Sunday, November 20, 2011

The finishing touches for the external work on the house

When the addition was completed, our house had nearly tripled in size, from 860 square feet to 2300.  This ambitious project caught the attention of many neighbors, who gave accolades, advice and even sometimes lemonade on their daily walks.  A lot had been accomplished in a short time, but Mark's six-week leave from work was nearly over, and he still had several windows to install and siding to put up.  Our project timeline was behind due to weather, miscalculation of time needed, and some mix-ups with materials deliveries.  To get the house sealed up in time for winter, we relied on the help of contractors, friends and a relatively warm fall that year.
We used a contractor to shingle the roof.  Mark decided that installing shingles on the steep- pitched roof should be left to the experts.  We later used the same contractor to install gutters and complete the siding. 

I got to make a couple window wells along the back wall of the house.  Other than that project, I stuck to running errands, making lunch for the laborers and going to work. 

Our shipment of 41 windows (that's right, 41) included two with broken panes, two with incorrect dimensions and two that were the wrong color.  A couple weeks went by before those windows were replaced.  The windows in the new parts of the house were all installed before Bruce and Dave went back to Australia.  It was those that needed to be retrofitted into the existing parts of the house that weren't completed, and those took additional time and skill to install properly.  When you're working with an existing house, you have to compensate for openings not being plumb and square, or in layman's terms, not straight.  But before the siding could be put up, all of the windows needed to be installed.

Several friends helped with window and door installation.
Mark installed Hardi board siding, beginning with the framing around all the windows on the main level, moving on to the siding boards on the main level.  He created a little handy tool to help him hold one end of a board while he nailed the other end.  This method enabled him to work independently.  The contractors who helped out with the remaining siding were impressed with his invention. 

Mark installing our Hardi board siding on the back of the house.
Mark and Don were glad to finish the soffit installation. 

Here is the house with windows, siding, roof and doors all installed. 
Here's the back side of the house.  There's me, about six months pregnant.

Having finished the outside of the house, it was time to start working on the inside.  We prioritized the completion of the main level before starting work on the second level.  Would we have a floor, cabinets and appliances in our kitchen before the baby arrived in February?  Time would tell.