This is the place to to find updates on Joshua and Crystal's remodeling project. You can add a feed for just this category to your news reader, or simply bookmark this page and check every few days.
To get a little background on what's going on, take a look at our original letter. As always, donations are welcome. Thanks for stopping by!
The active todo list! Check back often to track our progress!
Defined tags for this entry: rebuild
Sunday, August 9. 2009
Progress continues to be made, slowly but surely!
More NextStep ministries crews worked on the house since the last update, and more got done! The entire upstairs ceiling is now covered by sheetrock. Only one panel is left to secure into place.
We also had our electrical service entrance replaced by the fine folks at Bright Electric, and the down-stairs subpanel installed. The frustration came from miscommunication and lack of communication. We thought the labor was going to be free. It was, in part, but it appears Bright Electric thought it would only take four to six hours. It ended up taking about 24 hour of labor (had to replace the mast guy wire, feed lines because they were aluminum, and do some other modifications because the first inspection didn't pass). More materials were required than we originally planned as well. In all, it ended up costing $3200. Bright donated part of the cost, we were able to pay part of it, and NextStep minitries covered the rest. So, it was all taken care of, but the money did come out of our sheetrock budget.
In all, Praise the Lord! We've made some great progress. We can start finish work on the inside electrical now!
Monday, June 22. 2009
After several months of no progress on the house (due to finances--mostly--and other things), some more work is being done on the house. NextStep ministries from Wisconsin is sending teams up to Fairbanks this summer to do construction projects in the area. Our house was one of the locations chosen, and we are excited!
So far on the agenda: new stairs, vapor barrier, new kitchen window (done!), some electrical work, plumbing installation, and sheet rock on the upstairs ceiling. We'll see what else we can accomplish.
We have a list of todo's to get the upstairs livable so we can move back in, and that is our action plan. Our finances are tight (still working part time, looking for a full time job), and the team has a limited budget, but we know God is in control, so we'll see what He has in store.
Keep praying! We're making progress!
Friday, October 3. 2008
If you go to the rebuild category (http://jjncj.com/blog/categories/1-rebuild) the first post is a "sticky post" giving introductory information. Well, now it's going to serve double duty. I'm going to take my todo list from this post and add it to that sticky post, and update it as thing get done.
That way, you'll have a constantly updated progress chart. So, either bookmark the rebuild category or the sticky post itself. Or just add our RSS feed to your RSS aggregator.
Friday, October 3. 2008
Last Friday (2008-09-26) the house was spray-foamed! This is a polyurethane closed-cell foam that is one of the best insulators out there. We got four inches of foam in the studs up stairs, and two inches of foam in the 2x4 furring down stairs. Translation: the house is very air-tight and very insulated. The boiler with a couple of unit heaters on it can keep the house quite cozy.
We spent the last week cleaning up after the foamers (studs have to be cleaned, random foam overspray, etc), removing the rest of the sheet rock on the upstairs ceiling, and sweeping/vacuuming up the aforementioned mess. Save the stairs we're redoing, no more demolition!
It's coming along nicely. Stay tuned for more!
Friday, September 26. 2008
A lot of progress has been made since our last major update three months ago.
And today the house was spray-foamed. We got four inches of insulation in the exterior wall upstairs (2x6 walls) and two inches in the exterior walls (2x4) down stairs. We're so excited! We've been praying that the weather would stay warm until we got the insulation in, and it did. It's expected that we'll have highs in the thirties in a few days. So that Indian Summer we've been having? Yeah, that was a God thing.
So, the house is sealed up and insulated, and should be very easy to keep warm. Other work can now continue. Our todo list as it currently stands:
So, did I miss anything?
So, quite a to-do list, but the insulation today was a major milestone. We're getting there!
Edit: Added HRV.
Friday, September 19. 2008
1173 cubic feet. That's how much storage is sitting in our driveway as I write. We have been storing some stuff in the house for a few months (cabinets and flooring) and they need to be removed so we can do the insulation and the floor, and so we don't have to work around them while sheet rocking, painting, and the like.
What we now have in our driveway is a 20 foot connex container. We'll be moving the cabinets and flooring tomorrow. You're welcome to join us. Oh, and we'll be prepping the walls for the spray foam insulation.
Wednesday, August 13. 2008
...and bring me right back down.
It has been an interesting past few weeks. We've been searching for funding, and just haven't gotten anywhere.
Another interesting wrinkle came a little over a week ago. We got a bill from the water company for $3,200. Why? Well, they were billing us for digging up the street, filling it back in, and paving it. I thought I had been told, repeatedly, that if the line was fixed, and they didn't have to dig it up again to turn on the water, we wouldn't be charged. Either I was told incorrectly, or I misunderstood. No, I never got it in writing, and no, I never wrote down who told me. It was all verbal, and I don't think I was ever on the phone when I was told, so I didn't have anything to write it down. Right now, we're waiting to hear back from them as to how much they'll let us pay per month.
