Having pulled the permits for the house build in the fall of 2013, we just sat and wintered over in Florida wishing we could be up in NC working on the house. A lot of time was spent by me working on materials list, truss quotes and looking for truss hangers, sheet rockers and insulation people. I have learned that those jobs are best left to the younger set as I have done it all.
Having the Internet was a blessing as for our last two builds everything was done in person, by mail or telephone. This time I had a good e-mail contact in Lowes, W. Jefferson who I could e-mail and get answers. I could search for sub contractors and materials without leaving the house. I ordered almost all the electrical and plumbing items online and had them sent to Florida where we would trailer them up to the house. One of the largest items was the copper 4/0 cable going from the main outside box to the main inside breaker box . This was 4 wire/gr and 60 feet long. It weighed in at around 90 pounds but it was not available in any local stores, everyone has switched to aluminum.
In order to do all this pre-buying I had to look at my blue prints on the computer and picture what I needed in my head, sometimes not an easy job. Then go online and shop around. All my PEX tubing and brass fittings were bought online. Even bought our fiberglass Marvin windows online, a very expensive item. The propane fireplace and Sue’s whirlpool tub were also bought online. Little by little the pieces began to fall into place and the “to-do” list got smaller and smaller.
The end of March produced the first lumber order to Lowes, (only box lumber store in our area). We had a special account with them so the deliveries were only $20 each. So the first order was for all the framing lumber plus all the wall sheathing, 4X9 foot sheets. We arrived at our rental condo on April 4th and delivery was to be April 6th. The girl I was e-mailing got it all right but her boss screwed it all up. They delivered only the sheathing on the 6th and no framing lumber. Need the frame to put the sheathing on. The next day all was well, I thought.
I start putting up the framing for the outside walls and finish two sides of the house. Then I started to put the sheathing on those two sides. I am almost finished and can’t figure out why the 4X9 sheets are not reaching to the top of the top plate, 2X6. I called Lowes and asked for the manager, “he’s in a meeting”. I say get him out and I told her why. Within an hour he and the boss guy were at my house. Turns out the boss guy got involved with my order and ordered the wrong product, it was an 1-1/2” shorter. I had a plan that they supply a special hurricane strap and that would fix the problem but take a lot of my time. The manager gave us credit for the entire 144 pieces of 4X9 sheathing worth thousands of dollars. This was our first experience with a major screw up.
One day I decided to take a break from framing and remove a bunch of Christmas trees so we could move the driveway to the other side of the house. I had the backhoe way up on the rear supports and the front bucket and went to get off. On a slight hill and my heel hit a stump and I flipped over backwards. Then the feet and legs followed to make it seem like a flopping somersault. Among other things I sprained or cracked a bone in my wrist. For the next 6-8 weeks I had to wear a hard arm brace and build the walls also. Climbing ladders was exciting with one hand. However the work progressed.
Windows had been ordered and were delivered. These windows are Marvin fiberglass with a full 6-inch jamb, very, very heavy. The living room windows must weigh about 100 pounds each. Sue and I hoisted them in by hand with the help of a little step fixture I made. Whoa! Two or three windows in and I see a problem. The windows were all shrink wrapped for shipping. This pulled in all the sides as well as the top and sill. With this condition there is no way to put the inside trim on without it looking terrible. Call the supplier, no help, none at all. I posted a question on the “garden forum” and got an answer from a Marvin VP. He had all the windows replaced in a matter of days. Replacements were worse than the originals. My answer to them, I’ll take care of it for a price. 50% of the window cost refunded.
Trusses going up without a hitch, sheathing and shangles going on fine. Shangle is a trade name for a lifetime slate look-a-like shingle. Now I’m inside and protected from the elements working on inside framing. This is hard as I have 15-foot ceilings in the house and it’s up and down ladders all day. About 10 days to two weeks and the framing is up and I start on the plumbing. This was my first experience with PEX and the PEX fittings. A lot easier than PVC to feed the pipe but scary to crimp the fittings. In the end a 120 pound pressure test tells all. Next the electric. I have a 40 breaker panel so I can keep the feeds limited to how many outlets etc I have. That was about another 10 days and the insulation guys are here.
