A SHELL OF A HOUSE

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The shell of the future living room

The fifty year old house we moved and are renovating was originally going to be a fixer upper. We thought it would be a big project needing lots of TLC but we didn’t realize just how much. It had more water issues from a leaking roof than we thought. To avoid any future mold issues we ended up tearing out all of the walls and old insulation until it was down to just the structure itself. What originally was going to be mere fixing of some old plastered walls and ceilings will now be a much larger task – completely re-building all of the interior walls and ceilings. This really isn’t a bad thing though because it will be nice to know that the house will have fresh insulation and new drywall. I suppose we could have built a new house but I still really like that this old well built house wasn’t demolished. The house was built by one of my close friend’s grandfathers; we were told it was the first home he built and he had a very long and successful career in construction. So even with all of the extra work ahead of us, this house still has good bones and was built to last.

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The future dining area

The future kitchen

The future kitchen

 

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The front entry way – I still love the door

 

 

BACK ON!

 

The house being moved on the new foundation

The house being moved on the new foundation

Since it’s move across wintery fields back in February, the house had been sitting patiently waiting for spring in order for the new foundation to be poured. With a wet spring, things had to be postponed until the ground dried enough to dig safely. We (well, the concrete guys) were finally able to dig the foundation and pour the basement. After what seemed like forever, it was finally time to move the house onto it’s brand new foundation. This actually proved to be a bit more difficult than it appeared even though the house sat right next to the foundation.

The moving crew worked for a day getting things ready like placing support blocks in the basement and making sure the metal beams on the base of the house were in the right spots.

Supports placed in the basement for the house move

Supports placed in the basement for the house move

It was the perfect day for the final house move with clear blue skies. Our family and a few neighbors came around to watch the excitement, even though it really wasn’t quite as riveting as the original move. The moving truck slowly lifted the house up and over the foundation so the beams were lined up with the window and beam pockets.

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After it was in position, it was time for the more precise moving.

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Over the next couple of hours the house was moved inch by inch until it was placed in the perfect position. This was a bit of a nail biting moment, hoping that all of the foundation measurements had been done correctly.

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Thankfully, it all worked out and the house lined up perfectly with the basement walls.

Finally, it's ready to be placed down.

Finally, it’s ready to be placed down.

And here it sits a few days later on a brand new basement ready for it’s exterior makeover.

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RADIANT HEAT FLOORING…DAYS 11 & 12

 

Half the basement HotRock install

Half the basement HotRock install

One decision we had no trouble making was to put radiant in floor heating in our future basement. We liked the idea of this simple and efficient way of keeping the basement warm and dry and since heat rises, the radiant heat in our basement floors will not only heat the basement, it will also help to heat the rest of the house…and help lower our heating bill. Radiant heat has been around for a long time (the house we’re moving from the 1960s had electric radiant heat in the ceilings.) We will be putting in the hydronic style of heated floors which uses water that will be heated in a boiler which will run through the plastic tubing under the concrete and give out a nice consistent heat.

So in preparation for this, the floor had to be insulated and the tubing installed before the concrete floor was poured. We looked into what the ideal insulation is for this process. The first options were SM Styrofoam insulation or polyethylene bubbles (like giant sheets of bubble wrap) but both would have to be taped at the seams…meaning more time and labour cost. We then looked into spray foam which sounded like a great option until we spoke with our concrete contractor who said that this was not a good idea as foam would expand and in turn, cause future cracking in the basement floor. Then while looking into other building products I came across an ad on a store website for a product called HotRock Panel which comes in panels that have many rows of raised knobs. The product is ‘an insulator, barrier and tubing fastener’, and it provides an R value of 10. The tubes carrying water can can be placed safely and easily among the raised knobs. We decided to go with this product which seemed to make the concrete contractor and the heating installer happy and was reasonably priced.

Box full of HotRock Panels

Box full of HotRock Panels

It took my husband and our construction help less than a day to install the panels over the gravel in the basement. They click together which makes the task pretty straight forward. They should be installed in a staggered pattern as you can see in the photos.

One thing to consider when choosing an insulation product like this is the height of your basement. The raised knobs and base of this product are just over 3 inches in height and that isn’t including the concrete poured on top so count on about 4″ of height. For us this was okay as we went with the higher 9 foot ceiling height.

Radiant flooring preperation

Radiant flooring preperation

The next step was for the heating and cooling company to come and place the tubing between the knobs and the system where it will hook up to the boiler. With a few sets of hands this job only took a few hours.

The radiant floor tubing installed in the HotRock Panel flooring

The radiant floor tubing installed in the HotRock Panel flooring

Tubes will connect to the boiler eventually

Tubes will connect to the boiler eventually

And finally the tubing placement is complete!

Tubing is placed throughout the basement floor

Tubing is placed throughout the basement floor

Now that the radiant heat tubing is safely placed throughout the floor, the next step is pouring the concrete. This was done a day later and the heating and cooling crew were present during the pour to make sure no tubes were accidentally damaged during the process. It all went smoothly and the floor was poured and now needs some time to cure before we can finally get the house on it’s new foundation and eventually try out the radiant heat once we have everything hooked up.

Concrete is poured over the radiant heat tubing

Concrete is poured over the radiant heat tubing

 

WALLS ARE UP – DAY 7 & 8

In the future basement

In the future basement

A couple of days ago we climbed up and into our new basement. Well, within the walls of our new basement. We stood in the middle and looked around at what will be a main part of our home. It was a great feeling.

inside the future basement

inside the future basement

We were able to rough out where the basement rooms would be and figure out some measurements.

The basement bathroom layout was on the top of the to do list as the plumber came today to start doing the plumbing work for the basement. We fit in a quick trip to go tub shopping. And like mattress shopping, you really have to try getting in the tubs to try them out for size and comfort. What I thought would be a twenty minute stop ended up taking almost two hours but in the end we found the perfect tub for the space.

Today the site is bustling with machinery, plumbers, electricians and building inspectors. I do feel bad for everyone working outdoors in our sunken future basement in hot and humid 31 degree weather while I sit here typing in an air conditioned room. Quite a change from just a few months ago complaining about the 30 below weather.

 

WALLS ARE UP – DAY 5 & 6

The walls are up

The walls are up

Things were busy at the site yesterday with multiple concrete trucks coming and going filling the wall forms. Today the guys were hard at work taking down the forms revealing our basement walls. Seeing our future basement walls up really cements the fact that things are moving forward (pun intended.) The next step will be to prepare for the radiant heating and pour the cement floor. After that we will finally be ready to have the house placed back onto a foundation…that’s when all the real fun will begin.

Basement walls

Basement walls

Freshly poured concrete walls

Freshly poured concrete walls