Wood Slinging – T & G Ceiling

Now we have the plywood base up there it’s time to put up some character. First up is wrapping the collar ties with pine. I’ll make a 3 sided box like this:

beam wrapThese slip over the bottom of the collar ties and will allow me to wire up the track lighting from the top.

joint detailsI used a routed joint with a 1/4″ reveal for the boxes – this makes a strong joint and adds some detail.

beam wrap in progressThe beams are wrapped first before the main body goes up.

saw angle blockThe top angle of the beams were more than 60 degrees, so I used a cheater block to get the proper angle. This sits flush with the fence to add more angle.

saw angle viewThis makes it possible to repeat the angle cut past 60 degrees.

side beam nailersThe side beam nailers are placed next. These will be wrapped with pine as well.

whitewashed woodI’ll use 8″ tongue and groove pine with a whitewashed finish. I have a lot of experience with this type of finish, as I did my art gallery fixtures this way 20 years ago. Just take any flat latex paint and thin it to about 50%. The piece on the right has an even coat of thin paint. The one on the left has been sanded down. Want more grain to show through? Then sand a little more – less grain? Put on a little more paint.
Then coat with a layer of Diamond Clear Varathane floor finish and you’re good to go.

wood ready to go inOf course you have to finish 600 lineal feet for the ceiling…

wood startThe individual planks are butted to the side beam nailers and it goes pretty quickly.

wood finishAnd before you know it, the first phase is done! Lot’s more trim work to do before we can put away the ladders.

Stick around – we might get this room done yet.



2013 in review

I just wanted to send a short note to all to say, yes – I’m still alive and will be back to my regular bumbling remodeling project in 2014. To say 2013 was less than a stellar year for me would be an understatement. A simple fall from a ladder not more than 6 feet off the ground has kept me off the Misadventures in Remodeling project for more than 6 months. But on the bright side I did get a shiny new knee joint out of the deal!

Wishing you all a happy and safe New Year and I’ll see you real soon – we’ve got a lot of work to do to meet the 5 year remodeling deadline!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Renovators are Born, not Made

As those that follow my little adventure know, I’ve been sidelined for several months now with some gravity induced injuries. Because of this I have time on my hands…lots of time. To keep me occupied, I have been going through boxes and boxes of old photographs.

Looking back through these old photos I realized that I was a born renovator.

As a child I took every clock, watch or anything else that had screws apart. I couldn’t get it back together – but I sure could get it apart.

My first car.

Back when I was young getting your first car was a big deal. Not a car you borrowed from your parents, but a car you picked out and paid for – you had ownership. If you were a guy in 1972 you would probably think this was pretty cool.

article-72caroftheyear-page1and2But what would yours truly pick?

ford41930 Model A Ford

Just look at that baby! Now she didn’t look this bad when I found her. I just can’t seem to find the picture that showed she did indeed come with fenders and a back door. This was a shot a week later – the back door sort of fell off – something about no hinges. For the record, it’s a 1930 Model A Town Sedan. Just think of the possibilities!

This optimism translates to home renovations. You know who you are. You walk into a house and you see the potential – your spouse sees leaky ceilings, dilapidated floors and basically a train wreck with a roof. You see a house that will one day grace the pages of Architectural Digest.  You are born with this optimism – it’s genetic. You can’t help it.

If you had the forethought to renovate a car – knowing in the future, some 40 years later you would renovate a home – you would buy a car that needed not only a mechanic, but a carpenter as well.

ford8Like this car – it’s fate I tell you.

ford3And the inside would have floors made of wood as well.

ford1So I got to work, like any 18 year old would do. Notice the new wood roof and door parts – and new wood floorboards too. This was the last project I got to work on with my dad. His father was a pattern maker for the Murray Body company – one of two companies that provided Ford with the Town Sedan bodies for these cars.

ford2Of course being me it had to be a frame off restoration.

ford5Now any teenager would make this into a hot rod – no doubt about it. But just look at that 4 cylinder flat head powerhouse!

ford7But not me – I’ll make it 100% stock.  Here you see all of the drum brake parts – everything brand new or machined from scratch. Oh, and if you happen to have a Model A and you need your brakes adjusted – stop by – I still have my brake wrench.

ford6Here’s a breathtaking view of some running board brackets.

ford frontThings going back together. The radiator shell was stainless steel.

ford9My mom always said I would never get it back together – she must have been remembering my take-apart-a-watch years. But 4 years later it was ready to roll.

ford10Here it is all done with super fancy wheels, cowl lights and a top speed of 60 mph.

