Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford

Game Room Addition Project

By: Danny Lipford

We added a game room addition and swimming pool, so these homeowners can entertain guests both inside and out. The addition included a covered back porch, game room with bar and pool table, and a bathroom.

Topics covered include:

  • Pouring a concrete slab foundation.
  • Framing the addition for wind resistance.
  • Finishing the drywall on addition.
  • Adding molding to the addition.
  • Landscaping the backyard.

Read episode article to find out more.

Print   Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: These homeowners are ready to have some fun, and what can be more fun than a game room?

Announcer: Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford, the voice of home improvement, with projects, tips and ideas to help you improve your home.

Danny Lipford: It’s seem like every addition we build these days is being built on the back of a home and that presents the challenge of getting all the materials you need with concrete, lumber, roofing-all of that from the driveway through the backyard. We’re going to make that a little easier by removing the gate and these fence sections to allow for all those deliveries. Now, after all of the work is completed on the additions that we’re building on the back of the house, homeowners plan on putting in a nice little swimming pool in this part of their yard.

Now the homeowners are getting close to retirement age and when they retire they plan on doing a lot of entertaining and we’ll have a perfect place for them here once we complete this project because besides the pool we’ll have a nice large, covered porch here. Next to that a bathroom with a shower which is something I always suggest that homeowners put in a bathroom that is very accessible to the swimming pool. Then, a nice large game room with a pool table right in the middle. Now our first challenge here is to really figure out the draining situation. The back of the yard is quite a bit higher than this part of the yard so we have to figure some way to make sure that once everything’s complete, that no water can seep into the living area, but we’ll figure that out. And hey this addition’s going to be a lot of fun to build so stay with us.

Danny Lipford: We’re back out on our addition project where we’re building this addition on the rear of a house and later on, a swimming pool over there should be a really nice backyard. And we had a heavy rain a few days ago that kind of created mud everywhere and filled up our foundation footings with water, actually even had to dig a little trench here to encourage the water to drain away. Now, anytime that you are building an addition if at all possible it’s great to match the same construction methods they used on the original house with all of the new construction and the original house was built on what we call a monolithic slab and we’re doing the same thing here. Now basically a monolithic slab means that it’s all poured at the same time. Your footings and the flat part of your slab all tie in together, and we’ll tie it together with a series of reinforcement rods or steel rods and wire that will tie down into the footings themselves.

Now, to do all of this work by hand would have been a pretty hard task but because of the access we were able to create in the gate we were able to bring in Charlie, our backhoe operator, who really did most of the work for us and then we have a little bit of shovel work that Walt’s doing now and that we had to do in order to clean everything up. We also brought in some sandy clay fill in order to help dry up the existing foundation and it’s a type of soil that really compacts very well. And you know how important that is on a foundation.

Now, one of the things that Ernest is doing now, is he drilled a hole a few minutes ago into the existing slab using a hammer drill. Now we’re using these half inch rods that we’re going to put right into the slab itself, we’ll glue those in and that will help tie the new slab in with the old so there’s no shifting in the years down the road. Now, another thing that took place a few days ago, our plumber put in all of the drain lines and everything he needed to get in the slab before we poured. All of that’s been inspected so we’ve got that off our checklist. So next, we’re ready to continue all of this work that we’re doing, clean out the footings, hopefully this pretty day will dry the footings. Then we can put all of our re-bar, our wire, and our plastic and we’ll be ready for that concrete man.

One of the great things about a monolithic slab is that you get it all done at once, and there’s something to be said for the strength of the foundation that’s poured this way. But it sure does mean there’s a lot of concrete going into the forms all at once. Now that makes for a lot of work for the guy running the concrete crew and Lorenzo, our concrete subcontractor, has his hands full. He uses a pump to get the concrete into the forms so he and his crew can focus on getting it all spread out evenly. Now the pump also gives more control over where the concrete goes so there’s a lot less raking and shoveling to be done. Once Lorenzo and his guys are done, the framing crew gets to work and the walls are up in no time.

