Welcome... Follow along as we renovate our 9th home in 12 years

Thursday, March 10, 2011

12/16/10 - Main floor supports & basement beam framing perfected

Looks like the framers got a little creative when framing my old mudroom floor in. After getting the structural engineer back in to look at the structure we had to have the framers back to add an additional support beam to the floor. In addition the framing at the front door need a little more support. Now we can pass inspection...

Front door framing gets a little more lumber added....

That's better!

Now for that basement beam below the old mudroom...

New beam in place!

11/09/10 - What's this odd looking creature?!?

Got a text from Electrician Derek today saying that this odd creature was laying on my floor...

Say good-bye to the old electrical panel

Here's what it looked like in place

Voila, lovely new panel

Suzanne resurfaces...

Hello Followers!

No... I haven't been snoozing, on holidays nor have I thrown in the towel after having to deal with those oh so poorly behaved trades...

Rather, I've been crazy busy working hard on my reno! Too busy to post! Despite the fact that I LOVE blogging, the reno has to come first! Having said that, I have the next two days "off" (reason to follow) so I've decided to take the opportunity to catch my blogging!!! Watch out... I have over 40 posts to add today & tomorrow... my blogger will be smoke'n along with your email inboxes! Apologies in advance! ; )

The following posts will be dated as to when I took the photos.

So let me catch you up on what's been happening...

Those of you following my HVAC saga, well... it's almost resolved. The company that I originally hired did bring in another contractor from an outside company to re-do most of the work that the original installer had attempted to do. The finished product was great! (See 01/05/11 post "Now that we're all settled down" for AFTER photos) The original company agreed to write me a letter releasing me from our agreement that they would install my AC. I had decided to pull that part of the contract from the original company due to the circumstances & the original HVAC company were very willing to ensure that I was accommodated to ensure my satisfaction at the end.

What I hadn't expected was that the new HVAC company tried to wiggle their way into trying to get me to buy their AC unit by installing their own AC coil, instead of company A's, while reworking company A's ducts & coils! OMG... poor behaving trades. Thank goodness I photographed everything! Looking forward to resolving this little issue too.

I'm also very happy to report that my framers were keen to come back into my property & resolve a couple framing issues. I knew that my framer was a stand-up-guy!  It took a little bit of work to get him to realize that I would not put up with less than perfect results. He, nor others, realized that despite the fact that I am not a huge renovation company, I still demanded to be respected & have my issues acknowledged. I also believe that part of the issue here was that there was a little bit of miss-communication going on as well.

I was very pleased that my framer brought his men back on site & within a couple hours had reinstalled three of my windows plus attended to a couple other issues. He was also able to show me that another of my contractors had miss-measured his framing & that you could actually rip 2x4s successfully with a skill-saw. I apologized whole-heartedly to the framer after I learned this fact. I also learned from this experience that you have to collect all the facts from all the sources before passing a judgement. Unfortunately one contractor will blame another contractor if it suits their needs. Read... one of the biggest lessons learned from this reno! ; ) I believe that this lesson has implications throughout all different circumstances in life.

Although at times my renovation has been challenging it has taught me how things can go wrong if you're not careful & even if you are careful. I will always consider carefully before I recommend a trade or contractor to a client. I absolutely treasure my proven trades like Contractor/Carpenter Terry, Painter Nathan, Plumber Steve and Electrician Derek, to name a few. I'm so lucky to have you all working on my renovation! People you can rely on in any circumstance! My 'A-Team', to quote Kimberley Seldon!

Okay, so why do I have two days off you ask?!? Well... I have been approached by a couple in the neighbourhood who have been following my renovation from the start. They have asked if I will sell them my renovation home right now, as is, so that they can have it as their forever home! I am SO flattered! Besides the fact that I believe it is perfectly laid out for the couple & their three children, I would be so excited for them to able to finish it as they liked, to their own tastes & needs. It is basically a blank canvas waiting to evolve. All the hard work has been done & now they can have fun making it theirs. I've offered free consulting as part of the deal & may be apart of getting it done for them. I have offered to stop 'ordering' product for two days while they make their decision about buying my home, hense the two day holiday!

