flat roof

Yo-Yo Renovating – The Ups and Downs of Remodeling a Mod House

Summer is upon us, and what should be a more carefree, relaxed few months of the year, has taken a different turn in my little world.  No trips yet to the lake for me.  No m’am/sir!   More likely, my summer day includes a trip to Menard’s and Home Depot.  What about gardening and planting flowers?  Fuh-gid-a-bad-it!  Anything within 100 feet of the house is in the work zone, and sure to get trampled.  Ah, the joys of remodeling!

Okay, I am being a bit dramatic… It’s not like this house project has been forced on me.  I chose to take it on, and happily so!  (Why didn’t somebody stop me???)  Anyway, it has been quite the challenge with many ups and, to be fair, many downs.  I wonder if there is such a thing as “renovation therapy” to get people through the tougher legs of the house-improvement-journey?  I swear I have developed multiple personalities since this all began…I’m only kind of kidding!

What’s the back-story for this woe-is-me attitude?  It has been a slow week on the ‘ole pra-jay.  I have been crazy frustrated, as the weather has been cooperating, but not the workmen!  There have been various excuses made for the guys to not be on my job, like incorrect weather forecasts, and my not being cool with the carpenter’s 7-year old kid coming to “work” with his dad all day….But I know these guys have other jobs going, and you know what that means.  My project was being stalled.

Of course, I complained.  A lot.  Called, texted, emailed.  Lots of negativity (by me).  I put my foot down!  No more Mrs. Nice Gal!  You might even say I was being just ever-so-slightly bitchy (no doubt)….

So this is the craziest part:  James, the builder/remodeler/owner, had a way of talking me through the frustration and helping me understand the situations.  His response to each complaint seemed genuine, and he always pledged to try to resolve the problems.  One point that has been made is that our project is different than most.  It’s residential, but has a lot of commercial-type details like the flat roof.  Mod houses like ours come with unique challenges, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of dudes around who are super comfortable with this type of residential design.  Many of the subs primarily work on commercial projects, so there’s a few things that get “lost in translation”, in dealing with me and my house.   Anyway, James most definitely has talent when it comes to calming down a client in a tizzy (Now, if he could just promise his guys will come to work each day…)!

So, here’s where we are at:

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The main roof has been insulated, pitched, and has its fully adhered rubber membrane glued. The raised part is the top of the soffit that goes around the whole house.

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With the main roof mostly complete, things got going on the garage. Here, you see the new soffit getting built. It will only be on the front side. Other sides will be flush with the walls.

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Roofers take over, giving the garage the same treatment as the main house.

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The garage roof all done (except for finishing touches on the parapet). Isn’t it pretty?

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Close-up of the scupper, where the water drains from the garage roof into a future downspout/gutter.

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The guys are adding the strip vent and the underside of the soffit. It’s the same stuff (Hardie Cement Board) as the siding and will be painted along with the house.

Today I am feeling positive, even optimistic, that the project is en route to completion.  I won’t get my hopes up too high, as I know there’s lots left to do, and surely a few roadblocks to come.  But, I will take this “up” mental state for now, and when the “down” surfaces, I know James (aka “The Remodeling-Client Whisperer”) is just a phone call away.

p.s.  Dear Friends,  I promise to get back inside for future posts!  Sure, I will continue to share the progress on the exterior, but I know it’s a bit technical/boring, if it’s not your thing.  Have been saving up some goodies like how my stairs turned out, and yesterday, I finally got my island counter top replaced!  Sooo exciting!  (I am really not that exclamatory in person, but it sure is fun here!)

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Exterior Progress – Start of Week #4

Rain is expected most of today (it’s pouring now), so there won’t be much going on with our project.  So!  I will take advantage of this little break in the action to catch you up on our progress!  There haven’t been that many actual work days since my last post due to the long holiday weekend, but the guys have been putting in long hours, and fortunately, the weather has cooperated (until today).  I will let the photos tell the story:

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Last week, framing the soffit on the front of the house. It’s deeper over the front entry, as that area is recessed back from the rest of the facade. Like that it will provide some protection at the front door!

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Here’s what you see on the ride up in the basket of the lift…. cool perspective!

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The roofing crew, getting a start on the north end of the house. That’s an insulation product stacked and cut to create better pitch and swells to the planned scuppers/gutters. The black rubber membrane is glued on top.

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A look at the garage roof from above.

Earlier this morning, I took some photos of the exterior in its current state:

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The roofers have glued rubber membrane on 2/3 of the house. They have been working on it in sections, in conjunction with the carpenters.  I have been told it will be one more day (hopefully tomorrow!) to tear up the old stuff and put down the layers of insulation/pitch and rubber on the remaining 1/3. Our roof should be watertight at that point. Yay!

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The backside.

By my next post, we should be pretty well wrapped up with the new roof, and moving on to the siding work.  There will be some decisions to be made concerning the paint color and cedar accents.  Looking forward to it!

This Mod House Exterior Remodel Begins!

After some unanticipated delays (having to find another builder and weather conditions (darn Minnesota!)), we finally have lift-off on the exterior work.  And as we wrap up the first week of this much-awaited phase of our renovation, I thought I should post and get you updated!  Here’s a photo montage of week #1:

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Back side of the house, basically pre-reno. The guys begin by removing all of the batten trim covering the seams of the Hardie Board siding.

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Battens carefully removed. We will be reusing some of this material.

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In addition to the batten removal, the guys started demo on the rotten decking of the two smaller decks.

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Decking off daughter’s bedroom and upstairs loft on the front and side of house.

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This deck is totally rotten and getting totally removed.

On day #3 (this past Monday), the crew of two became three.  I got them to stay still for a minute.

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Introducing the exterior crew: Chris, Nathaniel, and Forrest

These guys worked all day tackling the master bedroom deck and then went way up to get familiar with the awnings….

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One thing these guys are not, is afraid of heights.

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As you can imagine, taking apart the awnings from above is slow and dangerous, at best.

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Dismantling the awning over the garage.DSC_0602

The awnings on the second floor were too difficult to remove from above, so the next day a lift showed up:

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Still dangerous, but so much better. The awnings (all 14 of them) come down much, much faster.

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Our two story window wall has lost its visor. The house is taking on a new look without the “diving boards”.

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Yesterday a meeting of the minds was taking place on the roof…

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They invited me up.

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Just hanging with the roofer (far left), James, Mike, and Forrest. James and Mike are the owners of the renovation company we hired for our exterior project.

So here we are, 5 days in.  Things are going well, as far as I can tell.  No big surprises.  The plan is to get rid of all the rotten/rotting icky stuff.  Bye, bye existing decks and canted awnings!  An approx. 2 foot soffit will be added around the entire house to clean up the roof line, and we will be getting a new rubber roof (which is one of those things that cost a lot of money and go unseen–shoot!)  At the time of this post, we have decided to rebuild a mini balcony off our daughter’s room (Shhh! It’s a surprise!), and one off the master.  There are plans for a service door for the garage too.  Other than that, it’s pretty much painting the whole house, and adding some stained cedar accents on select areas.

So glad to be back at it–making this house our home.  And if you are wondering, I have more to talk about regarding the inside, just not more time today.  Plus, I have kept you too long already!  Thank you for reading and have a good one!