Morningside Renovation

Our Journey Through The Renovation Process Of Our Future "Forever Home" In Morningside (Atlanta,GA)

Structural Repairs

Well even though it may not look like it, a lot of work has been done on our house since my last update.  The vast majority of them are structural repairs as it seems that age and carpenter ants had compromised the structural integrity in some places. 

As age and gravity can tend to make things sag over time, houses built in the 1920’s aren’t immune to it either.  And while some have said that the waves in our hardwood floors add character, I would rather let that come from elsewhere.  So they have been supporting  the floors by adding new beams below the main floor as well as re-supporting the ones that were already in place.






They’ve also discovered a few places where carpenter ants and Mother Nature had spent some time.  Because of this they’ve removed and replaced all of the rotted and eaten wood and re-support the house in those areas as well.






Last, they’ve supported the back of the house, I’m really shocked that the temporary supports held it up for such a long period of time.



The rest of the basement slab was poured however for whatever reason our GC decided not to pour the carport slab.  Almost funny that even the guys laying the concrete, laborers, were telling us that it wasn’t smart not pouring it all at one time and that it was going to cost us more money.  Maybe they should manage the financials for our GC.  Speaking of, he still won’t return calls or email from us or our Structural Engineer.  It would be great if he was a little more responsive but this has always been the case.

It rained a fair amount this week and we have discovered that the ceiling is collapsing in the kitchen and the ceiling and floor in one of our boy’s bedroom has been damaged beyond repair due to him continuing not to properly install a tarp even though we have told him about this issue numerous times.  GC still hasn’t been in our house, ridiculous. 

Also, our Structural Engineer informed us that as a result of the new foundation slab having to be cut to dig and pour footers (since the grade beams which were on the plans weren’t properly installed) she noticed that the slab is actually 2 1/2″ – 3 1/2″ thick in places instead of 4″ as the plans required.  She also discovered that the guys pouring the concrete didn’t lift the wire mesh resulting in it being on the bottom of the slab. Thankfully she insisted on the footings to carry the weight of the structure or we would have one hell of a mess in a few years since basically the main floor would collapse into the basement area. 

Last she also noticed that another grade beam, which was noted on the plans, was also not poured.  This means another area will need to be sawn out, excavated and poured properly.  I guess we won’t be able to go with a finished concrete floor since our slab is going to look like a checker board – a look we were leaning towards.

Good news is that our GC said that the framing material will be arriving on Monday and framing will begin on Tuesday. Yes!!!  Let’s go forward  – finally!!!

My constant question to myself – should we keep it or not?  This is driving Julie and I crazy and we’re questioning what we could have done differently. We thought we did our due diligence on the GC but he has continued to not only drop the ball but create further issues.  A lot is his lack of supervision and I believe knowledge of general construction along with not wanting to properly right a wrong, but I guess the question we keep asking is “are we just snakebit”? We’re going to talk to a few experts to see if we’re able to financially afford to keep going and honestly if it makes sense – I’m already scared about their answer.  Julie’s “forever home” has turned into a nightmare and I just don’t know if now we’ll ever be able to make it right as well as remove the tarnish.I feel crushed and basically beaten down.

Some Progress

So today the footings and rest of the walls connecting the existing structure with the new were poured. New Wall and Footings to Connect

It’s a hot one today but I’m so thankful that I’ve had so much wood to split and dirt to move – great way to take out my frustrations and feel as if I’m somehow moving things forward.

We Need You to Speed it up a Little GC

Due to both slabs being poured incorrectly we have had to get our Structural Engineer to design a new framing as well as roofing plan, versus “figuring it out in the field (extra cost to us).  It looks good but it’s going to require the GC to cut, excavate and pour new footings.  We have asked and are trying to get our GC to have this accomplished before the end of the week since our Structural Engineer is going out-of-town for several days.

Why Oh Why am I Not Surprised? Seriously Though?

Well, they drilled the foundation slab today to check for grade beams and guess what?  Yep, no grade beams!!  It mustn’t matter that they were in the construction plans and highly important, they just didn’t pour them.  Okay, now we’re getting past serious, he’s basically building a structure that could put my family and/or our friends in danger.  Forget for a moment the fact that 5-10 years down the road we would have all sorts of issues with a foundation that’s crumbling and walls collapsing, this mistake could seriously put my family at risk of injury or worse.  These were designed to support the family room above the kids play room, family room with a FIREPLACE.  Apologies for ranting but how do you miss these?  And you want more?  He wants to charge us for it – said that for him to change anything it would be considered a “change order“.  All of this is because he wouldn’t remove his original mistake. QUESTION, is there a word for someone who is beyond incompetent?

