Title of picture

Sunrise on our house, Lake Cowichan, BC

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Week #12 - This marks Three Months of Renovations!!!

Warning ... more talk of renos. I am documenting a lot of times, comings and goings and what is being done as this is my reference for talking with the General Contractor when there are disputes. So please ignore my rantings. lol

Friday afternoon I had Chris help me push the boat into the garage so it is all snug and warm to get it off the driveway. When the gyproc mudding and sanding in the garage starts we will have to push it back out of the garage for the day.

The ceiling is all spray foamed now. 
Saturday after a lazy morning start. (Enjoying the quiet. lol) we drove to Duncan to bring our motorhome back. It has been in outside storage for the past 2 1/2 months while we waited for concrete to be poured and cured in the front driveway. Now that the weather is pretty cool, (-2C this Sunday morning), we wanted to get some heat on inside of the motorhome. Had quite a nostalgic moment opening up the slides for the first time since last March. This had been our only home for the past 6 years. We are certainly missing travelling now to warmer temps.

After leveling we hooked the coach up to power from the house via our new RV plug. Unfortunately the "house batteries" are at zero in the coach! Ray had picked up the motorhome at the beginning of September after servicing in Duncan which included some electrical work and we just drove it into storage. We turned off the battery switch for the cranking batteries but for some reason the solar did not keep the house batteries charged. One of the breakers inside for the #1 inverter seems loose and not responding. We have no power inside the coach plugging it into 50 amp power from the house. Monday we will call Revy RV and see if week can take it in for repairs.

Spent the rest of the day washing all my china and putting it into our new dining room built-in. Ray and I had a lovely afternoon dip in the new hot tub. It is kind of hard to have a dip at night right now as we could not go into the basement as the floor is curing with the sealer, so there are no lights to see by and of course our outside stairs from the deck are painted black.

Sunday, cold and clear at -2C until the sun started to rise and then the fog rolled in again for a few hours.

Monday morning very cold at -3 C. Fortunately the motorhome is virtually empty and has been winterized since we have only a little oil heater going in it.

Well ... we are at week #12 of the renos. Can't believe we have had 3 months of this and are beginning to doubt that they will be finished by Christmas. Ray and I expected that they would bring a "team" in and be done in 2 months total including outside painting of the house. Instead we have only 1 carpenter most days and all outside painting will have to wait until next spring. They told us on Friday, that they have been unable to secure anyone to put in the gyproc so they will be doing it themselves. Fortunately most of the walls downstairs don't have many angles so it should go quite quickly, we hope.

Chris arrived at about 8:00 am to putz around on small jobs. The floor guys arrived around 8:30 to paint the basement floor. It took quite a while as they had to wait for one coat to dry before applying the second coat. Talk about stink!!! I had to turn off the furnace all day, open up the doors and sit in my winter coat with a blanket over me knee to be able to breathe. Of course our fireplace still is not working! Fortunately at 3:30 when everyone was gone I just left the doors open and went upstairs to the guest room and opened the windows, turning on it's separate heat pump. That's where I stayed for the rest of the day.

Transom window installed in master bedroom.

Putting trim back on ensuite door.

Chris took door jam and trim off pantry in preparation for new door. The old door and frame will be used in the basement.
Chris also attempted to fix our master bedroom window as it does not lock ... I guess we are back to a piece of wood dowling.

After sealing the concrete and before the new paint applied after diamond grinding.

After paint applied.

We chose a very neutral cream colour to warm up the space. The walls will be painted a lighter cream colour that is the same as the main floor.

Ray drove into Duncan to meet with David Coulson regarding our reno. It seems like we have been charged a bunch of hours from Roger, the site supervisor, but he was only here half a dozen times in the pay period and we are being charged 80 hours while mentioning another job has started and he has to go and check on Bernie!!!! Good thing Ray is keeping on top of this, especially that they were just ready to charge us another 80 hours when we have only seen Roger three times, I think, these past 2 weeks. When Ray asked about the roofing guys to finish the deck, Dave called them with Ray in the office and asked how they could prioritise our project. Turns out they are apparently working on another one of Dave's projects that isn't even ready for them yet!  Dave obviously didn't check on this when Ray questioned him last week about the delays. All we get from him is we're lucky to get anybody with the trades. Unfortunately this company is the only one that Dave uses and they are also to put in our railings and soffits underneath the deck as well as our snow guards.   The owner is the only one who does the measure up for the supplies required and he hasn't even shown up for that yet.  At this rate who knows when the deck will be finished. Extremely frustrating.  This #$%^&* isn't interested whatsoever!!!! (Ray's comment!)
Tuesday morning another cold clear day. Hopefully a better day today.

