Monday, November 9, 2009

What's New is Old Again!


Well we haven’t posted for a while but that does not mean we haven’t been busy with our Georgian reno. We have been doing a lot of inside work, including pulling out all the trim and the old strip hardwood flooring to make way for the new. We are almost done with demolition after filling at least 4 disposal bins. It really doesn’t seem that there is much left of the old house.

The big accomplishment outside the house is the completion of the brick work. You will recall that our bricklayers finished their work over a month ago. Since then we have brought in the people from PermaTint to transform the new brick into the old. PermaTint is brick coloring that we first discovered when we saw it done on a house down the street from us. Each brick is individually tinted to match the look of existing bricks on the old part of the house. It took the crew about two and half days to tint approximately 6,000 bricks. We weren’t 100% satisfied with how the back of the house turned out so we had them come back and do some touchup work. We must say that we are very pleased with the final result. Just about everyone who has seen the work is blown away by how good the reproduction is. PermaTint warranties the work and the tinting for 30 years, so we don’t anticipate any problems down the road with the product. Please enjoy the pictures and tell us what you think.


Next up, interior work: HVAC, plumbing and more framing!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mixed Bag

We have been working on a number of fronts at the Georgian reno. The demolition continues and we are starting to wonder if and when it will ever end. We ripped all the lathe and plaster from the walls leading up to the second floor and all the walls at the top of the stairs. We also took the ceiling down at the upstairs landing. We had always planned on doing this however the job took on additional importance as we would like to add a skylight upstairs. Our framers weren’t convinced we were going to be able to due to structural issues surrounding the engineering of the new roof on top of the old one. Well the good news is that Halim, our framer is now “99 percent sure” that the skylight can be done after taking a look at the situation. We are really happy about this as it is an architectural feature that will really make the house stand out not to mention give us some much needed natural light to both the upstairs landing and the main floor foyer.






Strassburger delivered the balance of the windows this week as well. Rommel will begin installing those soon. He installed the new window to the old main bath last week.

Strassburger also sent their technician to come in and replace two mistakes that they made with the windows in the addition. See if you can spot one of the mistakes.


Joe and Nando Caruso finished the stucco on the box bay window area. Once the caulking is done we will be able to have Frank come over and take all the scaffolding away.

We hired John Greco to come in and do some more concrete work for us. His crew will be breaking the old concrete floor in the furnace and laundry room, installing steps in the bench footing, and once Tony from Tri-Vent Plumbing comes in and puts in the new drains, they will be pouring a brand new concrete floor.

We went shopping and bought our hardwood flooring. Final decision was 2,100 square feet of brazilian cherry, otherwise known as “Jatoba” in a deep dark brown stain. We absolutely love it. The planks are 4 inches wide. It is going to look fantastic, but meanwhile the old flooring all has to come out. Ugh...more demolition!

We have also been shopping for countertops. More on that later…

Still trying to find our aluminum guy so the outside can be finished…

We have decided on our contractor for the HVAC installation. We anticipate our permit to be issued this week and the work will begin in earnest on that front. More on that later as well…

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stuck on you

Now that the brick is done, we are working on completing the box bay windows. We are Stuccoing the area, and including some sills and trim. Caruso Contracting is doing the work. They are fantastic and the proof is in the job they did on our garage over 5 years ago. No problems with that whatsoever. They will be applying a “Venetian” finish to the stucco to match the garage and the color has been matched to that of the window frames.


Inside the house right now, we have been doing even more demolition, having now removed all the lathe and plaster from the ceiling in the basement. This is to make way for the new heating and air conditioning system, new electrical, new gas line, and new plumbing. Upstairs Sandro from DeRock Electric continues to convert our house from old knob and tube wiring to current code.

We are also in the process of getting our HVAC permit from the city. Brian Scott our mechanical engineer put the finishing touches on the drawings for the new system and we expect to have our permit by mid October. We are currently getting pricing for this work as well. All new ductwork, hi-efficiency furnace, central air, and tankless water heater, plus the typical add-ons like media filter and bypass humidifier. We hope to have our contractor chosen this week.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

She's a B R I C K house.....


Our bricklayers started bricking the addition this Wednesday and by Friday were almost finished. We chose an Ontario red brick from Hanson Brick which matches the size of our existing 70-year old brick. Unfortunately, it does not match the color of our existing which is known as 'range mix', but we'll have more on that later.
We installed 4 inch limestone sills under the garden doors and all the windows. The bricklayers will also be opening a window on the side of our old main bathroom on the second floor. As for the two story box bay windows, we will be getting Joe Caruso to apply a stucco finish to that area. Joe was the fellow that did such a fantastic job on our garage when we built that 5 years back.



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to work!

We have been away to God's Country on a much need vacation and that was great! But now we're back and anxious to continue the Georgian reno.

