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Old 10-26-2012, 09:51 PM   #81
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Well, I done it. I accepted the inspection. I could have asked for the seller to do some repairs, but I think the seller would have called off the sale. He had already reduced the asking price more than $15K from the original listing, and my agent had also told me there was another offer, but the seller accepted mine, even though it was the lower of the two, because it was all cash.

So as of next Wednesday or thereabouts I will be a citizen (though not yet a resident) of Lacey, WA. And I think I'm going to take a breather before seeking out additional bids on the repair work. I want to get at least one other one, and two would be better. Besides, with all this house-hunting stuff in addition to chemo, I've only been working three days a week most of the last month or so. I'm really turning into a slacker!
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:56 PM   #82
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Congratulations! My only advice at this point is to take it slow as you move in. The big, dirty, inconvenient projects are a LOT easier if you haven't moved into the house yet. Sure, set up a room to sleep in overnight since you are 70 miles from your "base", but try to get the big stuff (walls, floors, etc) done while the place looks more like an empty warehouse than a real house.

Best wishes and good luck!
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:17 PM   #83
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Congratulations! My only advice at this point is to take it slow as you move in. The big, dirty, inconvenient projects are a LOT easier if you haven't moved into the house yet. Sure, set up a room to sleep in overnight since you are 70 miles from your "base", but try to get the big stuff (walls, floors, etc) done while the place looks more like an empty warehouse than a real house.

Best wishes and good luck!
+1 It is a lot easier than moving stuff around, cleaning stuff that gets dirty, etc.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:44 AM   #84
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Congratulations! My only advice at this point is to take it slow as you move in. The big, dirty, inconvenient projects are a LOT easier if you haven't moved into the house yet. Sure, set up a room to sleep in overnight since you are 70 miles from your "base", but try to get the big stuff (walls, floors, etc) done while the place looks more like an empty warehouse than a real house.

Best wishes and good luck!
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+1 It is a lot easier than moving stuff around, cleaning stuff that gets dirty, etc.
It also means they can just use the existing carpets as a drop cloth, instead of having to protect the floors, since the carpet will be removed anyway.
I am going to see if I can get all the interior work done before I move in at all, but as soon as the papers are signed, I am going to take a breather from house-hunting activities for a week or two, then maybe get a couple more bids on the work between Veteran's Day & Thanksgiving. IIRC the first contractor said that all the work, interior and exterior, would take about two weeks to do. So I could even wait until the beginning of next year before having someone start on it, and still probably have the house ready by the time I need to.

I also need to think some about finances, and figure out exactly how much money I have available. Some things may have to wait a few months until I can save up what used to be going toward my mortgage, or even after I am officially retired if I have to dip into 457 money. Exterior painting sounds like a good candidate for that, since it's starting to rain and will most likely keep on raining pretty steadily until next spring (unless it snows ). That will give me lots of time to pick out a good color. I wonder if the paint stores have software that lets you put the new color on a photo of your house, to see what it will look like....
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:13 AM   #85
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Don't count on your computer monitor to give you an accurate shade. Think back for a moment about how colors differer on TVs at a retail store.

Oh, if you have a sample of a color you want paint stores today can match it perfectly.

It may be worthwhile to sign up for Angie's List to help you find good contractors.

Early on you seemed to be considering new siding. May I strongly suggest a cement board product such as Hardie, they now come in a wide range of profiles and are pre-primed.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:23 PM   #86
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Don't count on your computer monitor to give you an accurate shade. Think back for a moment about how colors differer on TVs at a retail store.

Oh, if you have a sample of a color you want paint stores today can match it perfectly.

It may be worthwhile to sign up for Angie's List to help you find good contractors.

Early on you seemed to be considering new siding. May I strongly suggest a cement board product such as Hardie, they now come in a wide range of profiles and are pre-primed.
I am already a member of Angie's list. That's where I found my inspector and I will have to take some time and add to his list of glowing reviews. He is a keeper (although I hope this is the last time I need to have a house inspected).

