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Building A Barden Home

My step by step experience with Barden Homes

Whitaker Corners Barden Home Tour After 3 Months of Construction

clock September 5, 2009 04:35 by author Donny Kemick

Yes, that’s a long-winded title!  For your viewing pleasure:

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A Busy Week at Our Barden Home

clock September 4, 2009 17:54 by author Donny Kemick

This week was very productive for our new Whitaker Corners Barden Home.  At the beginning of the week, the insulators got the house ready for the harsh winters we have.  Later in the week the subcontractors working on the utilities got everything run to the house.  Today, the drywallers started and got a good jump on things.  The stone on the front of the house moved along this week too, with the first batch of grout being added today.  On the Utilities Day the plumbers were able to fit our Pedestal Tub for it’s final locations as well.


Monday of this week brought the insulation crew from somewhere in Ohio.  They worked super fast and were done by lunchtime on Tuesday.  They weren’t able to do the attic yet because it’s blown in and there wasn’t any drywall up then.  They’ll make a trip back to finish that up.

One of the most impressive and surprising steps the insulators took was calking and spray-foaming between EVERY spot that two studs met or there was even the slightest gap.  They even caulked around the floor!  To reduce noise, they insulated around my office, the laundry room, and the bathrooms.  I was really happy to see that.

Here are some shots of their work:

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With some planning last week, we setup Thursday as “THE DAY” for the utilities to be run.  It was like pulling teeth getting everyone together on the same day!  Because our Electric, TV, Internet, and Phone are being run underground, there was some added chaos.  We ended up needing 3 separate ditches that run from the road to our house.  That allowed us to avoid having cables hanging over our heads in our yard.  Some overall excavating shots below:

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The first task of the day Thursday was getting the road bore done.  To do that our Excavator had to dig on both sides of the road because the water line was on the opposite side of the road.  he broke through the blacktop and the water authority cut the road on the house side.  Once the excavator was done, the local water authority bored the water connection under the road to my side, so our plumber could connect.  The little work the water authority did cost me $825.00!!! 

Next, the plumber ran copper from the valve by the road, down to the house where they drilled through the concrete foundation wall and ran the main valve inside.

Here’re some water-specific shots:

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In our area, and probably in most, the plumber that makes the Gas tap-in has to be on an approved list for the area.  Because the plumber for my house is from another state about an hour away, they aren’t on the approved list.  I had to find a local plumber to do the job, but that was fairly easy.  It did make things a little awkward on Thursday though as I had 2 different plumbers working on utilities! 

For the gas tap-in, the new plumber ran plastic pipe down to the house, where the meter goes, and left his work there for the gas company to approve and connect.  We were allowed to run the water and gas in the same ditch as long as they were 1 foot vertically and horizontally apart.  The water line was deeper, and to the left of the gas, if you are looking at the road.

Here’re some gas-specific shots:

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The electrician kind of got the shaft in my opinion because they dug his ditch last on Thursday, so he wasn’t even able to start running his conduit until around 4pm.  He had to have it all in by the next morning, which made for a long night for him.  He was up for the task though and got it done.

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There was a big debate as to whether the plumbers from out of town and the excavator could come back the next day.  They all seemed to want to push it off until next week.  Some how things came together and they came back the next day to run the sewage line. 

The initial plan by the plumbers was to run the sewage pipe from the walkout area of the house, across the back of the house, and up the side of the driveway.  That didn’t seem to make sense to me considering the proximity to the gas and water ditch.  Running the sewage strait up the hill to the road seemed like a better route.  So, that’s what they did.

Unfortunately, the grinder/lift pump was not installed, but they at least made the sewage tap, ran the inside plumbing to the outside, and backfilled. 

A few sewage-specific photos:

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Our Bathtub Is On Site

I mentioned in my last post that we ordered our Master Bath tub and shower online.  The tub ways over 500 pounds, so it took 4 people to get it upstairs to be fitted.  Looks excellent though! 

