The Woodka Remodel: Week Sixteen

Sixteen weeks! For the homeowners, it is starting to feel a little bit like this massive undertaking will never end! There's a lot of major work being done this week, most of it a continuation of projects started in previous weeks. But everyone involved remains committed to turning this home into a showcase for sustainability and energy-efficiency.

Bamboo, Part Two

The flooring contractor is back this week to continue installing the beautiful and durable new bamboo flooring. The owners selected bamboo for a number of reasons that fit perfectly with the 'green' nature of the home's makeover. First, it's a rapidly renewable resource; it grows very quickly (up to a foot a DAY!) and doesn't require killing the plant to harvest it's stalks. Sustainable harvesting protects natural habitats and biodiversity. Bamboo is also a very hard, durable material, making it an excellent choice for a flooring material. Its natural resistance to scratches, warping, scratching and water damage means that it will last a long time. Durability is an important factor in green home design; the longer any material in a house lasts, the less frequently it will need to be replaced. This reduces material consumption in the long term, and reduces the amount of material that will ultimately end up in a landfill as waste. The fact that bamboo makes for a stunning floor doesn't hurt, either.

Tankless Hot Water

Plumbers have also arrived this week; their first job is to install a new tankless hot water heater. To supplement the geothermal hot water system, the tankless water heater will act as a secondary source of hot water. Tankless water heaters are extremely efficient; they only burn energy when more hot water is needed than the geothermal system can supply. This won't happen often, but when it does, the tankless water heater will kick in. Since it heats water as it's needed, it is capable of producing endless hot water. One thing the homeowners will never be without is hot water, but they way they create it is about as efficient as possible short of a solar hot water heating system. For an example of a high-quality tankless water heater, click HERE.

While they're here, the plumbers are also installing additional natural gas lines for the new appliances. Using gas to power appliances such as hot water heaters and washers & dryers is much more efficient than electricity; natural gas burns much cleaner and more efficiently than the coal typically used to create electricity. Cleaner burning fuels means fewer carbon dioxide and other pollutants are released into the atmosphere. Gas is also usually cheaper than electricity as well.

Electrical Work

The plumbers aren't the only ones getting in on the action again at the Woodka this week; the electricians are here too. This is a busy place!

They are installing whole-house surge protection to ensure the safety and long-life of every electrical device being used in the renovated home. Computers, televisions, appliances... anything that runs on electricity, especially electronics, can be damaged by electrical surges. Protecting them with the whole-house surge protection is an effective way to greatly reduce the chance of damaging surges; the result will be less chance of having to replace items (landfill waste) before their normal lifespan is up.

The electricians are also installing new light fixtures, switch plates, and wall receptacles.


Carpentry Work

There's no rest for the carpenters in week sixteen, either. They are busy this week; there's lots of finish carpentry work to be done. This week, that includes the installation of new doors, window extension jambs and casings, and baseboards.

One very exciting carpentry project this week is the custom fabrication of all-new newel posts for the stairway system. These dramatic posts are one of the handcrafted touches that are going to really transform the appearance of the home's interior. Seeing them in place marks yet another important step in the evolution of the Woodka.

Another important carpentry project this week is a secret, so don't tell anybody! The owners have added a very special touch to the home's new design, a small secret room under the new stairway for their grandchildren. This cool space will surely provide hours of fun for the kids, a secret hideaway for them to enjoy. We'd love to show you a picture of the secret room, but we can't. (It is a secret after all!) It's small touches like the secret stairway hideout that make homes out of houses.

Additional Projects

The contractors aren't the only ones having all the fun in week sixteen; the homeowners are also rolling up their sleeves and are getting lots of work done themselves.

With almost every inch of the home's interior being renovated, there is a lot of painting work that needs to be done. Most of the priming has been completed, so it's time to add some color. This week, the owners are working to paint one of the upstairs bedrooms and the lakeside rec room in the basement; what a difference new paint makes!

As part of the home's sustainability and environmental friendliness, the paint being used is low VOC. VOC's can contribute to negative health issues for a home's occupants; new low VOC paints greatly improve indoor air quality. Even newer paints with no VOCs are available. The homeowners have chosen not to use the no VOC paints at this time, due to the increased costs involved. This is a prime example of the balancing act owners face between 'going green' with home projects and sticking to the realities of finite budgets.

The owners aren't just painting; they are also beginning the process of installing the cork underlayments and cork flooring on the basement level. We will delve deeper into the green benefits of cork flooring next week.

Week Sixteen Round-Up

New paint, new flooring, new plumbing and electrical, even a secret hideaway. Every week adds new pieces to the puzzle that when finished will be a completely new home inside and out; and every week, that puzzle gets just a little bit closer to completion. Follow along into week seventeen HERE.

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