Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Final Plumbing -- Bath and Laundry

Today was a plumbing day. Not everything I had envisioned got done...but the most important and most visible work did. Bob Tolsma drove up around 8:30 this morning. Actually he followed me down the driveway as I was returning from retrieving the garbage tote from the street. There was a whole checklist of plumbing items to be completed. I guess about half got done today. Much of what remains didn't get done because I decided to use the laundry tub that was planned for the basement in the new laundry and because the washer and dryer won't be delivered until tomorrow. Bob wanted to wait with locating the gas line until he knew where the connection was located on the machine.

Install faucet/drain/soap dispenser in new bathroom
Install shower valve and shower head in new bathroom
Indstall toilet in new bathroom
Install laundry tub in new laundry area

To Be Completed
Run gas line and install washer and dryer
Install utility sink in basement
Install drain valves to allow boys bath to be winterized

Thanks to the work done today the new bathroom in the addition is functional. We need the glass wall and door to keep water inside the shower, a light fixture allow use at night and a mirror so we can see how much better looking we get each day. [This time the line is from an old country song.....anyone know which one?]

Below are a couple action shots of Bob contorted inside small spaces and a few of what the final products look like.

For those of us who were in high school and college in the late 1960s and early 1970s much of our understanding of the physical and social geography of Southeast Asia was centered around our own or our close friends involvement in the Vietnam "conflict." This blog is not a forum for political commentary [except my frequent jabs at federal and local building regulations]. However I find it quite interesting ... maybe amusing ...  that when we make use of any of the three "porcelain thrones" at 3283 they were "made in Vietnam." 

Bob left around noon. I have not felt well lately: cough, headache....just achy. So I didn't get a lot of my list worked on. I did, with a couple goofs, manage to get the inside frame of the TV alcove trimmed out. Since my measurement/cutting was only about 90% accurate I decided to wait on cutting trim boards for the outside and the windows until I feel better. Hopefully tomorrow. Here's where the bedroom TV will eventually live.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Duca's Done -- Winds -- Winterizing and More

It has been a few days since I posted. To anyone looking for daily updates, I'm sorry. I'll get caught up for the progress of the past few days.  The most notable effort was the completion of the bathroom tile by Johnathan of Duca Granite and Tile. He spent Friday completing the the tile on the bathroom floor and began to grout the shower area. By weekend all the tile was installed and looked very good.  On Monday he returned and finished grouting, sealing the granite in the 'wet areas' and cleaning up after his week of work at 3283.

His work was superb and the bathroom looks absolutely amazing. Glass Images came late Monday to measure for the door and glass wall to the shower and for a large mirror over the vanity. In about two weeks they will be installed and the bath will be 99% complete.

Below are some pictures of Johnathan's tile work .....

....and here are some pictures of  Duca's finished product. Flash pictures don't do justice to the beautiful work.I'll eventually post more when we have lights installed in the room.

On Friday night --- to quote Gordon Lightfoot's song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald ---    ".. the storms of November came early." The wind coming off Lake Michigan blew constantly at speeds over 40 miles per hour. And the weather station located about 3 miles south of here routinely posted gusts over 50 mph on their website. 3283 fared well during the storm. We had some branches come down...but none major. The bird feeders we had filled over the previous weekend were  blown sideways and all the feed was shaken out. And, the steel table with umbrella that has resided on our front deck was completely overturned....moved about 8-10 feet and the umbrella deposited 30 feet away in the front yard.  Here are a few pictures taken the next morning. Note that the wind was still playing games with the bird feeder.

I knew we would have to 'button up' 3283 for the winter.  I guess the windstorm prompted me to get moving on that project. While we've done a lot to change some windows, add insulating and seal 'legacy' weak spots in the structure both the back and front porches are still way too porous to stand on their own over the winter. Since we've never spent a winter here it will be an interesting few months ahead of us. We will empirically determine exactly where the weak points are....and figure ways to deal with them. But, for now we knew we needed to tighten the porches.

The back porch has historically been covered with plywood where the screens are in summer. This year we decided to cover the exterior with heavy plastic. This will hopefully create an envelope of air to act as additional insulation between the outside and the east cottage wall. So, on this weekend Bobbie and I did what many of our former boat-owner-friends were likely also doing --- wrapping our prized possession in plastic. Pictures below.

We normally remove the screens from the four front porch windows that open. And since they don't seal tightly we have been caulking them closed. We use a produce called Seal and Peal. It goes on like normal caulk but can be pealed off somewhat easily in spring. Yesterday morning I took down the screens and completed the caulking. This year I also applied the caulk on the inside of the window openings. Today I attempted to turn the front screen door -- which was falling apart anyway -- into a pseudo-storm door by covering it with plastic. Hopefully that, and some upgraded weather stripping on the main door, will keep much of the west wind out of the porch.  Here's what the wrapped door looked like at about 5:30 today.

