A Hole

October 29th, 2007 by Peter Schmelzer

A hole

I was delighted to find upon my return from the office today, a large hole in my yard. This hole will become the happy home of our new footings and foundation around our new and much needed mudroom.

Awaiting the pour

We came across a large rock next to the existing basement wall, but fortunately, the new wall will just miss it and the old cistern north of it. The underground electrical feed to the garage defied logic and did not show up under the backhoe’s bucket, thank the Lord. These unknowns make remodeling an adventure.

Speaking of such, we spend a fair amount of time discussing the best way to blend the new construction into the sloping, sagging floor of the existing house. it is an art to handle these uncertainties gracefully and cost-effectively. With our contractors Gary and Matt, we reviewed several options to deal with the irregularities.

While we were at it, we decided it was prudent to save the porch walls from the wrecking ball; the existing headers can be augmented to do the job. Since we’ve decided to go with foamed in place insulation, we will get satisfactory performance from the existing 2×4 studs. This trade off will save us some money up front and won’t be too bad down the line, since this room can be shut off from the rest of the house when the weather gets cold. We are aware that this room will have some temperature swings; that is part of the package.

Saving the walls will require less time for the framing effort, too. That is important, since we would like to insulate the shell before the worst of the winter strikes. The low-slope roof must come off, to be replaced by new floor trusses. We’re going to see if the truss manufacturer can give each truss “feet” that can be trimmed as necessary to level the new floor. This will allow us to get the ceiling height we want without demolishing the porch walls.

Xcel Energy’s crew came by today to discuss burying our power, phone and cable wiring. They, too, have been set back by all the rain. But it looks like they’ll have the job done this week, clearing the way for removal of the roof and second floor walls. We asked Xcel to run the cable deep as it approaches the house so we can decide what landscaping needs to happen in the spring. Our plan is to install an egress window in the basement, which will require some dirt work. Now we will not have to worry about the wires.

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