2012 Home Renovations – Part 23 – Columns continue and Rock Face Stones have arrived

I submitted a couple more checks that bring this project to about $115,000 so far.  The original cost was expected to be in about the $140,000 range. We’ll see.

Workers were at my place all day today but what was accomplished does not jump out at you.

There was progress on the columns but there is still much to be done. You can see that the outer layer is complete on 3 of the 4 columns, crown molding is in process on all of these

Looking at the end of the retaining wall, in the center of the below picture you can see one of the anchors for the lanai is now in place. It looks dark brown to me, but I’m told it is “bronze” by those who know better.

And replacement vinyl siding has been installed where the flower beds used to be. It looks more green in this picture than in real life but the match is very good considering we’re trying to match to 15-20 year old existing siding.

I think the most exciting news is that the rock face stone and supplies were delivered today. Tomorrow and Saturday the stone will be installed, making way for the lanai to be constructed next week. Michelle wants to root through the boxes to ensure that the stones are all pleasing colors.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 22 – New Columns and Tile Sawing

2012 Home Renovations – Part 24 – Rock Face on retaining walls has begun

2012 Home Renovations – Part 22 – New Columns and Tile Sawing

As expected, things came to pretty much a crawl while decisions regarding rock faces and colors were being made.

Three days ago new columns were installed to replace the multitude of makeshift supports

The next day they came and finished sawing the existing tiles so they were even. They had originally been cut and notched to accommodate the former lanai wall plus some had been damaged in the demolition.

and they repaired and reinforced the cross beam that will eventually top the new screening (whitish in the center of this picture)

Then they came back and began covering the rough columns with a more finished wood

In a couple of days I am expecting them to start rock facing the pool retaining wall. I think this will take about a day to a day and a half. After that the lanai install can begin.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 21 – The Boulders are installed

2012 Home Renovations – Part 23 – Columns continue and Rock Face Stones have arrived

 

 

2012 Home Renovations – Part 21 – The Boulders are installed

With the exception of a couple of half cap stones, the modular retaining wall is complete.

Once the rock face in the back is complete (and possibly the Lanai too) we’ll move forward with pulling out the remainder of the driveway and pouring a new one. We just want to have all the heavy stuff done to avoid unnecessary traffic over the new pavement.

In the back the stairs have been largely completed. We will soon be bringing the soil up around these and the newly built wood wall.

Below, some parts of the wall will be left loose until we finish putting in the various hoses, pipes and electrical connections

This topsoil was brought in by hand so as not to damage the new patio. This area will be for various butterfly bushes and bird feeders and baths so that we can enjoy them from the screened in area.

Below, those pallets of boulders that I showed a few days ago have gone into replacing a rotting railroad tie retaining wall that was shoring up the original hill. This still needs tome work.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 20 – Modular Retaining wall continues

2012 Home Renovations – Part 22 – New Columns and Tile Sawing

 

2012 Home Renovations – Part 20 – Modular Retaining wall continues

We are in that phase of the project where the work done is more incremental than it was originally.

Below we see that work continues on the modular block retaining wall

And initial fill behind the wall that will allow widening of the driveway also continues

The dirt pile continues to shrink. We’ve had several people drop by offering to take the dirt for projects that they have ongoing. But I think we’re going to end up using ALL of it in the last phase of this job.

There is not much more that will be done with this retaining wall. Hay (Pine Straw) has been put down to control erosion. The cement wall is very near the property line so all that “Pine Strawed”  portion is my neighbor’s to do with what he wishes. It’s not much different than it was before my project. He’s still trying to figure out what he wants to do with that area.

In the back, now that the patio cement is mated to the existing slab by the shed, we’re pulling out the existing timbers and replacing them with new ones that will extend through the new length of this area.

At the end where you see the shovels and pick axe there will be steps to provide easy access to the back yard now that our former path that led there is blocked by the pool retaining wall

Right about where the Pool retaining wall and the wooden wall meet will be where we locate the pool heater, fastlane hydraulic pump and the salt water system.

The wood beams will only come to about halfway across the end of the cement wall. We intend to rock-face the wall and we’ll put a final corner on it here so that the wood won’t be visible unless you are actually looking at it from this vantage point.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 19 – Sealing the Deck, Start of Modular Retaining Wall

2012 Home Renovations – Part 21 – The Boulders are installed

 

2012 Home Renovations – Part 19 – Sealing the Deck, Start of Modular Retaining Wall

Arriving home after 5 days down South we were greeted with a VERY strong smell. I was thinking “Geez, what did the cat eat this time?”. But the answer came to us when we peeked out into the back and could see a couple of small barrels of sealant that still sitting on the patio. As of these pictures the first coat of sealant had been applied to only a portion of the deck.