This past Monday we met with Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing Services (FNHS), the organization that helped us buy our house in the first place. They have some funding available for renovation loans, and we talked with them about that. The loan officer was very helpful, and very encouraging. It was almost a "sure thing" that we would be able to get a VERY low interest loan for $45,000 and finish the house. We were pretty excited, but still a bit cautious. We talked to him today, and were told that Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (the source of FNHS's money) is very reluctant to (translation: just about never will) loan money for work on a house in which black mold has been discovered, even when all the mold has been removed (in our case, the house is gutted). Even with an air test to prove the mold is no longer in the house, he was not optimistic. We'll do an air test and see what it gets us, but for now, that door is closed.
So, we're right back to where we started. We need $45,000 to finish the house (ideally $50,000, but $45,000 will do). And yes, I have a spreadsheet with all the numbers to back it up.
If you happen to know the source of a very low interest 30 year loan, please let us know.
God is in control! We know we'll get through this. We're just a bit discouraged right now. I'm just glad that the kids are young enough to not have any idea what's going on. Elizabeth knows that I go "work on the house," but she doesn't understand why I'm working on it, or why we're not living there. She and Jonathan-David are just happy being kids.
Saturday, July 19. 2008
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was heading over to the house today to shovel dirt back in to the trench. After working for about two hours, you could tell I had made progress, but you had to look closely. The tops of the dirt piles were gone; that was about the extent of it.
About that time, a paving crew from Bloom Enterprises drove by to do some asphalt patching down the street. On one of their trailers was a Bobcat. Maybe, just maybe. I walked down the street and ask the supervisor how much they charged an hour for bobcat work. "I don't think we really do that," was the response. Ah well, at least I tried.
About 15 minutes later, I look up, and coming down the street is a Bobcat being driven by one of the crew, and the supervisor riding on the bucket. I smiled, but kept my enthusiasm in check, because after all, there was a trench in the street in front of our house which needed repair too. But I did get excited when they pulled in the driveway.
We worked out a price, and Travis went to work. In about an hour, he accomplished far more than I could have working all day, maybe two days. All the dirt is back in the trench, and the driveway is, oh, semi-level, but functional. It'll probably settle over the next week or so, so we'll need more dirt, but that's OK. It was such a blessing to have that done. It saved me hours upon hours, and didn't cost us anywhere near what renting a backhoe or Bobcat would have. God is truly good.
If you're in need of paving work in the Fairbanks area, please give Bloom Enterprises a call. 907-474-0625 And let them know you're calling because they helped out a friend of yours.
Saturday, July 19. 2008
For the first time is many moons, we now have water flow in the house. Granted, nothing is hooked up to the water in the house, we we have water when we turn on the main valve. It's all foamed up (we have to insulate our outside water pipe in Alaska to protect from freezing), and I'll be heading over there today to throw dirt back in the hole. We'll see how long it takes me to put back all the dirt a back hoe took out in three hours.
Thursday, July 10. 2008
We now bring you an update of our water rupture story.
My father-in-law Steve got way more than he bargained for when he came to visit last week. He arrived in Fairbanks the evening of July 2nd after driving for over nine hours from the Kenai peninsula. Within a half hour of arriving, he was helping me dig out the driveway while Philip L. operated the back-hoe I had rented earlier that day.
In about three hours we dug up some 40 feet or so of driveway, and we did manage to find a rupture, hopefully the only one. The rupture was about two inches long, so must have pushed out thousands of gallons of water before our line was shut off. I'm surprised our neighbor's yard didn't settle any.
The bad part in all this is that our home owner's insurance won't pay for this, as the house 1) wasn't occupied, 2) wasn't heated (true, but peripheral to the cause of the freeze-up), and 3) there was no circulation pump (not required by code if you are less than 100 feet away from the main). So, if you know of anyone that might have some "pull" at State Farm, let us know.
Pictures included for your viewing pleasure.
Wednesday, July 2. 2008
My afternoon was interrupted at a quarter until four today by a phone call from our local water company, Golden Heart Utilities (GHU). The nice lady on the other end of the phone informed me that I needed to go to the house at 1612 Southern Avenue (the house we're currently remodeling) and check if we still had water service.
My reaction: "Huh!?" She went on to explain that a water supply line (the line going from the main to a house) had ruptured, and they had determined it was most likely ours, and they had dug up the street* and shut off our valve. How did they know about the broken water main? Water running down the street.
