Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oh My God its Going to Cost How Much??...Part eleventy-ten

This is going to be a fun post....

So we had what is called a 'trade walkthru'. That's were the Winnans team gets all the subs to come to the house and gives them a set of plans and they get to walk thru the place to see things for themselves and then they give a firm hard bid. At this time the structural engineer also walked through the place to check out the situation and he came up with his own set of plans for the roof framing.

To refresh, here is the kitchen plan that we have basically settled on.

Here is the top floor plan also.

Here's the exterior renders showing the roof and the areas that need to be shingled.

Winnans takes all the bids from the subs and itemizes them all out along with their costs and does up a big itemized budget.

Can you guess how much it was for the whole she-bang??


Pretty much right in line with the other three highend guys who's off the cuff numbers were about $500,000....

Here's a breakdown on the numbers.

Top floor total = 313,787.54

Kitchen = 156,309.32

Deck = 1899.09

Living room drywall = 742.40

Here's a further breakdown:

Winnans Project mgt. fees and some cleaning, hauling = $19,514.15

Demolition = $9062.50- this appears to be everything that has to be torn off even the roof shingles and sheathing which I would think normally would be in the roofers bid?

Rough Carpentry = $44,286 This includes doing the cathedral ceiling on the top floor and the two new dormers.

Insulation = $21,822.50 I spec'd close cell spray foam and I know its expensive but this number reeks of 'hey its the new green thing lets stick it too em'. There is a dearth of spray foam installers in this area and I bet with a little work I can get this number down a lot. I think this is just for the foam on the top floor not even the bottom floor or the kitchen area!!! Don't know how many board feet of foam this is but its for 5.5" of foam in a 'hot roof' configuration.

Roofing= $26,674- This is for a 50yr roof and shingling the dormer sidewalls...I'm not even sure if this includes new gutters which we absolutely need...This seems really high we got a quote for $16,000 for just the roof when we first moved in. And this does not include the roof tear-off!?!?!

Windows= $22,270.90-I don't know if this is just to buy the windows or to buy them and install them?

Skylights= $4,868.24 This is for two Velux Skylights...I hope this includes the install...

Drywall= $11,191.78 This is just the upstairs...

Paint= $4,350 This is just for one coat of primer for the upstairs...

Scaffold= $7,250.00 this is for scaffold rental...kinda bugs me that they don't have their own? and its really just to make their lives easy....

Plumbing = $28,891.25 - Just for the top floor...the 2 baths, tankless water heater, and laundry

HVAC= $2,617.25 This is just for the 2 bath exhaust vents....

Electrical = $15,667.25 -all the lights, outlets etc.

Tile= $16,269.00 for the 2 baths plus the MB shower.

Allowances = $50,000 this is for all the fixtures and what not.

Remember now kids that's all just for the top floor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So wow, we were dumbstruck to say the least....and the project mgr at Winnans knows this is way outta our budget...we told them our budget to finish the entire house including the landscaping and exterior repainting was $300,000.... now what the heck are we going to do?

We talked with Amy the Winnans project mgr. about some sort of a compromise. They are going to look into doing the ceiling on the top floor in a different way. If we can maybe just raise the collar ties instead of doing the full cathedral (which we knew going in was always going to be the most expensive option and that we told them they needed to figure it both ways....)

So what we talked about with Amy is to figure out what work Winnans can do (they do their own rough and finish carpentry) vs. what we are going to have to do ourselves.

Here's our first pass: What Winnans will do.

  • The Demolition-on both floors.
  • The Rough Carpentry-on both floors.
  • Roofing-we would sub this out anyways.
  • Installing all the new windows, doors, and skylights.

That would leave us with everything else...the plumbing, electrical, tilework,painting,heating.

  • Even doing that cut down amount the cost would be $160,217 if I did the math right...this is basically the cost for Winnans to 'shell' the house.

So, after $160,000 spent we'd have a house that won't look any different than the one we have now to the untrained observer...and a house that is not really 'livable' and using their numbers is going to need hundreds of thousands of dollars of work still....yay!

As we see it we have two options. We've already paid Winnans to produce 'permit ready' drawings. I can take these drawings and shop them out to other contractors with less overhead to see if I can get it done cheaper or we go with Winnans and have them do the above work. Either way we are going to be stuck doing a large portion of the work ourselves....stupid reality...problem is, we don't really have time to play GC nor do we really want to. We really seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place here...we can't afford to have them do it all yet we don't have the time to do it ourselves...

This might be a case of a high-end high-service place with higher overhead and bigger margins-higher margins that I'm sure include the subs they use.

I feel compelled to note one troubling thing about working with Winnans Construction so far....they've never met a deadline or stayed within a budget....They went over the designing budget by ~40% and this entire house remodel is over by about the same amount...not sure what to make of that ya know?

