Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Concrete Floor has Landed

Yesterday it really did happen! The concrete arrived early in the morning. The English courtyard stairs were laid and the floor of the basement was poured. Since we'd like to keep the concrete floor showing, JF had a special finish included in the concrete which gives a nice glazed look. Unfortunately, with this glaze being in such large quantities and in a closed space, it was giving off such noxious fumes that we had to put our tenants up in a hotel last night. But JF will cover this, plus he had his guys bring in some huge fans to ventilate; this morning the odour was pretty much gone and we were able to walk on our lovely new floor for the first time :)

Marc took today off work to finish off the bedroom demolition. Tomorrow we have a new dumpster arriving and we've both taken the day off to get a head start on the demolition of the kitchen and bathroom ceiling and walls.

Next week, the roof is being replaced on Monday. Framing of the new interior walls should also start (maybe even as early as tomorrow), then gas and electricity on Thursday, followed by plumber on Friday. Plus the masonry work continues...

Photos to follow...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Generosity of Plan D

Since I last posted, we purchased the kitchen cabinets and gas stove from Ikea (to be delivered November 20), rented the largest container (dumpster) possible, demolished the dining room, most of our bedroom and the big kitchen cabinet (that housed the washer/dryer), removed all the kitchen cabinets, filled a container with all the crap, had it removed and ordered another one, and last but not least, we moved out of the house. The original plan A had been to move into Marc's parents caravan. His dad drove it here and while it would have just fit into the back garden, it would have taken at least half an hour to move it in and out. This just wasn't an option given we were going to need to move it every other day while the basement work is still very active. So, plan B, we considered a hotel, which is still an option, but we need to save every penny we can, which led to plan C, the "Lenny" option. The first couple of nights were spent in my beloved campervan which had served me well on my 3-week trip across Canada last year. It's small but perfectly formed, and since we've not demolished the bathroom in the house, works OK for us. However, we now have a plan D due to the generosity of our neighbour, who offered to put us up this week. THANK YOU, Gilbert!

Now we just have to figure out how to get things to the point in the house that we can move back in... But at least once all the basement work wraps up at the end of this week (REALLY, Joanna?! Are you pulling my leg?!) we then go back to plan A (the luxury caravan). Marc and I have been talking about what's the absolute minimum we have to have done before living in our home is a real option. It involves completing the demolition, then insulating and dry-walling the bedroom. Given our current rate of progress, and all the help from Marc's dad (and not forgetting his son too!) we think 2 weeks, yes, just two weeks, is enough to make this a reality. However if plan A works for us, it takes the pressure off, and allows us to focus on the real goal of being ready for Christmas.

That's just the things we've been working on. On the contractor side, the mason work has finally started! Our house is ready for halloween as it's been covered by mesh and scaffolding. In the basement, the back wall for the house has been framed, the courtyard stairs have been made ready for the concrete, and the concrete will be poured for them AND THE BASEMENT FLOOR... TOMORROW :) I think it really is going to happen. At last!

One other piece which happened at the last minute, today to be precise, is that we had Delta Membrane put up all around the walls of the basement. Marc had thought we may need this since the beginning, and long and the short of it, it got put up today. So all good.

I'll let you know if we really did get a basement floor... tomorrow...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


It's been a fun filled couple of days. We got up early for the purpose of being first at the stores both Saturday AND Sunday! I may be unable to get out of bed most days, but for shopping... well, that's a whole other incentive ;) A rather large dent has been put in our personal credit cards, but just think of the Aeroplan points we're earning. Australia here we come!

Saturday involved a trip to buy the shower column, chrome p-trap, kitchen sink and kitchen faucet. The Kohler faucet I've been eying up for months was even available on sale. But at well over $800 I still couldn't bring myself to buy it. (But don't ask how much the one I eventually decided on still cost.) The rest of the day involved cleaning up the wood (2 trips to the dump - we're now all out of free trips - renting a container next weekend) and doing the last bit of demolishing in the corridor. We also spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning up the area in preparation for moving all our stuff in there from the dining room/bedroom/kitchen/bathroom. But still not quite finished, the plaster gets EVERYWHERE. Next weekend the massive demo begins (and we move into the caravan to live for a few days... errr... weeks).