The first week back, we ordered another disposal bin from Tony at Downtown Disposal and we demolished the plaster walls in the foyer and the coat closet in the old house. We also had HP House Framers come in and finish a few things and put up the interior walls to the new powder room and servery.

Lastly we took delivery of our garden doors from Eurovinyl Windows. Rommel, our friend and window guy came over and with the help of Rob and Dave Falcone, we installed the door while being eaten by mosquitos as the evening progressed. We were very happy with our new garden doors and were impressed with the quality.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wrap it Up!


“It’s the biggest damn thing I ever wrapped!” exclaimed Rob after he completed installing the Typar house wrap. Hopefully a gift we can open for ourselves this Christmas. Our new home! We are bagged, dead tired and need a vacation. We have really been pushing it to get to this point but we made our goal. Going to take a little time off and get out of Dodge.

Next up: Bricklaying, Stucco and starting the inside work.

Windows on the world

We bought our windows from Mike Meyer at Meyer and Zapp and they arrived early in the week. We are replacing all of the windows in the house but took delivery of only the new addition windows first. They are Strassburger 3000 series and are all vinyl casement style windows that have simulated divided lites that really make them a beautiful addition to our home. The exterior color is beige and the interior color is white. We chose Strassburger because their windows had some added detail in the trim and sills that you just don’t get from most vinyl window manufacturers. Our patio door is being built by EuroVinyl windows and doors and is currently delayed because of a last minute change we made to the detail of it. More on that later... Our good friend Rommel installed our windows in a day. Rommel commented on how easy the window installation was due to the excellent work the framers did.

Roof and Roll


Our two favorite Portuguese roofers, Almicar and Chris of Oxxo Roofing came in the day after the framers finished sheathing and got to work taking off the old roof. We are replacing the entire roof. The color is dual black and we think it looks great. It’s a beautiful roof both architecturally speaking and visually. We couldn’t be happier. It took the guys two and a half days to finish the job. We would recommend Oxxo Roofing to anyone looking to replace their roof.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We’re Getting Framed

Since the beam was installed things have started to progress quickly. The framers, Paul and Halim from HP House Framing were in the same day the beam was finished and they put up all of the first floor exterior walls. The next day the second floor subfloor was mostly installed. We have had alot of delays because of the weather, which quite frankly, has been lousy. Before we knew it though, the second floor exterior walls were up and then the difficult part started…the roof. There are a number of issues with respect to the roof that we have been debating. At first we were going with engineered roof trusses but we are glad our framer convinced us otherwise. Ultimately we have chosen a hand sawn roof. Also because the new roof will be partially supported by the old roof, there are some engineering issues which needed straightening out. Viktor, our engineer from B-Design has been instrumental in assisting us with a number of changes during this project.
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The other significant event was that we have
gotten Rankel, the excavator to come back in and do the backfilling, so the giant mound of dirt is no longer in our backyard. We are starting to look a lot less like a construction site and that makes us happier.





Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Beam Me Up!

The work to open the back of the house has begun. Once the framers from HP House Framing came in and built the first floor subfloor, John Greco’s men began by shoring up the basement and first floor joists with jackposts, some of which we borrowed from our friend Silvan. Friends with tools and stuff are great! Peter Skillings has also been a great source for a countless number of items including safety fence and a two stage epoxy gun. Our neighbor Bill has also been very willing to lend us tools when necessary.

After supporting the existing floors, the Greco group, cut the double brick walls in specific areas to install more jack posts. The beam to be installed is about 600 pounds and is over 15 feet long. It is supported on one side by a steel post and on the other by the former chimney which is to be filled with concrete to create a pillar. The next day the men came back and installed the beam by first lifting onto scaffolding, and then sliding it into the “pocket”. Following that, they filled the gap above the beam and the brick wall above. Then they demolished the brick wall below and voila, our house was open to the elements. The next day they completed the job by making a 6 foot wide opening in the rear of the basement between the old house and the new.

Last item was the installation of the steel pole. Imar Steel sent over the welder with the post and he installed it in no time. For us this was a major hurdle and we are very glad it is behind us.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leaving Radiator Springs

Besides the addition, there is significant work to be done on the old house. New wiring to replace the original knob and tube, new windows, and new heating and air conditioning amongst others. Our house was heated by hot water and radiators. Those are being replaced with a forced air gas heating system. Step one in this process is removing the old equipment. We located a fellow who specializes in this type of work and in about a day he removed all of our cast iron radiators, piping, and the old boiler system. It’s a dirty job and very labor intensive. Those radiators weigh a ton!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slab Happy

Yesterday John Greco and his crew from The Greco Group began the work of installing the basement floor. After installing the sump pit, they filled the area up to the bottom of the footing with gravel, which they brought in by wheel barrow. It was raining pretty hard by the time they finished so they called it a day.

