Sunday, December 11, 2011

many photos from the past couple years

foam insulation install

Ed and I lifting heavy window into place
Eric threw me a USB stick with a bunch of photos he had taken over the past few year, so I'm posting many here!

two lines of gas piping and electrical  conduit running down center of building 
me on scaffolding, nice spring day
finished wood floor

Rick smiling about crown install??


fabled staircase, many debates about  rise/run 

preparing master bath for tile

The master bathroom has been neglected since the drywallers finished over a year ago. Before Eric and I can start tiling, a few items needed to be taken care of.

I had been looking off and on for a low voltage lighting solution for the shower, and finally came across some 2.5" 20w recessed halogen fixtures from

Seagull Lighting that would work. The
original plan was to put in one in the niche, and one directly above the two shower valves, but some of the framing above the shower got in the way.

This is what happens when you don't plan
for lighting before the framing! The 120VAC to 12VAC transformer is in an access panel on the other side of the shower wall in the bedroom. We could have put the transformer access in the bathroom, but there was no easy place to put it without having to deal with a tiled wall. I ran some 10gauge Romex cable (orange) from the transformer to a junction box in the shower wall, and then flex conduit from there to all three fixtures with standard 14 gauge wire. Since the run from the transformer to the junction box is taking the current for all three fixtures, I figured I should use a lower resistance line. It might not matter on the relatively short run, but it's good practice for when we do a longer run (25 ft+) later.

Eric masterminded the pouring of the custom shower pan. The plumber installed the PVC mat that leads to the shower drain correctly against the wall studs, but the corners folded up ('pig ears') were too thick to allow the installation of the backerboard plumb with the rest of the wall. Eric installed a 1/4" GreenEboard™ over the PVC lining to bring the wall flush the wall above on the outer walls, and two pieces of DensShield on the short inside walls. The DensShield is a popular alternative to Durock, and makes for much cleaner cuts.

Once the wall board was installed, we moved onto pouring the shower pan. The shower pan has to run to the drain at 1/4"/foot slope. Neither of us have ever poured a shower pan before, so I found this cheater system called Quick Pitch to make the grading worry free. We marked the perimeter of the shower with a laser level for marking the edges, and then shimmed the quick pitch guides up to the mark.

Rather than using regular cement, we used a sand mix with portland cement. This allows for easier management of the cement, since it was like handling very wet sand instead of dripping cement. It would have been difficult to keep the grade with cement that wants to level itself. The shower pan turned out really well. It has a very gradual slope that water will travel, but not so much where you notice it when your standing on it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

detailed update, no photos

for those that care..

We moved to 1st floor almost 2 weeks ago. Our friends that will be watching our new baby moved upstairs a week ago. So, the place is not completely finished, but certainly livable. The remaining items include:
- window treatments (roman and 'solar' shades)
- master bedroom stairwell landing bookcase
- master bedroom stairwell wall bookcase
- master bath (tile, cabinets, fixtures, glass)
- doorbell transformer
- master bedroom LED cove lighting
- 1st floor hallway hutch
- kitchen island countertop (leftover plywood in meantime)
- switching remaing locks to Mul-T-Lock restricted key system

We've run out of cash, and will be finishing these items as capital is EARNED through our hard work for a multi-national aerospace company. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

paint n' caulk

painting is finally underway! We discovered the Minwax Helmsman spar varnish works really nicely on the stained trim, very low lustre.

I'm using Sherwin Williams this time around. I opened an account at their Milwaukee & Fullerton location. The paint is often 30% off for account customers. That makes it less than $30/gal. I was paying $35/gal+ for Ben Moore, and couldn't find a way to get a discount on that.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

wainscoting makes it all good

pronounced UK: /ˈweɪnskət/, US: /ˈweɪnskɒt/, US dict: wān′·skət, wān′·skŏt)

Rick is back for the install of the vestibule and foyer wainscoting. No matter how you say it, it's looking good. I'm really looking forward to posting the final before and after photos.

Here's the recipe for this wall.
  • 1x4 red oak for stile and rail (vertical and horizontal)
  • quartersawn red oak 1/4" paneling (sized to golden rectangle )
  • cap: 1 3/4" crown under 5/4 walnut cap
  • 1/2" cove moulding to border panel
  • everything stained with 'ipswich pine', and 1 coat of wipe-on polyurethane
2nd coat of varnish will go on later.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

hole in roof!

oh, don't worry, the holes were intentional! Didn't mean to scare you.

