House Stuff

December 31, 2009

Door jamb is completely installed, although without hinge mortices or strike plate. Everything is plumb and level and good. Some time this weekend I'll get the door in.

December 28, 2009

Some progress today. Got the old door jamb ripped out and the new one mostly built. I have a nasty feeling my next time to work on it is next year, though.

December 24, 2009

A short update covering the last few days just before heading out of town for Christmas. All the real sized pieces of sheetrock are up, although there are a few small bits (3"x9') that still need filling. I've also taken down the door and pulled the mouldings off the outside of the frame so I can replace the jamb completely, since it's pretty well destroyed and my window of opportunity is getting very small, very quickly. Unfortunately, the new jamb is going to be 100% custom work. Fortunately, I can do it myself.

December 14, 2009

Ugh. Got a bit more done a few days ago, including the drain for the sink and the concrete board all the way around the room for the walls. Then, when starting to look at framing out the shower, realized that even after redesigning the room to fix exactly this problem, there was still too tiny a path between the shower and the tub to get to the toilet. Two days of redesign ensued.

The choice we could find was go back to a 3'x3' shower, just as we had when I bought the house, move the sink (that I'd already plumbed for) across the room, back to where it was when I started, and move the tub back to... where it was. Yeah. Great. Then Amanda came up with the concept of a non-rectangular shower. Pentagonal shower it is, cut off the corner that was causing the problem and everything is good. I can even get doors for this sort of thing. And I wouldn't have to move anything I'd already done, just add a little more concrete board.

So the additional concrete board is done, and most of the W and S walls are sheetrocked above where the tile will be. It's starting to really look like a room, rather than a mess.

December 5, 2009

Finally got back to the bathroom, having largely recovered from the TANYS Festival. I've got all of the concrete board around the room for the tiling of the bottom half of the walls. In order to do that I had to get the drain installed for the sink, although it isn't hooked up under the floor yet. Next is some drywall (top of the South wall), framing in the shower, concrete board on the inside of the shower, roughing in the shower plumbing, then concrete board on the floor. THEN I get to start tile.

November 17, 2009

Last update before the TANYS Festival, since that's eating me alive at this point. I got the concrete backer board on the exterior wall done, and the rest of the framing around the window that relied on the backer being up. It firmed up the wall nicely - it was flexing a lot more than I liked for then covering it with tile until the framing went in. I may be tiling this year at the current pace.

November 12, 2009

OK, I'm getting lousy about updating. Activity almost every day since last Friday. First, between Friday and Monday I had the little bit of roof over the bay window on the front of the house replaced. It was the last bit of original roof left, and now it is bright, shiny, new COPPER. It's freaking gorgeous, and the roofer estimated that I'd added many times what I paid to the value of the house. I'm thinking he's right.

Also, now that I'm functional, only busy working on the TANYS Festival (which is very bursty), and have most of everything needed to finish the job, I'm putting concrete backer board up in the upstairs bathroom. It's starting to look like an actual room.

October 25, 2009

Actually a week of progress, but not much on most of the days. I've been caulking and spray-foaming around the new windows, since once I start putting the walls back up I'll never be able to get in there and really seal it well again. Framed out the exterior wall in the bathroom today - decided just tacking strapping to the brick again was a poor plan, so I actually framed the wall out and will really insulate it. Tomorrow I have to rent the Home Depot truck to get the insulation, since I'm using the polyiso stuff and it comes in 4x8 sheets.

October 6, 2009

So having taken a day off on Monday to host a house concert (Heather Dale, I had some time to wander around and relax in the middle of a work day. So I took one of the locksets from one of the interior doors in the house downtown to Mangione's Locksmiths and literally bought them out of appropriate springs. Unfortunately, they are $5 EACH and he only was willing to part with 4. But now the door to my bedroom works for the first time ever, as does the upstairs bathroom and the study, and possibly even my closet.

October 1, 2009

The windows are installed. I need to do a bit of caulking around them, and get the bit of brick above the bathroom window rebuilt by my mason, and handle mouldings and such. But they're in.

He's coming back tomorrow with information for the metal roof bit above the bay, and will probably be doing that work next week.

September 25, 2009

Well, chatted with the contractor a bit ago and committed to the windows and the metal roof. It'll hurt, but it'll be done and look good.

September 23, 2009

Got a quote on the little bit of roof over the bay in front, metal is 2.5x the $$$ as shingle. Shingles wouldn't look right. OW. I'm also expecting a price tomorrow on installing the three windows, we'll see how that goes. He did also say that if we come to an agreement on price it'll be done within a week.

