“Inspection Day and Insulation”, Alternately Called, “You Know You Live In A Small Town When You’re Not Home and Your Inspection Still Takes Place”

I live in a small Maine town and like many small New England towns everyone more or less knows each other. We also happen to go to church in our small town. This means the connections go even further. Maybe this is just a small town in anywhere-USA thing. The point is when most people find out they weren’t home when the inspector stopped by, and then did the inspection anyway when you weren’t home, they might freak out. As for us? We just laughed.

To be honest, I wouldn’t laugh if I found this out about just anyone, but we know the inspector well and trust him. I might be weirded out if I found out someone I know came in my house and just hung out. By “might be” weirded out I mean “would be”.

The good news is that our electrical and plumbing passed inspection with flying colors. Yay! Now, let’s back up a minute and discuss insulation.

This past weekend we finished insulating with Roxul as far as we could before the electrical inspection.

DSC_1257-01We decided to use Roxul for a few reasons including price, stability, material (mineral based), and warmth. I won’t say you won’t get itchy putting it up because you will however according to Andy it’s nothing compared to working with fiberglass.

The hardest part of insulating was absolutely positively the roof on the second floor. The difficulty came in the fact we have vaulted ceilings since we’re leaving the beams exposed. It essentially meant Andy spent countless hours cutting insulation and climbing up and down the ladder and up onto scaffolding, until he taught me how to cut insulation.

DSC_1212-01It was so nice to both learn a new skill and be able to work with Andy on the house. It gives a sense of ownership. Roxul is cut with a basic insulation knife, and I used a plywood template Andy made with the correct angle on it to cut the ends. There were some special cuts to get around each beam, but after a little spacial skill assessment and help from Andy I was on my way.

Here’s the ceiling part way through.

DSC_1220-01And here’s the ceiling after. It is as toasty and cozy as it looks. It became straight up hot for Andy as he worked near the peak. We joke that we may end up sleeping with the windows open and a sheet year round, including during a blizzard.

DSC_1272-01The most challenging part of this whole ceiling was above the stairs. It is very tall. The photo below is with me standing on the landing after the first set of stairs. Like I said, super tall.

DSC_1243-01It took staging, plus a ladder, to get up there and even then it was sketchy. We were both thankful when it was over.

DSC_1260-01If anyone believes insulating isn’t messy (are there people out there who think that?) think again. First photo is before cleanup in the other second floor bedroom, the second picture is after a quick cleanup in the master bedroom.

DSC_1269-01 DSC_1270-01It took a lot of time and work, but I’m happy to say the ceiling is finally done on the entire second floor.

DSC_1264-01 DSC_1265-01 DSC_1268-01I can’t believe we’re so close to drywall. With the electrical inspection passed, all we need to do now is finish drywalling, wait out January to build up some more funds (if we can stand waiting) and then start drywalling! Before you know it I’ll be learning how to hang and mud drywall and maybe, oh just maybe, lay some flooring. I’ve laid flooring before though and I kind of loved it. My back hated it, but I loved it.

I also love my husband for working so hard and coming so incredibly far on this addition in such a short period of time. He’s the man. With that said, excuse me while I log off to go spend some time with said man.



P.S. If you’re wondering how the dogs reacted when our inspector came in, it was relayed to us that Rosie attempted to lick him to pieces and Winnie barked profusely until he left. Thanks girls. You’re doing a stellar job. There’s a reason we’re getting a real heavy duty alarm system put in – and not of the canine kind.

You Can’t Resist It, It’s Electric {Boogie Woogie Woogie}

You didn’t think I was going to write a post on electrical without the electric slide being involved, did you?

Man, I really should have had the band learn it for our wedding. A live version of the Electric Slide by a Canadian band? I totally missed the boat on that one.

Regrets aside, I didn’t realize Andy was working on removing the electrical in the addition until I tried to make toast. For some reason, shutting off the electricity for the addition seemed to shut off one outlet in the kitchen too. My guess is Andy also flipped one for the kitchen for some reason, not that they were actually connected. As it turns out my toaster does not work when there’s no electricity. I simply moved my toaster, but it teed me off to something going on upstairs. You know, that and all the banging. As I went upstairs Andy had finished unhooking a good portion of the wiring, but there were still a few things left.

Like taking out the weird light that we were both relieved to see gone. Never again. Out of here.

With that said, let me point out how to not wire your house.

We ended up finding a hot wire in behind one of our walls, uncapped, and dangling above our insulation. Holy fire hazard batman. As you all know, electrical is pretty serious. As well, much of our electric in the upper addition wasn’t tacked properly. It was hanging loose inside the walls. Electrical should always be secured, but not so tight you could cause tears in the sheathing because of friction.

Above the stairs, where we could never reach, was always an open box. It’s been there for the almost-five years we’ve lived here, and I’m sure it’s been there since the original addition went up. It was way high above the stairs so we could never reach it, but surprise surprise – it was hot. The entire time, the wires (uncapped) sticking out of it were live.

To help you out, here are a few tips for removing/handling the electrical in your house. This list is not comprehensive. Make sure you know what you’re doing and how to properly use the inexpensive equipment listed below. I made this list without Andy. What that means is most of this is common sense.

Things To Think About Before Tackling Electrical Work

  • Know-how: Don’t mess with electrical if you don’t know what you’re doing. Volts of electricity are nothing to mess with, unless you like that six feet underground not breathing thing. If you don’t know about electrical, don’t. It’s not something you should just DIY because it looks easy on tv. When in doubt, consult with an electrician. They might even be able to tell you how to do it if you’re intent on DIY.
  • Breaker, Breaker: Shut the power off! Don’t ever mess with electrical when it’s live. Those breakers are there for a reason, to save you from the shock of your life. When in doubt, shut it off. Don’t worry about resetting your clock. It’s better than someone trying to reset your heart.
  • Multimeters are your friend: Multimeters check the voltage on a wire/outlet, etc. Not only are they affordable, they are extremely useful and can help you troubleshoot electrical problems. Obviously you can’t turn off the electrical before you use one of these, but they may help narrow down your issue quicker.
  • AC Current detector: Unlike a multimeter, this simple stick (it kind of looks like a superhuman pregnancy test stick, let’s be honest) is used to tell whether you have a hot wire or not. Make sure those wires really are dead/shut off before you go messing with them. On that note, use it once you turn electricity back on to make everything is in working order too. You do not need to sheath the wires before using this, just touch it with the detector.
  • Check with your county / town code: There are a lot of codes when it comes to electrical, besides building codes. Your county or town may have codes that say you must hire a professional for work of a certain caliber. You may even need an electrical permit.
  • Don’t skimp: Don’t skimp just because you think it’s okay and it will be hidden. For that exact reason, that it will be hidden, you want it done right the first time. Not only will you be limiting your fire hazards but you won’t be ripping down drywall later on when oops, your junction box isn’t accessible or wires aren’t tacked down properly, or worst.

With all of the electrical removed out of the addition now, it’s pretty close to be lobbed off so the new roof line can go on. In fact, some of the roofing itself has already come off, which means the barn has received a little update which I’ll share soon. Back to editing photos!