Friday, August 29, 2008

Not As Green As I Thought

I came home from the hospital to find the insulation has been finished (mostly).

This image shows both old pink fiberglass insulation and the new spray foam insulation. The foam expands to many times its original size. When the insulation expands past the 2x4s, they have to shave it back so they can put sheetrock over it. Here you can see how much waste was generated when they went back and trimmed the insulation to fit the 2x4 cavities.

That dumpster is nearly half full with insulation. What good is a green product if it sends that much waste to a landfill? I gotta believe that they can chop that up and spray it in another wall.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Inspections and Insulation

This week, the building inspector will come in and check the work. If he gives it the ok, then the insulation will go in. We'll be using Spray Foam Insulation (installed by NOVA Spray Foam Insulation LLC. The spray foam is a soy based product so it's a renewable resource. The spray foam has the same R-Value as the pink fiberglass it'll be replacing, but it will provide the following benefits:
  1. Spray Foam doesn't let air pass through it. Fiberglass insulation is essentially like a giant furnace filter, so it lets air pass right through it, taking unconditioned air with it.
  2. The Spray foam will cut down on the noise from the airplanes overhead and the school next door.
  3. As an expanding product, they can spray it in to cracks and it will fill the gap that might be too small or awkward to get fiberglass into.
  4. It will add some structural rigidity to the house.
  5. Spray Foam is also non-toxic.

The spray foam will cost a ton more than fiberglass, but it should pay for itself in lower heating and cooling costs.

After the insulation goes in, then the drywall will start going up.

Electrical Rough In

The subs have been in and out of here feverishly working to get their work done. The electrical contractor spent Thursday and Friday of last week pulling cable and installing electrical outlets, lights, fans, etc.

Plumbing Rough In

The plumbing Rough In is done. We went with Pex (plastic pipe) in a manifold system.

The Pex pipe has some significant benefits over traditional copper.

  1. Most significantly, as a plastic, it will expand more than copper providing some freeze protection.
  2. Since it's flexible, it can be snaked through walls easier than copper. It also needs less bends, meaning less work for the plumber soldering connections.
  3. Finally, it shouldn't rust or corrode like our existing copper pipes have.

You can see the manifold in the picture. It works just like your electrical panel. Water lines are run from each faucet, toilet, tub, etc directly to the manifold. They are color coded too, obviously red for hot and blue for cold. The manifold has little switches that allow individual water lines to be turned off, so that water to that particular faucet can be turned off without turning off the water to the whole house. Traditionally and in this house in particular, the water runs from the utility room (where it enters the house) to the downstairs bathroom, then to the kitchen, then to the other bathrooms. The master bath was at the end of the line, meaning it took forever for the hot water to get up there. With this new manifold system, the water travels a shorter distance to get there, so we should theoretically have faster hot water.

The two white pipes are larger diameter to bring hot and cold water to the shower in the master bath. Our Master bath has a shower head and a wand and both will receive full flow now.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I had to get to work immediately tearing down the upstairs Bathroom. So I enlisted a little help (emphasis on little):

Look at the 'Fro on my little man, RJ:

Not to be outdone, my other little helper, Q, broke out her pink work gloves:

I was able to gut the kids bathroom before I quit for the day. Q was not ready to quit and kept asking what she could do and letting me know that if the builders needed anything she was ready to go.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I was away in NJ for a funeral for a few days and Gallick's crew finished the framing of the new structure. They couldn't frame the interior because I hadn't done the demolition yet. The Mechanical Contractor was putting in the HVAC when we returned from NJ. The windows aren't up yet, but the openings are there.

The HVAC closet without sheetrock. Ductwork on the ceiling.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Walls Are Going Up

The crew from Gallick has worked quickly and put up the floor and some of the walls. This is the end of the first week of work. I am loving the service door you can see they cut in on the side of the garage.

Standing under it, the overhang looks a bit excessive, but that just means I'll have a few square feet of less snow to shovel in the winter and a bit of cover from the rain. According to Charlie, they'll be punching through into the existing structure this coming week.

I'm not quite sure what we're going to do for showers when that happens; perhaps we can take up Ultra Run Bike Vegan's challenge and see how long we can wear our clothes without changing them...

The fit and finish of the rough carpentry is pretty amazing. I can't wait to see what they do with the stuff that won't be hidden behind the walls.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Early demolition pictures.

Notice the garage door track hanging in mid air.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Started Yesterday!

Tha Gallick Corporation had a worker out yesterday ripping the roof off of the garage. The garage is currently covered in a big blue tarp.