Sunday, May 31, 2009

Whole Lotta Concrete

This week, there was a whole lotta concrete work goin' on. First up - the chimney cap. Our chimney box is a pretty big box of pumice block, and it was capped by a mound of concrete (think of bread rising out of a loaf pan). Well, this 6" high mound of concrete had developed hairline cracks on the top over the years. After much hosing down of various parts of the chimney, these cracks were implicated as the cause of our roof leak. (We had had the chimney masonry repointed in the fall, as there were big hunks of grout falling out, but this did not solve the roof leak.) This problem needed to be fixed now, before the new wood floor goes in. Anyway, contractor John recommended that we remove the old concrete (jackhammer it out, basically), lay down a thick plastic membrane, then pour a new concrete cap. So husband John spent a large portion of last weekend removing the old concrete. This week, the job got finished - the membrane was laid down, a form was made, new concrete was poured. The result looks great and fits right in. The concrete had a little black stain added to it so it'd match the house better.

Oh - and door and window trim got done this week too, now the front is finished (for now anyway).

Meanwhile - down below - more concrete work was being done. The hearth on our fireplace had been chopped into several times - first, when the post supporting the beam was installed next to the fireplace, and second, when they recently cut out part of the hearth to get to a heating vent underneath. So - they sawed off the remaining hearth (you can see it is gone in the photo in the last post). The plan was to pour a new base out of stained concrete and to pour a new hearth to sit on top. A form was made for the base directly on the floor in front of the fireplace and the concrete was poured in, around our new heating duct. A strip of wood was added into the form so that when the form was removed, a little groove would be at the bottom - this is where the flooring will neatly fit into. For the top part of the hearth, which is a bit larger than the base, another form was built out of melamine. This form was also filled with stained concrete. The idea here was to let the concrete cure for a few days, then it would be flipped out of the mold, so that the part on the bottom that was next to the melamine would then be on top. The melamine gives the concrete a wonderful smooth finish.
Well, on Friday, when husband John was home, the hearth got taken out of its mold and flipped. Tricky business flipping an 8' long chunk of concrete. But John, John, and Ed got it done and slid it into place.

We love the look. It will lighten up some more as it cures, but it will darken some when it gets sealed so this is probably about the tone that it will be when it is finished. I think it's perfect, as it will tie in with the charcoal of the countertop in the kitchen. New heat registers are on the way but here it is now, with an old one.

Quite a bit different than when June was living here (this pic was taken on the day of the building inspection)-

Husband John is working on the fireplace this weekend. The box to the left of the fireplace is a box for wood storage, but John is turning it into a stereo cabinet. He spent some time yesterday insulating this box with blue foam (as this large drafty space takes up about one third of that big chimney box). Today he is starting on the construction of his stereo cabinet. Contractor John didn't want the edge of the hearth to be damaged so for now, he's got the melamine mold on it, upside down, for protection.

Other news: Ed tiled the guest bathroom floor and it looks terrific. It's a porcelain tile by Mohawk - the Gravura line, Ember Forest is the tile. Love how the tiles are all different. It looks like slate, but also has a modern concrete-y look to it. Easier to care for than real slate. Again, this bathroom was not really supposed to get remodeled yet but that old carpet in there just had to go. In addition, the wall on the left got some holes in it from wiring the kitchen, so husband John patched and drywalled and painted in there last weekend and now it is done. Some decorative tiles got replaced in the shower area as well, now they are all white. Eventually, those tiles will be redone but that is for another day. It sure looks better in there now though.

And here's a pic I found of how this bathroom first looked, again from building inspection day. That's white shag carpet on the floor.

On this week's agenda- the laminate countertops get installed tomorrow! That'll be fun. I assume the sink will be installed then, although the plumber won't be here yet to make it functional. The appliances won't actually go into the kitchen until our flooring comes. That could happen at the end of this week. That was originally the ETA for the flooring but apparently it is on a boat or something and everyone is being vague about when it will actually be here. If it actually gets here, I would think this project would be wrapped up in a couple of weeks. But if the flooring is late, then we are pretty much on hold until it gets here. There are a few other things that need to be done, but that list is dwindling. Will have pics of the kitchen, with countertops, soon!


baz_mcm said...

Looking fantastic. I need to make it out there when you're finished.



John said...

The fireplace looks good, I am a sucker for that dark grey concrete color.

Scott and Lara said...

The hearth looks great! Never heard of pouring it right in the house with concrete, but very creative and a great effort. Everything is coming along terrificly.

Triciabloggin2 said...

hey hey - I don't know you but so very excited about your gravura ember forest tile and how fabulous it looks! I just selected the same tile for my kitchen and was attempting to search to see it installed in a room. it looks great! good luck with the rest - I'm loving it.