Ground breaking went beautifully in early October. Alan Cary is a magician with a backhoe. I wish I could have stood around all day and watched him work (thinking of the townsfolk in Mike Mulligan) as his four corners came out neat and square.
Don Thetford of Anchor Foundations has been going strong since I last saw him 10 years ago, but we took up our friendly conversation as if it had only been a week. His corners were also neat square and perfectly level.
This pile of lumber was delivered in mid-November. There are enough 2×6’s for the downstairs walls, 2×10’s for floor joists and 23 sheets of plywood to cover the floor.
Winter has come early and set in with a vengeance.
We’ve already lost a couple of days to snow storms and had to dig out and scrape off the lumber.
Not used to the cold, it feels very cold to be framing–bad enough, it’s been awhile since I’ve used these muscles. Somehow, you just hunker down and keep moving to keep warm. At least you don’t waste much time eating lunch…
stick by precious stick
the job gets done
Just as the next load gets dropped
After years of focusing on siding jobs with the occasional roof overhead, the Design/Build “department” has signed a contract to build a garage/studio in Jeffersonville. This required me to dust off the old tools of CAD design, contracts and large budgets to put together the bank-worthy package that I could do blindfolded a decade ago.
It’s a simple design and will be a lot of fun to build. It will go up quickly and the siding, roofing and windows are what we’ve been doing. Sheetrock and paint will challenge my elbow and rotator cuffs, but the finish work will ice the cake.
Pictures, of course will follow as the work progresses.
The Winter songs have been sung
the final runs have been run
All of the equipment spends a rare weekend at home before being redistributed to several sites in the coming days.
The scaffolding has certainly been put to good use by a crew of determined guys who do what it takes to reach the high and low points of our work.
That could mean getting creative to keep it safe, or shoveling snow
Sometimes, of course, we have to rent the right tool to get to the right spot safely
Regardless of the tool and the bitter cold beginning and snowy end of winter, we’ve managed to put on a fair amount of siding and new roofs…
Like this one in North Ferrisburg
And this beauty in Huntington (that’s fiber-cement siding)
The big news for Spring 2018 is that some projects are looming that require some of my design and contracting skills, different tools dusted off and getting some use.
The winter has been both brutally cold and unusually balmy, but still we’ve persevered. This week we’re just finishing up the last siding work from 2017.
From a siding job in the Fall, we were fortunate to be invited to work inside on some of the worst days this winter, installing the ceiling and walls on a tiny house in Williston.
And it wasn’t all siding this winter. We got the sonotubes for a deck into the ground just before the frost set in. In January, when the wind let up, we added this side deck and built a new entry over the concrete steps that had failed to stylize the house.
From a big wind storm in late October, we tarpped several roofs that our schedule now allows us to get back and repair the damage by replacing the entire roof.
But siding is the way we spend most of our time.
The year has rushed by. Winter hurtles towards us, but the line-up of projects stays strong. Vinyl siding is still our bread and butter even as a dramatic windstorm has given us several roofs to repair and replace. Last week saw us hustling across the county with tarps and strapping to secure the damaged roofs.
For the last month, we’ve spent a relatively longer amount of time on one site in Bolton. This home has had a significant make-over, getting a new roof, all new windows and a few doors, finished off with a new coat of vinyl siding to make it really stand out on the mountainside.
What looked like this:
Has been transformed into this:
And what was a dusty inconvenience for the owners…
…has become a sunroom to be enjoyed all 4 seasons instead of three
While the bulk of our work last year was on siding projects both as a contractor and sub-contractor, a few renovations came our way to keep other skills honed sharply.
In the coldest part of the winter, we were fortunate to land the interior renovation of an apartment in Burlington, including new floors, kitchen and full bath. It also required extensive repair and replacement of multi-layers of sheetrock and original plaster & lathe. That became this…
While we were at it, I got a call to renovate another Burlington bath, taking it down to the studs,
…installing new tile
and custom shelves
…and then another bathroom transformed
Then, of course, there was the plethora of usual siding projects…starting with one 12 unit apartment complex with fibercement
To relax, I flew out to visit my daughter in Oregon
and put a new roof on her home in Portland
Then I learned to play golf with some foxy characters
and skied the Sugarbush with a new group of Skater Monkeys
With the weather colder now (and hopefully snowy), it’s nice to be working inside. The company is growing quickly back closer to its former shape (à la 2006). With 4 employees on the payroll, we can take on multiple projects again.
In the mild December, we put the finishing touches to a great project in Burlington of super-insulating and siding a home.
Also in Burlington, we’re having fun in January with an apartment renovation. To make it beautiful, sometimes you have to take it down to the studs and bring it back to near perfect.
It’s tough to make a meal in here now, but when finished, the kitchen will be gorgeous with new cabinets and hardwood floors.
And as if that wasn’t busy enough, I’ve been renovating a bathroom in Colchester. New walls, new floor and new fixtures brings new life.
Two projects are currently underway to repair broken pipes from this winter’s cold nights. Water can do some serious and pervasive damage on multiple floors in a very short time. If the owner happens to be away, the soaking can be catastrophic.
In a home in Essex, Vermont, a pipe improperly insulated and exposed to a penetrating wind burst in the kitchen and flooded the finished basement downstairs. Most of the insulation must be pulled, sheetrock replaced and new carpet laid in every room.
In Ferrisburgh, a shower fixture just gave out and flooded two floors. We’ve laid a new drycore sub-floor in the basement and replaced a fine v-groove ceiling over head. Upstairs, the damaged bamboo floor has been replaced with a rustic cherry and finished to a satin luster.
This Fall and well into the Winter of 2015, we have been replacing the siding on homes around Burlington as well as North Hero and Waterbury. Four older homes and one new home got new vinyl siding and aluminum fascias to match
. After many years and probably more than a few thousand squares of cedar clapboards and fibercement siding, it’s a new skill to learn the tricks and trades of vinyl and aluminum.
It’s the choice of so many customers, quick to apply and relatively affordable when it must be done. Likely we will be doing more for another contractor as the weather improves, but for now, it’s a relief to be moving inside.