The shower is taking forever to arrive and slowly becoming an irritant to the general contractor.  I hope it shows up early next week…  Some tub Shots:

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Exterior Stone

The GC worked on the exterior stone most of the week and made great progress.  They are all the way to the top of the house now, and even started grouting.  I think they’ll be done on Tuesday.  Here’re some shots of the stone:

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Last But Not Least, Drywall

The drywall was delivered early in the week, but they didn’t come until today to start hanging it.  They moved pretty quickly finishing the kids’ bathroom, the laundry room, one full bedroom, the entire master closet, part of the 2 other bedrooms, part of the playroom, part of the master bath, and part of the master bedroom ceiling.  For one day, I thought they made great progress.

Here’re some pics of the drywall:

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So, What Now?

It’s labor day weekend, so the crew won’t be back until Tuesday, but when they return, I expect them to work on:

- Finishing grouting the stone
- Finishing hanging the drywall hanging
- Insulators to come back and blow in the attic insulation
- Setup of the grinder/lift pump

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Barden Home Electric Update

clock August 22, 2009 07:18 by author Donny Kemick

The electrician is winding down on the rough in wiring for the house, so we can get the rough in inspection done before the insulation starts.  As I mentioned in my last post about the electric, we were able to use a friend of the family as the electrician which has been nice.  He’s a semi-retired electrician that works alone, so as you might guess, it takes him a little longer than an entire crew.  The major benefit is that he really works WITH us to achieve what we’re looking to achieve with the electric.

Airborne or Underground?

You have two options for the utilities that come to the house, overhead or underground.  We are opting for underground, so we don’t have wires hanging overhead.  This adds a little bit more cost because it requires digging and conduit, but we think it’s worth it to not have wires overhead.

3 Breaker Panels

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Garage                                         Upstairs                                      Basement

In all of our previous houses we’ve only had one breaker box in the house.  While everything was in one spot, it was inconvenient to always have to go to the basement to flip breakers.  In the new house we have 3 breaker boxes, 2 of which we’ll use.  There’s one panel upstairs in the laundry room and one in the basement.  The 3rd panel is in the garage where the electric first comes into the house.  The addition of the panel upstairs means we won’t have to run all the way to the basement to flip a breaker if a hairdryer upstairs trips the breaker.  It seems like a minor thing, but it’s an added convenience.

Because we’re NOT finishing the basement now, but likely will in the years to come, we put a large panel in the basement that supports the 1st floor and exterior electric, along with having enough open circuits to wire the basement in the future.

Have Your Lighting Ready!

My wife and I hadn’t planned on picking our light fixtures until closer to the end of construction, but we found out very quickly that we needed to have many selections made so the electrician knew where to have the wiring.  Some examples include:

- Exterior Lighting (doors, garage, etc…)
- Bathroom Vanity Lighting (sconce or over mirror)
- Lights or light/fan combos
- Recessed

Knowing where you want each kind of lighting is important.  We chose to have all of the rooms wired for a ceiling fan and light combo to support future fan installations, but we are only putting 2 fan/lights in.

Shop Wisely – Use the Internet and Save a Hundreds

My wife and I hit all of the regulars for lighting, like Home Depot, Hull Electric, and even Value Home Center.  We ended up having the most luck shopping online.  The selection was much greater, the prices much better, and shipping was almost always free.  We ended up buy ALL of our light fixtures online.  I’ll do another post on who we bought from and what we bought.  We were able to find coupons online that helped us save hundreds of dollars beyond the already better prices the sites had.

Recessed Lights Seem Expensive Until You Compare

If you are like my wife and I, you want your foyer, family room, living room, dining room and master to have nice lights.  Nice lights equal big price tags.  We were surprised when we heard the rough cost of an installed recessed light and assumed we wouldn’t be using many.  While we really didn’t use a ton, it became apparent that they were actually a savings over some fixtures. 

Recessed lighting also provides a nice open feel in a space because you don’t have a light hanging down.  Our Kitchen, Breakfast Nook, and Family Room are all connected, so we didn’t want a bunch of hanging lights that hung in the way.  So, we went with recessed lighting in the 3 rooms.

New Code, New Outlets

Our electrician mentioned to us that the electrical code will be changing soon and that all receptacles will have to be tamper proof receptacles.  You can read more about them at the link I provided, but they basically don’t allow anything in the prong-holes (technical, I know :)), unless you put something in both of them.  This will stop children from putting a paperclip in one of the slots and getting fried. 

Our electrician said they are the same price from him as regular receptacles so we decided to go for it.  We have two little ones now, and piece of mind is worth it!


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