Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Final Inspections: Round One

The time has finally come to have final inspections. That doesn't mean we're done. There is still tons of stuff to do before we move it, but none of it is for "code". We still have to install the flooring, which we started over the weekend, and finish our open shelving cabinets, and finish touch up paint. The county doesn't care about any of that cosmetic stuff, just the safety stuff.

We were told not to expect to pass finals the first time. There are lots of little details the inspectors look for. Each inspector has their "specialty", so we actually had two inspectors come out yesterday. One did the framing final inspection, and the plumbing. The other did the electrical final. And I guess any of them can do the septic/sewer and water inspection.

I scheduled the inspections on a day I didn't have to go to work, and Matt took the whole day off so he could be there as well. I followed the inspectors around and took notes on all the corrections we had to make to get our C.O. (certificate of occupancy).

Here's the list:
- caulk around sink, countertops, and toilets
- add hand rail to other side of stairs
- reduce clearance between bottom of rail and top of steps to less than 6 in.
- garage door needs more ribs
- write up builders energy certificate
- plywood over paper insulation in garage
- drywall over exposed insulation on garage side of stairs
- 2x10's under deck are overspan. need another post
- need more contact on deck footings to spread load
- cover HVAC thermostat wire with conduit
- silicone around outdoor lanterns
- GFCI 15 amp breaker for garage door opener
- 100 sq. in. of ventilation in laundry closet
- protect horizontal wiring in garage bath and "cave" storage room upstairs
- need waterproof shower light

And now the list with explanations:

- caulk around sink, countertops, and toilets
I was planning on getting around to that, but didn't know it was for code)

- add hand rail to other side of stairs
we did that last night after they left. we will probably remove it after we move it, if it's in our way)

- reduce clearance between bottom of rail and top of steps to less than 6 in.
we fixed that last night by nailing up a board under the rail to block out that space. we'll remove that after inspection)

- garage door needs more ribs
(the bars that run behind each section to give it strength. must meet the 90mph wind code)

- write up builders energy certificate
(don't really know what this is, but Matt says it's simple and we just type it up and staple it in a utility room)

- plywood over paper insulation in garage
(we were planning on doing that after we move it, but didn't know it had to be done now. the insulation can be left opened, but not the paper covering on it, so they said we could remove the paper and it would pass. that's ridiculous)

- drywall over exposed insulation on garage side of stairs
(still not sure he was right on that one since this wall is technically an exterior wall since the opened stairs are on the other side, but we'll see.)

- 2x10's under deck are overspan. need another post
(our framer made a big oops on that one. he ran 2x10's 14 ft. across, supporting the deck floor. they can only be 7 ft, or something, without another post. the floor seems secure to us and this will block Matt's 4-wheeler/tractor storage. He's not happy about that but we might remove that later too)

- need more contact on deck footings to spread load

- cover HVAC thermostat wire with conduit

- silicone around outdoor lanterns
(there is a big gap behind the light fixture for water and bugs to get in)

- GFCI 15 amp breaker for garage door opener

- 100 sq. in. of ventilation in laundry closet
(we have to add a vent on the hallway wall for fresh air, or switch the solid doors for louvered doors)

- protect horizontal wiring in garage bath and "cave" storage room upstairs

- need waterproof shower light
(the electrician used a regular recessed light fixture in the shower. wtf?)

The good news is our septic and water lines were approved, so we can fill in the ditch before it turn into a mud pit.

It looks like a lot of things to fix, but most of them are quick and painless. The big time-consuming ones are the plywood walls and the extra support under deck. That will take several days that we don't really have, but now we have to make the time. The rest of the stuff should only take a day or two assuming we have all the materials (finding garage door ribs will be difficult since we bought it used a don't know the manufaturer), and we are running out of Saturdays in the year to work on this. Luckily, Matt saved all his vacation until October, so he's been taking lots of days off lately to get work done on our house. He still has about 6 more days he can take off in 2011.

Upper Cabinet Install

We had to get the upper cabinets up before the HVAC guys came back to finish. It was their job to install the microwave and microwave vent.

We started with the corner cabinet.