The initial pour of the stairs was also done. There is a fair amount of work ahead to smooth them out and ensure that they are properly leveled. I was surprised to see how well the cement captured the patterns from the mold planks.

The overview gives you a sense of the pattern and subsequent cutting that we opted for. I’ll take closer pictures of the deck once the sealant application is complete. I was somewhat concerned that the 3 x 3 foot cutting would look too industrial (like a public swimming pool) but I think this size, at the suggestion of the concrete guys, really complements the space.

Below we can see the very gradual ramp that was crafted to rise up from the deck level to the shed slab level.

And looking from the driveway toward the shed and pool you can now see the driveway and patio make their curvy way to the shed.

Here are a couple of pallets of boulders that will be used at the West end of the yard to control erosion and to provide a transition from the hill to the pool retaining wall. If you look at the first picture in this post, the boulders will go roughly where the end of the blue pipe is located in the center of the image between the juniper and the wall.

And below we have the modular block retaining wall taking shape. This will support the additional dirt base that will help re-slope the driveway to allow for the top of the driveway to be on less of an angle than before. Also this will allow us to widen the driveway somewhat to make parking easier when we have guests.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 18 – Finally, the deck pour

2012 Home Renovations – Part 20 – Modular Retaining wall continues

 

 

2012 Home Renovations – Part 18 – Finally, the deck pour

Things continue to proceed rapidly. So fast, in fact, that my contractor is slowing things down a bit to allow time for us to make decisions about colors and patterns now that we’ve got some of the reality of our project in front of us.

I was not at all sure, with the weather forecasting rain in the near future, that the deck pour would happen today.

Today also happened to be the day we were to head out of town to visit relatives in Florida. Just as we were packing up to go, the trucks all started arriving and soon we had a back yard teeming with people and equipment as they prepared for the pour.

Poor Michelle wanted us to be on our way but… who can resist the lure of a cement pour?

So I watched as the majority of the back was poured and they were even part way into stamping the concrete before we had to finish loading up the car and head on our 10 hr drive to the South.

The pour begins

Almost immediately it needs to be leveled

And carefully smoothed and brought to the edges. That’s Stacio in the center (I hope I’m spelling his name correctly) making sure that the concrete is seated into the coping form correctly.

Here, as the cement is smoothed, the releasing agent is added

And here is the cement truck pouring its load into the pumper that is delivering the cement to the back yard. That’s Michelle in the foreground being ever so patient waiting for me.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 17 – More Deck Pour Prep

2012 Home Renovations – Part 19 – Sealing the Deck, Start of Modular Retaining Wall

2012 Home Renovations – Part 17 – More Deck Pour Prep

They say the devil is in the details and there are a whole lot of little details that are being dealt with both by the contractors and by Michelle and me.

Final decisions have to be made for the color of the concrete and the way we want it cut – we’re doing a stamped concrete deck and we can have just about any size and orientation “tile” look cut into it.

More germane to the actual pour is the actual finish for the coping around the pool. The forms that were provided from DesJoyaux were pretty attractive but not very flexible. I saw the resulting corners at another of their installations and did not like how it had to be implemented. We’ve opted for more of a rounder, quasi-bull-nose-that-tapers-at-the-bottom design that also will offer the flexibility to allow the kind of corners I think will complement the pool nicely.

Final position for the Bar-B-Que has to be determined now since that will drive where the gas fitting will be placed in the deck.

Starting with the usual patio shots, you can see the forms for the pool stairs have been added

Below you can see a tiny white piece of the coping form now attached to the pool kitty corner to the ladder to help us visualize what the final edge will look like.  Note that the gas line has now been buried. I’m still a bit concerned, the line was pressurized to 15 psi on Sunday and it’s now down to 13.5 psi. The gas line is one of the few lines that we are NOT laying down in a pipe.  I need to ask Rich why this is so at our meeting tomorrow.

The deco drain has been laid around the perimeter of the deck and tied in to the drainage pipes leading to the new catch basins. In the top left of the picture the final location of the drain for the downspout that will come off the super gutter has been determined.

A closer view of the stairs. The  top two stairs are 16 inches deep. The first is that size because it seems less daunting to have such a big stair when you’re stepping into the pool, the second because we anticipate using it to sit on a lot.  Michelle has the idea that this is where people will want to hang out. The final two stairs are utilitarian only and are just a foot deep each.

As I look at the design I have a mild pang of regret that we did not put the stairs in the middle of the pool directly accessible as you walk out from the shaded part of the patio. But Michelle wanted the stairs to be very wide, and the small change of putting the stairs there would have resulted in about 4 more feet needing to be carved out of the hill. Which would likely have required a taller retaining wall, etc, etc. So we ended up compromising and I think the resulting location will work well.