But, like any renovator – once you reach the finish line it’s time to move on. So I sold the old girl a year later and got this pair.

tr6 corvette1Because that’s what a normal 21 year old would want.

Once a renovator – always a renovator.

What’s Happening Now – but not by me

Well, I’ve read nearly every renovation blog on WordPress – so a lot of you will see my bright blue gravatar liking your posts – and I really do like them. I’m still fumbling around the house – mostly in a wheelchair, but I have been able to stand up – wobbly, but at least standing. So no fiddling for me – yet.

But I did get to go by the old “Hobby House” and get the following photos to at least show I’m still renovating- even if I’m not the one doing the work.

brick-startHere is the start of the patio. It’s a traditional herringbone pattern lined with a soldier course lining. I put down a 4″ concrete base – why? Because I’m anal about stuff like this – if a weed makes it through this I’ll give up.

patio-detailHere’s the same after the mortar is added. It will be acid washed a few times and then sealed to make it pretty.

patio-stepsThese are the Indiana limestone steps leading from the sunroom. They’re 7′ long and 14″ wide 2 1/2 thick and are crazy heavy.

patioHere is the overview of the patio in relation to the added mudroom and sunroom. The black stuff on the mudroom is a rainscreen. This is where I fell off the ladder – right above that little octagonal window. The rainscreen is used behind the limestone thin veneer that covers this addition.

front-doorThe front porch is also done with the herringbone pattern – with 12″ limestone coping as a border and 5′ limestone steps.

front-straightThe new sidewalk to the front door will also have the herringbone pattern like the patio. We kept the same style of winding sidewalk like the original, only our concrete / mason Shawn Thomas added a little flair at the front. The black is also the rainscreen because the front entrance is clad in natural Indiana limestone as well.

sidewalkEven though the sidewalks are technically the city’s responsibility – I went ahead and replaced the cracked and buckled mess with new ones.

front-looking-leftOne day I’ll get this thing to a point I can start on the pretty stuff – one day…

Stay safe

Blog Envy – a counter top story.

OK. I’ve pretty well had it with my fellow bloggers.

Every day I read countless posts about your new wall paint and/or wallpaper removal. I hear of your agonizing deliberations over floor tile and curtain fabric.

Frankly I’ve had enough!

Well, really – I’m just a tad envious. I love looking at your blogs – liking them and commenting on some – well, OK – a lot of them. After all, you’re my main source for stolen design ideas. Being unable to work on my renovation for the past three months due to my ladder accident, I have lived vicariously through your triumphs and failures. But reading about your latest design ideas or seeing your beloved before & after photos – well, it leaves me feeling – well – a little inadequate.

What’s a guy to do? My posts are so far (except for one bathroom) little more than stud walls and plywood floors – holes made and cabinets without doors. I’ll get it done, but I wanna join the blogs with the pretty stuff.

So I’m pulling out the only pretty thing I’ve got so far for the kitchen – the counter tops.

This was a story in itself. I feel so sorry for my wife. She’s married to one obsessive dude. The quest for counter tops was a year + ordeal. I wanted something more in line with marble, but with a more durable surface like granite. I have this thing for natural counter tops, so that left the man-made stuff out of consideration. Looking around the web and every design site I could find I settled on a material called Quartzite (link below). Not to be confused with quartz counter materials, those are made from quartz stone and resins to make a really nice counter top. Great material – but as stated above, I have a thing for natural stone counters. I checked in our town, and with every fabricator (this was in 2011) no one ever heard of Quartzite (they all kept insisting I meant Quartz – the man made stuff). I knew a few road trips where in my future.

So the quest began – fortunately (or unfortunately from my wife’s perspective) we live at the very bottom of Indiana – across the Ohio River from western Kentucky. This location is perfect to get to the larger cities that might have some Quartzite. From home, Louisville is 2 hours away – Nashville 3 – St. Louis is three and a half. Chicago? Why just a quick 6 hours away!

Gas up the car – we’ve gotta look at some counters.

Needless to say it wasn’t pretty. We made trips to all of the above – multiple times to multiple stone warehouses. Some were clueless, some knew exactly what I was talking about! See honey? It really does exist! I swear I have the most relaxed wife. She just doesn’t care that much about looks. (Could this be why she married me?) Give her a stove that works and a roof that doesn’t leak – and she’s fine. Not many women like that – I bet. But we sure don’t argue over design ideas – and that’s a good thing.