Then, we needed to hack up a cabinet to make it fit in the space we had. Since we got these cabinets 3 years ago at a liquidation sale for about 90% off retail, we weren't really shy about changing them up for our needs (like slapping on a coat of white paint!) This 24 inch cabinet needed to cut down to 16 inches. And we needed to reuse the door to keep it matching the others. That middle section of the door is being removed.

Nearly done! Now all we need to do is attach the other piece of the door and fill it with wood filler. Hopefully the seam will be mostly hidden once I paint them.

The cabinet on the left was perfect as is. We didn't have an over the microwave cabinet, so we used a tall cabinet with glass front doors (no glass in them). Since it was the perfect width, Matt shortened it to fit. We can't use the glass front doors there anyway because of the ugly microwave vent inside the cabinet.

We'll make our own doors to conceal the contents of the cabinet. And since it's over the microwave, it's probably the only place we could get away with having non-matching doors. I'm thinking about making it look like it intentionally doesn't match, instead of trying to replicate the look of the other doors (which we can't do exactly). Maybe some bead board fronts! We already have the bead board in the garage.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Home Stretch

It's taken far too long, but we finally got the sub contractors to come back out and finish. It was not without it's own drama and miscommunications.

The subs were last here in May to wire, plumb, and duct (can "duct" be a verb?) the house. Since then, we've had the house insulated and drywalled, windows and doors trimmed. We primed and painted everything, tiled the shower and bathroom floor, installed the cabinets, made the countertops, and have had the septic system installed. It would have got a lot faster had we not been doing most of that ourselves.

The electrician has to come back and put in the recepticals, light switches, recessed lighting, light fixtures, and run the underground lines (like to get the power to the house and well pump). The plumber installs the sink faucets and pipes, bath/shower faucet, toilet, and underground pipes from well to house and from house to septic tank. The HVAC guys put in the vents and vent covers, thermostat, and microwave with vent. I'm probably missing some things, but that's the gist.

Now for the drama.

First of all, most of our pendant lights came from IKEA, so they just come with the light itself and a long cord with a plug on the end. It's not a big deal for the plug to get cut off and for them to be hardwired. But the lights didn't come with a ceiling cover/cap light "fancy" lights from Lowes do (if you shop at IKEA, you know what I mean). I tried to explain over email that the lights didn't have the ceiling covers, but they're not familiar with IKEA and just thought I was being a dumb woman and didn't look in the box. But they really didn't come with them! Come on! It's IKEA! What do you expect?

We found some caps at Lowes that would serve the purpose. They don't look great, but then again, neither do the lights. While they are stylish, once installed, you can tell they don't cost much.

The electricians also cut the cords too short so the lights are mounted way too high. And since you can't put more wire back on, we'll have to rewire it at a later date. It really pissed me off that they didn't put them at standard height.

The bar lights were fine other than they weren't the same height as each other. But that is probably because the cords are still kinked up and need some time to relax.

Let's move on to the sink light. That silver one over the window. I want to know whos house has a light mounted that high above a window? Just because our ceilings are 4 feet higher than normal doesn't mean you mount the light higher. If these were 8 ft ceilings, the light would literally be touching the ceiling. A sink pendant light goes in front of the window. Believe me! I've done my research and seen dozens and dozens of kitchen sink lights. They go IN FRONT OF the window. Rant over.

Next rant: the chandelier

You should have ample head clearance when sitting at the dining table, NOT ample head clearance when walking under the light!

The electrician thought it looked too high, but that's all the chain that came with the IKEA light. So they cut the wire that length and went with it. That's infuriating. The wire was long enough. Do you know how easy and cheap extra chain is at Lowes? What an easy solution! We could have lengthened the chain before they cut the wire. The height it is now is completely unlivable (to me anyways). Once again, something we'll have to rewire, which takes a lot of effort. The kicker is they knew it was too high and did it anyway! And they were going to be there the rest of the week working. I could have brought them the chain. Err.

The rest of the living room is all fine.

Nothing terribly exciting.

The master bedroom lights were mounted in the correct spot (because I marked it with an X).

But one of the chains doesn't work. It's kinked or something. I would think they would test it before putting it up.

In the second bedroom, I wanted a drum shade mounted close to the ceiling. So the way I eyeballed it was by having someone hold the shade up there and me saying "a little higher...right there". I knew what height the shade should be at, but not necessarly the length of the wire. So I wrote on there "14 in. from bottom of the shade". But they read "14 in. cord", so it was mounted too low.

