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Renovation: Electricians Day 1, and Update

Pete Brown - 08 November 2005

Over the weekend, I tore off the rest of the drywall in the kitchen. Monday night, I marked up the walls with the locations of all the switched, outlets, junction boxes and other services. The electricians came today and roughed-in a lot of the electrical for the kitchen. They'll be back again tomorrow, and then likely for two more days next week.

After they left, I took a real look around, did some calculations, and realized the lighting was too sparse. The kitchen is approximately 132 square feet. The overhead lights, at 65 watts a piece, total 260 total watts, or less than 2 watts per square foot.

Given that the floor will be dark and the cabinets will be natural cherry (not painted white), I asked today for a third row of recessed lights to be placed in between the existing two (inline above the sink area and the oven/cooktop area - left and right of the photo above). That will help even it up a bit and provide the correct level of light.The two additional lights will bring it up to just under 3 watts per square foot. The target for kitchens is 2.5 to 4 watts per square foot, if you use incandescent lamps. Those will all be on a dimmer switch should we decide they're a little too bright.

Windows and Patio/Deck Doors

I was finally able to schedule the installs for the windows. They'll be coming on the 21st and there through the 23rd. That cuts it pretty close to the Thanksgiving holiday, but that was the soonest they could do it. That's a couple weeks later than their initial estimate, but they did at least do their best to squeeze me in before the holiday. The siding and deck repair are not yet scheduled, but the windows were my primary concern as they were holding up the drywall work.


I have the drywall folks coming either the weekend right after Thanksgiving, or the week of the 28th. They're going to call and let me know what day they can do. I can do drywall, but not as fast as these folks, and likely not as well. The drywall needs to be up and dry (and painted) for four days or so before I can put the flooring down.


Getting a plumbing quote was a complete pain. After numerous messages and calls, we still haven't heard from the person at Day or Night plumbing. They're just too busy installing gas fireplaces due to the inavailability of pellets and the high price of oil. Today we finally gave up on them and called another plumber (as an aside, that is one site that just screams "cheesy stock clip art"). They'll be in this Thursday for an estimate. It costs $60 for that estimate, but if we use them, it is credited towards the bill. They said they might even be able to do the actual work that day. I won't hold my breath on that one.


The stairbuilder comes tomorrow morning. I'm cringing in anticipation of both the price the stairs will run, and more importantly, the time it will take to turn them around. It took a couple weeks for the stairbuilder to set up an appointment, but we were warned about that ahead of time.


The flooring nailer and cleats arrived today. The shoe for the nailer appears to be the wrong size (3/4"), so I'll have to check with them to see if it will work with my 5/8" flooring, or if I need to get a different one.

My father-in-law and I brought in all the rest of the flooring this past weekend - what an exhausting task that was. We were both pretty sore after lugging in those 49 70lb 6' boxes. I picked up the rosin paper from Home Depot this past weekend as well.

General Comments

Easily the worst part of this renovation has been scheduling folks for estimates or actual work. The only one that has been really good is Cook Electric. Not only do they do good work, but they show up! I highly recommend them to anyone else interested in electrical work in this area. Ask for Eric, and tell him I referred you (disclosure: I get nothing for recommending them other than the satisfaction of knowing I saved someone else some hassle).

This is all squeezing really close to my personal December 10 date for getting the house livable again. I know it won't be done by that date, but hopefully (with the exception of the stairs - I'll have to do something temporary there) it will be safe and habitable. I don't expect to have wainscoting or trim up, or any of the kitchen cabinets done by that date, but I do hope to have the windows installed, the drywall and painting done, and the flooring down at least in the living room and hallway.

posted by Pete Brown on Tuesday, November 8, 2005
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