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  1. Posted Thu 08/12/2010 03:09:29 PM
  4. My wife and I are building an $80k $85k 2000 square-foot addition onto our house- and we’re doing it completely by ourselves. Framing, sheathing, roofing, doors, windows, flooring, plumbing, electrical, housewrap, kitchen, stairs, tile, trim- everything but the concrete and siding. (And we later got lazy on the drywall, too…) Our existing house is 1600 square feet (3-bedroom, 2-bath), but the kitchen sucks and we have no garage and have absolutely no storage space- ever since we moved in, we talked about building an addition, but all we ever did was build a 12x12 shed that became our lawnmower garage/storage room/woodshop/autoshop/garden shed which helped, but is woefully inadequate. The new addition adds a new kitchen, 2-car garage, workshop area, 3 bedrooms (more accurately, a sewing room, guest bedroom and storage room), a bathroom and a living room.
  7. Our house before the addition.
  10. The 12x12 shed that represented the whole of our carpentry experience.
  13. The gargage disposal that represented the whole of my plumbing experience and most of my practical electrical experience.
  15. Our goals for the eventual addition were 3-fold: garage, storage and new kitchen. Unfortunately, with the state of our septic system and zoning setback restrictions, any addition was a pipe dream. But, then, in March 2005, we found out that a developer had bought up all the vacant lots in our neighborhood that wouldn’t perk and was going to be installing city sewer! This was quite a godsend- first off, the land back here is swampland, flooded half the year, and should never have been built on- we were very much looking forward to being able to reliably flush toilets a full 12 months out of the year, and even when it’s raining! Also, being able to close the septic field meant we could finally build the addition! So, we started planning in earnest.
  22. I’ve got about a year’s worth of house blog written up that I’ll post as soon as I proofread them. And then, if there’s interest, intermittent posts in the coming weeks as we get more work done. Feel free to ask questions, I don’t mind trying to help other DIYs or anyone else who's curious
  24. Edit2: Oops, blew a year's worth of bandwidth in less than a day! Switched most of the images to waffleimages now. The archives should be happier, too!
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  28. I've been telling people for a long time that the addition is *almost* done, but is still missing the last vital component... and 3 days ago, it was completed! We were going to wait until February with the tax refund, but just couldn't wait, and are not the proud owners of a 65" 1080p DLP HDTV! Got a great deal on it, another $150 off that plus no interest for 12 months. Had to go buy a new reciever since our old one crapped out last year, and got most of the surround-sound hooked up. Have HDML, component video, 3 TOSlinks and a 500VA UPS in the mail, hopefully arriving before christmas. For now, I'm using some audio cables as a temporary component video link and stuck with dolby pro-logic like it's 1992 again, but still looks and sounds GREAT and we're very psyched for football
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  34. Here's my cost breakdown. Total square footage is 2270 square feet measured externally, including a 500 square foot garage.
  36. $ 2,000 Permits
  37. $ 7,400 Materials for the structure (including stairs, floor joists, sheathing, etc)
  38. $ 2,500 Roof (including trusses, shingles, etc)
  39. $15,500 Foundation & slabs, including labor
  40. $ 2,000 Insulation
  41. $ 6,300 Doors & windows
  42. $ 5,600 Siding, including labor
  43. $ 1,800 Electrical
  44. $ 900 Plumbing, including bathroom stuff
  45. $ 1,900 Lights
  46. $ 3,600 HVAC (including $250 labor for hookup/charging of the heat pump)
  47. $ 6,000 Drywall & plaster, including labor
  48. $19,300 Kitchen (materials only, except the counter installation labor which was included in the counter price)
  49. $ 2,200 Misc (paint, garage door openers, landscaping (incl backhoe labor), etc)
  51. Yet to go, estimated:
  52. $3,000 ("finished" stairs and railing)
  53. $2,500 Floor covering upstairs, trim
  56. Total price is $36/square foot, if you go by the exterior dimensions, like the real estate appraisers do. For just the dried-in exterior (siding, windows, doors, roof) it was about $11/square foot. I priced out ICF (was really gung-ho for the concept), but it was going to be an assload more expensive than just stick framing it.
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  60. WAY more! Of the $80k, about $70k is in materials. Rule of thumb is that labor is about as much as the materials- so, figure $160k. Then add on 30% for the general contractor- $210k. Added onto our last $145k appraisal gives a total of $355k, which is on the low end of what new houses of this size are going for.
  62. One of the intangibles is that adding a 2nd floor REALLY changes the way our house is appraised- as a 1 story, it's compared to the shitty run-down 1-stories in the area that are depressed on price. As a 2-story, it's now compared to the new 2-story houses going in all the big developments. So, adding a 2nd story likely quite literally added about $100k to the value of our house by itself!
