Landscape Site Work

The landscape site work is definitely an orchestrated process that has many phases to follow.  The images below give you a sense of where the site stands and we’ll continue to show the evolution.  The site work to date is outlined below:

  1. Demolish the existing porch and awning
  2. Excavate and form a retaining wall between the front and back house
  3. Install a new electrical panel and meter box on the existing house and bury the overhead utilities
  4. Layout and build formwork for concrete path and stairs that will connect from the City sidewalk to the new house
  5. Plant Trees (14, Skyrocket Junipers).  The evergreen trees will grow to form a 20′ privacy wall between the front and back house

 

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Insulation and Drywall

The reward after months of interior framing and particularly the not so fun part of framing out ductwork, is drywall!  Now that drywall is up; there is a real sense of space that we have been longing to experience.

But before drywall went on the walls we did one final pass at sealing the building envelope which included foaming around windows, doors and ductwork.   The garage walls and ceiling were spray foamed to limit air exchange into the house.  Last, we used batt insulation between the first and second floors and again along the master bedroom wall to limit sound transfer between the spaces.

Once insulation was in, drywalling began.  Although it is not yet finished, we feel that this has been the biggest impact.  We opted for a level 5 finish which is the smoothest result. You’ll see the process in the photos below that begins with hanging drywall, taping and mudding the seams and finally using a big roller to mud the entire wall.  After each mudding, the walls are allowed to dry overnight and sanded the next day.  We are happy with the result so far and excited for paint.

Standing Seam Siding and Roof

While Scott completed odds and ends of interior framing, to prep for insulation and drywall; the awning, metal roof and siding were getting installed. Scott and his step dad Jeff spent the weekend building the awning that will provide protection from the outdoor elements.  The awning will eventually be cladded in metal and wired for lighting and outdoor speakers.

Roof installation was delayed for months because the subcontractor was so busy (a sign of Denver’s booming construction).  This has made it difficult to stay on schedule and keep momentum going when contractors are so hard to track down.  Additionally, it leads to a ripple of delays because things like interior insulation and drywall are dependent on a completely dried in house.  Luckily we finally got the roofing contractor to site and now things are moving along faster than ever.

In just a week, the metal roof and siding went up.  We chose metal standing seam material because it is a superior product that will stand the test of time, and will allow easy installation of our thin film solar panels.  Our original design intent was to use flat panels on both the roof and facade (for a clean look) but upon recommendation from the contractor; we ended up incorporating striated siding.  Since the structured wall panels are not completely flat and uneven in places, the metal siding, if not rigid enough, will bow out or dimple over time.  We obviously did not want that to happen so we chose to incorporate striations to make the siding more rigid.  We kept the roof panels flat for two reasons: 1. The roof is flat so we don’t have to worry about imperfections in the metal over time, and, 2. We will be installing solar panels that will adhere to the flat faces of the roof panels.

Standing seam siding is installed on all north and south facades.  The metal material will hold up well over time as the hot southern sun beats down on it.  We will complete the exterior look with a cedar wood rain screen, installed on all west and east facades (stay tuned).

Interior Progress

Scott is really excited about making our home smart, comfortable and efficient so the install of plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems has literally brought energy and excitement into the space.  When it comes to heating and cooling we will be using a Fujitsu electric zoned mini-split system.  Instead of central air, the new HVAC system uses wall-mounted units throughout the home so that we can focus on heating or cooling individual spaces rather than the whole house at once.  The system eliminates complex and expensive ductwork and will function much more efficiently than traditional central air.  What is a mini-split?  Check out this Fujitsu article that explains how it works.

In addition to the systems install, we have new metal fabricated stairs, a garage door and the big event this week was the concrete pour on the first floor.  Lots of great pictures to check out below!

Sewer and Water Line Install

Installing a new sewer and water line to a tandem house is one of the major incurred expenses (basement is a biggy too) that could make you lean towards building an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) instead.  Because our lot will be subdivided, the front house and tandem house will be legally independent of each other; requiring that all utilities be tied into the City’s grid and not linked with the front, main house.  With an ADU you don’t have to tie utilities (sewer, water, gas, electricity) into the City’s main sewer and water lines, making the process less disturbing and saving a lot of money upfront.

However, if you can burden the upfront cost, we are still firm believers that the benefits of building a tandem house has major advantages over building an ADU (check out ADU vs. Tandem House).  Case and point, we just had the tandem house appraised (at ~60% completion) and the appraisal value came in better than we could have expected.  Giving us the confidence that all the inconveniences of construction will be worth it in the end.

Below are some images of the sewer and water line install that took about 3 days.

 

 

Chipping Away

We are chipping away at the not so glamorous but necessary tasks of interior framing and weatherproofing so that plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems can be installed.  Scott spent the end of February and early March framing all the bedrooms, bathrooms and closets and we selected our kitchen and bathroom fixtures so that the plumber had everything he needed.  The plumber was in and out within the past two weeks and our next step is to prepare for HVAC and then electrical.  We have been refining the electrical plans and selecting fixtures for this next phase.  But before electrical can begin, the house has to be dried in.

In parallel to plumbing and electrical prep Scott has been weatherproofing the house which is a  5 step process:

The Roof:  We rolled out the Siga Majcoat breathable membrane that is taped at the seams with Siga Wigluv construction tape.  The products create a wind tight and rain-proof roof.

Filling Facade Joints and Seams: All the transitions between the SIPs are filled with a pink R-guard adhesive.

Liquid Flashing:  At every window and door rough opening a red ‘fast flash’ R-guard liquid is applied.

Liquid Weatherproof Membrane: A black liquid weatherproof membrane is roller applied to the entire exterior facade.

Windows and Doors: We have begun to install windows and doors on the first floor where the liquid applied weatherproofing is finished.

In the next week we should be ready to install the rest of the windows.  Then we can set the electrical contractor loose.  We are also lining up contractors to get underground utilities installed.