Easy enough to fix. You can take cord away, but you can't add more back. It's already been adjusted.

Here's the light at the top of the stairs:

And the porch fan:

The downstairs bathroom doesn't have walls yet. We're doing that after we move in.

The kitchen sink faucet:

The plumber wasn't happy with us that we didn't have our end of things taken care of when he showed up. The plumber was there on a Friday, but didn't do anything. Then, Monday I got a text from our construction manager saying that we needed sink baskets (the drain and drain covers that attach to the pipes) for the plumber. I told him I was at work all day and couldn't do it right away. After work I had to go straight home to meet some people. The next day, I would have gotten the sink baskets first thing in the morning, but I was under the impression the plumber wasn't coming back until we called and said it was ready. So I went that afternoon to drop off the baskets. I had just been at the house the morning before at 8am to try and meet up with the electrician who was a no show. Turns out the plumber WAS there at 8 am and got mad that the baskets weren't there yet. I had only found out about them 12 hours before and was busy the whole time! We're having some communication issues, in that we never know who will be there and when they will be there. Which is fine some days, but not when we are expected to also take care of things. Meanwhile, the plumber is thinking it was our fault that he made two trips for nothing. Why didn't I hear about the sink baskets the first day the plumber was there, or even before then?

Bathroom faucet (and IKEA countertop, which I've never showed the making of):

Stair railing. Got my idea from a house featured in Country Living Magazine. They used a tree as a rail. Not only is it free, but it add a rustic personalized feel. Code requires us to have a continuous rail ALL THE WAY up, so I at least want it to look nice. Code only requires the rail be less than 2 3/16 in.(if I remember correctly), but they don't care what it's made out of.

Not pictured:
master bedroom fan/light
bath light
shower faucet
closet light
pantry light
outside lights
garage lights

Now we wait and hope we pass inspections the first go-round. In the meantime, we can install our flooring and do touch-up paint. Other than that, we are good to go.

On second thought, touch-up paint might be difficult right now since we've lost the use of our well. It's been disconnected from the construction power pole and wired up to the house. But the house electricity can't be turn on until we pass our last inspection. So, it might be smart to wait to paint, but by then I'll be so anxious to start moving furniture!

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Finally Have a Yard!

For four years, we've been cutting down trees, dragging trees around, digging in the dirt, moving dirt, packing dirt, walking through mud, and cleaning mud off our shoes.


Well, of course there will be more, but not like it has been.

We finally planted grass. In a perfect world we would have been able to afford Kentucky grass seed and organic fertilizer and all of that. But considering that we are seeding over an acre of grass, it just wasn't possible this year with trying to finish the house and all.

It was going to be $700-800 for everything and we were supposed to water it every other day until it germinated. That's kinda a problem for us. Not only do we not live there, it would take two days to get it all watered. I wasn't willing to risk loosing an $800 investment because we weren't there to water it.

So we decided to plan rye grass, which is usually used as a winter grass and dies out in the summer heat. It's cheap ($200 for seed and fertilizer), so if we couldn't water it and none of it came up, it's no big loss. The main purpose of planting grass this year was to help control the mud around the house this winter.

Matt tilled up ALL the dirt. This would take literally forever with a regular tiller. We have an attachment for our tractor that tills dirt. It was probably some purchase that Matt talked me into driving with him to get off of Craigslist. Matt's parents also have a tractor will a rake attachment. So Matt and his dad spent the day prepping the dirt for seed.

You can see we were in the mid process of getting more gravel for our driveway. When the tilling was done, Matt's mom and I spread the fertilizer and seed. Then we spread hay. Everyone said we needed hay to keep the birds from eating the seed. I gotta say, this was a complete waste of time. It took way longer than spreading the seed and the 15 bails we filled the truck with didn't even get us half way.

So, when we ran out, we just left it as is, and it was fine. We actually don't have hardly any birds. Maybe they'll come after we plant more stuff and add things like bird feeders and stuff.

We only had time to do the yard inside the circle the first weekend, so that seed had a two week head start. The first seed went out Oct. 1.

Here it is Oct. 15.

And with tire tracks from some unknown person. I'd really like to know who you are!!!

And here it is Nov. 6th.


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