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Thread: Remodeling my parent's house

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Fort Worth, TX

    Remodeling my parent's house


    In August of 2005 we started the remodel. Probably will get done by this Christmas We're just about to get to the fun stuff, the built in book cases and cabinets and entertainment center.

    We've been taking pictures of the progress. There's close to 600 pictures up on my website now. It may be a bit slow, sorry.

    My dad and I have done most of the work. My mom, sister, and brother-in-law have all pitched it. And we did hire a few contractors for the roof and framing the walls. And for placing the concrete. Mostly though it's been me and dad, and mainly dad, since he's retired now and I work 40+ hours a week.

    Here's how the house looked:

    And here's what it looks like so far:

    Although we've since ripped out the old porch and placed the new porch. Can't find a overall picture since then though.

    We're mainly remodeling the front of the house.

    The idea was to enclose the side porch, extend the roof over the driveway to make a two car carport, extend the roof over the front porch, make the front porch a little deeper (extend it towards the street a bit), extend the front wall of the house two feet towards the street, and add a 10x10 music room onto the porch.

    But the zoning board said no, because of a neighbor that didn't understand that "brick veneer" is the proper term for brick, and though we were going to use some sort of brick equvilant to walmart furniture.

    We were allowed to extend the roof out over the driveway, but only 200 square feet worth or a portecache. We wanted 400 square foot. We were not allowed to bring the front of the house out two feet, even though we surveyed the lot and proved that we were two feet further from the street than our neighbors on either side. We were not allowed to add the music room, because we didn't own a grand piano (seriously!) and their immediate neighbor to the north complained that it would block his wind, even though the wind is predominately from the north. We were not allowed to extend the front porch towards the street. We were granted a variance to "allow" the front porch to stay where it was, because when it was built, in 1920, it was three feet from the property line, and now porches and everything else has to be 5 or more feet off. Oh, and we were given a variance to rebuild the existing north wall of the house that is also three feet from the line. They did want us to move it two foot south! And we were allowed to move the front door to the north so that it lines up with the entrance to the dining room, even though the veneer neighbor complained that it would "ruin the character of the neighborhood!"

    First thing we did was put up some six inch pipe to become the supports for the roof and the portecache.

    Then we welded up wide flange beams to the top over the car port area. They're what the roof is supported on on that side, and what holds up the floor of the attic there.

    Then we went up, doing all the metal work structure on that side up to the new roof line. We were building the new roof about 5 feet above the existing roof so that we got some more room in the new attic and so that we were always dry.

    Then we built the new roof. It was tricky getting the interface of the new roof to the old roof right. Lots of drawing and making of models and such. I think we waaaay over thought it.

    Then we put shingles on the new roof, and ripped off shingles from the old roof we were keeping and re-shingled them.

    Then we demo'd the old roof that was under the new roof.

    Then we demo'd the living room. We thought about keeping the front wall, but decided to build a new one since we were moving a door, and the windows, and the fireplace, so it was mostly going to all be re-done anyway.

    Once the walls were up we could install the ceiling joists. We used salvaged 2x12s. Doubled up and bolted and nailed together. They had to span from the existing interior wall to the new wall and then across the front porch to rest on the beams out there, for a total of 24 feet. We used a lot of 2x12s. But we wanted to be able to store woodworking machines in the attic if we needed to, and maybe even work up there, so we built it hell for stout. We used up all our salvaged 2x12s and ended up having to buy 8 or so.

    We also took the opportunity to raise the ceiling in the dining room. It was sagging pretty bad and needed to be raised up about 6 inches. From inside the room you couldn't tell, but from the attic you sure could. The house is 80+ years old, and they used 2x4s for the ceiling joists, so it's not suprising that it sagged, it more suprising that it didn't sag more!

    More to come later tonight! (maybe tomorrow)

    Last edited by Mike Herring; 05-19-2007 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    We nailed and bolted three 2x12s together and strung them from the east wall to the west wall above the dining room.

    Then we atached metal plates with all-thread welded onto them to the existing 2x4s. A matching plate was mounted on the 2x12s.

    When the nut is turned it forces the existing 2x4 to rise up towards the 2x12s.

    One set of plates per 2x4.

    Above the driveway is an access hatch to the new attic. Above the hatch is a half ton electric hoist on a sliding rail. This has already proved to be veryvery helpful. Not only for getting stuff up into the attic, but for unloading the truck of old iron. Although the jointer we got recently was too heavy for the electric hoist, so we used a chain hoist to get it off the truck.

    Above the rail is some storage. We needed to tie the rafters togehter anyway, might as well make the space usefull, right?

    Shot of the front porch area and the ceiling joists.

    Next up we busted out the old porch. I took all day to bust it up. Then another couple of days to haul off the bits of concrete.

    We rented a sheetrock lift to hang the plywood on the ceiling. That is the only way to go. Took us only one day to hang the ceiling. The rental place wanted $30 for the whole weekend, what a deal!