So, that's it for now hope everyone has a good memorial day weekend and remember to hug a veteran on Monday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Begone Foul Tanked Water Heater!!

Now with our super-fab tankless Rinnai water heater working awesomely we can get rid of our old home-despot special tanked water heater.
Finally eeked out some time to discombobulate our old tanked water heater.

Here is is in all its ugly space-hogging glory. Check out the sweet shelf the foundation contractor made for it...more on that later.

Since the damn thing was full of 40 gallons of water we had to drain it first. It takes a loooooooooong while to drain 40 gallons of water for some reason. I used the hose and watered everything that needed it and then filled some watering cans but still there was a ton of water left so I had to let it pour out into the street drain.

Here it is kicked to the curb and awaiting the first Craigslist scrounger to grab it. It only took a day and poof it was out of our lives forever.

Here's the space left by said water heater.
The shape of the platform reminded me of something...

Yep a go-go girl cage!!! I think my days of dancing in cages are waaaaaay past but it was a fun picture to stage.

I starting knocking apart the platform and was confounded by these humongous structural screws that the rocket surgeons used to put the thing together. Luckily our impact driver made short work of them. Think I'm going to save them for when I need to build a wooden bridge or something.

Nother thing that I loved about this platform was the fact the the legs were sunk 2" into the concrete floor!!! It was super fun getting them out.

Check out how much space we got back after removing all that crap!! I swear I think that's the best reason to go with tankless. We just got back a coat closet sized amount of space. Believe you me in a Victorian you need every bit of closet space you can get.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tons O' Professional Design Ideas

Or, The One With All The Pictures...
Here is a huge compilation of design ideas that the design professionals at Winnans construction came up with. Starting from their first ideas to what we think we've basically settled on.
First stab at our kitchen from them. Checked floor very 50's.
Ugh white trim...

Top floor, floor plan not so very different than our idea.

Don't like the tub where it is. Tasha's bath is a bit smaller and now we can get to the storage area.

Some renders-the dressers in front of the built-in bench didn't make sense to us. We want as much built-ins as possible.

First stab at the 2nd bed and bath.

Still with the white painted wood...

Another try at the kitchen...and the deck not having stair down.. Didn't like the table here cause its not in the good view area.

Here's a very different idea for the top floor. With only one bathroom..which we expressly said we did not want...

Some renders of the alternate universe plan where we want to share a bathroom with a teenage girl.

First stab at the laundry area.

This is getting better with wood cabinets and paperstone countertops. Not sure about the deck stair thing. Or the beveled counter near the spiral stair.

In this one the booths were flipped so that the back of one will act as a back splash for the new sink location.

Here's a another different idea for the top floor. Irene didn't like how the bathroom was so big and the weird mini-hallway to the closet. I also didn't like how the toilet is damn near the bed...

Another kitchen iteration. We're not sure about the placement of the prep sink. The designer does not want it on the stove wall cause she thinks it will be in the way of the flow...we haven't decided yet.

Slightly different master bath setup with different closets in the laundry area.

Like the great big reading nook with built-in storage on either side. Not sure about the new smaller steam shower not big enough for two to sit and take a steam.

Tasha's room and the laundry area with venting skylights. We're hoping that we can use big enough skylights that we can pop them open at the end of a hot day and whoooosh all the hot air will fly out of the house.

This is the final kitchen idea. The deck is not settled and the placement of the prep sink is not either. Now how different is this than what we started with?...answer...not much...

Final top floor idea with the king and queen closets, the secret door to the storage area. How different is this from what our original idea was??? How many differences can you find kids?

Some renders of the final design for the top floor.

Renders of Tasha's room. Notice the built-in bookcases and dressers.

Final exterior plan. Don't we have a weird shaped house? That's why we like it. I think that with the swoops on the new dormers they're going to look pretty original to the untrained eye.

So we went thru a lot of time and a lot of iterations to end up with final designs that are barely different from what we started with.... I guess that's the way it works. The designer did add a couple of things to each design that we didn't think of and those touches made the design better.

Next up the trade walk thru and the 'presenting of the budget'....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We Have Heat!!!!! Ya-Hoooooooooooo

We Have Heat!!!! We Have Heat!!!!We Have Heat!!!! We Have Heat!!!!We Have Heat!!!! We Have Heat!!!!We Have Heat!!!! We Have Heat!!!!We Have Heat!!!! We Have Heat!!!!We Have Heat!!!! We Have Heat!!!!We Have Heat!!!! We Have Heat!!!!We Have Heat!!!! We Have Heat!!!!

Can you tell that we are a little bit excited? Its only, oh, 6 months late but we got the radiant heating system up and running a couple of days ago and maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan is it nice to have heat...We've lived in this drafty, under-insulated, leaky window'd Victorian for two winters now and wow the difference is just amazing. When it's in the mid 30s and all you have is a couple of 1500Watt space heaters to keep that's just not very fun. We could really only keep the bathroom, our bedroom and the family room warmish - when it was cold only the tiny bathroom would get actually warm. Gone are the days of it being 45 degrees in the kitchen.