Sunday morning involved yet another trip to Ikea (actually 2 trips today, because we ran out of time in the morning as Marc had tickets to see the Alouettes CFL game with his mate). I returned in the afternoon to pay for the kitchen (including stove) and received 15% back in gift cards. Nice bonus! It was very reasonably priced, but of course we have to install the thing ourselves, which is going to be quite the feat... It'll be delivered November 20 (I put it off as long as possible).

Piles of wood...

And yet more of the same.

The English Courtyard
p.s. The Alouettes won their game!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Full Steam Ahead

It's amazing how things have been progressing since the last post just three weeks ago! The roughed in plumbing is complete, covered by gravel, styrofoam insulation, steel mesh and finally the piping for the heated floor has all been laid overtop (and culminates in some fancy plumbing work on the wall that will be the mechanical room). We're a little concerned that the height of the ceiling is not going to be quite what we were expecting, but JF assures us that things are on track and the concrete will be the correct depth. The big plastic bin for the sump pump is not flush with the floor and JF was annoyed about this, but it seems this is not such an issue, the waste flows well and the bin will be hidden inside a cupboard.

Gravel laid with troughs for plumbing visible

After the plumbing has been laid, covered by styrofoam and steel mesh

Close up of the same

The concrete floor could be poured as early as tomorrow! The English courtyard was framed and had the supporting walls poured today. Things are moving...

Digging the English Courtyard

While all this has been going on, the brickwork on the front is STILL delayed. The latest on this had it starting tomorrow, but I don't believe that for a second. It seems the mason has been tied up on the previous job. Fortunately getting the brickwork done has ended up being a very independent task, so not too much of a problem yet. Originally we thought it had to be done before the roof should be done, but after reviewing with the contractor, roofer and mason, it seems there are no dependencies. Phew!

Then there's the inside of the house on our existing ground floor. Well, it's not so existing anymore! Marc and I demolished the kids bedroom a couple of weeks ago. Last week, work commenced on the office/living room. This is almost complete, but it got to the point where we will need to move out of our bedroom before it can really be finished. The current goal is to get the main floor bathroom framed and installed, but half of the bathroom is in our existing bedroom closet.

We're taking a new approach. Rather than trying to live in the construction zone, we're going to move into Marc's parents RV (caravan). It's actually quite luxurious, having a kitchen, shower and toilet, although I think we'll try to make use of the house ones for as long as possible. This is a great idea in principle, but in practice, we have to park it somewhere, which in the middle of a city on a narrow one-way street isn't ideal. At night we should have enough room in the back garden (assuming we can get it down the back alley and turn it into our lot). But we'll likely need to move it during the day as the various contractors typically need to have wide access to the basement. So we're still figuring out where we'll park it...

The windows for the basement and kitchen have been ordered! (From Alcora) They'll be installed around December 1st (plywood until then - nice).

Finally, there's the planning of the interior itself. We've purchased the shower, toilet and sink for the ground floor. The bathrooms in the basement are planned (mainly Ikea and Bain Depot, although I think we'll use Plomberie Mascouche too) but we'll need to wait and see real room dimensions until we can order the baths, things are tight. The dining room table has been purchased (at a discount since we had to take the floor model - that works for me!) and the kitchen has been fully planned using Ikea, which has a 15% discount back in gift cards running until Oct 31 - we'll use this to buy the bathroom :) I'm not convinced on the Ikea sink and countertops at present (I like these ideas. Although the cost may win me over in the end. I don't expect we'll have more than plywood counters before Christmas.

Hmmmmm, so I think that's about all for now, phew! (but still soooo much to do)
The fun stuff is starting for me with picking out the interior:

The sink we've purchased

And the shower