Re-siding is on the list, but that's for the future, after I start drawing SS and have some wiggle room in my budget. It might be done as part of a major project along with re-doing the kitchen (includes relocating a door, so that would require changes to the siding anyway), refresh/upgrade the insulation in the exterior walls while the siding is off, plus perhaps a screened porch off the remodeled kitchen. Cement board is definitely on the list of possibilities.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:03 PM   #87
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Uh-oh! Closing delayed due to problems with the title. I looked in the escrow company's website and there appear to be two issues:
1) the property was at one time part of an estate, but there are no documents to show that the people whose estate it was are in fact deceased. I hope this is just a matter of not having looked in the right place yet. (edited to add: I just looked in an online SSDI and found two deceased of the right names who died in WA in the early years of the millennium. I bet that's them, but I wonder why no certificates.)
2) a half interest in the oil & mineral rights was retained by one Euphemia Buck (perhaps during a previous sale) in 1945. I don't know what this means in practical terms. Can Ms. Buck (or her heirs, agents & assigns) put an oil derrick in the front yard on their own say-so?
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:09 PM   #88
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Title glitch cleared up, docs emailed & money wired to escrow company yesterday, and real estate agent just now dropped off the keys. I just bought me a house!

Now I'm starting to think about the repairs & stuff. I think the very first choice I need to make is between copper & pex for re-plumbing (to be done while the crawl space is being cleaned out and floor reinsulated). Copper is higher embodied energy to manufacture and install(?) but will last more or less indefinitely (?) and could at least theoretically be re-used after this house---pex is a single-use product, lifespan unknown (at least to me) that can't (?) be recycled. Which is more damaging to the environment, copper mining & smelting or oil extraction/plastic manufacture? I'd like to make sustainable choices in the work I have done on the house, but right now have a myriad of questions and no idea where to find the answers. I'll also eventually need to decide metal vs wood vs cement-composite for exterior siding, "Swedish finish" vs ?? for hardwood floors, materials for kitchen update, and many other such choices. Does anyone here know of a forum or other source that focuses on and provides information for making green/sustainable choices for remodeling and repairing an existing house?

Karen
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:56 PM   #89
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Congratulations!!

May you enjoy many happy times in your new home. I hope you can get most of the major renos done before moving in.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:01 PM   #90
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Title glitch cleared up, docs emailed & money wired to escrow company yesterday, and real estate agent just now dropped off the keys. I just bought me a house!

Now I'm starting to think about the repairs & stuff. I think the very first choice I need to make is between copper & pex for re-plumbing (to be done while the crawl space is being cleaned out and floor reinsulated). Copper is higher embodied energy to manufacture and install(?) but will last more or less indefinitely (?) and could at least theoretically be re-used after this house---pex is a single-use product, lifespan unknown (at least to me) that can't (?) be recycled. Which is more damaging to the environment, copper mining & smelting or oil extraction/plastic manufacture? I'd like to make sustainable choices in the work I have done on the house, but right now have a myriad of questions and no idea where to find the answers. I'll also eventually need to decide metal vs wood vs cement-composite for exterior siding, "Swedish finish" vs ?? for hardwood floors, materials for kitchen update, and many other such choices. Does anyone here know of a forum or other source that focuses on and provides information for making green/sustainable choices for remodeling and repairing an existing house?

Karen
Congratulations!!!!!

We rebuilt two years ago and had to address the same questions.

We never really debated copper vs pex. IMO pex is the clear choice. Copper is much more expensive (both materials and installation). Also, in our case we might use the house seasonally at some point in the future and leave it unheated and drain the pipes, and pex is much more forgiving than copper.

For exterior siding, we never wanted to paint again (or pay to have our house painted) so we went with vinyl. We upgraded to vinyl faux cedar shakes - they look great, are much thicker than the vinyl clapboard that we looked at and will never need painting. As a friend quipped "Vinyl is final". We had wood before and know two couples who have had problems with cement-board so we had little interest in either of those.

You mentioned reinsulating. We went with spray foam and have been very happy with it. It is super energy efficient, so much so that we had to put in an air-exchange system that exhausts stale air and brings in fresh outside air.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:04 PM   #91
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Congratulations! Time to celebrate.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:31 PM   #92
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For the siding consider a cement siding like Hardy Board. Looksl like wood but totally impervious to insects/mold/etc.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:14 PM   #93
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For the siding consider a cement siding like Hardy Board. Looksl like wood but totally impervious to insects/mold/etc.
I know two different couples who have had problems with Hardi-board. Unfortunately, I don't know the details.