The roof is a little more involved because this game room will have a vaulted ceiling where the rafters will also function as the ceiling joists. The tie in to the existing roof is pretty straight-forward and it isn’t long before the decking is going on. Now people always seem to think that we’re in a big hurry to get the decking on because we want a dry work space. Now, while that’s a nice advantage the truth is nailing all of the plywood to the rafters adds a ton of strength to the roof. The plywood links of all the rafters together into one stable unit in the same way the plywood sheathing on the walls lends strength to them.

One of the last things to be done on the framing of this addition is to complete all the overhang areas including the overhang and the fascia, that’s what they’re in the process of doing now, and once that’s complete we can turn our roofer loose to install all of the metal eaves strip around the perimeter of the roof and then the installation of all of the shingles. It should match the existing roof very easily because the roof is in pretty good shape and it’s really not that old. Now you hear a lot about the new building codes and how a lot of things that we’re doing now, and building additions and homes are making them stronger in the event of some extreme weather. Here’s a great example of this. Now, this is metal strapping that we bury down in the wet concrete and what we’ll do is position a post here that’ll serve as support for the roof overhang ahead, above us there. Then this will be nailed to the back of the column, the back of the beam and all the way up to the roof rafter itself. That’ll provide continuous tie down support: the roof all the way down to the concrete. The homeowners will really appreciate that with the next bad storm that may hit.

Hey, convenience wise they’ve got a bathroom right here that leads right on to the little porch as well as a another doorway that leads into the game-room itself. And in the bathroom we have shower, lavatory, and toilet, so it’s very convenient, especially with the future pool. Now, the game room, check out how much space we have in here. Now we have the width of about 14 feet, length of about 25 feet but what’s really impressive is how tall the ceiling will be. There will be a vaulted ceiling that will be shaped like this that is called a cathedral vault and it goes up to around 13 feet. Now the way we were able to support this much span is the installation of the laminated beam we have up, where the ridge beam would normally be. Under that we have 2x6s that also are helping in the support and helping a lot to tie the rafters on either side together so we shouldn’t have to worry about any support problems or any sagging of this roof.  And you know a lot of additions that we build are built to add you know extra living space, maybe a bedroom or a bathroom. This addition was designed for fun.

Announcer: It’s time for this week’s Simple Solution from home repair expert Joe Truini.

Joe Truini: To find creative new ways to increase your storage in the workshop sometimes you have to think outside of the box and use an item that you wouldn’t ordinarily see in a workshop. In this case we’re using a shoe hanging bag that you would ordinarily see on the back of a closet door. And we’re using it for caulking tubes, and small hand tools like flashlights and torpedo level and cans of paint and in this case we had 4 grommet holes for hanging it up but because we had an exposed stud wall I had to first nail up a 1 by 3 cleat then I drove in the 4 nails to hang the bag.

Now, once you get this loaded up it’s actually pretty heavy so it is a good idea to use all 4 grommets. Now this particular one is about 18 inches wide but these storage bags come in various sizes. But we like this one; we chose this one specifically because it has clear pouches that make it really easy to see exactly what you have stored inside.

Danny Lipford: We’re about midway through the construction of a really cool game room addition this week and we’re far enough along now that the inside finishing work can begin. Insulation is one of the first big chores and filling the stud bays of all of the walls with insulation is pretty typical but the ceiling here will be a little bit different. Remember that we said earlier that the rafters acted as ceiling joists in this type of construction. Well to allow for the proper air flow under the roof deck the insulation crew is adding these grooved Styrofoam trays between the rafters before they staple the insulation in place.

As soon as the insulators are done, the drywall starts going up over their handy work. Now even though this is a messy process, it always amazes me how much cleaner it makes the job look when the drywall goes in. And it really starts to look good when the finishers begin making the seams disappear. This is one of those jobs that requires some pretty unique skills in order to really be good, but it also doesn’t hurt to have some pretty cool tools. These stilts are some valuable tools for a Sheetrock finisher, and Mark Rutherford has been Sheetrock finishing for a long time but Mark tell us the truth, how long did it take you to master being able to walk on these things?

Mark Rutherford: Well to be honest it probably took about a month to feel comfortable. When I’m doing ceilings I don’t have to actually look every time I take a step.

