Door Trim and Other Time Consuming Tasks

Well, fellow renovators my monthly update is in order. Still focused on the basement woman cave – and lots have been going on. I still haven’t gotten to the really pretty stuff, but we have to pay our dues in wading through the tedious stuff. So this episode focuses on that pesky door trim that you have to address if you have any type of hole in your wall.

1 cabinet insertsFirst we make a couple of plywood cabinet inserts. These are 3/4″ UV coated cabinet stock. They will go in the bathroom – the one on the left will get a door mirror. The one on the right is open towel storage. They’ll need trim, right?

2 inserts in placeAnd this is where they go in the bathroom. Uh, oh – looks like some complicated trim gymnastics coming up.

3 pvc trimFirst we figure out the pieces for the Tall cabinet and cut to size. This is PVC trim – all of the trim in the bathroom is made from this material.

4 marking trimThen we flip it over and mark where the screws will be drilled and a mark for the inside corner.

5 Kreg tool drillThen we drill the pocket screws using my cheap Kreg drill guide. This system is great to make quick work of cabinet projects like these face frames.

6 glueing trimEach joint is coated with PVC primer and then general purpose PVC cement. Keep the cement a little ways away from the front face of the joint to keep the front looking pretty.

7 fastening trimI then use a clamp to hold the pieces against the table surface while I set the screws. I use the clamp to keep the two pieces from shifting under pressure. This assures a nice flat face.

8 sanding flushIf you have kept the glue off the face, you can sand the joint flush immediately. If you have solvent on the front, you’ll have to wait a day or two to sand, as the glue softens the PVC and it will be impossible to get a flush joint.

9 trim pieces finishedOnce the two trim assemblies are finished, it’s time to make it a little more difficult.

10 trim pieces assembledThe trim to the right is for the door and the left is the trim around the cabinet insert. I’ve joined the two together to get super smooth joints. You’ll see how this all fits together in a later post. The two pressure clamps and a strip of PVC are used to stabilize this awkward piece without breaking the joints when moving to install.

Quick way to measure trim

Since I’ve done every door, window and cabinet in this place with all new trim that I fabricated,  I’ve had plenty of practice. Here is the simplest way I’ve found to measure and cut door trim.

11 trim spacerFirst make a spacer for the reveal of the trim. This is the space between the interior jamb of the door or window and the start of the casing (the flat part that goes around the opening.) I take one side of casing and space it with my template. Then clamp the piece in place.

12 trim clampedRepeat the process on the other side. Make the casing sides the same length and let the bottom edge rest on the floor.

13 marking header trimPlace a piece of casing along the top edge and mark the outside edge. I also put reference marks to keep pieces in order.

14 trim surround finishedI drill pocket screws and assemble just like I showed you earlier.  Keep the outer edge of the side casings flush to the top casing to make sure the reveal is correct. This makes a strong, flat joint and it will fit perfectly around your door.

Pretty stuff coming up in the next post. Promise.

More tedious things to look at

As the headline says – my posts are pretty unassuming – the continuous posts of digging holes, correcting foundations and replacing floor joists will never make it to the pages of Architectural Digest. But I do have a plan to one day get to post some really pretty stuff. But that’s still months away, so here is another post of things that will never make your Pinterest boards.

1 flashing-love-noteWe’ll start with a little romance to spice things up. On the final days of putting up the new siding I thought I’d leave this little note on a piece of flashing behind the Hardie siding.

2 Window-wellsI looked around and couldn’t find any decent window wells for the two awning windows I installed, so I framed up some forms. I placed long anchor bolts in the walls before the concrete went in.

3 Window-well-doneThese will work to keep water away from the windows. I’ll add pea gravel to the bottoms of the well to drain excess water.

4 Air-ConditionersI also framed up a 4′ X 9′ pad to hold the new air conditioners. The Trane units look big and they are. 3 Tons each with a 20 seer rating. They have variable speeds, but I doubt if they get past the 1st stage when cooling.

5 Air-conditioner-outletsOf course, nothing is that easy at the MisAdventures project. I had the HVAC guys run the line sets through pvc so I could make a nice weather seal at the outlets.The electrical was also run underground. Next to that is water spigots – the one on the left is city water, the one on the right is well water. The stainless steel vent is for the downstairs bathroom ventilation.

6 Back-of-houseGutters are finally on. They are 6″ K type with 3X4 downspouts. The closest one goes to the dry well I posted about here.

7 Down-spout-drainHaving the gutter guys come set the downspouts first let me get the underground drains in the right spot so that it was a straight line to the outlet.

8 Down-spout-filterBecause this downspout goes directly to a dry well, I added a strainer to catch leaves and debris that might clog the pipes. I’ve already found some leaves in there.

