by Tom | Sep 12, 2009 | Electrical, HVAC, Neighbors House, Siding, Tubs and Showers
I had my first theft at the jobsite this week, someone came in the backyard after hours and stole my 45 dollar extension cord. Since it’s been raining all week the thief left some good footprints when he tracked mud onto the driveway. I’ve taken photos, made castings and measured the prints and concluded the perp is a size 8. This happened the night before I installed the exterior doors and locks so we’re Fort Knox now if he decides to come back for a second helping of construction materials. My bad for leaving it out anyway. Before the rain started this week I got all the #117 siding on the room addition and the front of the guest house, also building a cool balcony deck. The rear unit is turning out swell and will make someone a great rental unit, granny flat or at home office space.
I failed my mechanical rough-in inspection this week due to multiple small items that my sub-contractor overlooked. They left off a little insulation on the copper and also drilled through the furnace exhaust vent with a small screw when strapping it in the attic. Additionally they “forgot” the secondary overflow from the drip pan under the coil. It’s hard for me to believe he can still keep failing inspections for basic stuff as we’ve gone through this so many times and he knows what needs to be in place to be legit and pass. I never saw him personally in the attic during the job…maybe that explains it. The inspector also called me out for my placement of the dryer vent from the laundry room. The V in HVAC stands for ventilation. When he comes to inspect the rough-in of new heat and a/c equipment he also looks at the dryer and hot water heater vents even though my a/c sub-contractor has nothing to do with these items. I have the dryer vent placement about 2 feet from the back door and he said it is a fire hazard to leave it that close. It needs to be a minimum of 3 feet from any opening to meet code, chalk that one up to another learning experience. Also, keep your dryer vents clean, there is a serious fire risk from lint build up and it reduces energy waste. I also handled the hall bathroom subfloor on Friday and set the tub Saturday morning.
After my regular electrician burned me on the last project I was back to square one getting bids from new guys. 3 out of the 4 bids were twice as much as I usually pay. I ended up finding a good price from my plumber’s referral and the guy rocks, literally. This master electrician is also the lead singer in a local San Antonio Judas Priest cover band called Sad Wings of Destiny. He can hit Rob Halfords’ lyrics note for note. Still waiting for him to bust out while we are working.
by Tom | Feb 21, 2009 | Electrical, Exterior Paint, Hat Trick House, HVAC, Room Additions, Siding, Windows
As you can see I have the whole house sanded down and the new windows are in. I did all 30 windows in 1 day by myself. It’s looking really good now and it’s easy to imagine how it looked in bare wood form circa 1925 with a possible Model-T parked out front.
Looking in the near distance you can see the new 20-story luxury upscale condo building called The Broadway that’s being built just 2 blocks away. It’s the largest scale condo high-rise in San Antonio and the most expensive coming in at $500 per square foot.
The San Antonio Riverwalk Extension will reach 2 blocks away from this high-rise and our property as well. This area of Broadway will become quite swanky in the next 3-5 years with the addition of this high-rise and more on the table.
We are in good company with the builder, Mr. Red McCombs who is also betting on this area as being a good investment. Mr. McCombs is supposedly keeping the top floor for his private use while the 19th floor is comprised of two penthouses at 4 million each, one of which is already sold.
The complete electrical is also now roughed in. All we have to do is set the meter loop next week and then we can call in for rough inspection. I hired and fired a plumber this week as well, after talking him down to the price we needed he dropped off his materials and disappeared for 4 days.
He begged me to give him another chance and explained how badly he needed the work, I could only keep asking myself why wouldn’t he show up and do it then? If it’s this hard to get him over to do the rough-in then we could really be in a jamb when inspections started…better to clip this guy now.
Of course we didn’t give him any money up front so we haven’t lost anything but time. The HVAC guys have started running all the ductwork for the new central A/C I’m adding. I’ve located the furnace and coil in the attic to save space.
I am using a 4-ton, 14 seer Goodman system for this house. They recommend roughly 1 ton for every 500 s.f. of living space. Prices in San Antonio for a system like this with all new equipment, ducts, grilles, boxes and permits run about $5,000.
Keep in mind this is a builder price; retail companies from the phone book would be quoting $8-10k easy.
I got the siding on this week as well. I used the “historical replica” #117 siding for the whole master suite addition so it matches the existing house. I did the whole rear addition with 1 helper in a day, a big day though. It’s been pretty fun building this “new” addition in the “old” style.
It reminds me of the restoration/modified builds they do on old muscle cars these days. All old and original looking but with today’s advanced technology.
by Tom | Jun 15, 2008 | Craftsman Bungalow, Electrical
We reached some important milestones this week. The A/C is on, big deal in this 98 degree Texas heat! I finished all the cabinets as well as installed the granite slab counter tops.
I get the pre-bullnosed 8’ slabs fabricated in China and cut the dog-ears myself to seam them. This is the best way to go for rehabbers because it’s very cost effective and highly desirable for resale.
We wanted to go dark to give some contrast to the white cabinets so I picked Uba Tuba green. I dropped in a farmhouse style kitchen sink that’s very popular right now and furthermore mimics the original kitchen but in an updated version.
All the light fixtures and ceiling fans are up now and we are waiting for both the electrical and HVAC final inspections this week.
We broke out the big guns this week and unleashed our secret weapon – it’s an iPort in-wall dock for your iPod or iPhone. Flush-mounted in the wall just inside the front door, this device allows you to play your favorite music through the whole house surround sound system.
You can also send images directly to your flat screen TV. My pre-wire included HDMI and an 110v outlet above the fireplace for easy TV installation. The iPort is connected using a cat5 wire from the dock location to your media center (on this house I selected a closet).
You can also dock your iPhone, as it will charge either device. Studies have shown that buyers today are looking for smart wiring and tech goodies. This neighborhood attracts young, hip first time buyers so chances are good that they will be iPod savvy.
I felt the minimal cost of $200 for adding this cool feature was a good investment for this house.