That said, we had cement-board on the north side of our old house for about 10 years and never had a problem with it.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:29 PM   #94
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Sorry pb4uski, vinyl is not final except in the sense that is ultimately adds to our inventory of non-biodegradable plastics. It can get cracked and torn and is almost impossible to match in a repair.

My husband is an architect. When we built our home on Bainbridge Island almost 20 years ago (with an exposure to the west on Puget Sound), and when our daughter's home was recently constructed in Los Altos, Hardie siding was used. Almost everyone thinks it is clear cedar siding, it has performed beautifully. Hardieplank comes in several profiles, was even used for a garage in a historic district where it looked like T&G plank siding. Hardie now has competitors.

Cement siding resists flame spread, doesn't rot and is not favored by carpenter ants. Save a tree in BC, use less plastic, follow rodi's advice.

"Spend" your plastic on pex pipe.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:21 PM   #95
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Congrats on the house!!! Looks like you'll have plenty to keep you busy for a bit. I hope you're not tiring yourself out too much, I know chemo can be tough.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:26 PM   #96
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Congrats on the house purchase!

Regarding copper vs. pex, copper is so expensive now and who's to say digging it out of the ground and smelting it is "greener" than plastic?

I have not used HardiePlank, but will use it when replacing the real wood siding in my home; I am tired of having to stain it.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:38 PM   #97
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Sustainability of pipe: Yes, they dig up a lot fewer cubic yards of earth for a given quantity of PEX than copper. I don't think there's a clear answer on which is greener. PEX has better resistance to bursting in freezing temps than copper, and if you are putting it in an uninsulated crawl space that's probably a big deal.

Before deciding to insulate your floors, read up on conditioned crawlspaces. ( Conditioned crawlspaces-Building Science Corp ) It's another way to save energy, keep your floors a comfortable temperature, improve indoor air quality, and reduce the problems caused by water/water vapor. It's likely the old-school home repair guys in your area will be skeptical of it. This approach will also significantly reduce the chance that water pipes in the crawlspace will freeze and burst, which is higher risk if you insulate your floors.

Vinyl siding: Never needs painting, get a neutral color and a quality product with UV stabilizers and it will resist fading. It's cheap to put up. It does not look as good as cement board, and the cement board is very sturdy. Cement takes a lot of energy to make. Heck, every pound of petroleum you lock up in your PEX pipe and vinyl siding is another pound that isn't getting burned to produce CO2 in the atmosphere! I think the final decision on siding might boil down to what you can afford and what neighborhood houses have. whatever you put up, give strong consideration to insulating well in the stud bays and adding insulated sheathing beneath the final siding. Even 1/2" of foam gives benefits well beyond what you might expect by greatly reducing heat loss through the studs and by reducing air infiltration through the wall.

The greenest choice you can make in remodeling a home is to re-use stuff that's already been produced. Check out your local Re-Store (or similar place run by Habitat for Humanity or other entity) for electrical supplies, plumbing fixtures (but don't get an old toilet that wastes water) , building supplies, etc.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:22 PM   #98
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Sorry pb4uski, vinyl is not final except in the sense that is ultimately adds to our inventory of non-biodegradable plastics. It can get cracked and torn and is almost impossible to match in a repair......
That is what I love about America - you are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine.

The cracked/torn issue is exactly why we went with a higher end product and the cedar shake style - the vinyl is very rugged - it laughs at box cutters and is very difficult to cut with anything other than a circular saw. Some friends down the road have vinyl cedar shake similar to what we used that is ~15 years old and it looks like new - never a problem.

I have seen some cracking problems in our area with vinyl clapboard which is usually much thinner which is why we went with a better product. I concede it is hard to match in a repair but a need to repair is rare (unless you are clumsy I guess).

I don't get your adding to the inventory of non-biodegradeable plastics - its on the house and will stay there (its final - remember) - just like your non-biodegradeable Hardie board.

Think of me the next time you are painting or writing out a check for the paint crew.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:59 PM   #99
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Congratulations!!

May you enjoy many happy times in your new home. I hope you can get most of the major renos done before moving in.
That's the plan. I won't be moving until January at the earliest.

