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johnnymnemonic 10-30-2011 07:10 PM

Condo Renovation Gotchas
Hey all,

We hired a contractor to renovate our condo here in South Westchester NY. We're pretty much gutting the place to get rid of floors and lead paint in the apartment.

We try to learn as much as possible to avoid surprises, but we feel that no matter how much we read there's always more and more coming up that we haven't understood. What are some of the gotchas that you would point out?

We asked our contractor repeatedly to clean as well as possible because of lead paint and because we have a small baby. Today, we visited the apartment - partial new subfloor is there, with some insulation stuck in. Dust and small stones are still there between the studs in the exposed areas. Isn't cleaning supposed to be done by now? Can air drafts later bring that dust into the apartment? I know the contractor plans to properly seal, but what if I later have a leak and the person I hire doesn't seal back properly? Surely if I'm asking my contractor to clean as much as possible they should do so and not count on proper sealing. I can reach out and remove those pebbles and dust, so I don't think it's too hard for the contractor to do so - what do you think?

How can I tell if the insulation is sufficient enough, or if it's good quality? I feel like I'd have to work in the field for a decade before I can figure it out.

Some of the brick walls are not currently sealed (they were plastered over). The contractor mentioned that they will put insulation on the brick walls which will act as a sealant. But I thought insulation doesn't glue to the wall, which could cause the brick to erode and invite insects.

What plumbing and electrical gotchas do you foresee? I know of one - plastic drain pipe, versus copper - I intend to ask the plumber to use a copper one and incur the extra cost.

Finally, among our lingering questions, is what underlayment should be used.

Short of buying the materials myself (leaving the contractor to manage his team and use them), what can I do to ensure a good end product?

Thanks, and sorry for the questions going all over the place.

oldognewtrick 10-30-2011 07:53 PM

If you could post some pics it would help greatly.

johnnymnemonic 10-30-2011 08:44 PM

5 Attachment(s)
Hey old dog,

I attached a few pics. Some are a few days old, the ones with the insulation were taken yesterday.

Limit of 5; posting more later.

nealtw 10-30-2011 08:45 PM

That clean-up you are talking about is done when the plumbers and electricians are done and it is time for insulation, you could ask if you could inspect it at that time.

johnnymnemonic 10-30-2011 08:45 PM

5 Attachment(s)
More pictures.

johnnymnemonic 10-30-2011 08:47 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Even more pics.

johnnymnemonic 10-30-2011 08:48 PM

But that's the thing nealtw, our contractor already put 2/3 of the subfloors and insulation, and there seems to still be pebbles and stuff underneath.

johnnymnemonic 10-30-2011 08:56 PM

5 Attachment(s)
More pictures.

johnnymnemonic 10-30-2011 09:01 PM

5 Attachment(s)
More pics.

nealtw 10-30-2011 11:44 PM

I think your over thinking this dust thing. Once it is sealed it will not move, evan if you poke a hole later there would be no reason for dust to move around. Your best bet for insulation is to build a wall 1'' away from the brick and use bat insulation but that will cost more and use 5 or 7 inches. We don't see brick here so I don't know about dammage

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