Archive for November, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Happy turkey day everyone!

I was going to just write about my insulation project from last weekend, but then I found some pictures on my camera that I hadn’t uploaded yet. So first, here’s the garage floor project from June. The first is the ‘before’ picture, which I actually took after we had cleaned the floor. I used the Rust-Oleum garage floor kit that I picked up at HomeDepot for about $70. Speaking of HomeDepot — what is their obsession with the uScan lanes?! I went on a Sunday afternoon to pick up the kit, and there were no normal lanes open. Those DIY lanes are great in a grocery store, but try running a 2×4 or some other over-sized item across the stupid scanner. If that’s not frustrating enough, now figure out how to put it in the bag so the stupid computer stops telling you to “…please place the item in the bag.” But anyway…. to the garage. It turned out really well – I don’t think my garage floor had ever been sealed (actually, the epoxy probably won’t take very well on a sealed floor) so the concrete had actually started flaking in some spots. I spent almost 2 days cleaning the floor first – a degreaser to get rid of the bad oil sports, then the cleaner that came with the kit. I’m not sure the floor had ever been cleaned either. Probably should have done this when I first moved in – I sure have accumulated a lot of junk in the garage.
Quick tip for you – get one of those telescoping, metal broom handles and a scrub brush. The handle will actually come in handy for rolling the floor too. While we’re on tips – have at least one extra roller on hand. I got a little over zealous and broke the plastic handle off one, and had to run to the hardware store in the middle of the project to pick up another one. Makes it a little stressful because you have to apply the epoxy pretty quick after mixing it. So, spare parts and an extra set of hands comes in very handy. I didn’t use the ‘decorative flakes’ that came with the kit, but I did buy some of the mix-in ‘anti-slip’ stuff too. It’s basically just sand but it sure does help when the floor gets wet. I think it turned out well – click on the thumbnails for full versions.

GarageBefore GarageAfter

I don’t think I took any pictures of the gutters I put up. A big thanks to Bert for helping out with that one. I really just wanted leaf guards on my existing gutters, but the snap-in ones you can pick up at the hardware store just suck. I got a few quotes to have someone come and replace the gutters and put the nice guards on, and they all came in at like $3,000. I figured “They’re gutters… how hard can it be?” It turned out to be a little more complicated than that, but lucky for me Bert used to do stuff like that years ago so he had the know-how and tools. After measuring things a couple dozen times, we had a local building supply place come by and run-off the required lengths of gutter (so they’re seamless) and Bert, Bobo, and I spent a couple of days hanging them. They look great, work perfectly, and ended up costing me less than $800. No more cleaning the leaves out a couple times a week for me.

On to my most recent project – insulating the attic. Last Winter, I had a couple of months where my gas bill was horrific. I investigated the attic and discovered it had very little insulation – some spots were completely bare, and the highest point might have had 3 inches. It turns out I’m supposed to have about 15 inches of the blown-in type for my area. So again I thought “… how hard could it be?”
I asked around a little, and the only person I knew that had experience with it just said that Lowe’s would rent the machine for free if I bought at least 25 bags, so even if I didn’t need 25, but 25 and return what I didn’t use. Ok, my house isn’t that big, I figured 20-30 of these bags would be enough. A few hours, a few hundred bucks… no problem. Well imagine my surprise when I got to Lowe’s and started looking at their coverage chart. Turns out I was going to need 100 bags! I ended up using 90, but still, each bag is about 22lbs – so I literally put a ton of insulation in my attic. Lots of insulation First order of business was to clear out the pile of trash in the attic. Seriously, who hangs onto this junk? There were old closet doors, a waterbed frame, old rolls of wallpaper, scraps of floors, and even a couple good-sized rolls of carpet. Some of the carpet was actually unrolled and placed over the rafters of the house. My only guess if that they were trying to use it as insulation. Getting it out of there was a little tricky – it was so old and baked it just cracked when I tried to fold it up. Talk about a mess.

So after 6 hours in the the attic, $700, 4 trips to Lowe’s, and 4 heavily used respirator my “couple hours and couple hundred bucks” project was finished. And boy was I sore the next day. Stepping from joist to joist, walking hunched-over/squatted down, hose and flashlight in one hand using the other keep from falling through the ceiling, and the whole time barely being able to see or breath with all the crap flying around… I am glad it’s done, and it’s not something I want to do again any time soon. I missed ‘green week’ by a few weeks, but the insulation is made from 85% recycled material and I should be using less energy this Winter. Anyway, here’s a couple before and after shots – the pictures where there’s no insulation at all in the ‘before’ are actually of the area over the garage. I went ahead and filled that in too… just because it seemed like a good idea. Oh, and the stuff that looks like snow in all the pictures is actually just the dust that stuff generated.