    We replaced the old water pipe with a new one. Also while we were under the house (it's pier and beam) we used installed the left over insulation in between the floor joists. With the fireplace gone we had a nice sized hole in the floor to get down there, and we had the extra insulation, so it seemed a bit silly not to use it. Not sure how much good it'll do, but probably can't hurt. We ended up stapling the insulation up, then stringing chickenwire across the whole area from joist to joist. That way when the staples failed the chicken wire would still hold the insulation in place. No pictures of that as we were under the house and it was rather dark.

    Somewhere in this time we installed the windows. They're Pella brand ones, to match the rest of the house.

    Also finished up the mezzannine in the attic. The bottom of the rafters for it are at eight feet from the floor. That clears all the shelves we plan on usuing in the attic, and gives us a lot more usuable room for storage up there.

    I don't know if you can tell in the pictures but the plywood we used for the roof is the stuff with the foil on the back. Once the new attic was finished we moved everythin gout of the old attic and then had a radiant barrier sprayed on. It now looks like a cheesy 50's sci-fi movie in there, everything is all shiny and silver. After the radiant barrier was added, but before we added the shelves, we replaced the furnace up there with a new one, and all new ductwork. The furnace was still good for a few more years, but it would never be as convineant to replace it as right then. The AC guys sure did like the hoist!

    Next up we worked on the porch. We built the forms and layed the rebar ourselves. Dad's been hoarding rebar for years and we used up almost all of it in the porch and steps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Fort Worth, TX

    We ended up placing the concrete for the steps on another day.

    Since then we've mainly been working on the cieling for the front porch. It has taken up an insane amount of time. We used 6 inch wide tounge and groove boards with a groove down the middle. It's what Mom wanted.

    Took 16 hours to primer all the boards by hand, both sides.

    Then we noticed that we'd made the roof parallel to the old front wall of the house, but had made the new front wall parralell to the street.


    By measurement we found out that we would need X number of boards and then a row of boards only 2 inches wide. The contractor we hired to help out dad at this point thought that would look bad, and convinced dad that the way to go was to make the gaps between the boards alittle bigger, and that we could work out that 2 inch gap that way. Well, we did, but then when it came time to paint, the gaps were large enough that the paint bridged over from one side to the other, but sporatically. So there are some bridges, and some not. So now we are going back and caulking every joint and repainting it. It took dad and the contractor 52 man hours to do the front porch, and dad and I about 20 man hours to do the car port area. I don't know how long dad spent caulking up the nail holes. It's taken him several days to paint, and now he'll need several more to caulk all the joints and repiant.

    And the kicker is that no one, no one, will ever look up and notice it.

    The stone for the front of the house is on order, once it arrives the rock guy will come out and rock the front of the house. I think he should rock around the corner, too, alongside the driveway but probably we'll just brick that.

    A few years ago Acme said they were going to stop making the brick that we'd used on 3/4 of the house so far, so dad went ahead and bought enought to finish off the house and the garage.

    Once the ceiling on the front porch is done with, we'll head inside.

    We need to add a hard wood floor to where the old side porch was, and where the fireplace was. then we'll build a fireplace, gas, on the south wall. Dad got a neat piece of mesquite to use for the mantle. On the north end of the living room is a full width closet that will be hiden behind floor to ceiling book cases. It'll hold mom's assorment of Christmas junk. Which currently takes up most of the old attic, and as much again is stored in my sister's attic! Not all of it will fit, but the most commonly used stuff should, and it'll keep her (us!) from having to lug it up and down from the attic twice a year. One of the bookcases will pivot to get to the "hidden" closet. Should be cool. I want a statue of Shakespeare to be the release, but everyone thinks that's crazy. 'Course I think it'd be cool to have the fireplace shaped like a dragon's head with red glass eyes above the mantle that would glow when the fire was lit. But that's "weird"

    Anyway, on the east wall between the windows will go the entertainment center.

    There will probably be other shelves and book cases elsewhere. I think the windows will have seats underneath them, not sure.

    That's about where we are now. As we do more work, I'll update this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    mike, i`ve seen less rebar in some commercial foundations than you have in your dads porch! thanks for the thread! tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Fort Worth, TX

    Dad's been saving up rebar since we built the garage in...1992ish, and very little was left over. We figured we had it, might as well use it. Now that he's retired he can't dig out the scrap from the bin on job sites anymore. So when we tear out and replace the driveway we are actually going to have to buy rebar. The horror!

    The inspectors for the garage and the porch both commented that they'd never seen so much steel in a foundation. Our structural engineer friend said that we used too much and it would cause problems, but we've never noticed any problems in the garage, and there are several thousands of pounds of machines and tools in there.

    It was a chore to bust up the old concrete from 80 years ago, and it just had a wire mesh that had sunk to the bottom. I would like to be around to watch (but not participate!) when someone tries to bust out this porch.

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