This is where I clear out of the house and do outside work. I took the backhoe and dug the trench,(about 150 feet 6 feet deep) for the spring line and power for the pump. I also dug the pit for the two spring boxes and a 600 gallon water tank. In the mean time the sheet rock guys show up and start to rock, haha! I have plenty to do outside with digging out the driveway and making room for the septic. Then the septic guy shows up. (NC code does not allow me to do that like I did in FL). He did a real professional job. Things are really moving now, the vinyl siding is here. After much searching we decided to do vinyl. We chose a 6-3/4 inch lap with what’s called Carolina Bead. Truck backs up behind the house to unload and the driver opens the back and the boxes are all over the place fallen over. That was over 1000 pounds of siding we had to unload by hand, bummer.
Right away I started on the siding working from the back to the front. I only put the siding up as high as the soffits. I was told, “No going up high on ladders”. I had to hire a guy to put the high stuff up and he did a great job.
With the sheet rockers done, it was back inside to paint and work on the bathroom tiles. Sue spent days painting the baseboard trim. It is a fancy 6-1/2 inches so it was a lot of painting. The doors came from Lowes and they were wrong, had to get them ordered again. One week to paint the entire inside and about a week to tile both bathrooms. Then the kitchen cabinets were delivered. Ours have no handles like the ones in our Florida house. The back side of the doors and draws are cut at an angle so you can open them. I look at the newly delivered cabinets and no back cut. Call the supplier and she says they don’t do that. Well, why didn’t you tell us when we ordered? My solution, remove the draw fronts and doors run them through a router and repaint. So the supplier got us 4 gallons of white paint from the manufacture and refunded a couple of grand. I get the base cabinets in and the counter tops come. Quarts and just beautiful. They get installed by the counter top people. Next the wall and peninsula cabinets. I had to build spacers to hold them in place while bolting them into studs.
Then back to finish up the bathrooms and start on installing fans, switches and outlets. This took another 3 or 4 days and we call for final inspection. Inspector says everything looks great but one thing. I say ohoh! He says that the house has to have gutters to pass. Hmmmm, we are down to only about a week and we have to head back to Florida. A company called Sheets does the seamless gutters. So I say to him, how about we go to Sheets and pre-pay them and they can do the job anytime while we are gone and we will bring you the receipt. He says fine. We get Sheets a key to the gate and we get the CO.
One thing not mentioned is the main living area floor. Carpets are in the bedrooms and Solarian in the bathrooms but concrete in the living room and kitchen. We bought 9/16 inch engineered floor to be laid down as a “glue together” floating floor. Because we had only temp power up to getting the CO we could not run the heat and normalize the wood flooring sitting in boxes. We had to leave the floor in the boxes without being finished. The wood is an unfinished Maple and it would require about two weeks for me to get it down, sand it and finish coat it. SO, we changed our minds. I found a click together engineered floor made by Kahrs. It is square edge, all wood and a nice Oak finish. We can seal the concrete floor in a day so we don’t track cement dust into the carpet areas and I can install the floor while we live in the house.. I did have the HVAC done by some one as the cost to me for the units was too high.
With our Florida house for sale, (no telling when it will sell) we have decided that no matter what we will move next April. If it’s not sold we will empty it and just move. We will have to hire someone to take care of making sure the property looks good. We both have the feeling it will sell in February.
We will have to rent for a few days to give me a chance to clean up, move the wood flooring and get water turned on as well as get the bedrooms set up and appliances installed. Once we settle in 4-5 days I have to dig out the back side of the house where a rock wall will go so the car can be pulled in and out of the garage, just a small task. Well, then order truck loads of gravel and smooth it out, maybe medium size task. The rocks are there and the wall can be built later.
So that’s how it got done and what’s on our platter for the near future. 12/21/14