Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Let The Chaos Begin!

If you've read my blog for a while than you might remember this picture...

I took this back in February when we had our one and only snow day. I didn't blog about it until April though. This one piece of siding that came off opened a giant can of worms! 

Here we go....first Michael was going to see if he could just buy a couple pieces of siding and fix it himself. Then he realized they don't even make our aluminium siding anymore. Then he thought he could just go buy some hardiplank siding and patch it, but that would look really awful. That's when he decided to contact our insurance company. We knew the damage was from a recent wind storm and when Michael looked around the house he could see that other pieces of siding on the back of the house had actually been lifted up in places. He figured that maybe the amount would come to more than our deductible making it worth it for them to fix it and maybe just maybe they would have access to more materials and be able to actually find our siding. 

I can't remember the weekend that the adjuster came out, but he had a look around the house with Michael and then sat in his vehicle to do some research and talk to his manager. Michael came inside and said that the adjuster was even more picky than he had been. He was pointing out all these little indents that were from pine cones hitting the house. After a while the adjuster came in and said that at least the south and east side of our house would need to be completely re-sided. He also confirmed that our siding was not longer available so they would have to use a different material. However, there is a section in our insurance policy where they have to make the house look appealing from the road. If it had been the north and east side of the house they would have just re-sided those two sides, but since it was the south and east side and you can see the south side from the road and how it wouldn't match up with the west side of the house they would need to re-side the whole house. As you can imagine we were shocked. We wanted our house to get fixed, but we did not think they would be completely re-siding it. 

After that initial shock things started to get set in motion. The adjuster wrote us a check for half of the job and we had to sign that and send it to our mortgage company. Then they had a contractor come out to bid the job. That's when things got nuts! Our house was built in 1975 and of course the code for building house was not as high as it is now. Our house is a 2 story house, but it is built on a hill so the back side of our house is actually a little more than 3 stories high. We have a 17ft "crawlspace" under our house that we hope to eventually remodel into living space. That lower portion of the house was never sheeted. The siding was put directly over the studs thus making the siding structural. They were not going to be able to just rip all the siding off and put up new stuff. A structural engineer had to come look over our house and come up with a plan of action in how to proceed. The other two floors of our house also had inadequate sheeting. Some of it was pile wood and some of it was this other insulting boards that is not up to code. 

In order to properly put the new sheeting in the contractors were going to have to remove our windows. The sheeting goes behind them and the windows are installed after. Michael figured since they were going to take the windows out I might as well call the window company that fixed our front window a couple years ago and have them come out and fix Ella's window and one of the windows in our master bedroom. The seal had broke on both of them. I contacted the company and they sent someone out to measure and they would get back to me with the bid. The same day the bid came in was the same day that Michael called me and the window company we no longer need them to come out because the insurance is paying for new windows. I was just totally floored. Why would the insurance company pay for new windows!?!?!?

A few years before we bought our house all the houses in this area got airport windows installed. It was part of the agreement with the Port of Seattle I believe because of the all the noise from the airplanes. Well the contractors that put our windows in were super lazy. Instead of doing the job correctly and mounting the windows to the house using the flashing they thought it would be much better to cut off the flashing and mount the windows by screwing through the sides into the house. And I say mounting very loosely....our windows are barely even being held onto our house. It's crazy the things you don't know about your house until an engineer starts looking at it. 

This is when things came to a screeching halt. As you can imagine the insurance company would now be required to pay out significantly more than they had originally thought they would have to and they wanted to confirm that this work needed to be done. There were numerous adjusters that came out and checked our house out and after a long time they came to the conclusion that the windows wouldn't be covered after all. That's when Michael started to do some research and found out that one of the reasons the contractor was saying we needed new windows is because not only a structural engineer said so, but also a city inspector said so. That's when he got on the phone and talked with our adjuster and he said if we could get the document from the city inspector they would review it again. 

By this point it's Mid-June and we finally got the approval for everything....siding, sheeting and new windows. Praise the Lord! Of course that doesn't mean that the work starts the next day. No that just means that now the contractor can order all the materials. After weeks we finally got a start date of August 13th. 

With all of these updates being done to the house Michael thought he would ask the contractor how much more it would cost if we took down all the brick in the front so they could put siding there instead. They came to an agreement on the price and on August 5th we got to work tearing down the brick. 