At this point, I'm thinking one of two horror scenarios. 1) I had left the valve in our basement open, the lines had thawed, and our basement was "full to overflowing." That was worst case. 2) The line right next to our basement had ruptured, saturating the ground next to the basement which would cause expansion of the soil come winter, possibly compromising our basement wall. That was best case.
When I got there, it turned out to be nearly not so bad. Walking across our neighboor's lawn I noticed it was rather squishy (important!), and our entire driveway was dry. A couple of employees from GHU arrived a little while later, and we discusses what had happened. Since there was not enough flow through our water lines, even with the recirculating lines (due to non-occupancy and the freeze up last winter), our water supply froze up and ruptured. It finally thawed out (yes, I know it's July), and started leaking. The fun part? It started bubbling up in our neighbor's driveway, some 40 feet away. GHU started digging in front of our neighbor's, looking for the valve to turn off. When that didn't work, they dug up nearly 40 feet of street looking for our valve. Shutting it off stopped the "spring" in our neighbor's driveway. The guys told me they were out digging in the street until 2:00 AM this morning, and then came back later to continue digging before they finally found our valve.
So, where does that leave us? We need to dig up the supply line, find the leak (hopefully only one), repair it, re-foam (insulate) it, and rebury it. I'll be coordinating that over the next few days.
*No joke. In our part of town, the main shutoff valves are buried about six feet under the street next to the water main. No exposed shutoff valves on the property line like we had in California.
Monday, June 23. 2008
So, it's been a while since my last update on the house. About two months, to be exact.
There aren't any "major" chunks of progress to be reported, but we are making progress, slow and sure. Right now, we're down to the "little jobs" that need to be done before we can start putting it all back together.
Let's see...what has been done in the mean time?
Stay posted...some major progress is coming soon, we hope. Furring and insulation is planned for the next few weeks. And then sheet rock after that.
Wednesday, April 23. 2008
A little more progress to report. Last Saturday Robb and I managed to get boxes and wiring in the kitchen. All the wire is there, and run back to the breaker box, although nothing is yet hooked up. We ran wire for the dishwasher, refrigerator, garbage disposal, microwave (required because our microwave is "large," i.e. above 1000 watts), small appliances (counter outlets), and the 120/220 line for the oven. The circuit for lighting will come later. Fun stuff.
Saturday, April 5. 2008
A couple more sub-projects on which major progress was made today.
The first had to do with the flow of electricity. The existing electrical system in the house consisted of two side-by-side Pushmatic boxes. For those who've never seen a Pushmatic box, it's exactly what it sounds like. The breakers are really large push-on-push-off switches, as shown to the right. Ancient. You can't buy boxes like that any more, even though the breakers are pretty easy to find. In fact, I've replaced a couple of them that have gone bad. At any rate, one of those boxes fed the lights and outlets in the house, and the other box fed the garage sub panel and the (out of service) electric baseboard heaters. Each box was fed by a 100AMP main from the service entrance. So, it was time to replace them.
We now have installed a brand new, shiny, Square D 200 AMP breaker box right inside our rear entry. All this was accomplished thanks to our new friend Joe Delskie. His wife posted on a local sale/trade list saying he was looking for NEC (National Electrical Code) and IBEW (Internation Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) books. I wrote, asking if he could do some work for us. He could. He does great work, and knows his stuff. If you have any electrical, HRV, other wiring (network, etc), tiling, or general carpentry jobs that need doing, he is looking for work while he does his IBEW classes. Drop me a line and I'll forward your information.
The other project today consisted of putting part of the sewer lines back together. A large section had to be replaced for a couple reasons. One was the discovery of a couple of leaks on the existing sewer pipe, as evidenced by the copper rust around a couple joints (one of those being the toilet run). The other was a puncture from a screw used by a previous owner to hang a bathroom cabinet. Yes, the screw went into the sheetrock of the wet wall, and into the copper pipe behind that.
So, we ended up removing the DWV (drain/waste/vent, refers to the drain and vent system) pipes running to the upstairs toilet, tub, and bathroom sink, as well as a large section of the main three inch DWV pipe. We worked on getting it back in a little last week, but this week Robb and Izzy measured, cut, and fit most of the main DWV pipe, as well as the runs for the toilet and tub. We now have all the pieces ready for gluing. The new runs are actually simpler than the old runs thanks to Robb's creativity and skill with connecting the pieces at various angles. Don't worry, everything still slopes in the right direction. The only thing that made it a little difficult at times was having to cut out the notches in the floors and 2x8s a little more due to the fact that 1.5 inch inside diameter ABS plastic is a bit bigger around than 1.5 inch inside diameter copper.
It was a very productive day. Felt good to see what was accomplished.
Update: Robb informs me that it was in fact Izzy that came up with the idea to use a 22.5 degree joint to match up the tub run to the oddly-angled run for the toilet. Gotta give credit where credit is due!
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