Finishing the attic, with the exception of building the dormer and upgrading the heating system, was probably within my abilities as a do-it-yourselfer. Certainly, I have done insulation, electrical and drywall in the past with good results. But I don’t regret hiring the first contractor to build the dormer. and install the insulation and drywall. He did the work faster than I could (the time delays were my own fault) and I could focus on other things.
Hiring the other contractors in 2009 to finish the rest of the project was also a no-brainer. It only took them a couple of days to finish all the trim, hang the doors, install the bamboo floor and repaint. Again, elements within my abilities as a do-it-yourselfer, but there were two (and sometimes three) of them and only one of me. They finished in a few days what would have taken me weeks.
We chose bamboo floors for two reasons: it was something a little different, plus it is environmentally friendly, at least in theory, because it grows quickly, making it more renewable that regular lumber. It can also be refinished the same as hardwood.
The bamboo floors are installed the same way as hardwood (nail-down, not floating. The only stipulation is that the bamboo must run perpendicular to the floor joists. I do, however, question its durability. Our floor seems to dent and scratch easily, and the damage doesn’t blend in with the character of the bamboo as well as it does with traditional oak floors..
The trim is painted MDF moldings which allowed for simple miter cuts in the corners– any minor gaps could be filled with caulking.
I installed wire shelving in the closets myself. The instructions for that system are very clear and idiot-proof. If you want proof that they are idiot-proof, re-read the first sentence of this paragraph.
The wait is finally over
After living in the house for six years, we were finally able to live upstairs. My daughter had a sleeping area set up in the livingroom. Now she has her own bedroom (and it is huge!) We also have a nice guest room for when we have out-of-town guests staying with us. My father-in-law can go upstairs and watch NASCAR while everyone else watches non-NASCAR programming on the main television in the family room. Best of all, there is ample storage for toys, games and puzzles– things that were cluttering up the main floor for years because we had no place to put them.
Project Completed in 2009
- Attic tour
- Installing collar ties
- Removing the chimney
- Adding the dormer
- Wiring for the future
- Drywall and mud
- Lighting and heating
- The finished product