Let's talk for a minute about radiant heating and its super awesomeness. There are no floor registers to take up space. There are no ugly duct lines running everywhere. There are no drafts. The floor is 'warm'. Now, this is a low temp water system where the water never gets above 110 deg F so the floors aren't 'hot' but they are warm. It's hard to explain but I'll try. In the past when we've walked on the floors in our socks they were COLD. The cold would just emanate from them and chill you through your feet. Now, the floors are warm and they warm you through your feet. It's an even warm which is also super amazing. Every room is evenly warm - there are no hot spots, no cold spots its just evenly warm and soooooooooooooo nice. We have to admit we are fricken in love with this heating system.

Have to give props to the guys at North East Radiant Technology - it appears that they've designed a system that is working at advertised.

Now, as to the question of whether or not it was worth the amazing amounts of hassle and the extra expense compared to a forced air furnace......the jury's still out on that one. But it is super nice to be able to take your preemie baby into any part of the house and not have to worry if it's too cold for her. That right there might be priceless.

So, I tried filling the system after the pressure test without following any sort of directions...It did not go super well. I plumbed the fill valve into the hot water line from our tankless heater instead of the cold water supply line...I got a ton of air trapped in the system and it didn't work...after a looooong call to my radiant designer it was determined that I had everything hooked up right but that all that trapped air was tripping the pressure head bypass (that black cylinder next to my right hand). I was going to have to bleed the thing the right way to get it to work.

Here's me going at it the right way using the hose and bleeding each individual loop separately.. Ya there was a ton of air still in the lines and I went through like geez a couple hundred gallons of water.

Notice all the water on the floor and my wet of those almost full 55 gallon trash cans tipped over part way and got a lot of water everywhere.

After I got the system bled I found out I had to set a couple of secret parameters on the boiler and Tekmar control systems so that they would talk to each other...wasted a cold wet tired evening of banging my head against the wall on that one...but I got it figured out and now the boiler and fancy-pants controls are talking like old friends.

These little dealys are the flow meters and flow control valves for each loop. This is before I adjusted them all so some have no flow. You adjust them by putting that red cap on top and twisting them to either decrease or increase flow. The amazing thing about this is that the flow thru the loops is mostly set at .2-.6 GPM? Man that's nothing it seems like?

Here is the control panel for the boiler. This is where I had to set the secret parameter. Right now its showing that the boiler is in stand-by mode and the water circulating thru it is at 98 deg F. The hard to read dial on the right is the pressure in the system which is reading slightly more than 10psi. It should probably be at 12psi so I might have to add some more water to the system. What's amazing is how quiet this thing full blast you hardly hear anything from it.

Here is the super-fabulous TekMar 420 boiler control thingy. The control panel says that the boiler is firing, the circulator pump is running, that the boiler is modulated down to 18% and that only one zone is requesting heat.

Here is what the valves look like when they are open. The top pops and you see the thick blue line. This shows that loops 5&6 are circulating which corresponds to the zone shown on the controller above. This is the kitchen-sun room zone.

These two temperature dials show the outgoing water temp (to the loops) and the incoming water temp (from all the loops). It shows that there is a temp difference of ~20 deg which is right.

Here's the cool co-axial exhaust of the boiler. Even at full blast it's way quieter than the tankless water heater. It makes a low-quiet moaning sound that I hope my neighbors can't hear. Though it does sorta make the area sound haunted.

Don't worry that wood above is just temporary. We threw that up to block the breeze from whipping through there and up through the floorboards.

One thing that's a little wacky is that we can not insulate the thin-fins yet. Since this is radiant heat the heat radiates evenly in all directions. The AL plates help the heat to radiate upward more but still there is a lot of heat coming down. Last night with no heat on on the bottom floor it was a toasty 67 deg down there. Not ideal but hey it was 71 deg upstairs!

And for a final picture here is a wonderful shot of what the temp is in the front part of the house. Yep 70 deg!!!
These thermostats are great cause at the press of a button they also tell you what the outside temp is. Well at least I think thats great. So you can go, look its 45 deg outside and a nice even toasty 70 deg inside.

It truly is a great thing having lived without heat for so long to have this. Used to be we would know exactly how cold it was outside just by standing in our hallway. Now we open the front door and are shocked, shocked I tell you, at how cold it is. In fact I think that after the loooooong cold wet evening of getting the system up and running I might of shed a small tear as I opened the front door for the first time and it was WARM!
YAY WARM!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone who wants is welcome to come over and walk around in their socks to experience the super-wonderfulness of radiant heat. Just make sure it's a day that's actually cold outside and that we'll you know, be home...