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!

 

The Pointy Closet Post #1

Greetings fellow renovators! Sorry for a late post, still working away on all kinds of things at the MisAdventures project. I’ll introduce a 3 part series on the pointy closet that gave me so much trouble. Three posts? Yep, you’ll see. So let’s start at the beginning of this closet odyssey .

Well, maybe not at the very beginning. This is the earliest photo I could find of my destruction. This is the 2nd floor closet that I’ve already got my destructive little hands on. I can only imaging what my wife was thinking when I started tearing this apart 7 years ago. Yep 7 – and it’s not done yet – but we’re getting close.

We’ll revise this little problem closet several times – you’ll see. Here I quickly framed out the new closet space with a nifty pocket door. I thought I had it all figured out.

It wasn’t long before I had drywall cut and in place, with all those fancy angles. Moving along quickly – what could possibly go wrong?

I cut out the ceiling to remove the surface mount florescent light.

And will a little time and materials, I have a new ceiling with recessed lighting. Almost done – I can see the finish line.

We just need to drywall this end and we’re home free!

I’m so close to getting this closet done! Just a couple more pieces of drywall.

Crap! I knew it couldn’t be that easy. It’s right here – at this very moment in time that I had another ‘what if’ moment. Those are always bad for me. I decided to replace the staircase with a new, safer one. That will mean the walls of the closet will be too close, so here we go! I’m removing all the stuff I just did. There’s a lonely brand new little switch box just dangling there.

This will have to be moved back to allow a landing for the new stair layout. I always use construction screws to build walls – just for this very reason. Simple to unscrew everything and use again.

The new door location is framed in place. We’ll have to ditch the pocket door because we don’t have enough space to retract the door. It’s always something.

We’ll use a 15 pane door with textured glass – just like the 1st floor bathroom door. This will let light in through the closet window.

So I think I’m finally getting everything in place – surely we won’t make any more changes here.

But these little access doors to enter the eave area kinda bugged me. Not quite the fit and finish I like.

They were made to be insulated, as the space under the roof in these areas was not insulated.

And behind that little door it looked like this. This area is unconditioned space,  The white bucket was used to catch water flowing in from the chimney area decking. The chimney had a pipe coming out the side with a piece if tin foil over the hole. Nice. We gotta fix all this.

And this lame little window too. This is a sad little room without any character. I’m feeling the demo demon grabbing hold of me.

Please someone help me. That window will need some attention, so off comes the drywall.

Of course to make this look good inside, we have to make it look good outside too. Here I’ve stripped all of the aluminum siding off the front.

We use a little cardboard mock up to visualize and we settle on a 3′ octagonal window to replace the 2′ original.

So with a little reframing and other gymnastics, we have our 3′ window in place.

And we’re working on the outside as well. This will get a stone veneer in the years to come. Stick with me, we’ll make a few more adjustments to the pointy closet – why, we might even make it pointy again.