9 Gutter-detailI had them run this downspout along the fascia line to catch the water coming off the small clipped gable roof area. Without this gutter, morning dew would drip onto our patio and possibly my wife – which would not be a good thing.

10 Patio-guttersThe larger gutters catch the greater volume of water that comes off this section of roof. I’ll add an underground pipe for the downspout when I landscape.

11 Crawl-space-lightsIn the evening I popped in to the basement and put up recessed LED lights in the 4′ crawl space under the sunroom addition. This is a 16 X20′ area that will take no time for my wife to fill up with stuff we’ll never use. When we’re gone look out for an epic yard sale.

Final Frontier – Wall Sheathing

Final Frontier – as in the last pieces of plywood sheathing are up! Sorry for the long delay, but I have been working non-stop everyday – and there’s lots going on here at Misadventures. Master bath, stone cladding, waterproofing – wow, I’m one tired puppy.

But let’s finish up the exterior sheathing so we can start getting pretty stuff on this blog.

1 final sidingTurning the corner into the home stretch – I’ve started removing the AZEK window surrounds that I put on a couple of years ago – because? Lack of planning.  I’ll make another set.

2 window frameThe new window surrounds are made like the first ones – the four pieces are cut and joined with AZEK glue – regular PVC glue will work, but I found that the bond strength seems better with the AZEK glue.

3 window siliconeThe pieces are assembled with a Kreg Jig. After the frame is joined a little silicone is applied to the pockets to keep water out.

4 siding tear offAll lower window frames are removed and siding is being stripped.

5 plywood going up1/2″ CDX plywood is overlaid and trimmed around the existing windows.

6 flashing detailKind of a detour – I forgot to mention that all inside wall intersections get an aluminum flashing – here is one piece formed ready to be installed at the junction of stone and siding trim at the back of the house.

8 flashing 2And at the front of the house. Stone goes over the black rainscreen to the left and Hardie siding will be applied to the right. The flashing is just a little extra protection in the corner.

9 window frames installationThe new window frames with back banding details are being installed.

10 window number 2And the next one going up…you’ll find the corners will be perfect if you assemble the frames as a unit , as opposed to installing one piece at a time on the wall.

11 window cortex screwThe frames are attached with Cortex Screws. These plugs are hammered in flush and they almost are invisible. All the trim will be painted, so they will really be hard to spot. There is a 3/8″ gap between the aluminum window frame and the AZEK trim to allow movement. A foam backer will be inserted in the space and then caulked.

12 final wall completeFinal window trim installed and ready for some siding.

We’ll jump up to the master bath for the next post. Stick around, we might get to something worth looking at this year!


Exterior Details – Egress window prep

Well my fellow renovators – I received a notice that my TV lift has been shipped, so soon I’ll be back on the bookcase project in the sunroom. In the meantime I have been busy with the exterior details – getting the building envelope ready for veneer limestone and hardie siding. It’s not pretty but important. I have two sides left to go before we can start the siding project. Today we’ll work on finishing the back of the house.

1 window prepAt the back of the house I have selected this window to become the larger egress window. Due to how the house is situated on the lot, this is the only place I can dig down and put in the oversize window and well. The problem is, this house was really poorly built. The houses to my left and right are very well constructed – this one – huh – not so great. But we’ll make it better. In the photo above the dark board with the holes in it is called a band (or ribbon) board. On most houses, this goes all the way around the perimeter of your home. Usually the floor joists are nailed on edge through this board. This house? No – just that little piece of board above each window.

2 window demoSo that won’t do for structure. So out it comes – the structure above is fine with this gone – mainly because I added several floor joists in this location to replace the ones the termites ate for dinner.

3 steel angleThe floor joists are notched and this 54″ 4X4X1/4″ steel angle is put in place. This will be part of the system to strengthen this area for the wider window. A steel header will be added in the basement wall structure to make this window area super strong.4 angle finishOnce in place we wrap a little protecto wrap for corrosion protection and see how things look.

5 plywood 1st attemptHere’s attempt #1 – the wall was so bowed by the window the siding was out by over an inch – looked like poop – like a big hump in the middle of the wall.

6 sheathing startedSo I started the sheathing with 1/2″ CDX plywood while I thought about what to do.

7 window redoSo I ripped it out and tried a different approach. To make this as simple as possible. There is a metal ledge ( actually a deck ledger ) at the bottom of the sheathing that fits snugly against the foundation brickwork. This keeps bugs from entering, as well as protects the bottom of the sheathing from moisture. But in this area the bricks by the window were so out of plumb I had to put the ledge on top of the brick to make the sheathing straight. The red arrow shows where the transition changes from the top of the bricks to the side of the bricks.

