2011 April to 2012 June

Two-Story, 1,120 ft2 Addition

  • General Contractor / Mike Madigan / Madigan Fine Building/ 1721A 8th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 / 415.609.6110
  • Foundation Subcontractor / Alfredo's Concrete Pumping / 13425 Dolittle Drive, San Leandro, CA 94577 / 510.913.7517
  • Plumbing Subcontractor / Pelican Plumbers / PO Box 3724, Oakland, CA 94609 / 510.812.1996
  • Roofing Subcontractor / Nicholas Roofing / 1816 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702 / 510.848.4433 /
  • Architect / Jim Foster / 405 Lagunaria Lane, Alameda, CA 94502 / 510.541.6359
  • Engineer / Vincent Wu / Baseline Engineering / 1504 Park Street #8, Alameda, CA 94501 / 510.865.4623 /

Construction Documents (click to download):

2011 April 3

The rear of the house prior to the start of construction. The addition will extend 5 feet beyond the existing deck, or 20 feet from the house and be 32 feet wide. It will have two levels, with a 10 ft x 16 ft inset at the upper level for a deck.

April 3rd. After driving up from Santa Cruz in the morning, I demolished the deck, organized our "stuff" in the crawl space, then mowed the lawn. It was a long but satisfying day.

2011 April 15

April 15th. Foundation work. Alfredo and his crew from "Alfredo's Concrete Pumping" in San Leandro did great work. Specifically, they hauled away the deck debris, broke up and hauled away the old concrete slab and footings below the deck, excavated (by hand) for the new footings and slab, placed rebar, built forms, and placed/finished the concrete. The only things they didn't do are: hauling the dirt away, setting anchor bolts (Mike and I did this), laying out the PEX for radiant floor heating (Mike and I did this), installing drainage pipes under and around the slab (Mike did this).

April 15th. The new foundation will be "pinned" beneath the existing foundation, visible in this photo in a slightly precarious state. The reason our house isn't falling down is that Mike installed shoring (not visible) in the crawl space to take load off of the footing.

April 15th. General Contractor Mike Madigan and a big pile of dirt that was excavated by shovel and wheelbarrow.

2011 April 27

Final cleanup in the footings prior to placing the concrete at the walls.

Wall formwork.


The walls and footings have quite a bit of #4 rebar.

The concrete truck is about to arrive.

Our concrete subcontractor surprised us by stripping the forms the same day as the pour and finishing the inside of the walls.

Outside of south wall.

Inside of south wall.

West wall.

North wall. Notice how massive the footing is.

Drainage pipes beneath and at the perimeter of the slab will ensure the slab stays dry by providing a place for water to go, if it gets under the slab somehow.

A drainage pipe passing through the south wall.

2011 April 29

PEX loop 1. PEX stands for cross linked polyethylene. It is plastic tubing that is cast in the slab which will be filled with hot water to heat the lower level.

PEX loop 2.

Small and medium anchor bolts.

Small and large anchor bolts. The number of anchor bolts in the addition is staggering (52 small, 8 medium, 2 large).

Small and medium concrete anchors with tape measure for reference. OMG, how big is the large anchor?

2011 May 4

Placing slab concrete. The first concrete pour took 2 trucks while the second pour took 3 trucks. Each truck holds 9 cubic yards of concrete and costs $1200.

Broadcasting color into the top of the slab concrete. The color is cream beige by Brickform (click here for a data sheet). We wanted to have the color premixed in the concrete but that option was too expensive.

Steel trowel finishing the concrete.

Lunch for the concrete crew, courtesy of Em.

Curing the slab with a sprinkler.

2011 May 11

Four days worth of framing.

PJ next to one of the anchors and hold-downs.

One of the fifty-two (52) 5/8" diameter sill anchors and one of the two 1" diameter anchors and associated hold-down.

PJ on the dirt pile, which will cost us $2000 to be hauled away.

After taking the picture of PJ on the dirt, he wanted to get in on the action, and snapped this one of me.