  64. At any rate, I've got $170k tied up in a 3200 square foot 6-bedroom/3-bath house, which I think is pretty good:D
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  72. They're light, but strong. Built properly, and kept up, wood frame construction can withstand a category 5 hurricane and last several hundred years. In fact, there are a lot of 200-300-year old houses in the US. For the most part, tastes and standards (not to mention technology) change, though, and people don't want to deal with the problems of old houses- lack of insulation, insufficient wiring for today's appliances, steep narrow staircases, etc. And, honestly, when you're dealing with 2x4s, it's SO cheap to build the basic house frame that it's almost invariably more cost effective just to demolish and start from scratch then to try to remodel within the existing frame. Especially not when we can build a house that looks like a 200-year old house from the outside, but is 3x the size of any availible 200-year old house, exactly where you want it, and full of every modern convenience
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  76. The city came out and failed me, though! Said I had too many things on a single half-inch pipe! I protested, saying that the chance of us doing more than 2 things simultaneously is low, and the impact of turning on 3 or 4 things even lower (what, the toilet will fill up slower?) and that I’d much rather have 1/2” pipe through an insulated space than 3/4” freezing in my attic, but they wouldn’t budge- apparently I’m required to be able to water my garden and wash my car the same time I’m running my dishwasher, taking a shower and flushing the toilet.
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  80. All that was left at this point was to rough the HVAC. First step was to get more money- this ended up being easier than I expected, as the bank happily bumped the value of my house up a great deal based on my word alone and gave me another $50k home equity loan. The interest rate wasn’t as good as the one before, since the rates were rising, but was still pretty good.
  82. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone who would sell HVAC supplies to me, and tried to contract it out, but the bids were too high so I went back to plan A and did it myself. I had originally done estimates on BTU and CFM via the square-foot method, and talked to two HVAC guys who said my estimates were right on. When I finally realized I was going to be doing all the work myself, I did some more detailed calculations- I don’t have manual J or manual S, but I do have all the mil-spec guides for military facilities,
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  88. Lowes and Home Depot had some of the flex duct and fittings, but not enough to do any real work. I don’t understand it- any idiot idiot off the street can walk into any electrical or plumbing supply house, but the HVAC people only want to sell to licensed HVAC contractors? WTF? After calling a dozen places, I found a sheet metal supplier who would sell me the sheet metal fittings and a supplier in florida who had cheap heat pumps.
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  94. Still to do:
  95. * Regrade the side and yard, allowing me to install the outside half of the heat pump.
  96. * Install the air handler and duct in the garage
  97. * Stairs and railings
  98. * floor covering
  99. * kitchen molding
  100. * interior doors
  101. * bathroom sink & toilet
  102. * pretty much all the floor coverings
  108. We've run out of money again, though, so most of this will have to wait until I get my tax refund, he
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  112. Also, because I have a septic field, I had to get a permit from the health department, which was surprisingly difficult. First, I had to prove I stayed 10' from the field. Second, the health dept prohibited me from having closets.
  114. Health Dept: 2000 square foot addition? Oh, sorry, you can't do that, you have closets!
  115. Me: What?
  116. Health Dept: Yeah, sorry, that's illegal. Can't you wait until sewer comes?
  117. Me: No, I want to start now. WTF? What if I take out the closets?
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  121. Mostly intuition, I guess. None of this stuff is rocket science, and normal people do it all the time. Just usually not so much all together I have a solid engineering background,and between the code books and examples from the web, I was able to do most of it. I had a few questions that I posted to DIY forums, but to be honest, it wasn't very helpful, they were mostly all "that's beyond a DIY job, you need to hire a pro!"
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  125. My wife and I are both ADD and it's been hard at time, we've gone through periods where nothing will get done- my normal mode is to do one or two small things and take a 2-hour break. Drives my wife nuts! Other times, I'll work non-stop all day.
  127. Not that my wife has an adderall prescription, she'll go at it like a machine until 1 or 2am some days and get tons done. Right now, I think she's a bit upset because all I've done on the flooring all day is one tiny piece, which I finished, and then immediately took a 2-hour break, lol! Speaking of which, I should probably go put some more flooring in before she gets back from Lowes... (I've spent most of the last 8 hours composing and replying to this thread)
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  133. About this time, I talked to the city to find out when we might be able to hook up to the sewer, and they said we could hook up any time! So, I called the backhoe back and dug a trench which promptly collapsed 30 minutes after he left, burying the pipe in 24” of soppy mud. We fought for 2 hours before calling him back. He came out the next day and re-dug it, and we got the pipes in. I paid a buddy $50 to help me dig a trench in the back yard from the shallow end of the pipe to intercept the septic pipe.