The house does not smell as bad but I went downstairs and opened up the door and windows to help clear out the smell. Did the same with the main floor and within about 15 minutes most of the smell of the paint was gone.

Chris arrived at 7:30 am and spent time fixing the siding and belly board around the hole made for the propane fireplace and fixing the corner where the belly board reaches the deck He also tucked in the wire for the security camera so it is not visible.  Chris was also doing odds and ends in the basement in preparation for the insulation install tomorrow.

After picture of fireplace vent.

Before picture of fireplace vent.

 Bernie arrived at around 10 am to cover the newly painted basement floor to protect it and help Chris move things around in preparation for insulation. Slegg Lumber arrived at 12:45 with the insulation and the rubber feet for the deck tiles. Bernie left at 2:30 pm. I don't think we got "our money's worth" today either. No other material here for Chris to work on such as shelving for pantry and master closet etc. (Unfortunately Bernie missed a little bit of covering the floor at the entrance to the bathroom and in front of the tub. This area has been damaged by the insulator guy who was walking on stilts so it will have to be repainted.)

Ray and I took the motorhome in this morning to Revy RV so they can have a look at it. After checking the InstantHot it was noticed that the wires are all burnt again and it keeps trying to engage even when the battery is off. This must be why our house batteries died. We had this "fixed" a couple of years ago under warranty with the same problem. Fortunately it tried to ignite while the technician was looking at it. so he knows where to start his investigation.  I think Ray and I are going to get a regular propane hot water tank installed instead if it can fit. (They called us back on Friday, batteries seem to be okay and they believe it was the instant hot that drew them down, breaker is okay too. Unfortunately the thermostat for the heat pumps is kapoot ... they managed to order the last one  at $388 available as it has been discontinued. The new ones would require modification of all three heat pumps to work. Yikes. They are talking with Tiffin regarding the Instant Hot as this is the third time the wires have melted so it must be a faulty unit.)

After a quick stop at Canadian Tire to return the heater Ray had bought for the motorhome that was not big enough, we were back home by 10:30. Ray decided to call Dave Coulson and see if Roger and him could come to the house this afternoon for a meeting.

Shortly before 3pm Dave and Roger arrived for their meeting with us to discuss "hours of work" and what "site supervision is" and scheduling of sub contractors going forward. I missed some of it as I had a hair appointment. The timesheet Ray was shown at Dave's office showing 80 hours for Roger yesterday, now shows only 40 hours ???? Unfortunately there was a very "heated discussion" as Ray was not getting the information from them regarding timelines etc. Dave, from the roofing company stopped by to give his reasons for the delays here... too busy, all his employees have young families so only work 4-6 hours a day .... wow, wished I could have worked like that when our kids were small. Anyways he also measured for the soffits under the deck. All subs are so busy .... drywallers cancelled, and mudders for drywall cancelled etc.

Dave emailed us back later and has managed to find some other drywallers. Where we are at now is insulation will be installed tomorrow, Thursday the roofers are coming back to do the curb flashing so our guys can put the tile on the deck. Hopefully the drywallers will be here soon, early next week and we can start finishing things. After talking with Dave the roofer, hopefully the snow guards will get done by next week before any snow.

Wednesday ... rain, a very ugly day. Ray went to Nanaimo to pick up our etched glass window for the arch in the front of the house. It looks fabulous. Will wait to take a picture once it is installed.

The insulation guys (2), arrived at around 7:30 am and Chris arrived at 8 am. Bernie arrived at 9am to work on hooking up the drain pipes. He also cut down the tall pipes sticking up in the stairs and put grates on top. Looks much better.

The last downspout from the gazebo is just waiting for a fitting and it will be done too.

Chris was busy putting all of our door and window trim back on and replacing the pieces of hardiplank to put our house back together.

