› › Remodel Part 8

Closing Up The Addition

Part 8 Of Our Real Life Remodeling Journey

Publisher's Comments

The following story is part of a series of articles about my family's experience with our home's remodel. Links to the other stories are found at the bottom of the page.

Closing up the addition was major milestone in the project. Once the foundation and floor was in place the rest of the addition including the new mudroom could come together. Over time the walls, roof, windows and insulation were added in logical sequence, but not without a few small surprises…..

Is It Built Per The Plan?

framing a wallThe Floor In Place With The Two End Walls Laid Flat

My background is in engineering so I naturally tend to focus on the technical, more functional aspects of things. My wife on the other hand is much more tuned into the aesthetic and artistic features. If it wasn't for Cindy, I'd probably be living in a cave. However this time around, my more mundane and practical skills saved the day (or at least made sure there was enough wall space for a wide-screen TV).

What I'm talking about here is an error that the framers made when framing up the north wall of the addition. I'd looked at the plans enough times to get a sense of where certain things like windows were supposed to be.

Whether it was my review of the plans or just the image of that wide-screen TV burned into my brain, something alerted me to the fact that things didn't look right.

Our contractor's pride in getting the symbolic first wall up on the addition was somewhat dimmed when I rained on his parade by asking if one of the windows was in the proper location (I had already measured and verified it against the plan). As it turns out, it wasn't. A miscalculation in the framing dimensions located one of the windows too close to the other. This drastically shrunk the wall space, crushing any plans for a wide-screen plasma.

framing a wallThe Discrepant Wall - Not Enough Wall Space Between The Windows

However much to my amazement, an hour's work with a sawzall and hammer rectified the problem.

The moral of this story? Keep tabs on your design and how it's actually coming to life. It helps if someone is home during the day when potential issues arise as they can be quickly dealt with. But if you're not available during the day, take some time each evening to survey what's been done and cross check with your plans.

That doesn't mean you should be double-checking the framing dimensions with a tape measure. It just means that it's in your best interest to get these types of problems taken care of at an early stage, before they're inadvertently covered up or too far along to change.

I hate to think of how our wall framing error would have turned out if we hadn't noticed it until drywall, insulation and perhaps siding was already in place. Sure, the contractor is responsible for getting it right. But it's easier to fix things right away than deal with the added mess of having to correct it later on. Issues found later on delay the project schedule and at some point, may be too far gone to be feasibly changed.

Walls, Windows & Insulation

This part of the project is one of the stages that's most gratifying because you get to see tangible results. You've lived through the digging and prep and now you see your addition start to take shape.

It's also not that intrusive and you haven't hit the messy stages that come with drywall installation and sanding. Because this was an add-on to the existing house there wasn't too much disruption to our living area (except for our kitchen).

framing a wallThe End Walls Are Up And Sheathed

Depending on the specific design of the addition the roof framing may be built from pre-assembled trusses. These assemblies are specified by the building contractor or architect for the type of roof pitch and span that's required.

They're typically factory-built off site and delivered to the job site when ready. From that point they're hoisted into place on top of the walls and braced accordingly.

At this point there still wasn't any roof on the structure so the big blue tarp was needed to protect the inside from the elements.

timber roof trussesThe Roof Trusses Go Into Place

Sheathing, the covering on the outside of the framing members, utilizes oriented strand board (OSB). This is a typical material used for exterior wall and roof sheathing.

OSB sheathingClosing Up The Addition

timber roof trussesA View From The Inside

Unlike the family room our new mudroom required the roof to be hand-framed due to the nature of how it had to tie into the side of the house and the existing garage roof.

roof framingFraming The Mudroom Roof

The windows were delivered and installed after the shell was covered, offering a bit more shelter from the open air.

Choosing good windows is a subject all its own and while I won't go into it here, suffice to say we chose Marvin windows. I wanted the maintenance-free aluminum clad exterior (my old window frames always required scraping and painting) as well as the ability to clean the outside of the window from the inside that's available in their Ultimate Casement line.

new windowsThe Windows Are In Place

Finally the insulation and vapor barriers were added, making the addition part of the house and fully weatherproof. We went with standard fiberglass batt insulation in the walls and blown insulation in the ceiling. We considered other options like sprayed foam but decided against it based mainly on cost reasons.

home insulationPretty In Pink - Insulation Tops Off The Weatherproofing

Russian Roulette With The Weather

The final piece of closing up the addition was installing the roof shingles. We chose asphalt shingles that matched the existing house and garage.

Fortunately the builders got the roofing felt in place before a premature snowfall. Given that we'd entered the fall season the timing for getting the addition buttoned up was getting dicey since the inevitable cold and snow would be on its way.

roofingJust In Time For An Early Snow (With Leaves Still On The Trees!!)

In our case the builders had to use space heaters in the addition to help melt the snow off the roof so that they could install the shingles. Between the heaters and the sun, they managed to get it done.

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