It only gets worse, the carport foundation (supposed to be retaining) wall which has already been poured twice isn’t deep enough, meaning that we will need to adjust the slab in the carport as well as the framing plan for the deck and outdoor room.  We asked the GC if he would remove it and pour a new one at the correct depth and as a retaining wall and of course he said no. 

And, we also found out on our own today that we will need a new water-line as well as sewer line due to roots. 

Our Structural Engineer is still trying to reach our GC to discuss the framing options but once again he said that he would have time to meet with her and every time she brings it up when they’re meeting about other items he always says that he has to go.  She’s basically doing this by herself, I guess he meant it the other day when responding to one of his subs he said ” I don’t know, she’s the one in charge”, referring to our Structural Engineer. 

And of course our GC and architect didn’t respond to my email asking for them to work with our Structural Engineer to design a framing plan to utilize all of the mis-ordered lumber that is sitting on our property  and basically going to waste.  I would just hate for all of this to be taken to a landfill.  As for our architect, I was a huge fan but that is starting to fade, I’m not sure what’s going on but from what I’ve been gathering there is absolutely no coordination or communication between him and our GC. 

Absolute last statement, it has always bugged me why our GC would work 2-3 days on our project and then move to another.  After talking with a few people in the industry it was their opinion that he is basically banking one job on another.  Working on a job and collecting a check once a certain phase is completed and then using that money to pay for the next job – similar to kiting a check.  Not sure if this is the case but it sure would make sense.

Enough for today, I’m done, worn out mentally and emotionally.

Let’s put our Heads Together

Since our GC didn’t dig the basement deep enough we have had to go with an alternative for our joist system/floor system to get us closer to the originally planned ceiling height throughout the basement.  Being such there is a lot of nice joist material sitting on our property which we’ve been told will be trashed.  I hate that, seems like such a waste.  So, I asked our GC, Architect and Structural Engineer to see if they can find a way to utilize that material somewhere.  I’m hoping that they’ll find a way to use them, seems as if it would be a win – win for everyone.  We’ll see.

There He Is

He responds, our GC let us know that the footings will be poured on Monday, foundation walls on Tuesday, plumber will be there on Wednesday and the slab will be poured on Thursday. He has no idea on when they will drill to make sure that they poured the necessary grade beams.  Isn’t this pretty close to the same schedule as last week?  I just looked, it is – seriously?  What kind of Mickey Mouse crap is this?  Aaauugh, I hate this feeling of being trapped and under the mercy of someone who we feel doesn’t even care, but we basically have no choice as he has our money and he’s told us that he doesn’t have the money to refund the difference.  Also, I’m really getting a very strong feeling that our GC and his concrete sub are doing everything they can to delay drilling for the grade beams, maybe they know that they didn’t include them when they poured the slab.

Happy 4th of July!!!

Our nation’s birthday, one of my favorite days; fireworks, family, kids laughing and playing, flags flying, great food and in the company of good friends.  Not this year though.  Our plans to host a July 4th party at our new house were of course canceled being that we’re no further along than shortly after we bought it 7+ months ago.  It certainly seemed possible when we were told in January that we would be in our new house in May but here we are putting on our happy faces and trying to make the best of it for our boys while basically feeling as if we’re being held hostage by our GC that rarely calls us back or returns emails.  Outside of today and this past weekend (although other contractors work on the weekend), we’ve gone 3 days without anyone working on our house and there are absolutely no holdups on our end. 

On top of that, my heart is breaking for Julie.  Forget the 4th, this house was something that she was so looking forward to eventually turning into our home, however every day seems to bring another disappointment.  What do I do?  How can I properly correct everything?  I can’t afford to replace our GC as the cost of removing all of his “improvements” and beginning again isn’t financially feasible?  Pray, think, research.  It seems as if that’s all that I ever do. I swear I feel as if I’m going crazy and I’m growing resentful for the time and energy that I’m expending on it which should be spent with my family.