September 16, 2009

ARGH. So I've finished ripping out the last bits of lathe and such, cleaned up the mess, and started laying out the new bathroom in the space. Put in the kit for the new shower (dry fit only) to see how it would look and see how things would work. Answer: they don't. I thought it would be fine with a 4'x4' shower, but there would be about 6" between the corner of that and the near corner of the tub, and you'd have to go through that 6" to get to the toilet. Can't move the shower to the other wall, it hits the door or the window (depending on which wall is "other"). Can't move the tub, it hits the door or the toilet. If I move the toilet, I'd have to climb over the end of the tub to get in to it. Lose.

So I'm thinking the 4'x4' shower kit is a total loss. I need a second 5'x30" kit to replace it, and then I'm just good.

September 13, 2009

OK, since the last update I did indeed rip up the whole subfloor, bolt a new 2x4 to the beam on the side of the room to support the edge, and put the subfloor back. I even have done my crawling around in the attic and have all of the electrical work done other than installing the radiant heating - I'm just not there yet. But the circuit for it is in place and ready to go.

Talked to a window installer today, turns out most installers don't know what to do with new construction windows. The people that Lowe's subs out to handle inserts. He had a bunch of good points for me, but this is going to be uglier than I thought. I should NOT have listened to the idiots who actually sold me the windows - they're about .5" too wide to fit into the brick, and entirely because of a "great idea" that I should have listened to, then NOT bought anything that day and thought about it for a week or so. Never let the sales folks change your mind at the last second about something this important or expensive. So it's going to suck.

I also found a hole in my roof yesterday while doing the electrical work. Not the new roof, or the new porch roof, the roof above the bay window on the front of the house. The only piece that hasn't been replaced yet. And the hole was really obvious from the inside - I could see sunlight. So my roofer is coming back tomorrow to spec and start a workup of price... and it happens he installs windows, too.

September 7, 2009

So I got most of the subfloor installed today, and tomorrow I rip it all back out. Noticed right at the end of the day that one side would flex quite a lot when stepped on, so I have to rip it up to put in some support right at that point. Happens to be more than 12" unsupported at the edge of the sheet, so it isn't too surprising. It's also RIGHT at the door. Ugh. But all the cuts are made, things should go back together very quickly once I'm done.

The electrical is about 20% roughed in, the next step will involve crawling around in the attic to pull wires. Once I have a (sub)floor in place that I can put chairs holding a spool of wire on, it won't be _too_ bad.

I'm really debating finding someone to pay to install the windows.

September 6, 2009

All of the floor joists have been sistered and levelled as best I can manage. The outer half of the room (toward the exterior wall) slopes in slightly, and the inner half is level. At least everything is straight lines. Tomorrow, when John is back from the event he's at, we'll get the subfloor in.

I'm also starting the electrical. I'd forgotten how much of a PITA the punchouts in a Square-D QO panel are, and one of the switch boxes I bought (for the GFCI outlet next to the sink) was punched backwards. It's tough to punch out a piece of steel from the inside of a small box. But the electrical is the other half of tomorrow. Then I start windows.

September 1, 2009

I've been getting a bit done and forgetting to update. All three main beams under the bathroom are sistered, and I've gotten new beams to sister to all of the floor joists in the room. They're all cut to length, the first two are sitting in place, and I expect after another 3 hours or so they'll all be in and attached permanently. Then the subfloor gets screwed into place and I can move on to the next step. Which happens to be the side window in 3, so I learn how to do windows before attempting the window in the bathroom where I don't have something to stand on outside.

August 1, 2009

I spoke this morning to Carol Praylor, the niece of the woman I have called for years "Old Ms. Dickerson", thinking she was the sister of Cpl. William A. Dickerson, namesake of the street. As it happens, the Corporal was her father, not her sister, and because of that I certainly never knew her while she was going by "Dickerson". "Mother Florence Mitchell" passed away on July 6, 2009, less than 4 months before her 100th birthday. Her obituary.

July 28, 2009

I've been very lax about updating, but prior to the past few days there has been nothing more than "toe still healing" to report. The beam is sistered as of last night and the jacks are cleared out to move to the other side and do it again.

June 24, 2009

Actually getting stuff done again, but very slowly. Toe is definitely still a problem, but it's getting there. Got things vacuumed out (mostly) and a piece of subfloor just placed in the room to make it easier to work with. Last night I picked up the new windows I'd ordered for the bathroom and 3. I finally know how to appropriately sister the cut beam, so tonight I'll either start jacking things up into place OR go get the supplies. One or the other, my foot won't let me do more than one each day.

June 12, 2009

Didn't get too much done yesterday. No helpers, but the slab was out so that wasn't a problem. Amanda cleaned out a lot of the bits in the bathroom, including pulling out two old heating pipes that went all the way down to the basement. I carried one of those and a lead drain pipe out, a moral victory for myself. She got the other. We then filled the dumpster with bits of the old porch railings and other random junk, and took the evening off.

