One of these place holder posts – Plumbing

Well my fellow renovators – it’s been awhile since I had a chance to pop in for a post. A couple of reasons – one, I have nothing really new and shiny to show you. I’ve been working on my not very photogenic original old home to get it ready for sale. Trust me, it’s not a Pinterest kinda home. The second reason is I’ve been kinda under the weather – so much so that they thought it would be great if I took a helicopter ride down to Vanderbilt for a little surprise surgical tune – up. So all is well and I’ll be back at the pretty house soon to finish up one room at a time. I did learn that a chopper ride from my house to Nashville cost just under 68,000.00 – I was kinda disappointed in the snacks, but the view was nice.

But in the mean time, I thought I’d go over some of the mechanical challenges and older home presents. Let’s start with plumbing – this subject cost me so much money and time that I’ve just been able to talk about it now.

As would be expected, a home from 1935 would be a patchwork of old and new – well done and poorly done. Cast Iron and PVC, galvanized and copper.

Of course the home inspection said this we just fine. I’m no plumber (yet) but this looked a little sketchy to me.

So, the project developed slowly. And before I knew it my home became a whole house renovation. I wanted copper for my supplies – I know many people prefer PEX, but I like my renovations a little more difficult. It’s a quirk of mine. Plumber #1 was someone I knew – that’s the first mistake. After 8,000.00 and showing up part time over 6 months – he stopped showing up at all. Here was the upstairs shower controls – wrong gauge copper – bad joints.  Not exactly to the plan.

 

On to plumber #2. Much better. Had to rip out all the plumbing that #1 did and add re-circulation lines. This looks right.

The only problem with plumber #2 is he was a commercial and industrial plumber and thought I needed shut off valves everywhere. Not really what I was looking for since the basement ceilings were going to be drywalled later. After 10,000.00 he moved out of the area.

In the mean time I was able to get the tankless water-heater up on the wall.

And #2 plumber did do a good job of getting it installed correctly.

I used a Rinnai 9.2 GPM heater with this set-up. Plumber #2 thought I would want an electric tank heater instead of the gas that was previously here. No, not very efficient, so I use it as a tempering tank for water as it enters the building.

I installed this several years ago, so technology is much better today, with some of the new tankless systems having built in re-circulating systems. Here you see the re-circulating pump and aquastat that regulates the temperature in the hot-water supply lines. There is a 6 gallon electric water heater that keeps water in the hot supplies at a steady temperature.

The great thing about the re-circulation loop system is that hot water is nearly instant at any tap in the house. I have three full bathrooms on three floors and hot water is never an issue. Insulated pipes keep the pump and heater from running much at all. I like the thermometers commercial plumber #2 used.

Now we’re on to plumber #3 as I have the basement plumbing rough-ins going on. It was after I wrote another check for 4500.00 that I thought it was time I sharpened my plumbing skills.

So now on my own I decided I needed to add  ‘plumber’ to my list of DIY skills. And so I took over the  basement plumbing. The good thing is – it’s a basement. If I messed up here I’d have some wet concrete, but no soggy drywall or ceilings.

So with a little practice and a handy torch, I started my new life as a plumber.

And my plumbing continues – with the addition of the steam generator for the shower.

So there is a snapshot of some of the other projects that has made this a 10 year renovation and counting . Every system – plumbing, HVAC, electrical, – all were removed completely and replaced up to current codes.  Obsessive? Sure But knowing it’s safe and efficient makes me happy.

Till – next time…

 

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Perhaps not my most spectacular post

Greetings! Fear not my fellow renovators and spectators, my infrequent posts are not a sign that I am growing weary of this nearly 10 year renovation marathon. No, indeed I’m more energized than ever to complete this adventure in my lifetime. The problem is, I have nothing wow-worthy to show you. Take this post for instance. I suggest you get comfortable, grab a beverage of your choice and be prepared for a incredibly entertaining post about…

~ Baseboards ~

Yep, the baseboard. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that my next project on the list was putting in new baseboards after the floors were installed. I’m using 1X flat stock of poplar, 10 feet long. This is a simple squared off design, so no coping the corners, no this should be a simple install 1-2-3 done! But are we forgetting something? Anything? Well, yes – this is no mere baseboard – this is part of our ongoing art project. Add a little OCD in there and this easy project become a little more complicated.

First we size up some boards and give them a coat of primer and a couple of finish coats. It’s a lot easier to finish them on the sawhorses than on my creaky old knees.

Second, we bevel the bottom at an angle so that the base comes to a point at the front. This will make removing any wood easier.

After we cut them to size, it’s time to scribe the base. Having done this many times. I just use a pencil and position my hand to make the marks.

If you’re a little unsteady in the hand department, you can also use a scribe tool like this.

Scribing the base will show the high spots in the floor in relation to the base, so to remove the extra material, we get out a sander and sand to the line.

Now that we have the pieces scribed to the floor, we make a mark for the scarf joints on the walls that are longer than 10 feet – which is most of them.

Once we get them cut to the right length, we glue and nail the scarf joints together. The joint is cut to land on a wall stud for extra strength.

I use trim head screws to attach the baseboard to the wall through the wall studs for a tight fit. I use Ready Patch to fill the holes. I really like this stuff, but buy the smallest can you can, because it will rust in the can. That’s three ‘cans’ in the same sentence – impressive.

Everything goes slower now that the floors are partially finished. I use a drywall knife on the floor to make sure my disc sander doesn’t have an accidental meeting with the floor.

Once the scarf joint is sanded it is primed and given a couple coats of paint.

So after several hours crawling around on the floor like a worm, we get to see the fruits of our labor. We still have filling and sanding to do. Now no one will see this unless they drink too much or I fall asleep while renovating this place – but then my OCD can take a break.

While I was wrestling with the baseboard, these two guys showed up.

And delivered my new gas range to my imaginary kitchen – boy, I can almost smell the bacon now.

And once the baseboards were in I started to fiddle with the TV lift and connections. I’ve bolted on a 32″ TV to work out the bugs before I put the 55″ one in that belongs there.

So there you have it – another fascinating glimpse into the  MisAdventures world of Remodeling.

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy weekend!