2011 May 18

Since we are adding two full bathrooms, a new washer/dryer hookup, and a wet bar we had to upgrade our water service by installing a larger diameter copper pipe from the street. The plumbers did a nice job of digging around our plants but due to a combination of rain and our extra sticky mud, made a big mess.

I expected them to move the mulch aside, peel back the filter fabric, dig the trench, replace the pipe, put the dirt back, put the fabric back, then put the mulch back. This didn't happen and the photo above shows how it looks after I spent a Sunday morning making it right.

2011 May 23

Framing continues, despite an unusually wet spring.

The entire west wall of the house was re-framed. To keep our living area clean, Mike built a plastic wall about 3 feet inside of the exterior wall.

Here is the aforementioned plastic wall viewed from the inside, with the access zipper open.

Between the plastic wall (left) and the exterior wall (which will become an interior wall).

PJ with the plastic wall zipper.

2011 May 31

Framing continues despite the wet weather. Here the 4x12 ridge beams have been installed. Normally I take photos from the top of the dirt pile but since it rained I didn't want to get muddy.

2011 June 6


The final exterior wall, at the stairwell, is up. Note that 4x4's are used instead of 2x4's.

North bedroom wall with sill anchors and 5/8" diameter hold-downs.

2011 June 13

A new access point into the attic.

Scrap plywood laid down in the attic (so I don't fall through, again).

Framing where the addition ties into the west wall and roof of the existing house.

Bracing the new roof onto the existing roof.

New roof, meet old roof.

The top of our new roof is flat (actually, it slopes 1/4" per 12") to minimize the loss of views for our neighbours.

2011 June 14

Redwood fascia boards are all installed, the plywood on the roof is next.

The redwood fascia is offset from the walls to allow for ventilation.

Mike does super high quality work. The fascia is: redwood, back primed, and all joints are glued and biscuited.

Our local refuse company picks up unlimited green waste twice a month. Luckily for us, green waste includes raw wood (no paint, no pressure treated wood, no plywood, etc). Here a eight cans of scrap that I didn't have to take to the dump.

2011 June 15

Our existing water heater is moving from the garage to under the house. We are also getting a second water heater for the radiant floor heating system. After we pour a concrete slab, both will go here, in the "coffin" I had to dig to provide more vertical clearance. The hole is 8 feet long, 3.5 feet wide, and varies in height from 0.5 feet to 1.5 feet.

2011 June 17

To save money, I'm using Mike's truck for dump runs. Here is load number 6 (1220 pounds or 0.61 tons, $126/ton) which cost $76.86 to drop off at the Berkeley Transfer Station. Due to the lumber rack, the little truck holds a massive amount of material. Note that the six dump runs I've done don't include the following: deck disposal (by Alfredo), old concrete slab/footing disposal (by Alfredo), and dirt disposal (not done yet).

Plywood on the south side of the roof.

Plywood on the north side of the roof.

2011 June 20

Stairs from the existing house into the upper level of the addition.

Stairs from the lower level of the addition into the existing house.

2011 June 23

A protective layer of cement board has been added over the foam which insulates our radiant slab.

2011 June 24

Mike and Tim put in all 10 windows today. The windows are Integrity by Marvin which are wood frames with an exterior cladding of fibreglass.

New windows on the north wall.

New windows on the south wall.

The last thing Mike and Tim did today was to use this impressive ramp, along with winches, to move the three-panel slider up to the second floor.

2011 June 25

The building code requires that we have at 30 inches of clear space in front of the water heaters, so I had to expand my coffin today from 3'-6" wide to 5'-6" wide. I also dug a trench for a perforated drain pipe, so if any water does get in the coffin, it can escape.

Taking a break after lining the coffin with filter fabric and placing drain stone.

Here you can see the coffin drain pipe as it passes under the foundation to the exterior of the house.

2011 June 27

Mike and Tim wrapped the house for us today, and put on tarps in anticipation of the rain tomorrow. Bad luck building during the wettest June since they started recording data in the 1850's.

