expect it to be worse than you think it will be. No one will ever see those piers, but I know they are there and I will cherish them always.

Permits & Exterior Work

Finally it was time to apply for permits! Something we have been anticipating a long time. We heard a lot of horror stories about this process so we were a little unsure of what to expect. It's a ton of paperwork and all props go to Justin for being extremely thorough. When he went to turn them in they ended up throwing a bunch of our documents out because we overdid it, haha. Better to be over prepared! Still, somehow they misplaced a document and we had to resubmit something but it was a fairly easy and painless process. We have enjoyed all of our interactions with the town. Everyone has been helpful and kind and quick. Getting our permits approved was the biggest sigh of relief. We have the green light now to go -and it feels great. 

Porch Piers

First job to get going on was the exterior work done before framing. We have a little additional section of foundation going in, old porches coming out and piers for the new porches going in. Each step has to be inspected before you can proceed. I had no idea how many inspections take place when building a house. Not that it's a bad thing, you want things to be safe. I guess I was just naive to that fact. We are getting pretty close to this part being complete. 

Brick work has started, this was our first thing going back on the house so it was exciting to see. We had a bit of a miscommunication about the mortar color and it's actually not what I was picturing at all. But, it is what it is now. Actually, it's growing on me. The craftsmanship of the brick work is beautiful and they are doing an excellent job. I'm learning I need to be really clear when communicating design choices. Still, I think it looks awesome and I can't wait to see it all come together eventually. 

Tree Removal

To add a second story we had some really large branches hanging over the house that needed removing. We have some really amazing friends who volunteered to come out and get them down for us. It turned into a whole neighborhood event. I love our friends and neighbors. Y'all, this was nerve wracking for me. But the branches got down safely and correctly. I am forever grateful to the people who helped us with that and so glad that part is done. 


And finally, probably the most annoying part to date - our electrician. Ok, so to get the roof off of the house we need to have the electrical removed. We live in an older downtown area that still has the electrical connected from the pole to the roof. To do this, you need an electrician to set up a temporary pole/power box off of your house. Then, it has to be inspected by the town and then the town utilities will come out and reroute the power to the temp pole. (When we are done the new line will be buried so we won't have this issue in the future). Well, turns out our electrician didn't agree with the way the town wanted things done. Arguments happened and our electrician quit, came out and removed his temp pole and all. This was fun. Thankfully, the company doing the brick work has connections and found us a person who could do a temporary pole for us quickly so we could move forward. We are on a major time crunch because of our framing starting soon. Still not sure who our electrician for the whole project will be yet. We have some recommended names and are trying to find someone. Its something we don't need immediately but also something we need to get taken care of. 

Coming Up

Our temporary power was inspected and passed this morning! Yay, it's amazing when someone just does it right the first time. We had our dumpster delivered. This made me giggle because we asked them to please put it on the farthest right of the driveway and it's sitting in the middle of our yard. The rest of the siding will be coming off, the electrical and plumbing will all be pulled out and the roof is coming off. All of this should be done by May 25th - that is the day all of our lumber and our beautiful trusses and floor joists arrive and framing begins! I can't even believe it. 

Silas removing our other landscaping!

Whew, that was a lot. If you read all of these words you are next level devoted. We are so grateful for the support, help and encouragement during this whole process. It's been quite the ride already! Sometimes it all seems surreal that it is happening. I know a lot of people are curious about what is happening at the house and I do post on instagram quite frequently in my stories. I will keep blogging about it here but it may just take a little longer since we are all hands on deck right now!  I can't wait to have a big open house when it's all done. We love having people in our home. So much to look forward to!

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