Those insulation guys are fast. By noon they had most of the basement finished. They are going to leave a couple of bales of insulation so the ceiling in the storage room can be done after the stuff is moved out of there. You can sure hear (not hear) sounds from the basement now or hear people walk on the main floor when you are in the basement. They also insulated the peaks in the garage so the upstairs bathrooms will stay warm. We are now ready for the gyproc to go on.


Main living area

New bedroom
Gable ends insulated in the garage to protect upstairs bathrooms.
The roofing guy showed up at 9:15 am to measure for our railings for the deck. Apparently this will take 3 to 6 weeks for delivery and installation as the powder coaters are way too busy. Roger showed up with the site work trailer at 9:30 am. and dropped off the privacy screen for the sundeck. He built this out of the timbers that were taken off the old deck. This is to go between the house and gazebo to provide us with some privacy from the neighbours office window that faces our deck.

At 10 am the roofing guys (4 of them) showed up with the curb flashing for the sundeck. The curbing is now all completed and they fixed the transition to the stairs. We are ready for the porcelain tile to be laid. Our guys just need to finish the black trim on the perimeter of the deck underneath the curbing. The gazebo will have to wait until next spring to be painted though, as we have missed the "good weather" window this fall. I guess our "new post" for the gazebo will stay wrapped in plastic until spring.

The snow guards were installed as well. The guys could not believe that they were not installed when the roof was put on.... neither could we! It did not take very long to complete all of this, they were gone by 1:30 pm.

At 11:30 the new drywall guy Dave, showed up to figure out material. He will be mudding, sanding and installing our T-Bar ceiling as well. Should be good to start early next week, maybe as early as Monday. I guess Ray's meeting yesterday has garnered some results. Unfortunately this whole situation has upset Ray so badly he is not doing very well with his back or his depression. He has booked another session with is counsellor on Monday to help him deal with all this stress.

As I mentioned in a previous post, our new fridge in the garage had been oversprayed with the foam insulation. Coulson's has offered to pay for new doors or a new fridge. I have googled some "how too" videos etc. It seems that a careful application of acetone and a lot of elbow grease might fix the situation ... we will see.

Thursday, another miserable wet day. Chris and Bernie arrived at 7:30 am and Roger shortly after 8 am. Chris continued to work on replacing some hardiplank before the rains begin today and then move inside the basement to work. Bernie painted black the deck lights I purchased last week in preparation for their install by the electrical crew in a couple of weeks.

Roger fitted the stairs with a temporary railing so it is safer using the hot tub at night ... when we cannot go through the basement. The railing is clamped rather than nailed to protect the new wood. The area under the sundeck sure looks messy ...

Bernie finished the styrofoam insulation around the top of the windows in the basement, and the support walls in the bathroom. These areas are concrete. The styrofoam needed to be glued and drilled with concrete screws to the wall in preparation for drywall. Somewhat time consuming. The basement is completely insulated now except for the ceiling in the storage room which will be done when we can move the stuff out of the way to reach the ceiling.

Chris came inside and started working on installing the dentix (waterproof gyproc) attaching it to the lower concrete walls with styrofoam.

Will wonders never cease, a guy showed up at noon to do the soffits under the sundeck. He was all done by 4pm.

Now the lighting can be installed under the deck and deck tiles can be installed on the deck. Only thing outstanding now is the railings which have been measured so we should see in a few weeks hopefully.

Friday. Wow did it rain last night. Of course being in the upstairs bedroom you could really hear it on the metal roof. I am sure the lake rose overnight. We have confirmation that the drywall installer will start on Monday so our guys will have to finish the dentix today in preparation.

Bernie arrived at 7:30am to start trying to get the spray foam off my fridge. The acetone worked. The fridge is only scratched a little now from my attempt. Chris arrived around 8am to finish up the dentix boarding in the basement. Slegg Lumber arrived with the drywall at 10:30. Of course they had to carry it into the basement while it was pouring out. Some of the sheets got a little wet but should dry out before Monday.

At noon the boys moved outside to put on the black wood deck trim under the curb flashing that was installed.

