Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Front Addition

With it being 14 degrees Celsius today, it was the perfect day to scrape the stucco residue and clean the construction grime off our windows.  We are so pleased the way our front addition developed and it has completely changed the appearance of our house. 

This is a picture of what our house looked like back in May before we started everything; before we cut down my pine tree, before we dug up all the bushes, before the bricks and flagstone path were removed.

And here is a picture of what the house looks today, after I finished cleaning the windows.

Extending the front of our house seemed to drag on forever.  There was extra work in the front that we did not have to deal with in the back, and weather conditions were not as ideal as when we worked on the back.  In fact it was only last week that the new front door and the last of the fascia trim were installed. 

Just as our rear addition had begun, we first dug out the basement.  However, in the front we also had to dig out and break up the cement block that supported our walk-in bay window.  When David installed the bay window 20 years ago, we never thought that one day we would be doing all this. So at the time, to support the bay window he simply dug a whole (5 feet deep by 8 feet wide) and filled it with gravel and cement.

The garage also had to be under pinned. And before the footing could be poured an opening had to be cut into the, solid, poured concrete basement wall to connect the existing basement to the new. With the rear addition the basement was a block wall, much easier to cut.  A new sewer pipe with back-up valve also had to be installed.

Finally, we were ready for the brick layers to return and build the block wall.  Just as it was done in the back,  the blocks were filled with cement, the outer edge of the wall was waterproofed, blue shielded and wrapped.  The back-fill this time, however, was gravel.
One more step before the framers could get started was to build the frame for the cold room ceiling.  This was then filled with cement, 8" thick.  The cement had to cure slowly so not to crack.  So over a 5 day period we watered it every day. 

Beams were installed to support the new structure.  First in the basement to support the first floor, and then one to support the second floor.

Another set back with the front addition was the demolition of our old roof line.  In the back, David had done a lot of the demolition himself before we had even begun.  We also had more rain days over the course of the front addition, so much time was spent tarping the house.
But the framers did an awesome job and framed up both floors rather quickly.

Next was the roof.  With the two gables, the front, again, was much more involved.

With the size of the roof, and rain again looming, it was all hands on deck to ice and water shield the roof.  The shingling was then done sometime later, taking about 3 days. 
While the guys were busy on the roof, one of the brick layers was back bricking up the front and sides of the house.
Next was installing the remainder of the windows.  These all had to be installed before our stucco guy, Stan, could get started on the front.  He was busy with the back and sides while the framers were working on the front. 
We reused all of our front windows, having only to order 4 new windows for along the side of the house.

Our bay window will now be my Dad's, in his living room.

Stan seemed to manage attaching all the styrofoam base and applying the first coat of stucco.

October brought us a lot of rain delays.  The final coat of stucco needed 5 hours to dry, a day to cure and temperatures above 5 degrees Celsius.  With no other options, we ended up tarping the house yet again to take advantage of the warmer days.

The final coat also required more guys, as it must be applied quickly before it dries.  With Stan's crew, being busy on other jobs, they applied the final coat in the evenings.

Before the scaffolding was removed, the aluminum guys quickly installed the fascia trim, soffit and eaves-trough.  David also used this opportunity to install the soffit lighting.

With the installation of our new front door scheduled for the end of November, David had to remove our old door and re-frame the new larger opening.
With the temperatures being so cold, David had the brilliant idea to board up and insulate the entrance.  This way he could take his time, without worrying about the temperature outside.  The installers also appreciated working in these conditions.

With the front boarded up, the door was brought in through our side door,  This photo also gives you a glimpse of the construction zone that is still on the inside of our house.

After only a few hours,  here is our new front door.

Even though we were held up by weather through October and most of November, we are weather tight for the winter.  A few outside finishes will now have to wait until Spring, such as the final stucco coat (only cosmetic) and the fascia on the rear addition.  The front entrance also still needs the styrofoam attached and to be stuccoed. 

Phew, the same way I was happy to see the completion of he addition, I am also happy to finally finish this post.  What am I saying, the outside of the addition may be done for this year, but we still have much to finish on the inside and then there is still the landscaping. 
Oh well, one stepping stone at a time.


  1. wow, so much work, but the end result is worth the stress and pain that construction brings. Congrats !

  2. It looks like a completely different house after adding the addition. My wife has been bugging me about the possibility of us adding an addition to our house and I'm am still not completely for it but seeing how big of a difference it made to your home, it may not be a bad idea after all. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Giovanni @ Coastal Contract Hardware