Finally on our second trip to Chicago I found it! The quartzite mother load!

And in the rows upon rows of slabs I found this.

Do you come here often? I want you to come home with me. If I was in a bar – I’d be buying this hot slab drinks all night long.

counter-1Only one problem – she’s taken. As were her two friends – Married! – all reserved by the same big time Chicago designer. Got any more? Nope.


So back home we went – well, we had to make a couple of stops at fancy fashion related stores for Francia. I guy’s gotta sacrifice, right?

A week later we got a call – the slabs I was lusting after were getting a divorce. Yep, they were breaking up with that big time designer because his clients were just unsure – and the hold date was up.

Do you want a slab? “I’ll take two” I said. Well, you need to come up in the next day and select the two you want and pay for them – or we will put them back in the bar (I added the last part). “Can’t we just pick them by the photos?” No.

So I told my wife that night that I just wanted to – you know casually take a trip the next day – you know, just to get away from work and spend a little time together.

“Where do you want to go?” she asked. Um, I don’t know…how about Chicago? I like that little Thai restaurant – we could go for a late lunch.

Six hours for lunch? I know, pretty lame – but she went with me anyways. Sometimes guys are so transparent.

So the end of the story we got the slab above and this one too.

counter-2It’s called Bellavita Quartzite

Bellavita QuartziteIt says so right there. You can get lots of Quartzites and learn what the heck it is from these guys.

MGSI Marble & Granite Supply of Illinois

The slabs are in town, sitting in our fabricators lot for the past year – and it looks like it will be there till 2014, but I’m determined to have them laying horizontal in my kitchen one day.

Don’t worry girls – I’m not a one night stand – I want a long term relationship.

Enjoy your week.

Bungalow Replacement Windows – Finishing Details Part 3

We’ve got the window in, now it’s time to button it up – the right way.

Here’s where we left off.

Francia holding windowMy somewhat reluctant, but cute assistant holding the living room window while I set it in place. You can see the waterproof wrap and bottom metal straps over the sill guards. You can see on the label all the windows are energy star rated.

window-shimOnce the windows are installed with the nailing fins, the windows are attached at the top and sides with flat shims. If you have to use adjustable shims (the tapered type) use them in pairs facing each other to keep the surface flat. Spray foam (for windows – regular crack filler will expand too much and bow the window frame) is added to all gaps to seal and insulate. The bottom of the window gets a bead of silicone calk to seal from air infiltration – but not fill in the sill pan – this allows any water to escape.

window plaster repairTwo of the rooms (Francia’s and my offices) still have plaster lath walls. The walls are patched to repair any damage before the wood interior casings go on.

Tip: when repairing plaster walls only use ‘Hot Mud’ drywall compound – the kind you mix from powder – at least for the 1st coat. It’s similar to plaster of Paris and uses a chemical reaction to harden. It’s available in 15, 30, 45 and 90 minute compounds – the number indicates how fast the compound hardens. I always use 90 minute – it gives you a little more work time. Avoid the premixed drywall compound – it is an air dry material that is not near as strong as the Hot mud. If you want to use the premixed over the hot mud for the final coats – that’s fine. Hot mud is harder to sand, so the premixed compound for the final feather coats might be easier.

primed casingI always prime all of the casing wood before installing around the window. Since I will paint the trim, all of the wood is paint grade poplar. You’ll probably have to go somewhere besides a big box store for this. Call around and you will probably find that this material is not much different in price than the #2 white pine most big box stores offer. If you are staining, you’ll have to use something other than poplar.

patch before trimHere there was some loose plaster that came off when the casing was installed. There is a cap going over the casing, so any plaster repair will be done before the final cap is installed.

window casing in progressAll plaster repairs are completed before the cap goes on.

office window trimNot a great picture, but you can see the cap is installed and covers the repaired plaster.

Both window trim progressThis shows the trim a little better. This is the bathroom trim – the bottom piece is removable to add a marble sill. This bottom piece is used as a template to cut the stone. All of the other wood is placed before the stone goes in.

Marble Window Sill BathroomThe marble sill was cut and installed – slide out the template, cut the same size and glue in place.