Since the precast slab has PEX for heating the lower level, we decided to heat the upper level the same way. Aluminium plates will hold the PEX tight to the plywood and help with heat transfer. Insulation between the studs will keep the heat from going down.

2011 June 29

Our master bathroom will feature a 55-inch wide dual sink vanity from IKEA (Godmorgon wall mounted cabinet and Odensvik sink). Here you can see Mike's instructions for the plumbers. Since the IKEA website was fairly useless, he had to drive to Emeryville and take measurements to determine the key parameters.

Here's the closet in the lower level that will be the new home of our stacked washer/dryer. This will free up space in the garage for a future project of mine.

Walls for the water heater slab. After allowing them to set up overnight, they will strip the forms and pour the slab tomorrow. According to Tim, the walls took 30 60-pound sacks of concrete mix.

2011 June 30

Slab for the water heaters, which should go in tomorrow.

PJ and the beautiful 3-panel sliding French door at the lower level. As with the windows, the door is Integrity by Marvin (wood frame with fibreglass exterior cladding).

A view of the inside of the lower level sliding French doors. Both Em and I would have preferred swinging rather than sliding doors, but screen options are much better with the latter, and Em is a mosquito magnet, so we went with sliders.

2011 July 1

Torch-down roof at the deck.

Plumbing for the wet bar at the lower level.

Two stacked photos showing the plumbing on the north wall at the lower bathroom.

Exterior trim is going up. The material is finger-jointed New Zealand radiata pine that is pressure treated to achieve 100% sapwood penetration with a wood preservative that is effective against both fungi (rot) and insects (termites). For more information see or click here for a data sheet. In addition to using this great product, Mike is also using two biscuits per joint.

2011 July 2

After a great breakfast (special Alameda at Sunnyside Café), I spent the next 4 hours digging this trench for drainage pipe (left photo). PJ spent quite a bit of the time hanging out and talking with me, which was quite enjoyable.

On July 7th, Mike glued the pipe in (right photo). I'll backfill the trench soon.

2011 July 5

Today was a busy day for the addition, with the roofers, plumbers and Mike/Tim onsite. With all of these hardworking, hungry people Em decided to make them lunch.

Mike has started placing flashing over the cement board which protects the foam which insulates the slab which is heated by hot water which flows in PEX which stands for cross linked polyethylene. When I took this photo I wondered how Mike was going to protect the exposed foam.

New flashing around the chimney.

Torch-down installation at the flat part of the roof. You can't see the flame in the photo, but I certainly felt it from where I took the photo. As of July 6th, the roof is done except for the vents, which the roofers ordered but haven't come in yet.

2011 July 6

And here's how Mike finished it. Yet another great detail by MFB.

Manifold, in progress, for the radiant floor heating system.

2011 July 7

The upper sliding door is in and all exterior trim at the windows and exterior corners is installed.

The soffits are also done. Note the nice clean way the corner trim terminates under the redwood fascia.

The 4" pvc pipe drains about 2/3 of the roof to the point where it daylights in the backyard. Any water that collects under the addition will drain by gravity into the green dry well, where a sump pump will push it out of the smaller pvc pipe where it also daylights in the yard.

Here's the 4" pvc drain pipe at the north side of the house, and its connection to the existing black drain pipe. The drain for the water heater slab also ties into the 4" pvc with two reducers (4" to 2" and 2" to 1 1/2").

Mike is going on his 3-week honeymoon in South Africa tomorrow, and the house is water-tight, so we took down the temporary plastic wall. The stairs from the existing house to the lower level are at the opening on the far left. The three stairs from the existing house to the upper level of the addition are behind the green chair on the left.

2011 July 10 and 11

One of my pet peeves is when dirt, mulch, or rocks spill onto a driveway or walkway. And it did on the north side of our house...

... so I dug it out an put rock back.

After Mike got back from his honeymoon in South Africa I stopped taking pictures of the progress. Work was complete around mid March 2012.