Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Major Remodel Project Underway

If you were to go back to my first post on this blog you'd see that Boomerang Kitchen started out as a chronicle of a major kitchen/living room remodel so that family and friends could follow the progress. I was inspired by our good friends who posted a similar remodel project on a blog for their San Jose house the year before we started our remodel. However, once their project was completed, they no longer posted an entries. But by the time our initial project was nearing completion, I was starting to follow a number of food blogs and I began to consider whether I should stop posting upon completion or if I should post some of the recipes I was making in the newly-remodeled kitchen. I decided on the latter and, hence, this blog still lives.

Well, a number of years later, we have begun another major remodel project on the house (built in 1956) and I have decided to return to the roots of this blog for a few months and share some of the milestones. I will also keep the food content going.

Sloping floor
The latest project's genesis comes from the fact that our house is on a slight slope which is creeping downhill. We started to notice some unusual interior cracks in our drywall which had grown larger over the years.
As you can see in this shot, there is a difference in the height of the floor from the left side to the right side on this closed door upstairs close to the west wall. More evidence that part of the house is moving.

We had some engineers (soils and structural) out to examine, measure, and study everything. The final report's recommended action was to get a structural company out to put piers down into the bedrock, lift the house back up, and redo part of the foundation.
Rebar piers to be placed in drilled holes

The most impacted room is a downstairs bonus room. It's where we have our main TV but it's not a room that is fully utilized. Closets installed by the original owner of the house is where we store a variety of old items, Christmas decorations, etc.  We decided that after the foundation was secure we would also do a major remodel of the room to make it into an inviting media room.

Filled pier outside of west wall
So just after the start of the year, the work began on the foundation. They cut holes in the cement outside and under the west and south walls (closest to the slope) in order to create five 18-foot deep piers around the southwest corner of the house and attach those piers to the foundation. Drilling went on for two very noisy days. They called the county out for an inspection but by then one of the holes had partially collapsed. So another half day of drilling and the the cement truck arrived around 3 PM and they poured concrete into the rebar-filled piers in the pouring rain until 8:30 that night.

A few days of recent rain has delayed further work but I was told that the crew will be back next week.

Inside the house, the west wall of the downstairs has the sheet rock taken down in order to install some reinforcements which will connect to the piers. The 3 foot stem wall on the bottom will be removed and the foundation redone with another, shorter stem wall foundation. Where the current window is will be converted into an 8' x 8' accordion door. The grey open door on the left edge will be removed and converted into a solid wall. 

Meanwhile, we have also been working with a different contractor who will be doing the interior remodeling. We are trying to set other aspects of the interior remodeling in motion so that work on the interior can begin soon after the foundation work is completed. More to come. 

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