Danny Lipford: I’ll bet you had some sore muscles that first month.

Mark Rutherford: Oh yeah. But to be honest I was actually walking up and down stairs the first hour, half hour I was on them.

Danny Lipford: Great day. Now, alright, what happens if you drop something? Do you have to take the stilts off? You don’t have a helper around here, so how are you going to be able to pick that up?

Mark Rutherford: Well I’m not as young as I used to be, but in that case.

Danny Lipford: Oh a test…that looks like it would hurt.

Mark Rutherford: Not as young as I used to be.

Danny Lipford: So obviously you don’t drop things very often.

Mark Rutherford: I try not to.

Danny Lipford: We’ll leave that to the master there, being able to walk around on stilts but I can see how that would be real useful for hanging wallpaper or maybe hanging some crown molding but a much safer alternative is to rent scaffolding like this. Now this is on wheels and it’s narrow enough that you move it from one room to the next without having to disassemble it and put it back together. Now there’s a lot going on around this job with our brick masons on the outside installing all of our bricks to match the existing house. Mark’s putting the finishing touches on all the drywall, and then we’ll be ready for trim.

While Mark’s stilts are giving him the lift he needs to finish the ceiling inside, our brick masons are a little more down to earth on the outside. You know the thing I love about watching pros in both of these trades is how smoothly and effortlessly they move the joint compound and mortar around. There’s no wasted motion with this trowel, just one brick after another going up on the wall until all the work is done. Inside, there’s plenty of work to be done. The finishing carpenters are trimming out all of the windows and doors in the addition with new molding. This stuff can be so tedious and time consuming but these details make an enormous difference in the overall level of finish in a project. For instance, raising the door casings and base boards up off the slab by a half inch now will accommodate the hardwood floor that is going in later. Back outside the mortar has dried and the stucco crew has arrived to begin working on the gables of the addition so they will match the ones on the rest of the house. Now when their work is done the vinyl siding can be extended around the eaves and soffit of the addition so the new and old blend together perfectly.

Danny Lipford: Yard work is one of the inevitable facts of life that go along with owning a house. And sooner or later you’re going to need to do some cutting that requires more than just loppers or a hand saw. If you find yourself in that situation this new alligator lopper from Black and Decker may be an alternative to using a full size chain saw. It works a lot like a chain saw but it has these cool metal jaws that lets you clamp onto logs and branches up to 4 inches in diameter and then it easily saws right through. Unlike a chainsaw that has a tendency to skip around a bit when you’re starting a cut, this thing will hold itself in place until the cut begins. Then these metal guards that cover the jaws will protect you from the cutting chain. Now they do snap back over the blades once the cut is complete. And because there’s a jaw opposite the blade you can’t bury the chain in the dirt during a cut close to the ground. Now that’s easy to do with a traditional chainsaw, it’s one of the quickest ways in the world to dull a blade. So for less than $100 this might be a problem solver around your home.

Danny Lipford: Almost all of the work on the outside of our addition is completely finished. Brickwork’s complete, all the stucco and the gable have all been completed and all of the overhangs have been covered in vinyl to match the outside of the existing house. Now, that makes the whole outside of this house maintenance free. Now about the only thing we have left is to clean the windows, put a couple of screens in, and turn everything over to our landscaper. Now, our landscaper will be doing all of the final grading and all of the final planting of grass and plants to tie everything together and one of the things he’ll be addressing is one of the things we mentioned earlier in the show: that the back of this lot is a little higher than the addition so we want to make sure the drainage will divert the water around the house and out to the driveway and keep it from getting up against the house which could cause some moisture problems.

Now one of the things we like to do when we disturb a lot of dirt like this is to head down to the store and pick up a few bails of hay. They only cost about 5 or 6 dollars a bail and it really doesn’t take a lot of time to spread it out over the mud and that’ll minimize any of the erosion that you can have and will certainly keep a lot of mud from getting tracked into the new finished floors. And we still have a little bit of mud on this side where our plumber’s in the process of putting in the drain line to tie in the drains from our wet bar and our bathroom inside to the drain connection out in the front of the house. Now after they have completed all of their work cover that back up then the landscaper will make that look a lot nicer as well.

