Thursday, November 26, 2009

Termites, construction, and (lack of) asbestos, oh my!

I'm a day late with this entry, but just didn't have the energy last night to report the day's activities.

First, the best news yet: We had several substances tested for asbestos, including the wallboard, cement backerboard, tile, and linoleum, and only the tile and adhesive came back mildly positive for asbestos. Neither is really very much of a concern since neither substance is friable, and we have been careful removing it. We also sent pictures of the ductwork in the attic to the environmental specialist and he said that the ducts are covered in fiberglass insulation with a vinyl tape, and it's not asbestos. What little insulation that's left in the attic also seems to be fiberglass. That's a huge concern off our minds - there's really no asbestos in the house! What a relief!

Solid metal ducts. They don't make them like they used to!

I also chose the termite guy. I called the company that came out to do an estimate on Monday and they didn't have any record of seeing our house, and while they said they would find the paperwork and call me back within the hour, they never did. Scratch them. The second call I made was to the company that did the original termite inspection. The owner spent 30 minutes on the phone with me, telling me when I should get the house treated for both carpenter ants and termites. Basically, we don't need to get the house treated for ants until just before we move in, because any painting or anything else we do will negatively effect the length of time that the treatment will work. As for termites, we need to wait on the termite treatment because we need to move the ground around both the house and the guest house, which will also effectively negate the treatment. However, we do need to treat before March or April at the latest, because that's when the termites swarm. Fortunately, treatment generally lasts for 5-7 years in our area, so we should be good for a while. We also need to treat the ground where we do the addition before we start construction, and then treat around the addition once it is completed.

Anyway, because the owner spent 30 minutes with me on the phone discussing how best to handle treatment, we've decided to go with him. I definitely like the idea of being able to call the owner and discuss options directly, instead of going with a big company and dealing with a different person every time.

As for construction, my husband and his brother worked on building the walls for the new room. We've had a slight change of plans since Tuesday, due to the duct work in that area. We really can't move the existing ducts because they're solid metal pipes, so we had to build around the existing vent. Unfortunately, this puts the vent in the hallway and not in the bedroom, so we'll add another vent to the bedroom and tie it into the air handler.

Construction started with pulling back the carpet and then removing the fantastic maroon and gold tiles from the area where the new hallway will be.

Great color scheme, red and gold!

Next, they put up a header board on the ceiling and peeled back the wallboard to expose a stud that we would be nailing the new wall into. The brother-in-law demonstrates the header board and the exposed stud.

Next, they built the frame for the wall on the floor. The mitre saw and nail gun that we bought made this part of the process surprisingly fast and easy.

Finally, we stood the stud wall up and nailed it to the header board. We then used a borrowed hammer drill (which the men had WAY too much fun with!) to drill into the slab and then put "Redhead" concrete nails into the slab. This wall isn't going anywhere!

We still have the two short walls to build, but we plan to do that Friday. Yesterday I also finished treating all the fireant mounds I could find. The only problem is that I'm supposed to water in the granules... but I am not going to be able to water 100 mounds by hand! So we'll just have to wait for a good rainstorm for the stuff to take effect. Hopefully that will be soon. I also started digging up the gasline from the meter to the house, although I didn't get very far with that. We need to decide if we're going to dig up the old line and replace it with a new, bigger line, or if we're going to just trench a new line and cap the old one off. Haven't decided that yet, but we are concerned about trenching a new line if we don't know where the existing lines are. My dad suggested getting a metal detector out there to see if we can't map out the lines somehow without digging them up.

This morning (Thanksgiving), the hubby and I went out to the house for about 90 minutes. We did a lot of clean-up, and I finished up removing some drywall from several wall studs that we'll need to tie in to for the short walls. We also cleaned up the rest of the mess in the pink bathroom, including digging down into the stud wall a bit, and found more water damage. At this point we're not sure if it's from the shower pan or from the lovely hole in the exterior wall where the electric meter is, but hopefully we'll be able to figure that out once we start demo-ing the shower in the pink bathroom.

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