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8th Month of Construction

Job Diary - Eighth Month of Construction


I was out at the house this morning standing in the front of the house talking to the neighbor, and I heard a diesel motor sound coming around the corner. I looked, and it was my painter, followed by my plumber, followed by my countertop guys. Like a caravan!

It made me feel like somebody cared. On the other hand, the last thing the countertop guy said to me on the phone last week was, "Don't call us any more, we're going to be there!"

The painter finished up inside. He touched up everything so that the lines between the paint colors were perfect. He spray painted all the interior doors that were set up in the basement for spraying. Tomorrow he will do the exterior doors.

The plumber set all the toilets today.

The countertop guys got everything laid out and started.


When I got there this morning the painter's assistant was spray painting the front door. He did all the metal doors inside and outside. It looks very good. The kids bath countertop (tile) is going in. About half of the kitchen countertop is in. All the toilets look great and work great.

My friend Greg came over and hauled all the doors up from the basement and put door hardware on all the frames. They are going to insulate the basement tomorrow, so I had to get everything cleaned up and out of there.

I have been having a splitting stress headache. In spite of everything, nothing is finished, and I don't see how we can finish. I have a final inspection scheduled for Thursday afternoon, and there is so much to do it's impossible.

I had to put up a protective fence around our rear stairwell, so no one could fall in. When we put a deck out back, after we occupy, we'll have a railing there. I used chicken wire and metal posts for the temporary fence.

The sides of my temporary stairs have to be close together, closer than four inches, so no kids get their head stuck in between. I've gotten the bright idea that I could put temporary fencing, chicken wire, around the sides of the stairs, too.

Another thing the inspector will check is to see if there are any cracks in the front sidewalk. I got that swept up today, probably for the first time it's been clean.


Another thing the inspector told me is that I have to put sheetrock over the fold up stairs in the basement ceiling. Sheetrock gives "firewall" protection, and the garage has to be an uninterrupted firewall.

Today they blew in all the basement insulation. I made sure they got back up into the attic and added some there, because it wasn't all to the depth it was supposed to be. They cut up my refrigerator carton and used it as a dam in the attic to allow the insulation to go to the proper depth of 11 inches.

The hardwood guys said that the painter left overspray on the hardwood floor, and that he should come back and spend a day to clean it up. That would cost me, so I talked to them about it, and they finally agreed to clean it up themselves when they refinish the floor. Their preference would be that a house is painted before they put down floor, but that the baseboards are not on. Then they lay the floor and the carpenters put down base flush with the floor and paint that carefully.

The shower glass company I'm using provided us with a free lockout service all during construction. I decided to use them for providing door hardware and installation. One less thing I have to worry about, and they gave me a fair price. They are in there today putting up shower glass.

The countertop guy, the assistant, was working all day today, and I was talking with him and offering him drinks and stuff, and he said "You, know, John, it's so nice to be working for a real person. Most of the people I work for don't even talk to me."

The way it's looking right now, the finish plumbing labor will be under $250. At $20 an hour, the plumbing apprentice is getting a lot done in a small number of hours. I think he will finish up tonight.

I think the electrical is all done except for labeling all the circuits and closing off the panel in the basement.

Tonight we will tear the paper off the floor. The insulation guys will be back later today and put visqueen up over the basement insulation. The countertop guys should finish today also.

I drilled the hole through the garage wall to hook up telephone service, and drilled the hole through the basement wall to power the basement outside door light.

The hardwood guys offered to clean up the floor and do the second coat today, but there's too much going on. I think I'll wait until next week when we are done moving in and scuffing up the floor and then let them refinish. These same guys are doing the tile, and they are finishing up. The assistant showed me how they distress the edges of the travertine tile, by tapping on it with a hammer. He says it is a soft tile, and you have to make sure the underlayment under it is perfect, or it will break in place.

My cousin came over today and got a look at our chicken wire back stairs. He said "Those are the most temporary stairs I have ever seen."

Tomorrow morning the shower glass guys will come in and put door hardware on. My friends came over today and hung all the doors and got everything swinging right. It really looks like a house now. The inspector will be there in the afternoon tomorrow.


The countertop guys weren't finished, and the plumber couldn't finish putting in sinks last night. He couldn't wait around, so I had to give up and move my inspection to Monday, the next available time. I feel relieved though, and almost everything is done. I feel for the first time like this is really going to happen.

I checked with our banker, and in spite of the fact that the federal reserve dropped interest rates yesterday, mortgage rates haven't moved at all, and we are going to be fixed at 6 and 3/8 per cent on our mortgage. Not bad, though.


Today was a huge cleaning day. Jessica got started early cleaning it like a real house. Our friends came over and asked what they could do, so I told them to ask Jessica. They used a flat floor mop and wood floor cleaner to make the wood floor come to life. They also completely cleaned the basement. We hauled out all kinds of junk. One problem I have that I have to ask the electrician or tile guy about is how to put in the edge screws on the decora plug plate covers. The screws go in part way and bump into the granite tile behind the outlet. It's about impossible to drill a hole in that granite.


I flunked my final inspection today. I was warned that they don't usually pass you on the first try. The inspector agreed to come back tomorrow and gave me five or six things to do. We stayed over there until 2:30 a.m. getting everything done.

He wrote us up for not having the automatic door closer on the door to the garage wound. We just forgot. He tested everything and found that the plugs in the laundry room don't work. I called my neighbor Hugh's electrician to help me with that, since John Bankhead is in New Mexico today. He's coming in the morning.

I was out there in the morning messing with the undercabinet lights. They are supposed to be 24 inches long but they are actually 24 and a half inches. I had to drive to Salt Lake to get the smaller size (21 1/2"). Then John B. helped me get them installed before he left. He also solved my problem about the decora plates on the granite backsplash. He took the cover plate screws and cut them with his wire stripper to really short, just a couple of threads. They went in part way and held the cover plates perfectly.

Also the inspector found that we hadn't install the "anti-tip" brackets for the kitchen stove. I didn't know there was such a thing, but they were there with the broiler in the oven drawer of the new stove. I got that on later without any problem.

The inspector told me that the handrail on the basement stairs must return to the wall, not just hang out there at the top. Got that fixed. He went down in the basement and liked everything but told me to put blocking between each stud of the bearing wall that runs down the center of the basement. I had a huge box of 2X4 scraps that I used for that.

And that's about it. He looked at my temporary stairs in the back and said with a straight face, "Are these temporary?" He also wanted me to explain about the fence around the basement stairwell. I told him how the permanent deck will have a permanent railing there. In the stairwell, there were also some rusted metal ties sticking out of the concrete walls that I forgot to hammer off. I got those later with the three pound sledge.

My cousin came over and we hauled off more stuff to the dump. The basement and garage are just about entirely clear now.


We passed!

The inspector commended us on getting everything fixed so fast. He was really great about it.

Part of the reason was the electrician I hired to come fix the laundry room plugs. He found there was a cut wire or two underneath. Don't ask me how that happened.

Now we'll start moving stuff in. Thursday, the floor guys will come back and refinish the floor. He said it will look completely different. We'll stay off it for 24 hours to let is set up strong and probably move in on Friday.

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