Why I like casements.

mudroom-windowHere are the mudroom windows –  Marvin ultimate replacement double hung windows. These were used on the mudroom because this is a traffic area outside. I didn’t want to run the risk of having a casement window open and walking into it after dark. Given my present situation (due to my ladder indecent)  it’s probably a good move. The point is this – see that arrow? It shows that opening and the double hung tracks. It gives you a less clean look. Also it is not as deep in the jamb area due to the bypass design of the double hung windows.

bath window view 1The casement window gives you a deeper, smooth jamb (inside wood trim next to window.) This is also why I didn’t get the factory jamb extensions. It would have been impossible for me to trim the windows precisely with a factory jamb. It was much easier to make them myself and fit to the installed window.

bath window trim 2A couple of obsessive design notes in this picture. Small details will make your space seem more harmonious. Visual rhythm is important to me. You’ll notice the closet door knobs were placed inline with the chair rail to keep that visual line unbroken. Also you can see I made the closet door cross pieces in the same plane as the window mullion for the same reason. Little things that I think make the space more finished.

So the pros and cons of casements.

Pros: I like the casement for ease of use. Just lift the side handle and fold out the crank. The single window screen is easy to remove and clean. The windows are the most energy efficient than any other type. Most of all I like the clean interior and more dept of the jamb.

Cons: Since my windows are wood with aluminum cladding on the outside you have to be mindful of rain. If you have the window cranked out and it gets wet – it can cause problems. Not a real big issue with double hung. Usually casements are more expensive than most types of windows. The only other con I can think of is you can hurt yourself if you have these in traffic areas.

But since I’m a superficial kinda guy – the looks had me at hello.

Have a great weekend!

Bungalow Replacement Windows – Installation Details Part 2

So after my refreshing nap – we’re ready to continue…where were we?

Oh – window installation. We need a permit – and we need a plan. Remember, this was at the very start of my misadventure. I knew nothing of permits or where to get one – I just knew we needed one. So off to the Civic Center to the Building Commission. No real problems here. Just tell them what you’re going to do and pay the fee – then tape the blue notice in the front window – done.

Now the plan.

Window-DetailI didn’t know how detailed I needed to be with the inspectors or powers that be. So I drew up my little diagram and sent it off to the structural inspector. He said – fine – whatever. I later found out from a builder that diagrams are deemed an annoyance. Live and learn.

Rough window framingHere is the plan on installing windows in the existing structure – as per my nifty diagram above. I used pressure treated wood (not really needed, by the way) around the existing opening making the sides plumb and the top and bottom level. This will make installation of the new window easy – as the bottom sill will rest on a flat and level surface. I widened each window as much as possible – opting to use the weight pocket gaps to make the windows wider. It added about 4″ in width. Since these were custom windows, each took about a month to get. I didn’t order them until I had the rough-in complete, so Masonite was put in place to cover the holes. Actually I didn’t measure them –  I let the window wholesaler come out and measure – if one didn’t fit – I had a scapegoat.

sill guardI’m jumping from old construction to new – because I don’t have any pictures of the early part of the window install. But you can see the sill guard going into place here. The bottom corners go over the waterproofing, then the middle sections (laying on floor) overlap the corner pieces.

Sill guard installHere’s an installed view. The black polypropylene guard makes a waterproof sill pan under the window. It has a built in slope and channels to allow water to escape to the outside instead of pooling and rotting out the sill. The black sill guard goes up the side of the window about 4″. Here is is covered with the waterproofing wrap.

Window rough waterproofingThe exterior of the window rough in after waterproofing wrap is installed. Really, nobody goes to this extreme – but it shouldn’t leak when I’m done.

window installedHere is a close up detail of the living room window. You can see all of the elements in my little annoying drawing here. These windows don’t open and have no grills because they face directly into the neighbor’s windows. I have stained glass windows that go over these.

Nailing-Finmetal strapThe windows are held in place by three methods. Top is the nailing fin that is fastened to the outside framing – two is the metal straps that are attached to the bottom of the windows. These bridge over the sill guard and mount to the sill wood – eliminating holes in the fancy sill pan we just put in. The third is the screws that attach through the window with shims into the side and top framing members.

living room windowYou can see the straps installed on the living room window.

exterior window flashingHere is how the window flashing goes on after the window is installed. Well – this is incorrect. That piece along the bottom needs to come off – if you seal the bottom there’s no place for the water to go. The left side is on and then the right side goes on – then the top piece goes on last. So, as a recap – window nailed in – side pieces of flashing, then top piece – no flashing on the bottom.

Well, time for a Doctor’s appointment.

See you soon.