Thursday, April 25, 2013

Long Overdue!

I sincerely apologize for the extreme lack of posts over the past two months.  There has been lots going on that has kept me away: (1) crazy work projects, which amount to crazy work hours; (2) volunteering at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; and (3) the biggest thing of all...Matt has been back in Aberdeen for the past 8 weeks for work.  So add that all together, and you have one overwhelmed and time crunched gal.  Also, right when we felt like we started to see a tiny light at the end of the renovation tunnel when the drywall went up, we took about 20 monster steps backwards in March and had zero progress throughout the house.  Everyone tells you that a renovation will not always go as planed and to "expect the unexpected". Well, with how smoothly everything went during the demo portion of our renovation (i.e., no hidden skeletons like knob-and-tube wiring or extreme water damage somewhere), I naively thought that we were out of the woods of potential disasters once the electrical, plumbing and HVAC were complete and the drywall was up.  Boy oh boy was I wrong! One thing that I have learned is that drywall actually helps to reveal any issues with a remodel because once walls are up, you can see where there errors are hiding.  For us, the mistake involved the structural beams that hold up the ENTIRE second story and roof of our house.  Yeah, I told you it was a BIG MAJOR HUGE ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE "OUR-HOUSE-COULD-FALL-DOWN" problem!  Basically, about a week after the drywall went up, I noticed a tennis ball-sized bulge popping out of the drywall on corner of the wall where the staircase meets the second story.  I don't have any taking a cue from one of my all time favorite blogs Crappy Pictures, I have made my own illustrations (because blog posts are always more fun with pictures).  Here is the basic rundown of what happened:

After I saw that horrible red eyed monster the bulge, I promptly issued a "Houston, we have a problem!" call with the builder. However, when the builder showed up the next day, his reaction was:

Not satisfied since bulges don't typically pop-up on their own for no good reason, I decided to call the engineer over to see if he could explain what was causing the bulge. (and P.S. this is the same engineer who reviewed and stamped our plans as structurally sound, and inspected and  cleared the beams before the dry wall went up).  However, like the builder, the engineer's response was:

At this point I decided to call in the big boys....the dreaded West U inspectors.  I felt certain they would be able to explain what was wrong or, at an absolute minimum, recognize that there was a problem.  Like the engineer, the inspector had previously inspected the beams during the structural inspection and passed them before the dry wall went up.  Well (you might start noticing a pattern), his response was:

Needless to say, I was pretty distraught after being told by three different people that bulges in drywall are (apparently) no big deal. I was beginning to think that I might be crazy or at least too picky.  This is when having Matt on the same continent would have been helpful.  So I called the next best person, my "step dad" Rod, who is a contractor. "Why didn't you have Rod do you remodel?" you ask...well, two reasons.  First, we couldn't afford him (and didn't feel right having him discount his work just for us).  Second, we wanted to have someone that we weren't related to build the house in case there were any issues. That way, we wouldn't feel guilty calling them on it...somethings you just don't want to keep in the family.  Well, as soon as Rod got there, he put a level on the ceiling next to the bulge and immediately said:

We then had a group meeting with Rod, the engineer and the builder to investigate. Once the drywall was removed, we discovered that the framers installed all the structural beams in the house completely backwards! Basically, there were supposed to be two engineered beams that would hold up the weight of the house and then ceiling joist would be hung off of the engineered beams.  Well, one misread of the plans and we ended up with (1) one of the engineered beams being cut in half; and (2) all of the engineered beams (and the entire weight of the second story and roof) hanging off of two 2x10 ceiling joist. UGG!!!! Here's a picture to help explain:

And here is a close-up of the engineered beam that was split in half. 

I'm not going to lie...reliving this whole situation and looking at these pictures again makes me nauseous considering what could have happened if that evil little bulge had not decided to show itself until after the construction was finished or worse, before the house fell down.  So the take away from this post...follow your gut when remodeling or constructing a house.  If you think that something is not right, speak-up.  And keep asking until you are completely satisfied with the answer.  Had I listened to the builder, the engineer and the inspector (cause hey, why would anyone listen to those people...sheesh!), we could have had an absolute disaster on our hands!  We are now moving forward again and making progress, so I will have some happy progress photos tomorrow!
Take care and thanks for stopping by (if anyone is still stopping by that is...since I haven't posted in 3 months)!
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