8 sheathing near finishNow the sheathing is plumb and flat – it’ll make the siding look a lot better.

9 notchThe arrow shows the notch of the transition.

10 sheathing doneAll that only took 7 hours – and I’m the only one who would have noticed.

11 window sealThe detailing around the windows is complete. So-

12 house wrapThat’s a wrap – House-wrap that is.

Pretty things to come…someday.

Building Sunroom Window Bookcases Part 1

We’ve finished the main windows in the sunroom – all but the two that will have bookcases that will wrap around on all sides. I’ve been putting off building these because? All together now – I have no plan. Just like everything else it’s just freestyle design, so let’s start cutting some wood and see what happens.

1 bookcase startI built 2X4 bases for each side and cut the outside pieces of the bookcase carcass. I used 3/4″ Maple faced plywood for the boxes. This is B-2 grade – a lesser quality than true cabinet plywood – this has a micro-thin layer of maple – but they will be painted and cost the same as birch faced plywood so I went with these at 50.00 per sheet – cabinet grade is about 80.00 per sheet in my area. It takes 5 sheets for this project.

2 window caseEverything is cut and test fitted – no nails or glue yet. Each side is slightly different, so measurements must be taken individually.

3 rounting jigA little more about routing jigs. The best work table for me has always been a single sheet of plywood. You can screw your jigs and stops right to the sheet to make things go quickly and get repeatable results. Above you see the setup for routing bookcase sides. The cross piece is the straightedge for the router base to ride against. The right piece of wood is at a 90 degree angle to the straightedge. The left piece is spaced with a slight gap so that the piece to be routed can slide easily into the jig. It is attached with a single screw into the plywood table to make a pivot. Slide the piece in and clamp against the right hand wood – you have a 90 degree straightedge.

4 routing jig detailTo repeat the routed joints on all bookcase sides you can set the first one and then screw a stop onto the plywood. Now you can repeat this on each piece so that you have perfectly aligned shelves and dividers.

5 case testMore unglued test fits. Not only to test to make sure it fits, but to make sure it doesn’t look too goofy.

6 figuresI’m going through these yellow note pads pretty quickly as I try and figure this thing out. Time for a new pad.

7 tv baseThis might look like a modernist coffee table top or some other artsy doodad – but actually this is the product of all that yellow pad doodling.

8 tv base instal And here’s what that thing is for. The problem is that this area also has to have a cold air return and a cabinet for a TV lift. The duct work for the HVAC had to be out from the wall. The return air will be routed up behind the cabinet and the intakes will be on the top of the central cabinet. Complicated, no?      Yes.

9 routed sidesNow that we know what is what, we can assemble the bookcase boxes – after they are sanded smooth.

10 tv backThe TV lift will be bolted to this panel – it is recessed to allow the 55″ TV to drop all the way to the subfloor, allowing the cabinet to be 36″ tall. The cold air return will run behind this area.

11 bookcase testThe window bookcases are now built as individual boxes, but not fastened together yet. You can see the shelves are aligned with the window mullions to keep the visual plane unbroken. Another anal detail from yours truly.

12 paintingNow the cases are taken down and painting interiors begin. I would usually pre-paint the sheet of plywood before fabricating, but the routed joint is so tight that just the paint thickness would cause problems in joining the pieces together. Also, some of the plywood sheets varied in thickness, so some of the routed joints were too tight and had to be slightly widened.

Hang in there – we’ll get some books on these shelves eventually.

Sunroom Window Trimming

Now that we are back on the ground we can trim out the big windows in sunroom. We have 7 in here and all will get the same design treatment – except the two on the end wall that will be wrapped with bookcases.

1 jamb jointFirst we rip the jamb stock to size – just a little wider than the surrounding drywall. These will be painted, so I’m using poplar – a very good wood for projects like this because of it’s easy workability and tight grain to make that Oh-so-smooth finish. You see that I have a routed joint – it will make your life so much easier when doing window jambs, as it keeps the joint perpendicular.

2 router spacerI always make as many jigs or templates to make the job go quickly. If you have more than a couple of anything – this is the best way to speed things up. Here I have a spacer that is exactly the width of the router base to the straight edge jig.

3 router jigHere’s a picture of a jig setup for routing the bookcase around the windows – but it’s the same idea. The template rests against the straight edge jig and is lined up with the marks where you want the joint to be. I’ll get into detail in the next couple of posts.

4 stool cutI assemble the three sides of the jamb – the top and sides. So you have a ‘U’ shaped piece glued and nailed together. I then make the stool – the sill of the window. I shim this at both sides of the window and set the ‘U’ on top.