It's now 3:00 PM, and the dumpster is gone. The driver asked me: "What the heck you got in there? It's *heavy*" after loading it onto the truck.

June 10, 2009

Today we had Allison (Alethea to the SCA-types), Virginia, and Hobbe (he has a non-SCA name, really, but no one knows it) working on cleaning up upstairs after John got the last dregs of slab out, hauling the remains of the pad the old boiler lived on out of the basement, and ripping out the last of the plaster under the main stairs (so we can fix the broken stairs.) Our friends are amazing. I have decided that "amazing" is the theme of the week.

June 9, 2009

Ummm... wow. Today was John's day to be the amazing one. He got out of work early, got home and started working on the safety ceiling, (Maggie got here), and started breaking out concrete. Maggie helped with the ceiling and carrying concrete. Dan got here (Grim for the SCA-types) and helped schlep, then Shelley turned up to schlep... and John kept breaking concrete. 4 hours of breaking concrete. There's a bit left, but we're at better than 90% done. The sag of the beams that caused this whole mess is now clearly visible. (Oh, right... Maggie did a bit of breaking too, she needed to work off some stress.)

Oh, and I got to be useful today :-) I did the cutting for the safety ceiling, after John did the measuring and setup (he doesn't like saws much and particularly not circular saws. I can't blame him for that, just ask my father why.) I also built a "silent partner" - a tall rig set up to hold things up as though you had help - for letting us short people help hold the safety ceiling in place while someone on a ladder could drive screws. I even pried up a bit of the tile upstairs and did a bunch of sweeping. I feel better being useful, rather than sitting here playing video games while my friends renovate my bathroom... like yesterday.

June 8, 2009

Today was very eventful, and it had nothing to do with injuries. I was woken up before 8:30 by my roofer back for an encore - the porch roof. The banging was his guys ripping the old tin off to uncover... a nearly pristine deck. We discussed what to do about the gutter since we didn't need to replace the decking, decided he'd rebuild the philadelphia gutter using modern technology, and he wandered off to get supplies.

At 10:00ish the first of the volunteer help turned up, and Shelly got the plumbing mostly ripped out from underneath before she had to head off to work. During this Amanda was upstairs working on lath and stuff.

After work hours Justin came over, then Sarah, then Ali, and the whole crowd got the first part of the safety ceiling up while John got 95% of the rest of the lath out. Then John went nuts. The concrete turns out to be in two layers - 1.5-2" with the tile on top, and 4" layer below. He got about 1/3 of the top layer and 1/4 of the bottom layer removed completely with a flooring chisel and a 4 lb sledge.

June 7, 2009

Amanda is amazing. With some help from John, she ripped out all the walls including most of the lath and got it all cleared to the dumpster. John got the bottom of the shower stall cleared out and helped with some of the walls.

June 6, 2009

Since I'm now foreman and photographer and nothing more, I've finally sorted all the old pictures off the camera. New shots of the Living Room, Basement, Roof, and Second Floor Bathroom.

June 6, 2009

Well, today was eventful. I drove around and ordered a bunch of fixtures that I hadn't gotten around to previously. Prices are *way* up on faucet sets, to the tune of nearly double. They weren't cheap before, either. Got home and cut a new valve in to the hot water feed to the second floor, since the old one has been not quite closing all the way and I couldn't quite get to it to actually replace it. Much better now that there is no water dripping out of the old feed to the sink.

Then I started ripping walls out. Got the rest of the shower stall out, then moved to the wall between the shower and the room door. I hadn't gotten the tile off the wall, but wasn't too worried. Got the bottom 4' loose, pulled it away from the wall to remove it, and before I lifted it split in two and fell on my left foot.

3 hours in the ER waiting room, I'm left with a broken big toe, a non-functional bathroom, and a mostly empty 15 cubic yard rolloff dumpster. I have no real idea what I'm going to do from here.

June 5, 2009

So it begins. The dumpster got here around 11:00 this morning. Now there is nearly nothing in the bathroom. Pictures will come as soon as I sort, since I hadn't pulled them off the camera since last October.

June 2, 2009

While I was not comfortable with the quality of my sweat joints, none of them leak. There is now a new valve in the cold water feed to the second floor. As it turns out, that feed from the main trunk line hits the first floor full bath toilet and sink and the kitchen sink en route to the second floor. Most of the plumbing is within about 12" of each other, which is why I didn't clean it up when I did the big rebuild last year.

June 1, 2009

Since May 16, a bit more work was done stripping mouldings for 3. Nothing too exciting.

Excitement - I've started working on the upstairs bathroom. So far I've been ripping the ceilings out of the downstairs bathrooms so I can get at things from underneath. I've found the big reasons the floor upstairs is falling - plumbing morons cut two structural beams completely to run things through. One under the center of the floor is cut so as to be almost completely unsupported. The other is at least braced, mostly, at the middle of the wall shared with 1. Once the concrete is out I'm going to have to jack things back up and sister the beams before I can put new floor in.