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  139. Of course, the city came and failed us. They require a clean-out right at the connection- having one 30’ away at my garage isn’t good enough! So, I climbed in again and put on a cleanout. He failed me again- insisted I HAVE to use a wye and a special 45 degree cast-iron cleanout box (that was hard to find and cost $70!) which I put on, and hooked. This passed. So, we had the septic tank pumped. Then, I ground the teeth off 2 sawzall blades and a hacksaw before breaking 3 metal cutting blades and my circular saw trying to cut the 50-year old cast iron septic pipe. Had to go out and buy an angle grinder to finish it, but got hooked up, and we could flush toilets!!! Of course, the next day it rained and the big trench collapsed and flooded and the pipe floated up and broke. It’s 3 days before Christmas, and I ended up having to go out waist-deep in sewer water and mud with my arms up to my elbows trying to reconnect the pipes underwater
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  145. Edit: Oh, and the tie-in with the existing house! In my case, I decided it was easier just to put in a 2nd wall, as I would have had to dick too much with the roof to try to tie straight in; the existing footer wasn't really built for a 2-story house, either. This will also allow for the settling in the addition to (hopefuly) be even. I ended up undercutting my foundation and pouring a new footer about a foot deeper than the old footer, which the masons blocked up, with a 1" gap. Wasn't enough- the existing wall bowed in 1.5" which ended up messing with my new walls too, which sucked You can't tell in the finished house, but it was readily apparent when hanging the kitchen cabinets, and it still bothers me that my wall isn't perfectly plumb! The two walls are nailed together at several places, most notably, I nailed the the ceiling in the old kitchen to the header I put on the new wall when I broke the new opening between the two. I placed a 2x6 above the existing joists in the attic, used 16D nails to nail through to the new triped 2x12 header, and put on hurricane straps to support the existing joists. Then I knocked out the 2x4s holding the ceiling up. So, essentially, the ceiling is now suspected by hurricane straps from a board nailed through sheating into the other wall! I hope there isn't much settlings between the walls, heh.
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  149. The backhoe guy showed up with no morning first thing yesterday morning to fill in the septic tank and regrade our backyard. Apparently he worked real late last night and fell asleep in the wal-mart parking lot, then came straight to our place. We busted our ass cleaning up the backyard and taking down our fences, moving the grill and lawnmower and everything else- only to find him fast asleep in his truck! He slept until like 1:00, left for lunch, and returned right about dusk where he caved in the septic tank and then did half of a half-assed job regrading the yard before quitting for the night, complaining about the mud. I had some words with him this morning when I was able to see the shitty job in the daylight. I hope he makes it back before it rains, or it's going to be a fucking mudfarm back there again!
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  155. What's the fine for that anyhow, isn't it a slap on the wrist? I'm certainly violating my lack of an occupancy permit right now, but I really don't think they care. Or at least hope not!
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  159. Throughout this whole process, I had this faint hope of a "plan B" in the back of my head that no matter what happened or what technicality the inspectors fail us on, I can always just wait until I got my PE license and just stamp the bitch myself! I didn't want to count on that, though, since the failure rate is so high for the PE exam, and it was by no means a foregone conclusion that I'd pass. Finally, last week, I got the results back from the PE exam and found out I passed! woohoo!!!
  161. I am now a licensed professional engineer in the state of Virginia I passed the Electrical Engineering test exam the Power Engineering afternoon module, but in VA, we're not restricted to the module we pass, and can practice engineering in any area we feel to the area we feel competant in
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  172. In the end, no fancy rigging or jigs, we just set up the old portable workbench (first project ever when we lived in an apartment and all we had was a 4" trim saw) and used that to heft it up. As you can see, it's not really in there right, but it's UP and my wife cut her hands up pretty bad on the sheet metal as we lifted, SO, we treated her hands and I grabbed a beer and we'll worry about straighening it all out and getting it into place another day. PHEW, it's up, w00t!!
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  176. I ruined a big patch of my vinyl siding breaking in the grill last week. Was cooking cheap 70% lean burgers (hey, 99 cents a lb!) and the grill was too close to the wall when all the grease caught fire; I learned the hard way that the new siding I bought is apparently much less heat resiliant than the older siding Now I have a big section that's all melted and warped to hell that I have to replace...
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  184. I took today off because my wife had to drive to north carolina to fight a speeding ticket (got knocked down to 9 over with no points, hooray! Still cost $125 though, boo.) The mechanical guy "failed" me for the drain line P-trap only having 2" of clearance when the instructions required 3" and passed me on paper said he'd trust me to fix it, and come back and reject me if I didn't. I promised I would, and fully intended to comply, but the more I think about it, all that effort for a 1" larger trap seems pretty silly.
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  188. As soon as the room is finished- and it won't be finished until we get that 73" 1080p plasma HDTV installed probably feb or so, with the tax refund. For now, it's a nice big room for me to fly my RC helicopter in
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  195. Since the interior non-load bearing interior walls are hollow (insulation is expensive!), they're noticibly different to pound on. And since they're non-load bearing, they're not tied into the structure as well- in fact, it's illegal to securely fasten them to the floor and ceiling because they'd become load bearing and transfer loads where they shouldn't be transferred- the connections have to be made via diaphragm or slip joint. These walls do give a little- if you slam a door real hard, you can see if vibrate a bit.
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