Now as all of this work has been going on outside, there’s been a lot happening inside as well. The painter had already coated the walls with a vibrant shade of red when right on his heels the cabinets for the wet bar arrive. I love the way the cabinet maker integrated a wine rack into this wall cabinet so there’s plenty of storage. I really like this design because the large window on this outer wall will keep that space behind the bar from feeling so small. Meanwhile this monstrous peninsula cabinet will house a sink, a compact fridge, and will serve as the bar itself separating the serving area from the rest of the game room. Now at this point the big element that was missing was the flooring and the owners chose a light shade of prefinished oak for the area. A lot of people would be a little bit nervous about wood floors being in a room close to a swimming pool but this prefinished stuff is really very durable unless they leave large puddles of water standing on it for hours at a time it should perform very well.

The work that’s taken place inside the addition today includes the plumber hooking up the drain and faucet on the bar sink and doing the same thing to complete all of the work in the bathroom. Toilet, lavatory faucet as well as all of the trim out of the shower. Look at this great set of cabinets, perfect for a game room like this. The wall cabinet has a nice wine rack in the middle, plenty of storage for all kinds of snacks and glasses and plenty of base cabinets here. Also, our cabinet man allowed the counter to extend out about 14 inches here to give the homeowners the option of a few bar stools, which again, perfect for a game room. Now, they wanted a nice bright space, and they did that with the nice bold colors they have here. But it won’t be quite as bold once all of the furniture is in place, maybe a few things hanging on the wall and a large pool table that will be positioned right in the middle of the room. And look how well it ties in to the existing house, cased opening took the place of the old French doors that used to be here and a lot of similarities in what this room looks like and the existing house with the hardwood floors, the vaulted ceiling, the recessed light, really ties it together. It’s hard to remember this as just a little covered porch. Hey, when we come back we’ll show you the complete tour of our finished product and where we started.

Tricia Craven Worley: This homeowner has a plum tree that they planted a few years ago and it hasn’t produced any fruit at all. So we thought that by planting another fruit tree near by so they would maybe cross pollinate and become fruitful. But you know the first call you want to make before you plant a tree of any sort, possibly build a path, or put in a sprinkling system is to find out where are your utilities. And that is as simple as one free phone call. And that one contact will put you in touch with all of the other utilities. They will do it for you.

So we placed our call to the 800 number and they sent out the utilities that sprayed these lines. Now this is a biodegradable paint so don’t worry about it. Orange indicates TV, yellow indicates gas, and the other utilities have their own colors such as blue is water, green is sewer and red is electric. Something that is very important is that when you are excavating, digging or anything, you want to be a minimum of 1 and a half feet to 2 feet away from any of these lines. Lucky for us our plum tree is nowhere near.

Danny Lipford: Boy, I love the water feature there. Now, I told you earlier in the show that the homeowners were planning on putting a pool in to complete that resort feel to their backyard. Pool contactor started just as soon as we completed the addition which is all about fun. The owners decided that they wanted a game room on the rear of their home where a small patio was located. French doors offered the perfect access point to the addition which matches the existing construction beautifully both in terms of style and the materials we used. And we were able to reuse those red French doors under the new covered patio. Speaking of red, those games of pool won’t be a bit dull in this bright wide open room, which flows incredibly well from the existing family room of the home. The vaulted ceiling makes it feel larger than it actually is and the built in bar opposite the family room adds a cozy, comfortable feel to the space. Any time you have a pool it’s a good idea to have a bathroom close by. This one has both a door from the game room and one from the pool deck.

All in all, a pretty cool little addition to this home. Well just a little bit of landscaping is all that is necessary to complete everything here in the back yard and the lady of the house tells me that is one of her passions: planting plants and creating new beds. That’ll be the finishing touches on a project that’s accomplished just what the homeowners wanted, a nice leisure area to enjoy their retirement years with a game room, covered area for a barbeque, and of course the swimming pool. Not bad.

I’m Danny Lipford. I hope you enjoyed this week’s show, we’ll see you next week.



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