Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Moving Slowly --- But Moving

It seems that many of the projects I've been involved with follow the same pattern. I'm not sure if it's the way I manage them....or if it's some universal truth. But progress comes very quickly in the beginning then slows and slows as the effort moves forward. It has been like that here. Progress has recently been very slow. We have been enjoying the late summer at 3283 for the past few weeks, and have been making decisions on contractors for drywall and bathroom tile. But there hasn't been a lot of physical progress that lent itself to photographic documentation.

We have also found that construction in West Michigan must be coming out of the recession. All of the drywall contractors we talked with indicated a 3-4 week delay before work could start. Our tile contractor will be delayed waiting for the drywall to be installed. 

We did do a bunch of painting on the outside of the house. It was, however, putting a second coat of paint over the primer. So, pictures of white paint going over white paint are pointless. None the less, the exterior of 3283 [except for porch railings] is now completely painted.

OK Enough words.
Some stuff has happened for which pictures were possible. Nothing as exciting as the work done in March and April...but somewhat interesting none the less.

Tulip Bulbs:
The landscape work done so far has been "green." We have a wonderful instant lawn that makes 3283 look great. But there is no color. Bobbie spent some time recently making sure that in Spring the color would begin to return. In the back of the cottage -- where anyone visiting first arrives -- she planted dozens of tulip bulbs. The work this Fall will provide bouquets of Springtime color. Thanx, Bobbie.

Drywall Delivery:
Although the drywall contractor won't be able to start work for a week or so, he wanted to make sure the materials were here well ahead of him. On Monday a truck pulled up to 3283 with all the drywall needed for the addition (bedroom and bath), the south living room wall, and the new laundry enclave. The drywall came in various sizes including a number of 12 foot long pieces. It was unloaded, carted around to the front of the house and brought in through the front porch and living room. It's staged in the addition waiting for the contractor.

Heating Duct Enclosure:
Remember a few chapters back I wrote about the new HVAC system installed at 3283. In order to get conditioned air [heated in winter, cooled in summer] to the second floor the contractor ran duct work in the corners of three rooms. On Monday I enclosed the duct in the front bedroom with bead board to match the adjacent walls. Lots of short pieces of wood. Thank goodness for pneumatic nail guns.

Front Porch Floor Insulation:
The front porch at 3283 is definitely a "three season room." In winter the 50 feet of single pane windows and 3/4 inch thick walls are no match for below freezing temperature. However, when we built the basement we extended it under this porch. What this created was a heated basement space with its ceiling being the floor of the unheated porch. The under side of that floor needed to be insulated. Yesterday I spent my day with six rolls of insulation, a utility knife and a ladder. By the end of the day 300 square feet of porch floor was ready for Winter.

I'm hoping that it's not another three weeks before I post again.
As visual progress takes place here I'll crank up this laptop and update this blog.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Laundry and Bathroom Prep

There seems to be an endless number of "little things" that need to be done before the drywall can be installed. Yesterday and today I worked on a couple of these things in the future laundry area and the new bathroom.

The laundry area needs a dedicated 20 Amp circuit to serve the washer and gas dryer. The only outlet on the wall where the washer/dryer will be was on the 15 Amp circuit that served most of the original cottage. Yesterday morning I replaced it with a new outlet connected directly to the circuit breaker box. And I relocated the old outlet to an open wall in the room. While I was doing electrical work I installed wiring for a future light above the washer and dryer.

In the afternoon I addressed the floor on which these machines will rest. The floors here at 3283 are simply tongue and groove 3/4 inch boards spanning 24 inch on center floor joists. They are relatively sturdy, though sometimes squeaky. In the laundry area a number of these boards were cut to allow plumbing and heating ducts to pass through the floor. This caused the laundry floor to be "soft" in some spots. My solution was to install a 5/8 inch thick piece of plywood over the entire laundry area. This will bridge the soft spots and make the area much more structurally sound. Hopefully the vibrations of the washer and dryer will now be managed appropriately.

Here you can see much of my day's work.
The outlet on the back wall is for the washer/dryer.
The electrical box higher on the wall is for the light as is the switch on the right.
The relocated outlet is on the far right...into which my compressor is plugged.
And the plywood is on the floor.
This space will be occupied - left to right - by:
Laundry Tub, Washer, Dryer.

Today I focused on the new bathroom. There will be "knee walls" between the vanity and toilet and between the toilet and the shower. We needed to keep these walls as narrow as possible to let the vanity fit properly and keep the shower a good size. I used 2x4 lumber to frame these walls but built them with the "2 inch" side on the faces and tops.  To do this, and make them as sturdy as possible I created "half lap joints" where the boards are connected. This required a lot of work to cut away half the depth of each end of each board. Luckily I just found a sliding miter saw at an estate sale. It paid for itself today and in doing so created a lot of sawdust and some nice half lap joints.

My sliding miter saw set up to cut the joints at the ends of each board.
Here you can see one of the boards with the half lap cuts made on both ends.

Here you can see the two knee wall pieces laying on the bathroom floor.
They are not yet assembled.
The extra board in the far wall is to support a seat that will be built in the shower.
They will be installed where the double strips of tape are on the floor.
As I said I made a lot of sawdust cutting the boards to make the joints. But I wasn't done making dust for the day. We decided to use a tile company that will install cement board to support the tile in the shower. Therefor the drywall will need to stop at the edge of the shower space. I failed to plan for this and thus had to install new studs where the two materials will meet. The inside wall wasn't a problem. But.....the outside wall cavity had been filled with spray foam insulation. I spent close to two hours chipping out enough of the foam to install a 2x6 stud [sideways] in the wall. It was a tedious and messy, messy job. As I sit typing I have sawdust and foamdust all over me waiting to be washed off in the shower. 

I used a cut off tool to carve into the foam.
It worked quite well, but was slow and messy.
This pile of foam chippings is from about the bottom half of the wall.
I made a "tool" to check that the opening
was wide enough and deep enough to fit the stud.
It also made sure the new stud would be flush with adjacent studs.
But by the end of the day both of the new studs are in place. And when the knee walls are installed the room will be ready fro drywall.

New stud in the outside wall.
The "sideways" 2x6 is the new stud in the inside wall.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Status Update -- Lawn Mowing

The holiday weekend saw activity at 3283 dealing with lawn care and painting. The kind of things that don't make for great blog material. On Saturday we went shopping for a lawn mower. It seems that when you cover the yard with sod and water it regularly the grass grows. And when it grows it needs to be cut. We are now proud owners of a new Toro lawn mower that is guaranteed to start on the first or second pull. This is important for me, who has terrible luck with small gas engines.

Then Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning Bobbie and I grabbed paint brushes and attacked the west side of the house. All of the exterior front porch walls and the west addition wall had been primed, but needed the final coat of paint. Together we finished all three walls of the front porch, the entire west wall of the addition, and the band board along the south wall. I'll work on the north addition wall this week. No pictures.

Sunday morning we went shopping for some supplies I'll need to upgrade the electric outlet and install a light in the new laundry area. That will be one of my other tasks this week.

Once we got back it was time to try out the new mower. It seems kind of silly to be writing about cutting the grass. But for decades the lawn at 3283 has been maintained by a "service." I don't know when the last time a Bona cut the lawn here. Now we have a brand new lawn, and it felt kind of special cutting our lawn for the first time. I wonder how long that special feeling will last.
Bobbie grabbed the camera while I mowed. So here are pictures of me, the mower and our freshly cut lawn.