Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Think of it like an onion...

The house is like an onion. Peel away the top layer and you find multiple layers underneath. In this case, multiple layers of things that need to be fixed or redone.

Take, for example, the plan to add in a dividing wall to create a hallway and a bedroom, instead of one large room attached to a bathroom and utility room. Other than exchanging a window for a door, which requires some brickwork, it shouldn't be too hard, right?


First, we realized that the cost of hiring a mason to do the brickwork would be rather prohibitive, and we need to be careful about where we spend our money. So instead of doing a straight hallway, we decided to leave the door where it is and do a bit of a dogleg hallway. This eats into the size of the bedroom a bit, but should make for a nicer entry area. Then, we realized that the light switch that controls the outdoor floodlight in the garage is actually over by the furnace closet, and NOT by the door where you'd think it should be. Ok, so rerun that wiring so that the switch is by the door, no big deal. But remember that dogleg we're now putting in? Well, that puts the new wall right in the middle of the air vent for the AC and heat. So, now we have to move the vent. Not too big of a deal, just another change of plans. Except we go in the attic and realize that ALL the ductwork for the house needs to be replaced...

You get the idea.

Next up on the list is the plumbing. My husband met with the plumber this morning and spent nearly two hours getting advice. The guy was incredibly helpful and is very willing to work with us so that we can do most of the work and keep the cost down. It looks like we'll be able to do the tankless hot water heater for about $2000 all told, before rebates. BUT... we need to replace all the plumbing in the house. More specifically, we need to cap off or rip out what's there and put in everything new. We have copper pipe attached to steel pipe attached to PVC, all daisy-chained together - he said it was the epic kludge of plumbing. We have cast iron drains (a good thing, and fortunately those don't need to be replaced). Oh and the tub I was going to have re-enameled? No luck there, it's already been re-enameled, and it will be cheaper to just get a new cast-iron tub. Somebody remind me to buy stock in Home Depot, eh?

Ok, so we replace the plumbing with PEX, which is supposedly very durable and easy to run. We should be able to run it all through the attic with not much trouble, and since we'll already have the walls out in the bathrooms, connecting it up shouldn't be too difficult. The kitchen will be a bit more challenging since we won't have walls out, but since we'll eventually expand the kitchen, we can kludge it together for now and fix it for real when we renovate that part of the house.

And then there's the gas line. First, it's run on the outside of the house, and they used interior grade pipe so it's very corroded and needs to be replaced - all the way to the meter. It also makes a T underground, with one line to the main house and one to the guest house, which is apparently something you don't want to do. So, we will be trenching up the gas line to both houses, either capping it and leaving it or ripping it out, and then replacing it with 1 or 1 1/4 inch exterior grade pipe. We need to run it to the hot water heater, the dryer, and to the kitchen, which currently doesn't have gas but we want a gas stove when we redo the kitchen. In the guest house, the hot water heater uses gas, but there's no furnace in the guest house, so we're not quite sure how we're going to heat it yet. Good thing the termites don't need heat! Which reminds me, I didn't have a chance to call the termite companies today. Add that to the list for tomorrow.

So, what's that, like four new projects today? And we still haven't gotten the electrician out! :)

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