When putting the intake and exhaust PVC pipes for the two furnaces last year, we had to cut 3 and 4 in. holes right into the flat roof. This seems like the craziest thing to do to your roof if you don't want leaks, but its very common. There are two methods of sealing the gap between the pipe and the roof hole. Most common is a 'flashing boot' that goes over the pipe, and then is tarred up to seal it to the roof. Another, in this case, is a 'pitch pan'. The 'pan' part is obvious, it looks like a square pan. I'm not sure where the 'pitch' nomenclature arises, probably something from old masonry terms. Since I had more than one pipe, it was easier to use the pitch pan. You can't install two flashing boots right next to each other, they only work for individual pipes. On the other hand, the pitch pan will work for any number of protrusions that will fit into the area of the pan.

Below are the two vent pipes that go ALL the way to the basement furnace. The pitch pan is stainless steel, but you can't see it with all the sealant. Yes, i did a sloppy job, but in this case err on the side of messy is good.

Sometimes when I come across a product that works wonders, but isn't often advertised, or carried at local big box home store, I feel the need to shout!
Unlike your standard tar, Chem Link Part-1 Pourable Sealer does not shrink. You might have seen one or more year old tar that has shrunk and created cracks in just the place you intended to seal. The photo above shows absolutely no cracking, and it pliant as the day it was installed.

I found it at Lakefront Roofing Supply on N. Western Ave., for more $40 a liter. I probably didn't get contractor pricing, but it was worth every penny for the piece of mind. Here's their website: Chem Link

let there be light

i've been spending lots of time ordering light fixtures online.

There are some great deals out there (through ebay) if you search hard enough. - eBay sniping software to help you win more items.
eBay sniping software
to help you win more items.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

more trim and window ledge

Trim continues. More staining. More sanding. More wipe-on polyurethane.

Stewart's been coming by almost every weekend to help out. Here's his other endeavor: band blog.

Below is the sanded and stained bay window ledge. I'm going to use McCloskey's 'Man-O-War' spar urethane for the ledge since its exposed to so much sunlight. Same varnish we used for the doors.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dweller on the Threshold

The 42" front exterior door had a very worn down wood threshold originally. Ed later replaced that with another oak threshold. Since the floor was being replaced, and the threshold out of whack due to the uneven surfaces and tilted door, Ed's threshold was also tossed. I decided to look for a more commercial (READ: durable, can take a beating) solution. Even though they are not building vintage or aesthetic, a shallow aluminum threshold was the answer. I ended up purchasing the threshold from AB Supply online. They have a pretty amazing selection of hard to find hardware. The big box stores only sold up to 36" aluminum thresholds, and not a big selection of widths.

Since the limestone sill was slightly higher than the floor, I added an additional strip of walnut to make up the difference. On a great suggestion from Eric, I routed the walnut about 1/16th of an inch to create a groove for the threshold leg to sit. This prevents the piece from sliding in and out, giving it some horizontal stability.

You can't see it in this photo, but I used 'Liquid Nails' to adhere the wood threshold to the aluminum threshold.

Here's the before picture of the door threshold.

You can see the original holes where they inserted some 1/2" dowel pieces to hold the threshold nails. This was the 1896 method before they had masonry fasteners such as Tapcons.

After marking the 4 new holes, I used the MAKITA hammer drill with a masonry bit to predrill the holes for the Tapcon screws.

Here's the installed threshold. I used some 'roll caulk' on the underside of the front part to keep any water out coming from the exterior side. I didn't use any glue (yet), in case I want to be able to simply unscrew and pull up for some reason.

We'll see how it holds up the rest of the winter. Big storm coming Tuesday.

I'll have another post about the 'automatic door sweep' i'm putting on the front of this door soon.

Places for REALLY nice lumber

I've been going to WOOD WORLD at Elston & George since I bought the building back in 2002. They had some great trim I couldn't find anywhere else to match some of the existing. Lately, i've been taking some trips out to Des Plaines to visit OWL LUMBER, since they have a different (and slightly cheaper) selection. Here's my take on both of these specialty shops. Wood World has more unique trim profiles, and very laid back, friendly staff. Owl Lumber has all the standard profiles, but much more rare wood stock at some decent prices. You'll just have to visit both! I plan on using 'finger-jointed' poplar (not pine) for the master bedroom, and I think Owl Lumber will be the place to go.

Photo is of employee counting and wrapping my order.