The obligatory overview shot lets you see the deco drains in context. The deck will be gently sloped away from the pool all around to feed these rather than having the dust from the deck swept into the pool every time it rains.

Here we see the design of the patio transitioning to the walkway and again to the ramp up to the shed

elegantly formed and ready for the pour

2012 Home Renovations – Part 16 – Pool deck area ready for pouring, All patio walls removed

2012 Home Renovations – Part 18 – Finally, the deck pour

 

2012 Home Renovations – Part 16 – Pool deck area ready for pouring, All patio walls removed

Continuing to take advantage of the good weather, the guys worked on Saturday and got a whole lot more accomplished that both brings us closer to the deck pour next week and prepares us for the inspections that will be happening Monday.

The remaining patio walls were all removed, here is an expanded 4 shot sequence showing the new openness (ignoring the temporary supports) that will grace the shaded part of our new lanai

And the overview that lets you clearly see the rebar that will be included in the deck pour

The bonding is also complete around the pool

The form is mostly complete plus the rebar is in place for the monolithic footing on the West side

And a better shot of the driveway. There is so much more usable space there without the air conditioner condenser in the way.

And the dirt pile… it looks to be on track to be just enough to build up the driveway per our plan.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 15 – Rest of driveway by house removed, Electrical, Gas and Water Returns in place

2012 Home Renovations – Part 17 – More Deck Pour Prep

2012 Home Renovations – Part 15 – Rest of driveway by house removed, Electrical, Gas and Water Returns in place

No shots from the existing patio today since you can’t see much change from there. But here we have a shot showing one of the trenches that were dug on either side of patio in preparation for the monolithic pour. Lanai supports will be bolted to this footing.

and on the East side

and the bird’s eye view putting everything in context

Much of the Electrical Gas and Water conduits have been roughed in. The $1400 gas line needed some tweaking in order to hold pressure. Below you can see a pressure gauge on the white heater supply and return pipes. They were sealed and about 5 psi of air  put into them after all the back filling and tamping were complete to ensure that there were no leaks introduced. This way we can repair them NOW before the deck is poured if something got damaged. Likewise the hyper expensive gas line – that thick black piping immediately to the left of the heater pipes – has a gauge at the far end that was showing a small leak. This was eventually traced to the fitting not being quite tightened properly on this end. It is now hosting 15 PSI of nitrogen to see if it can hold the pressure. I understand that the gas line pressure will normally be closer to about 3 PSI on this side of my meter.

Here the gas line trench lies open waiting for county inspectors. I have about 4 inspections pending that should all happen on Monday.

Just an overview of the house with the rest of the driveway and the former patio slab removed. The end of the plain concrete driveway will now be right about where Michelle is standing. From there everything will be stamped concrete to match the pool deck to make this area an outdoor patio / planter area.

And, of course an obligatory shot of the ever smaller dirt pile

2012 Home Renovations – Part 14 -Backfill of pool retaining wall complete

2012 Home Renovations – Part 16 – Pool deck area ready for pouring, All patio walls removed

2012 Home Renovations – Part 14 -Backfill of pool retaining wall complete

Continuing along at our rapid-fire pace, back fill and leveling around the pool has been completed.

The French drain was installed behind the lanai retaining wall and the gap there was back filled and tamped

The back yard has been recontoured into pretty much its final configuration. There will be a bit more done once work is completed on the cement slab next to our shed. The dirt will be sloped up a bit both at the shed and at the retaining wall that is front and center in this picture below. The idea is to help encourage water AWAY from those areas to be guided away by both the slope behind the retaining wall and by the French drain to the catch basins that were put in near the beginning of this project and then out to the front yard and street.

The hill that used to be in front of the shed has been largely leveled. We have opted to replace the originally planned stairs that were to lead up to the shed with a low incline ramp that will run from the beginning of the retaining wall (part closest to us in the picture below) and ending even with the remainder of the legacy slab near the middle of the picture. The yard to the right will be contoured to butt up against this ramp and match its incline.

For contrast here is how the yard looked before. Basically it was a steeper, shorter ramp up with a more significant hill beginning closer to the house.

And we continue to make significant inroads into our “Dirt Everest” in the front yard.

In the beginning, Michelle was hoping that we would find some significant boulders so we could pull them out to use as show pieces. I don’t think she realizes how fine a line it is between “cool boulders” and “immovable objects that will mess up your project”. But she was thrilled that one was found and put where she can evaluate what to do with it. It’s pictured here just right of center, somewhat framed by more rubble from the driveway and the pile of gravel that is being used for the French Drains.

2012 Home Renovations – Part 13 – Backfill has begun Electrics have begun

2012 Home Renovations – Part 15 – Rest of driveway by house removed, Electrical, Gas and Water Returns in place