5 loose stoolI shim and nail the ‘U’ in place and add the side casings to the windows as well. Here you see the window trimmed but the stool (sill) is removable. I do this because it’s easier for me to get the proper reveal on the sill this way. Most will set the stool first and work off of that. So I’m different – deal with it 🙂

6 tight stoolStools in place and fastened.

7 casing blockAs mentioned earlier – I use templates and whatever to make things go quicker and more accurate. I use this block of wood to get the reveal the same all around. Make the block flush with the jamb and you have a uniform reveal. The clamp comes in handy when the side casing might be a little bowed. A little pressure on the clamp and it will straighten it out.

8 octagon jambsThe octagon window jamb was easy. I had made two when I installed the same window in the upstairs closet.

9 octagon casing cutThe eight pieces are cut for the casing – looks like it’ll work.

10 pocket screw jigTo assemble I make one pocket hole with a Kreg tool. Only one is needed, as it’s mainly used as a way to clamp the pieces together.

11 finished octagonThe finished casing glued and ready to put up.

12 bookcase wallThe casing up and all the windows have been trimmed and back banded – all but these two, which get bookcases built around them – that I haven’t designed yet. Nothing like waiting to the last minute. But I have my yellow pad there…

12 window casing with back bandHere are the two big boys – 8’6″ each. All trimmed out with back banded casing. (That’s the piece that ‘picture frames’ the side and head casing) and the apron below the stool (sill).

13 waspAnd all the time this guy kept me company. I think it was his uncle I was swatting at when I fell off the ladder last year.

This time I left him alone – lesson learned.



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.

Bungalow Replacement Windows – A Case for Casements Part 1

Since my accident, I haven’t been able to do much – between the painkillers and surgeries it’s left me a little “under the weather’. But I thought I would pop in to the Adventures and create a couple of long posts about windows  – what can I say? I have a lot of time on my hands.

When we bought this place in 2009 it was listed as having mostly replacement windows, which was a good thing. They were the vinyl double pane type. They seemed to work fine – double hung, tilt out – easy clean. Only the two picture windows weren’t changed. They were just a single sheet of glass with wood stops – and a storm window over that.Pretty drafty.

Single pane picture windowThe two largest picture windows were single pane with storm windows over the outside.

So, fair enough, I’ll just replace these two big boys – it won’t be cheap, but we gotta fix this. So now what? I know nothing about windows. I was a carpenter in my early years, but mainly framed concrete forms, so I was clueless.

OK, call the box stores and see what they can offer for installation (or at least get some clues to what to do). First up is the contractor for the orange box store. Some guy with a clipboard and a tape measure. After posing several questions about window flashing and other bits of information I looked up on the web, I know this guy didn’t know the difference between a sash and a window stop.

Blue was next – two guys in an old pickup truck and a ‘we do anything for money’ kind of attitude. They knew little more than Orange man.

So in the mean time, I started the demo in the kitchen, removing the trim around the windows. That’s when I found a flaw about my replacement windows.

kitchen replacement windowsHere’s a big problem. See those nice replacement windows? Looked perfectly fine – before the trim was removed. See the space between the two on the right? That’s an uninsulated space. Same goes around each window. Big gaps = $ out the windows in utility costs.

Houston, we have a problem.

office windowsAnd in the the office – same thing here. And so it went through the whole house. Every window had gaps and voids. Some from the pockets used to hold the window weights used with the original window, some because no insulation was installed between pairs of windows. There was so many gaps I’m sure it would equal leaving a window open year round.

What to do? Well, the common sense thing to do is just remove the trim from each window, insulate and foam fill all of the gaps and replace the trim.

That’s what you would do – right? Of course, that’s what you would do – you’re sensible, practical, and reasonable. And you know that I won’t do the sensible thing, right?

Of course you know that.

Let’s replace the windows – all of them – and install them yourself.

Um, replace them with what? So began the long quest to find windows that I want to live with. After many, many weeks of looking, surfing, interviewing, and all around fact finding I settled on these. Marvin Ultimate Replacement Casement windows. I selected windows with the wood inside and clad aluminum outside. The ‘ultimate’ means that they have a crank out mechanism – you can get push-out types with no crank. I got a special grill configuration with clear bottoms and external grills on top. They’re like new construction windows with nailing fins. Oh, I also got them with no jamb extensions because I wanted to make my own – it’s more difficult that way.

Marvin Ultimate Replacement Casement Window After I put all these in, someone told me that most use the expensive windows on the front of the house and less expensive windows in the back. Well, now you tell me.

Look at the time! – time to go take a nap. I’ll be back with the installation details and why I chose this type of window.

Stay safe.