The piece of black trim cut to length. Boy is it messy out there!
I drove into Lake Cowichan and noticed our sunroof in our car is leaking again. We thought this was fixed when the new glass for the vista roof was replaced due to being cracked by a rock a month or so ago. Apparently not! Ray called  the people who installed it and they will look at it this afternoon so off he went after having some lunch. Turns out this model is known to Ford to have these issues for the last three years but never corrected it so it will be covered under warranty. Can't get it fixed until the second week of December, due to a lack of loaner cars.  So we have to back into our driveway so the slope of the roof is in the opposite direction so the water can drain out.

Today I called Matrix Marble and they confirmed installation of our en-suite vanity countertop next Wednesday. Plumbers organized to follow behind.

Had a few errands to run and while I was out at Home Hardware, Ken, owner of Jones Coatings and the Sherwin Williams rep stopped by. The newly painted floor downstairs is peeling!!!!! They said they would "make it right" but will wait until the drywall is installed. Looks like we are back to grinding!!! Dave, the owner of High Definition Roofing stopped by to inspect the soffit work.  He paid cash to get a sub-contractor to do the work ASAP. Wonder what this is going to cost us. So as usual, it feels like one step forward and two steps backwards. Time to make some brownies so we all get a chocolate fix!

Still waiting on the technician from South Island Fireplace to arrive for our appointment at 1pm ... need to get this fireplace working. The shop did call and tell me that the technician is running behind and hopefully will be here in an hour.

Ray arrived back home via walking!!! Apparently the gate has been fixed this afternoon after being broken for a year. We did not have a code to get in. The pedestrian gate is also out of commission so he had to walk the trail through the park to get to the other gate. After some phone calls to neigh-bours, we now can drive up to our house. Good thing as Kurtis Electric arrived to install the lights in the soffits under the deck and Kerry from South Island Fireplace also arrived. We are glad to have it fixed for security against theft in the neighbourhood, just get the gate fixed so Ray can walk the garbage cans to the curb.

We have light!

Deck lights to illuminate the stairway.
Roger arrived about 3:15 to check out the job and check-in with Chris. Chris stayed until almost 4:30 writing out his materials list for the finish work soon to start.

Ray had the painters that did our wood trim on our gangway come over to quote on the painting as a precaution. We don't think that they have painters scheduled after the drywalling. So when they say we have to wait we will have ours ready to go at probably a much lower price. These people are ready to start as soon as the drywall is ready. Our painters say they would have the house completely done including upstair fixes and the basement in about 4 days.

Tonight we had "date night". Ray took me out for dinner at Carmanah Pizza, a proper pizza restaurant here in Lake Cowichan. People have told us that they make a "proper pie".  A pretty nondescript place inside but they did make great pizza. The one we ordered was a little spicy for me so I would order a different one next time, but the flavours were great.

After dinner we went to a play at the local theatre company. (5 minutes from our house.) Great fun, certainly not professional but we definitely had some good laughs. Ray was able to sit in his zero gravity lounger, so it worked out beautifully. Home by 9:45 pm. A great date night.

And that concludes Week #12


  1. Holy geezus you have a plateful don't you!!! It's exhausting just reading about it. It's moving along though. Keep on pushing. Can't believe how much the lake is up!! It's almost at your fireplace by the look of the pictures. Incredible level change.

    1. The lake really is not that high, the picture is deceptive. lol It currently has covered our lower beach and has not breached the second level yet this year.

  2. Wow...those renovations sure sound stressful! Reminds me of when we had our house built...you really have to stay on top of things when dealing with so many different contractors. And to top things off the coach and car too...geez! Sending good vibes your way. 🙂

    1. Thank you. We are trying to take one day at a time but it's hard. I hope that the main floor and upstairs bedrooms are finished before Christmas. I doubt that the kitchen cabinets and bathroom downstairs will be finished though.

  3. Wow, what a huge project! It's turning out very nice! I'm afraid they will be back in the spring to complete the project. You have great records here for reference if you need them.

    1. Thanks. My journal of events has already been most helpful when we have discussions with the "big boss".

  4. We don't mind your reno posts at all! In fact we have gotten several ideas after reading about your adventures. With luck you will be reading our construction posts this coming year!

  5. I will enjoy reading about your renos instead of worrying about ours. lol :)