This morning they filled gravel in and around the outside of the foundation covering the weeping tile. They also installed vapour barrier over the gravel inside where the floor was to be poured. The vapour barrier is designed to stop moisture from coming up under the slab and into the basement. At 8am the concrete truck arrived with 5 meters of 30 mpa concretewhich the crew brought to the back of the house in wheel barrows. It was then poured down a chute, which they had constructed. The slab is to be 4 inches thick. An hour later the concrete was in and the initial finishing of the surface was complete. One of the crew was to stay onsite for the balance of the day and continue to finish the surface as the concrete cured. As there was a chance of rain during the day, the crew erected tarps over the entire area which they left up overnight.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Oh No, Don't Let the Rain come in....

The forms were removed the day after the concrete was poured and a few days later the process of waterproofing the foundation began. On day one, Nuno and Vera sprayed on a latex based product to seal the exterior concrete. On day two, they applied the 2-ply membrane to the walls with special fasteners. Once the backfilling is completed around the outside of the foundation the pressure of the soil will complete the process of sealing the membrane to the wall. We anticipate that we will never have any water leakage issues with this system. According to Nuno, "this is as good as it gets!"



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Monday, July 13, 2009

Pump it Up!

Things got going early today. By 7:15 am, the pumper truck was on the site. The operator had to park it on the front yard for the job. The boom went over the top of our house to pump the concrete into the forms. A wild sight! One half hour later, the concrete trucks started arriving. 3 trucks in total delivered 23 cubic metres of 25 mpa concrete which was pumped first into the bench footing, then the foundation walls. By 10:30 am, it was all over. Everything went quite smoothly thanks to the crew at Chico's Forming.



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Friday, July 10, 2009

It's All In Your Form!

Today, the guys from Chico's Forming installed the 8 foot forms for the poured concrete foundation walls. The walls once poured, will be 10" wide and 8 feet 1 inch above the footings. Rob, Marco and Bruno got the forms up in no time. Monday we pour concrete!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Eve of Destruction

This past weekend we got a 14 yard bin in the driveway out in front of the house and did some clean up and demolition. We threw out our old washer and dryer that we plopped in the garage, some construction debris and started demolishing the kitchen walls and ceiling. The walls were lathe and plaster and the ceiling was cement board. Everything you hear about this type of work is true. It is hard, physically demanding, and makes a hell of a mess. The only thing good about it is the beer when youre done! By noon Monday the bin was almost full and that included all of the kitchen and part of the ceiling in the basement below the kitchen. As far as demolition is concerned we still need to do the foyer and the stairway and upstairs landing as well as more ceiling in the basement. This is going to have to wait however as sometime soon the concrete pumper truck will be visiting the house and we cannot get another disposal bin until that job is completed.




Friday, July 3, 2009

Solid Footing!

On Thursday July 2nd, our forming contractor (Chico’s Forming) came in and poured concrete into the forms for the footings for the exterior walls of the house. They used a special concrete truck with a conveyor belt type device to move the concrete from the truck to the rear of the house, where they then filled wheelbarrows and poured the footings. Steel rebar was placed in the poured footings where they will tie into the bench footing. Next week they are supposed to come back, erect the forms for the walls and pour the walls and the bench footing at the same time.




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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Big Dig

Well for two days we have been playing in the mud. Excavation and rain, what a combination! Our excavator (Rankel Excavating) got right into it with his Bobcat skid steer, followed by a mini excavator. First thing we uncovered was the old poured concrete septic tank. Luckily it was mostly empty and dry. The big surprise was uncovering a cistern constructed out of clay brick. Apparently these were installed in the homes back 70 years ago to act as a catch basin for the laundry room in the rear basement of the house. Anyway, out it came.


On day one we filled 5 dump trucks with clean fill which got trucked to a dump north of the city. The remains of the septic tank were disposed of elsewhere. The excavation had to be 9 feet below the bottom of the existing floor joists so that eventally we will have 8 foot ceiling height in our new basement area. Rankel used a high tech laser level to dig to the proper depth.


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Day two we removed three more truck full of fill and left a huge pile in the rear yard for backfill. Progress was a bit slower on day two. This was mostly because Rankel had to dig the last of the hole as he backed out our driveway. This was the only way to accomplish the task and get the mini excavator out as our driveway was going to be too narrow once the excavation was completed.


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Monday, June 22, 2009

The Wrecking Ball Cometh

Well this is our first post. We have already done a bunch of stuff including finalizing the plans, obtaining the permit, moving out of the house and moving our gas meter from the back of the house to the front. And much, much more.....

As of today however work has begun in ernest. We got a 12 yard bin put in our backyard and started demolishing the sunroom off of the rear of our house. It needs to be removed because there will be excavation for our two story addition in its place. Lucy and I had at it the first day and got a lot accomplished. The second day I was on my own and managed to complete the job as well as removing the kitchen cabinets from inside the house. Some "bin management" was needed, but we got everything in.