It is funny how things can work out. After having come to a point where I have grown so much in this reno it may be time to move on to my next adventure. I know that my close friends are all shaking their heads as they can never understand how I can leave a home after I pour all my love & energy into it. I know for me it is all about the process & making a difference in the world. Hmmm, maybe I'll check out MLS this afternoon... ; ) 


Thursday, January 13, 2011

01/14/11 - Foam Insulation Today... No visitors today!

Early this morning Foam Insulator Russ was onsite to spray foam insulation. Due to the toxicity of the foam no one was allowed on-site until tomorrow.

Russ & his crew were booked to foam the rim joist ends located on all of my exterior walls where the concrete foundation meets the wood framing. In addition Russ is spraying my skylight ceiling, the only real alternative for this structure. Mike Holmes would be proud! The only exception was within the utility room where we will not be spraying foam, rather instead we will be installing top quality mineral batt insulation with a super seal application instead. Since we are not drywalling the ceiling in the utility room, the foam would need to be sealed up under drywall or plywood which I did not feel could be done effectively or efficiently if someone had to cut out perfectly fitting sealed up boards to do the job; hense the batt insulation. Foam insulation must, by code, be covered by drywall or plywood which protects the homeowners in the slight chance of fire. The fumes from burning foam can be deadly. The board gives the homeowners enough time to leave the site before harm can be done.

This was a close to the site that I could get today...

I'll take more images tomorrow once I can go inside. Tomorrow Batt Insulator Terry & his team is scheduled to spend the day insulating & adding vapour barrier.

01/13/11 - Insulating starts tomorrow!

Our Foam Insulator Russ comes in tomorrow to do his magic.

Here are some before images to update you on the progress of the site...

01/05/11 - Now that we're all settled down ; )

How lucky I was to get a nice little break over Christmas to regroup after a crazy December.

So here's the story...

After careful researching & interviewing I selected a company who was to be responsible for installing all of my heating, ventilation & AC for my renovation. They are & were a very reputable company in the city, years of experience,  so on. Being new to HVAC I felt safe in the hands of this company. I also felt confidence that the city HVAC inspector would catch anything when they did their rough-in inspection.

Well, unfortunately I happened upon a salesman/installer who had absolutely no idea what he was doing. VERY long story short, feeling confident that the company would stand behind their name, I contacted the owner of the company with my issues, had him send out a new representative who re-installed virtually all of the HVAC rough-in in addition to pulling an HVAC permit/inspection which passed... providing we tweaked a couple items. Although the situation has not completely been resolved I'm fairly confident that the company will continue to act in my best interest. So far they have been great.

Lessons learned...

I appreciate that mistakes can & do happen. Being a perfectionist, it kills me when they do! ; ) What is important is how the company takes responsibility for their mistakes & how they look after the customer in these situations. As a side note, I understand that the only way a company can achieve an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau is after they have shown how they have positively dealt with a customer complaint.

It is so valuable to get names of contractors & trades that you know have a proven tract record; that is, ones that others have used & you know that you can count on. Although issues can still occur despite your best efforts, it is best to do your homework before hiring anyone to come into your home, then do it again!

Business Opportunities For Me...

Part of my business that I've been cultivating is a contractors & trades referring service. I will eventually be able to give homeowners, my clients, designers & other contractors access to a contractor & trades 'living' database. It would include individuals that I would be confident in referring; that is, that I knew would not behave poorly. It would be the eHarmony of contractor & trades, each being profiled with their image, a detailed description as to who they are, what they specialized in, images of their past jobs plus client reports that I would collect following each & every job that I referred them on. Initially I will arrange to visit their job sites looking to build my database. Eventually I hope to have an amazing database of highly reputable craftsmen & women who could help you with your renovations. In addition, I will have the 'Be Sure To Avoid' list close at hand too.

Bottom line, call me if you are looking for a trade &/or have one to refer in & around the Calgary area. My Plumber Steve I have referred literally 100s of times, each time he makes me look good!

Before & after HVAC images for those who are interested...


AFTER: This is how it should have looked...