Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reaching a milestone!

We finally got the garage to a point where we can park both cars inside. Yay!! Just in time for winter. We will slowly chip away at the remaining exterior finishing and electrical over the winter and then finish up the inside in the spring.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bobcat operator

I will fully admit that I was panicking about securing a bobcat operator and the gravel/sand delivery in the short time frame that we were looking at. It was Thursday and we wanted to get this work done that weekend. As usual, my Dad was nothing but calm and firmly believed that it would all work out (as he always does, and it always seems to). Anyway, I'd noticed a sign on my drive home from work the previous week advertising bobcat operator services. I had pulled over and taken a photo just in case.

I'm glad my Dad was willing to make all the phone calls and talk to the truck drivers and operators because it honestly sounded like sometimes they were speaking a different language. There is definitely a lingo and technical terminology that I did not know.

Well, Dale and his brother were willing to bump a larger job to come and help us out for a half day of work. Very kind of them. We arranged for Dale to show up with his bobcat for 8am on Saturday morning. He also had some contacts for sand & gravel and would arrange for delivery to be at the same time.

The house phone rang at 7am on Saturday morning. I'm still in a stupor, but the phone is closest to my side of the bed, so I answer. It's Dale and he is outside our house with his bobcat ready to get to work. Are you kidding me !?!?! I ask him if knows that he is an hour early and he says he wanted to get an early start so he can have an afternoon off. I wake up my Dad and Derek and we all stumble outside to get started. I also do a quick internet search to make sure we are not violating nay noise bylaws. Low and behold, 7am is the approved start time for a Saturday in Edmonton. At leas the neighbours can't call the city on us.

I think Dale just gets a perverse pleasure in waking people up. He seemed pretty happy with himself.

Anyway, he was a very experienced bobcat operator and made short work of the project. We needed some topsoil removed from the area since the new garage was going to be larger than the old garage. Dale scooped it out and transported it down the alley to a neighbour that needed some fill for his project. This worked well because we didn't have to pay to have the dirt hauled away and we were able to help out the neighbour that let us dump our concrete in his bin.

Supervising the bobcat operation.
Dale's brother showed up to see what was happening and lend a hand. I think he did more talking than working, but even in his dress loafers he had the rake and was helping to spread the sand around.

By noon the sand & gravel was spread around to my Dad's satisfaction and all that was left was to use the plate tamper we had rented from Home Depot to compact the area and do some shovel work on the sides of the area. By the end of the day the ground was all prepared for the concrete...or was it?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ground preparation

A lot of prep work goes into getting the ground ready for the concrete slab. I think it was something like five days of prep and then only half a day to pour and finish the concrete. Thankfully, my Dad was around to lead the project. His 10+ years of expertise from working in the concrete industry really paid off.  We never would have been able to accomplish this without his help. Although, he was shocked by the cost of gravel, sand, concrete and delivery in Alberta. I guess with less demand for building in B.C., and easier access to gravel pits, things are cheaper there.

In a nutshell, the work that went into preparing the ground for the concrete was as follows:
  • mark out the size of the slab (24' x 24') and ensure that it conforms to the Edmonton mature neighbourhoods building regulations
  • figure out how much we need to build up the area to have the correct final grade to the alley
  • find a bobcat operator 
  • order the required sand & gravel
  • coordinate the distribution of the sand & gravel with the bobcat operator
  • rake the sand smooth
  • compact the sand & gravel
  • check the grade and make any adjustments
  • build the concrete forms and secure them in place
  • lay & tie the rebar
  • prop the re-bar up so that it doesn't sag under the weight of the concrete
When that is all done, it will look like this:
Ready for the concrete (hat is optional).

I have some details to share about the above list of tasks, but for all our sakes, I am trying to keep the individual blog entries short and sweet.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Apologies for the lack of posts

I just wanted to apologize for the lack of posts. We have been working very hard on the garage and house for the last few months, so I do have lots of news to share. As the weather has now turned colder, I will make a serious effort to update the blog with our progress. Stay tuned. As a teaser, here is a before and after of the front of the house.


We are very happy with it.

Also,since I am so behind with the blog, it's possible that I may "Tarantino"it and write the posts in a non-linear chronology. You are fore-warned.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sneak peek

Here is a quick peek at what we chose for the exterior paint colours. The painting is going well. I will post many photos once it is complete.

Grey, white & red for house exterior.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More garage demolition

This deserves its own post because the Mr. was so excited to be able to use the jackhammer to finish the garage demolition. There was a concrete curb that acted as a pseudo-foundation for the old garage. Using the jackhammer to break it up and then some elbow grease to haul it away, we got rid of the last of the garage.
So happy!
I was also very happy when a fellow we found on Kijiji came and hauled away all the scrap metal from the garage. It was satisfying to have everything cleared away from the site and be ready to move on to building.
Burning some of the final debris and relaxing after a long week of demolition.

Exterior paint colours

One of the projects that we know we want to complete in the first year of home ownership is to repaint the exterior of the house. The previous owners didn't paint the outside during their tenure, so we are not sure how long it has been since the house was painted. There is a lot of peeling paint on the sides of the house and the white with cream trim colour scheme is not very welcoming.

The current exterior paint is in rough shape and very bland.
So, we need to decide what colour of house we want. This is a HUGE decision. We have spent many hours walking around the neighbourhood and trolling the internet looking at various houses and their colour schemes. We know we want to use multiple colours to highlight some of the architectural features, but we still want it to look modern.
Using Pinterest to keep track of ideas
After much discussion, we decided on two tones of gray for the main body of the house, white trim, and a bold accent colour for the windows and doors. Sounds simple, right. Nope! There are a million shades of gray: purple gray, blue gray, silver gray, green gray, beige gray (also referred to as greige), brown get the idea. The same goes for white. We tested some colours out on the house and finally made a decision, which we will reveal in an upcoming post.
Purple or red for the accent colour?
Testing shades of gray on the garage before we tore it down.