When we originally bought the house the brick was actual brick color and then when we painted the house we painted over it. 

Of course it would be a super hot day and we did wait until after church to tackle it so the sun was on that side of the house. 

Michael started by taking a sledgehammer to the brick and then trying to pry it off the wall. 

It was a lot tougher than he thought it would be. 

It also confirmed just how loosely our windows were installed. At one point Michael was pulling the brick and the whole window almost came out. He had to get some extra screws to screw it in so it wouldn't just pop out. 

I'm not sure how long it took, but quite a bit later it was finished. Unfortunately this wasn't a job I could really help him with so I just supervised, took pictures and got ice tea when he needed it. 

Here it is all off. After taking it off he wasn't about to start hauling it down to the backyard. That was for another day. Do you see the black sheeting though....that's the stuff that's not to code anymore. 

This was the last day our flag was out! Since Michael had to remove the porch light we had to take it down. I can't wait for this to all be finished so I can put my flag back up! 

That next week the supplies finally started to arrive! 

All the new windows are stored in the garage! 

All the scaffolding was put in the backyard and the next day the work started! 

This is what we came home too! I told people it was like people were able to look up under the skirt of our house. It was crazy!!! This area is under our kitchen and office. 

This area is under our garage and dining room. 

They had their big trailer parking on the easement. 

When we started looking closer we noticed all these new boards. They were having to add a ton of extra support to the house! 

Usually our "crawlspace" is so dark. There are only 2 small lights down there. It had not seen this much light since the house was first built so I thought it would be fun to document it. 

These pictures are taken going from left to right when you first walk in. 

As you can see right now it's just storage, but hopefully one day it will be a studio apartment. 

This is the area up on our deck. 

View of the trailer from the deck. 

Checking out the rafters. This was exactly when Michael noticed a screwdriver he had dropped up in the attic once and couldn't find it. Too funny! 

Finally the rest of the supplies showed up...

Giant dumpter! 

The Porta Potty was actually the first thing to show up! I hadn't even thought about then fact that the workers would need one. Now that's not something I would have ever guessed would have been parking in my driveway. Also the plywood, siding and other misc stuff got put there. I texted this picture to Michael and said, "So much for them not putting it in the driveway!" He had asked them not to if they could, but really there wasn't any other place to put it 

Later that night is when it dawned on me....we are going camping next week and our trailer is in the garage!!! I felt so bad for not thinking of it ahead of time, but life was just crazy. Thankfully they were super understanding and they were able to get everything moved over in time for our trip. They moved as much stuff as they could to left side of the driveway and then they move some of the materials down to the backyard where they were going to be used and then some to the front yard. 

A little bit of progress! I no longer felt like people could check out the underneath part of our house. 

Almost completely sheeted! 

The day after they sheeted the lower portion they put up some of the scaffolding and then removed the siding all the way up to where the 2nd floor of our house begins. This is where we hit another speed bump. See the siding was flush before even though the crawlspace didn't have sheeting. Now that is does have sheeting it's not going to flush with the rest of the house. There were also all these extra requirements that were coming from the engineer so there were other things to consider which all lead to a shift in the plan. Because of those changes it made it where they had to go back to the insurance company to get approval for the new plan. That was only a week after they started working. They broke the news how they were going to have to stop working until the approval came though. They were shocked at how well we took it. It's not their fault so there's no reason to get mad. Is it frustrating....yes for sure. But we are being blessed by all this and we want it to be done correctly and safe. So the waiting game started again! 

In the meantime Michael and I decided to figure out paint colors for the house. Since they have to paint it anyway we get to choose the colors. We are going to pay extra to have the best paint from Sherwin Williams. Michael was a professional painter so he knows the best products that will last the longest. Since Michael chose our house colors last time I wanted to be the one to choose it this time. I really like blues and grays. Michael can't stand blue on houses though. I ended up picking colors, but then I wasn't sure so Michael actually picked these out...which is funny! My only thing was NO GREEN. I'm done with having a green house. 

I'm not super good at visualizing things though so he built a little house and painted it so I could see what it was going to look like. 

Here are the two options. The front door is a bit too small, but it still gives me an idea. Also we have shutters that will be painted black as well. We both ended up liking the one of the right. That accent color on the peaks is also what we are going to paint our fence too. 

Stayed tuned for more progress! I'm really hoping that my house is put back together by Christmas!