Now that the sunroom-office was well on its way, I had a kitchen-dinette badly in need of new exterior walls, so that I could proceed with the plumbing, the electrical, the insulation and then the finishing - in order for me to move in. But I was having trouble getting a builder to commit to my project.
You can actually see the daylight at the top; it's the white stripe just under the ceiling.
That's when Bernie, my helper, suggested that I call Tom, a friend of his, a carpenter.
The only problem, he said, was that he had a full-time job and could only work on weekends.
I pointed out to him that this was many times better than the alternative - no builder at all - and so we agreed on an hourly rate for himself and his helpers, and a starting date.
Tom and his crew (John and Bernie) showed up for work at 8.30 on Saturday, September 13.
The future kitchen-dinette (this old-fashioned expression describes that space perfectly, so I've decided to revive it!) that they would be working on that weekend is located in the North addition.
Like its twin, the South addition (my future office), its construction, done in the 1970s, had most likely been a DIY project. There were several things wrong with it.
Those awful walls had to be taken down, framing had to be built for a new door and two new windows for the kitchen-dinette, and new OSB (oriented strand board) walls had to be put up.
But before dealing with the kitchen-dinette walls, there was a much more pressing problem to be attended to: the whole North addition had become detached from the main body of the house and something had to be done about it.
In these pictures, I have drawn in the original position of the ledger board to show the amount of slippage. Note, also, the poor workmanship utilized for that important structural element.
Tom started by building a temporary support to hold up the rafters.
He then was able to remove the old 2x4" ledger board in order to replace it with a new 2x6" one.
After locating the studs, Tom attached this board with lag bolts and washers. (TIP: the hardware store wanted 55 cents each for those washers. At the car parts place, they cost less than 5 cents each!)
But that didn't give the rafters quite enough thickness to sit on properly.
Then it was time to attack the three remaining outer walls. (The fourth one had been rebuilt as part of moving the main entrance from the sunroom-office to the east wall.
This work would have to be done over two weekends, so today only part of the kitchen-dinette north wall would get demolished and rebuilt.
Guys get a real kick out of demolition work - both figuratively and literally!
When you find rotten walls there's a good chance you'll have rotten studs, and this was the case. Several had to be removed and replaced.
Next, framing had to be built for a new 5-foot patio door for the the "dinette" part of the kitchen-dinette area (and, later, for a picture window over the kitchen counter area).
Click on these pictures to enlarge them.
In order to achieve the required thickness for the headers, Tom made a sandwich with two pieces of 2x10 with an OSB (oriented strand board) filler.
This sandwich can be seen very clearly in the top picture. In the second and third photos, the header is having just a tiny bit trimmed off so it will fit perfectly.
The finished patio door header is a beautiful piece of work.
The next day, the framing for the kitchen-dinette picture window was built, and the following weekend, the rest of the North wall was rebuilt, and the West wall was demolished and rebuilt.
The latter was given the framing for a small casement window which will provide ventilation in that area, due to the fact that the picture window is a fixed one.
In the next picture, the OSB is being applied to the outside.
Before calling it a day, a sheet of plastic was stapled over the OSB, to keep the rain out while we waited for the new windows and the patio door to be purchased.
When they came in, the OSB would be sawed away to reveal the prepared openings.
The big Home Depot Doors and Windows Sale, in September, would be the source for the few replacement doors and windows.
At this point, the kitchen/dining-room was ready for the plumbing and electrical contractors.
That's pretty pedestrian stuff so I won't bother you with the details.
Instead, you could jump directly to:
The spray foam insulation page, with a step-by-step photo account of the whole project, including the two kinds of spray foam insulation products used in the kitchen-dinette;
The reflective foil insulation page, a product that we used exclusively in the kitchen, on top of the spray foam. There, too, you will find a step-by-step photo gallery explaining every detail.
Once the drywall was in, it was time for installing the doors and windows and after that, the kitchen cabinets.
It's impossible to separate the expenses of this phase from the overall costs, but you're welcome to check out my Dollar-By-Dollar page for the complete details of My Green Home Project's expenses so far.
SALVAGING AND/OR REUSING MATERIALS. During this phase there wasn't much opportunity for rescuing materials or for reusing some of those in our existing stock in the basement. I'm referring of course to all the lumber we salvaged during the Deconstruction phase of the project.
A notable exception is the 2 by 6 ledger board used above for holding up the ceiling. We have quite a supply of that kind of lumber from the deconstruction of the sunroom/office roof structure.
This big piece of lumber saved us several dollars, and once we've reused several of them we will have saved not only money but surely a tree or two.
Another exception is this temporary set of stairs that Tom built for the new East entrance. They are proof that even short pieces of wood may have their use some day and that's why it's been our policy to keep all off-cuts that are over two feet long. (NOTE: it's been 3 years and I'm still using those stairs! I hope to build a proper landing this summer, but if I don't, they'll be good for at least another round of seasons...)
Anything smaller than two feet was put into a pile and given away to folks who have wood stoves.
OSB (ORIENTED STRAND BOARD). As mentioned elsewhere, we like OSB because it's made from odds and ends, i.e., trees aren't felled specifically for its manufacture. That's why it's often recommended for green building projects.
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A few years ago, I bought this fixer-upper for $10,000.
It had been vacant for six years, had no water supply, needed a new roof, and was likely to conceal an unsuspected number of nasty flaws.
Don't believe me? See these "Before" pictures.
My intention was to turn it into as "green" as home as I could, within my physical, financial, and geographical limits – and to share this adventure with you, step-by-step and dollar-by-dollar.
I'm not quite finished, but I do have a few "After" pictures to show.
If you want to follow me on this exciting adventure, you can subscribe to this site by RSS feed -- see the box below the navigation bar on the left.