Also, I have a quote for rebuilding the entire side porch roof. It came in significantly lower than I expected. They *may* be doing it the same week I have off to rip out the bathroom, so the side porch should be much happier before the party.

May 16, 2009

It's that season again, time to start working on the house in earnest.

First, the backlog of updates. Way back I was talking about the kitchen faucet. The diverter for the sprayer was fully clogged with gunk, but the replacement was under lifetime warantee. New diverter = good as new faucet.

Since 3 has been vacant since Justin moved out last month, I've refinished the floor, making sure to really go heavy with the stuff and cover the closet which I hadn't done at all before. I've also started stripping the pile of mouldings in the basement from 3 that have been sitting there for years, so I can get them all done and put back in.

Today was expensive. As long as 3 is vacant and I'm working on mouldings, I'm replacing the windows. I ordered up super-high efficiency windows for the front and side walls of 3, plus the upstairs bathroom. (Yes, the plan for this summer is the bathroom, not 3.) I've gotten advice from a friend who is a contractor in RI about how to install windows into brick walls, and I picked up the various accoutrements he recommended. The one place where I've gone outside of that is buying cedar 2x4 for framing where it might get exposed to water rather than pressure-treated. It's actually not that much more expensive, and window frame are one of the places I'm paranoid about rot.

April 16, 2009

The house is single family, the City Treasurer knew it, the bills are paid. I think there was a late fee attached that should not have been there, but it was for one the order of $1.50 so I didn't bother even asking.

April 9, 2009

OK, the City of Troy knows that my house is single family. Code Enforcement delivered the paperwork down to the Assessor's Office yesterday, the Assessor has reality in her computer. It hasn't trickled down to where I have to pay the bills, but it'll get there. Unfortunately, changes to this year's taxes had to be done by March 31, so I lose until next year. Argh.

April 7, 2009, later

Code enforcement showed up and certified that this is indeed a single- family house. They also informed me that as of just recently, you need a permit in the City of Troy to simply replace SHEETROCK.

April 7, 2009

I just put the product of the Architects work up under blueprints at the top of the page, it's pretty cool. Also, today is attempt two at hoping code enforcement actually shows up.

March 10, 2009

Today was supposed to be two things. First, I had two guys from an architect here measuring everything to produce real drawings of the house. Second, Troy Code Enforcement was supposed to be here to check and be sure that this really is a single-family house. The architects took about 3 hours to measure everything. Code Enforcement cancelled. So I'm still on the hook for all the crap Troy has thrown at me because this is a 2 (or 4) family home (depending on which list you look at). They will probably be fining me quite a bit for "incorrectly filing" my landlord registration, and I'll have to pay a recycling fee for a 4 family. I'm less than pleased.

January 9, 2009

Boiler was up and running on Thursday, it makes heat. Very quiet, lots of programmable things that I haven't even scratched the surface of yet. They hadn't set anything except temperatures, so I went in and told it we have radiators and what the date is and when it was installed so now it's mostly behaving. We seem to have crud in a check valve on one of the zone pumps, so bedrooms 4+5 get heat whenever any zone calls for heat.

Installer was back today to clean up the mess and haul the old beast out, so I had him clean out the pump while he was here, but he said afterwards that we'd probably end up doing it again. Dunno, too much crud in the pump, maybe. And it was still doing it when I got home from work, so I guess I'll be doing that some time in the next few days. Not worth trying to coordinate getting him back to fix that, it's way too easy to do myself. He even installed 2x as many valves as I had, so it's easier than it would have been before this excitement.

January 7, 2009

I've missed a couple updates, so this one will be a bit more comprehensive than usual. First, I took apart the kitchen faucet today to try and fix the sprayer. Very little water comes out of the faucet, the sprayer works, when you use the sprayer the water may or may not keep coming out of the faucet, but when you stop less water comes out of the faucet. We're talking down to a slow dribble. Now I know how the diverter works, but until the new one arrives we have to live with it. But the warrantee is FOREVER.

The boiler guys finally turned up on Monday with a new boiler. They loaded in and prep'd a bit and left. Tuesday they came in and did a load of prep plumbing and wiring. Today we had a storm so they couldn't make it back to finish. Tomorrow, however, I should go from an old <70% efficient monstrosity to a new 95% efficient condensing gas boiler. Pictures when I get around to sucking out the camera.

Rib still hurts, but it is slowly getting better. The optimistic estimates I got were 2 weeks, I'm guessing more like 4.

2008 Archived Commentary
2007 Archived Commentary
2006 Archived Commentary
2005 Archived Commentary
2004 Archived Commentary
2003 Archived Commentary
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