Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 247: The Tile is Here

Once we had definitely decided on the tile for the house, I started watching for it to go on sale.  When we first saw the tile and added it to our list of possibilities, I began tracking the price.  I wanted to know what the best sale price was so I could maximize savings.

Last week I saw the best price of $1.99/square foot.  We figured how much tile we would need and added in an additional percentage to cover broken tiles and any mistakes we would make.  Home Depot's website also offered a suggestion for the thin-set mortar and grout colors.  The thin-set and grout shipped free, and the shipping cost on the tile was reasonable.  The nearest Home Depot is a two hour drive one way from our home.  Having it shipped was more cost effective than driving to get it.

Everything was shipped freight, and we needed a forklift or a pile of people to unload it.  One of our neighbors has a forklift at his business across the road from our house.  He agreed to unload it for us. (We bought lunch for him and his two workers one day as a thank you.)  The thin-set and grout were delivered on one pallet, and the tile was on five pallets.  Our neighbor then loaded each pallet onto W's truck so we could unload it at our house.

We piled it in one room of the house to wait until we are ready to install it.  We had two boxes that were damaged in shipping, but overall it arrived in very good condition.  I can hardly wait to see it on the floor!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day 239: Mud

In the end I opted to skip the trip to Mars and work on the new house instead.  I have never finished dry wall before, but I knew the basic steps.  I watched a bunch of videos on YouTube.  I highly recommend the ones by Kody Harvey.  His instructions were clear, and I liked his method of instruction.  He has videos on installing drywall from the start.  I even found a bunch of videos on ICF (insulated concrete form) homes like the one we are building.  I plan to refer to his tile videos when we get to that point.

I felt comfortable enough to start working.  I opted to start in the laundry room.  I wanted a good practice room that was not necessarily a main area of the house.  I started in the corner where the heating unit will be since that will be in a closet and less visible.

I am pretty sure my actual methods would horrify anyone who finishes drywall.  I do expect to get better as I progress through the house.  I am planning to do the closet and pantry next.  I did not tackle any corners on my first day.  I stuck to the screw holes and taping over the joints.  The pictures above are after just one coat.  I know it will be a slow process, but the labor is free.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I am Flying to Mars Next Week

Did I get your attention with the title?  Are you wondering what a trip to Mars has to do with building a new house?  I truly think that people would be more accepting of me taking a trip to Mars than they are when I say I am going to be taping and mudding the dry wall in our new house.

I typically get responses like "oh" or lectures on how hard it is and how everything has to be perfect.  I dislike the word perfect.  Have any of you seen anything that is perfect - not really good but perfect?  NO!!!  Nothing is perfect, and yes, building your own home is hard.  It would have been easier to take out a huge mortgage and sit back and do nothing.  The way I look at the whole situation is that this is my house so I am going to take care to do is as good as I can.  I do not mean that professionals would not do a great job, but even they will not do it perfect.  We do not have to satisfy a bank or appraiser as all of the money invested in this project is ours.  I plan to do a good job and start in the heating unit closet as my learning area.  It will not be included on the official tour so if it is not really good, the world will not end nor will zombies roam the streets.

From now on my standard response when asked who is doing our drywall is that we have "some people".  That is true as W and I are some people.  If they press for more details, I will just have to distract them with pictures from my trip to Mars.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Days 225 - 233: Putting Up Dry Wall

These pictures are from part of one day when we were putting up dry wall.  We wanted to get the laundry room done so we could call back the heating/air people.

Dry wall installation is pretty basic, but I wanted to focus on a couple of odd areas.  The first one is our pocket doors.

W bought shorter drywall screws since the pocket door frame is not as big as a stud.  I also love the little attachment he bought for the drill.  It keeps the screw from going too deep.  This is good as I am not the best at using a drill and was nervous about messing up.

Second issue is that some of our water lines run through the wall.  Running a screw into one while putting up the dry wall would be a very bad thing.  Our plumber had a remedy for that.  He installed metal plates over the studs where a water line went through.  These are on both sides so drilling into that area is impossible.

The rest is just a matter of cutting out for any light switches or outlets.  I helped W a few days and he did more on his own.

Next up will be taping and mudding.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

Building a new house means endless decision making.  We drew up our own house plans so we have been making decisions from the very beginning.  The decisions we make are not always popular with everyone else.  I am quick to politely remind people they can do things differently when they build a house.

One of the things we have spent the most time on is choosing flooring.  We knew we only wanted tile.  We live in the country with a garden, pets, and farm animals so we will never be lacking for dirt and other "stuff".  We also both have allergies and did not want any carpet. Our best advice (yes, some opinions are helpful) was to take our time and find something we really loved.  While we have not looked everywhere, we certainly looked at a bunch of tile.  In the end we came back to the first one we picked out.  We loved this one from the moment we saw it and nothing has even come close.

This tile is by Marazzi and is called Montagna Smoky Black.  It is quite dark but has tones of brown, gray, and cream.  It will hide dirt very well but also offers us some options as far as furniture and paint colors.  I believe I can happily look at this for the rest of my life.

We are also at the point where decisions about cabinets must be made.  W's dad is building them for us.  We did look at cabinets and find a style we liked.  Originally I did not want any type of knob or pull.  In our current house I am at the perfect height for the pocket of my jeans to catch on the cabinet knob.  W loved the shaker style cabinet, and I have to admit that I liked them too.  Unfortunately this meant that we would be better off with a knob/pull.  We looked at a local building store for a pull, but of course the ones we liked were quite expensive.  I made a note of the brand and came home to compare prices.

This barrel pull by Amerock was our choice and was much cheaper from Home Depot than anywhere else.  We needed enough to qualify for free shipping which was a plus.

Those are just two big decisions we made during W's forced time off from housework.  I am aiming for good enough not perfect.  As long as we are happy, I am not worried about what anyone else thinks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Insulation and a Short Break

I cannot tell you how surprised W and I were that hiring a company to do the insulation was cheaper than doing it ourselves.  Remember that it always pays to at least get a quote on things.

The first part of the insulation was pretty simple.  The crew came in just to fill in the holes we carved out in the Styrofoam to run the wires.  

Right after this W gave in and went to the doctor for his painful elbow.  It turns out he has tennis elbow - more like nail gun elbow.  The doctor ordered him on rest for two weeks with no work on the house.  It meant we had time to think about other things - flooring and cabinet pulls.  I will share those in a post later this week.