Last night I finally finished the hardwood floors.  I had a little bit of floor left to do for a few days and finally had the time to knock that out last night.

I was going to put hardwood on the steps as well, but I didn't want to screw it up and I ran out of time anyway.  The stair pieces were extremely expensive and I'm a "measure once, cut twice" kind of guy.  Soooo.... a professional is installing it, which is probably for the best.

The "Frizza" carpet was installed today, complete with 6 lb. carpet pad.
It turned out quite nice...and it hid the my imperfections at the ends of the hardwood runs quite well.

The faucets, shower heads and toilets (American Standard Champions...BOOSH!!) are in the process of being installed.  This should be finished up on Thursday.

Moving day has been scheduled for Saturday, August 1st...8am.
The doors are all hung and probably half of the baseboard trim is done.  These are the french doors going into the master bath.  And you can see the white baseboard trim.

They also carried in our vanities, including our extremely heavy double vanity into the master bathroom.  Our builder said it had to weigh 400 lbs (with a few cuss words thrown in)...I'm not sure if it weighed quite that much, but it is heavy.

Next up...the plumber...then carpet...then the kitchen countertop.

And we saw some stealth bombers flying over our house.  They were part of the All-Star game festivities in St. Louis.  They must have passed over four or five times.  The video doesn't show how close they were...they seemed MUCH bigger in person.

Steve and Fred came over three evenings last week and helped crank out a bunch of the hardwood.  I can't thank them enough.  There were a huge help.

My dad and my brother, Keith, came over to help install our cabinets last Friday morning.  We worked all day and got them all hung.  I'll go back and add the crown molding and underside trim later.  But they look really nice already.  And the countertop people came to measure for the countertop on Tuesday and that should be installed within a week or so.

On Sunday, my dad came over again and helped install the vinyl tile floor for the hallway full bath (THANKS DAD!!).  It turned out nice and didn't take that long once the thin plywood was put down and primed.  We also put down a few rows of hardwood in the hallway.  I'm lucky to have a dad that not only knows  how to do a ton of stuff, but how to do it the right way.

On Monday, I showed up to do some more flooring and saw that the deck was almost complete...and it includes a stairway down to the helicopter landing pad.  A couple more rails on the deck and that's it.

Front view of the house.  Gutters are done, complete with leaf guards.  Not much left to do out here.

The lamp post has been installed and works.

The front door has been painted black.

The trim, interior doors and vanities should be installed this week, then comes carpet next week...and that's about it, except for the wood risers and treads for the staircase, which I will be installing next week.  We should be closing in 10 days to two weeks or so...barring any setbacks.
Last week, before tile could go down, I was told the green board that made up the shower walls had to be waterproofed.  So I bought some Redguard and painted on four coats (it called for three).  The stuff dries kind of rubbery.  I finished that up on Sunday evening.  Hopefully I did a good job.  I guess we'll find out.

We also put down warming mats under the tile floor in the master bath.  The orange mesh and blue wires you see below, that is the warming mat and it covers just about all of the bathroom floor.  There is a thermostat on the wall that controls the mat.

And then the tile started.

They finished up the tile in both the master bath and the hall bath upstairs today (Wednesday).  The only thing they have left to do is grout the master bath.

Steve, Fred and I put down more hardwood floor tonight and now the dining room and kitchen are all done.  We still have the entryway, the hall by the garage, the 1/2 bath and the upstairs hall to do.  We've probably got a few more days before we're done.  But with the kitchen being done, that means the cabinets can go in at any time.  I think we've made pretty good progress considering we've only worked two evenings after work so far.

Other things done today:
The gutters...finished.
The lamp post...finished.
The aluminum wrap on the 6x6 porch posts...finished.

Here are some pics of the geothermal unit that was installed last week.  It's apparently a "top of the line" model...a Water Furnace brand - "Envision" model complete with a hot water assist to give us free hot water in the summer.  Don't ask me how it works.

Here are the lines coming into the basement from underground outside.  They run up the wall and across the ceiling next to the duct.

This is the Water Furnace - "Envision".  The hot water assist portion is at the bottom.

The coolest thermostat I have ever seen.
Steve, Fred and I started putting down the Colonial Walnut engineered flooring on Tuesday night.  I wasn't sure if we'd get started on Tuesday because finding the right staple gun for this type floor proved to be a pain in the ass.  But we were able to locate one to rent at Grand Rental Station in Edwardsville.  Rent it for 4 days, get 3 more days free.  Not bad.  I'm sure we'll use most of those 7 days.

We went with a Pond Loop Geothermal system for our heating and cooling.  It's a pretty cool setup.  It uses energy from the earth to heat and cool the house.  Pipes are coiled in bundles (our system is a six-ton, six coil bundle setup) and sunk to the bottom of the lake and then run underground into the house and into the Water Furnace brand geothermal unit.

Simply put, a geothermal system is a heat pump and works much like a refrigerator, with the addition of a few extra valves that allow heat-exchange fluid to follow two different paths: one for heating and one for cooling. The geothermal heat pump takes heat from a warm area and exchanges the heat to a cooler area, and vice versa. The beauty of such a system is that it can be used for both heating and cooling—doing away with the need for separate furnace and air-conditioning systems—and for free hot water heating during the summer months.

Geothermal heat pumps use electricity to heat and cool, just like a conventional heat pump. However, unlike a conventional heat pump, GHPs use the relatively constant temperature deep beneath the Earth or body of water as a source of heat in the winter and as a repository for heat in the summer.

In the winter, the fluid passing through the underground (or underwater) loops of piping is warmed by the Earth's heat. The collected heat is extracted and concentrated by the heat pump, and distributed through the building's ductwork.

To cool the building in the summer, this process is reversed — the heat pump moves heat from the indoor air into the underground loops, where it is transferred to the relatively cooler ground. The heat removed from the indoor air during the summer can also be used to produce some of your hot water, or to heat swimming pools, instead of transferring it to the ground.

They finished installing the bulk of the system on Friday morning.  As luck would have it, I was off work for the holiday weekend and was able to watch the whole process.

Here they are taking the two pipe lines they ran into the lake from the basement over to the coils.

These are the coils.  They will be sunk to the bottom of the lake.  The pipes in the above picture run from the geothermal water furnace inside the basement, out the foundation wall, deep under the ground, into the lake and through all of the coils and then heads back to the house up the other line.

Close up shot of the coils before going into the lake.

The pipes are connected to the coil unit and they float the system out onto the lake.

A rope is tied to both sides of the unit.  Tim Cumings (Cummings Heating & Cooling) stands on the far shore and pulls, the guy in the boat and in the water guide the unit, and another guy is standing on our dock with another line.

The coils are in place.

They work to attach cinder blocks to the bottom to help sink the unit when it fills with water.

They begin to run a water & anti-freeze solution through the lines and it starts to sink.

All done!  It's sunk.

The coils are sitting about 10-12 feet under water.  They need to remain about 8 feet under water, even during the dry 10-12 feet should be plenty.

I left for lunch and came back to the house to find they had turned the system on and it was now a frigid 70 degrees inside the house.  The system works like a champ.

We have southwestern electric as our power supplier.  They offer 1/2 off our electric used by the geothermal system during the winter months.  So not only will we be saving a lot of money on our heating and cooling bills by going to geothermal, and getting free hot water during the summer, but we'll get 1/2 off a portion of our electric bill during the winter months.

Sounds good to me.