Since the tile work was completed we will be ready for Bob Tolsma to return to 3283 and finish the plumbing installation. He is actually scheduled to be here tomorrow [Wednesday]. Duca had the bathroom ready but we needed to get a few things wrapped up in the laundry area to allow the sink and gas line to be installed. I painted the laundry walls, Bobbie and I wrestled a couple cabinets into place on the wall, and I stuck some vinyl tile on the floor where the washer and dryer will sit. Believe me this "tile work" was very amateurish compared to the craftsman quality tile installed by Duca.  Pictures of these efforts follow.

Tomorrow the plumbing will be finalized in the bathroom and the laundry. We are also having a utility sink installed in the basement. On Thursday the washer and dryer are scheduled to be delivered. Bob will have to return to make the connections. Local rules require that gas dryers be installed by a licensed professional ... and I don't think my P.E. would qualify.

When the plumbing is complete...and the glass installed in the bathroom all of the currently identified contractors will be done at 3283. I'll get to spend a bunch of time installing lights, putting up trim, painting and putting the flooring down in the bedroom. Lots and lots of little projects that I will be able to work on into the winter.  Posts wont be as frequent...but I'll keep you all appraised as little things get finished.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Snow and Tile Day 4

When the renovation of 3283 began about March 1, 2013 the weather in southwest Michigan was cold. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground. The cold, windy and wet weather lasted well into the spring. But that weather didn't have much impact on the project. Work continued through the summer and a few weeks ago we watched the sun set directly down the front sidewalk....due west as the equinox signaled the beginning of fall. Since then its been cool along the Lake Michigan shore. And today we awoke to the first snow of Winter 2013-14. It was wet sloppy snow. It was a good thing that the work scheduled for today was all inside.

The inside work today was a continuation of the bathroom tile installation. The Duca crew continued working in the shower. The effort didn't show a whole lot of visual change from yesterday. The guys finished all the wall tile in side the shower; put the 'bull-nosed' tile along the edge where the tile will meet painted walls; installed the granite caps on the two knee-walls; put the granite threshold on the shower entry curb; set the granite seat on the bench in the shower; and laid the pebble-tile on the floor of the shower. I'll admit I slowed progress some this afternoon. When they had about half the shower floor covered I noticed an obvious difference in color between sheets of pebble-tile that had been installed. Johnathan agreed that the color difference was obvious and spent some time relaying that tile keeping the color consistent throughout.

Tomorrow the remaining tile -- outside of knee-wall and the floor will be installed and some of the grouting will begin. But, it seems that, the final grouting will have to wait until next Monday.

Work progress pictures don't show a lot of change from yesterday....but I thought some visuals besides those of snow would be expected by anyone who might be reading this. The colors really change depend on the lighting....sorry.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bathroom Tile Day 3 and More

Wednesday was busy at 3283. Johnathan was here by 8:30 to continue the tile work. His first task was to slightly build up the height of the bench in the shower. When I framed it in I failed to account for the thickness of the cement in the shower pan. It was thus about 2 inches shorter than planned. But the professional made it right. Thanx, Johnathan.

He worked on the tile in the shower area all day. There was a lot of cutting, beginning with cutting full tiles into thirds to create the accent strips we planned. Then each end tile on each row on each of the three walls needed to be cut. And finally all the top row of tiles needed to be shortened.

Below are some photos of him at work throughout the day.

Cutting tiles to width on the wet cut tile saw.
The accent row even with the top of the knee wall was set first.
Then Johnathan worked up toward the ceiling.
Tiles were placed on three walls up to the level of the second accent row.
You can see the notches in the tile where shelves would be put.
In this picture, tile is all the way to the ceiling on the north wall
and the three shelves are in place.
Two other Duca staff members showed up in the afternoon to install the granite counter top. They actually arrived just as the plumbing supply company was delivering the faucets, shower controls and toilet. Timing worked perfectly so the crew knew just how to drill the holes for the fixtures.

The granite was set onto the cabinets.
A little fitting needed to be done to make it slide into place.
Counter top is set...waiting for sink to be installed.
Sink can be seen in cabinet below.
Again, some "field adjustments" were required to the sink lip.
This allowed it to fit tight with the inside of the cabinet.
Four holes were drilled in the granite to allow the faucet,
two handles and a soap dispenser to be installed,
The vacuum kept dust almost non-existent.
Also this afternoon, Fred from B&F Masonry came by 3283. Since the block foundation was built back in spring a few cracks have appeared in the joints. He was here today to cut out the impacted areas and replace the mortar. We also have a couple other sections of the wall that may need attention after winter. We'll watch them for the next few months....and see if more work is needed next year.

The most noticeable crack was along the top row of block on the west wall.
Fred removed the old mortar and replaced it.
Fred left 3283; the granite crew left 3283 and Johnathan finished up Day 3 of the tile job late in the afternoon. He will be back in the morning to finish the wall tile and start the floor tile. He expects that final grouting will be on Friday. Then I need the plumber here and the glass company to come measure for the shower wall/door and mirror. 

At day's end the bathroom was really beginning to take shape. 
Pictures are below.