I took time off from work for Week 2 because I knew I’d be too distracted to focus on my job when there was so much excitement happening around me. There was also DIY work for me to do to help push things forward – for example, I demoed the dining room window trim in preparation for that window installation.
I tried to stay out of the crew’s hair except for photos or when Chris would shout “MARTI!” and I’d come running to make a small-yet-major decision on the spot. As someone prone to dwelling on choices, it was stressful but ultimately beneficial to have to make snap judgements. Chris said that he typically doesn’t involve the homeowner in so many small decision points – they’re either not onsite or they don’t care – but he knew that the details mattered to me. I got pretty good at scurrying up and down this ladder!
Day 4 (continuing the count from Week 1) was spent framing out the room. Framing was significant labor and materials – and thus a big portion of the budget. They started by installing a heavy-duty header beam across the 20′ opening: a continuous run of windows requires major structural integrity.
Banging in the header accidentally knocked out a chunk of our stucco, which they moved to the basement for safekeeping. The painter reaffixed it later.
Here are our new roof rafters: a major structural upgrade.
The electrician popped in to replace three old outlets and install two new ones. The new outlets were part of my design plan for wall-mounted sconces – you’ll see all the details on that in future posts.
In case anyone is curious, the electrical was run through our crawl space below the sunroom. It’s a big space down there – the same width and depth as the sunroom – but we don’t use it for storage that much because we have so much room in the basement (see Our Clean, Organized, and Practical Unfinished Basement).
Day 5 saw some major excitement: our first window was installed!
On Day 6 it was time for spray foam insulation. I won’t lie: this was nearly as exciting as the first window installation. There had previously been no insulation under the roof. With so much glass, I wanted to make sure the rest of the room was as energy efficient as possible.
The foam is ~2″ deep on the walls and nearly 6″ deep in the rafters – it looks like a snowdrift. This job was done by Sereno’s Insulation and it cost $1,700.
While the insulation contractor was here, the crew turned their attention to the dining room window. I’ll cover the dining room and bedroom progress in later posts – just wanted to remind you that the sunroom wasn’t the only construction zone.
The photo below is a good view of the framing done for window installation. It may not look like much, but it’s exacting work. The sunroom is not perfectly square, and the roof line and the limestone sill are not perfectly level – but the framed opening needs to be perfectly sized and perfectly square.
Story intermission! The crew consumed absurd amounts of ice. They only drank water if their monster contractor thermoses were filled to the brim with ice. Our freezer’s ice maker couldn’t keep up. A new gas station convenience store had just opened up the street, so Jarrod and I walked to check it out and get a bag of ice. (Anything new after months of quarantining was a welcome change.) Jarrod bought a popsicle, stepped outside, opened it up, and immediately dropped it on the ground.
He wasn’t going to buy a replacement until a man pumping gas shouted “Go get another one!” So he did. That’s the end of my dropsicle story.
With the rafters and spray foam done, it was time for the beadboard ceiling installation on Day 7. We used pre-primed tongue-and-groove wood planks.
By Day 8, the framing was finished for the giant stretch of windows – compare the photos above and below to see that work.
We closed out the week with fresh drywall, and the room started to feel like a room again. But it was another full week before the front windows were installed – lucky for you, you only have to wait until tomorrow to see that.