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Congrats on the house!!! Looks like you'll have plenty to keep you busy for a bit. I hope you're not tiring yourself out too much, I know chemo can be tough.
Right now I am taking a breather from house-related activities, other than seeking information online. I still need to figure out how much money I have left over from the townhouse, and then tackle the most important stuff first.
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:27 AM   #100
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(snip)Before deciding to insulate your floors, read up on conditioned crawlspaces. ( Conditioned crawlspaces-Building Science Corp ) It's another way to save energy, keep your floors a comfortable temperature, improve indoor air quality, and reduce the problems caused by water/water vapor. It's likely the old-school home repair guys in your area will be skeptical of it. This approach will also significantly reduce the chance that water pipes in the crawlspace will freeze and burst, which is higher risk if you insulate your floors.
The floor was already insulated, but rats got in the crawl space and pulled down a lot of what was there (I think it is fiberglass batts). So item one on the repair/renovation list is to get the rats out of the crawlspace, replace the vapor barrier and restore the insulation. I am only looking at plumbing because the existing pipe is 60-year-old galvanized iron and inspector says it is at the end of its useful lifespan. I might be able to live with it, but it seems like it would make sense to deal with it along with other crawlspace issues. If I run short of funds I will probably see if it (the water pressure etc) is tolerable and maybe have the re-plumbing done at same time as a future kitchen remodel, which will require crawlspace entry because it includes changes to the plumbing as well as extending the gas pipe to change the kitchen range from electric to gas.

I didn't completely understand the document about conditioned crawlspaces after a quick skimming. One question that occurs to me, is can this be retrofitted or does a building have to be planned and constructed with that in mind from the first? Also, what if there is no insulation on the ground below the vapor barrier? I don't know if this house has any or not--I would guess not from the age and from the fact it was felt to be desirable to insulate the floor. Wouldn't a conditioned crawl space lose a lot of heat to un-insulated soil if that's the case?

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Vinyl siding: Never needs painting, get a neutral color and a quality product with UV stabilizers and it will resist fading. It's cheap to put up. It does not look as good as cement board, and the cement board is very sturdy. Cement takes a lot of energy to make. Heck, every pound of petroleum you lock up in your PEX pipe and vinyl siding is another pound that isn't getting burned to produce CO2 in the atmosphere! I think the final decision on siding might boil down to what you can afford and what neighborhood houses have. whatever you put up, give strong consideration to insulating well in the stud bays and adding insulated sheathing beneath the final siding. Even 1/2" of foam gives benefits well beyond what you might expect by greatly reducing heat loss through the studs and by reducing air infiltration through the wall.
The stud bays are already insulated. When/if I tear off & replace the siding (right now the house has some original cedar shingle siding and some has been replaced with concrete board), I would definitely consider adding an insulated sheathing to cut heat loss through the studs. When I was planning my straw bale house, I intended to use metal siding rather than either wood, concrete-board or vinyl. Metal has very high embodied energy but it's basically impervious to everything, and could at least theoretically be recycled at the end of the building's lifespan. It can be painted, but doesn't have to be. From what I hear of vinyl I would not use it again (the townhouse I just sold had vinyl). Although it does have the benefit of being durable, I believe it's very toxic to manufacture (i.e. it endangers the workers who make it). The only way to change the color of your house is to tear it off and replace it. I would imagine it is also difficult to match years after purchase if you wish to make an addition to the house or e.g. match the siding of the house on a garden shed. (Metal siding might also have this problem.) Vinyl is non-recyclable and non-renewable. I don't know if it could be torn off one building in good enough condition to re-use it on another, but I doubt it. Concrete board seems to me to be somewhere in-between. It's high embodied energy, but durable, can be painted if desired, and may be easier to match for later additions/remodel than either metal or vinyl. I don't know if it can be re-used, and it doesn't look to me to be recyclable.

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The greenest choice you can make in remodeling a home is to re-use stuff that's already been produced. Check out your local Re-Store (or similar place run by Habitat for Humanity or other entity) for electrical supplies, plumbing fixtures (but don't get an old toilet that wastes water) , building supplies, etc.
I will have to do that, after checking in my late dad's workshop to see whether what I need is in there. My mom suggested I might want to change the locks on the doors (I think the house may have been a rental before sale). I checked the workshop and there are a couple of locksets which I think were originally bought for a rental property my parents owned. The house has more than two doors, but maybe I will only need to buy two or three new locks instead of four or five.
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