House Stuff

December 3, 2011

Minor change yesterday that wasn't so minor. We bought a gas stove. Had a plumber come in and run the gas line up from the dryer's feed, then had to pull a new circuit - modern gas stoves take normal power to run the brains. (Stoves should _not_ have brains. They might become zombies.) Turned out the old stove wasn't plugged in, it was hardwired. Thus, the old circuit had to be really disconnected rather than just unplugged and left for future generations. This was where it got exciting.

So behind the stove was a cable coming out of the floor to a standard box, and a run of BX (armored) cable from that box to the stove. First look at the box I noticed it had what appeared to be soot on the outside. Odd. Turn off the breaker, open up the box to take it apart, find the entire inside is scorched. I'm going to guess that when the transformer at the end of the street took a dive this sucker tried to explode. We're lucky it didn't burn down the house. But it is gone now - circuit is ripped back a bit and will be fully removed, the box left with the old stove, the bit of cable in between is in the trash.

October 15, 2011

I just took the first shower in the new shower upstairs.

October 10, 2011

The walls of the shower are tiled and grouted.

That was the goal for this past weekend. If the walls were grouted, the floor could be retouched (grout) today, then Wednesday I can go over the whole thing with sealer, a bit of final plumbing, and usable for the weekend. Unfortunately, I couldn't grout tonight due to a couple tiles popping loose on the seat, so I had to fix those instead of grouting. But there was one spare day in the schedule. So now I grout the floor and seat tomorrow, seal Thursday, still usable for the weekend.

September 11, 2011

I've been on call this week, so I can't do anything that can't be interrupted. The front doors are about 99% done, the windows in 3 are finally 99% done, and we started doing some major cleaning in the study so I can put the newly rebuilt doors back on the built-in bookcases.

Pictures will happen as soon as I suck them off the camera.

September 5, 2011

Got a bit done this weekend. The front doors are ready for hardware to get put back on. The windows in 3 are to a point where we have moved back in and I'll be taking pieces into 4 to finish the last bits. The bathroom now has the marble sill to the shower in place and the underside of the shelf is tiled. Little bits of progress, but progress nonetheless.

August 28, 2011

I should have been updating more, but the progress bits have been small and life has been crazy. While Amanda was off at Pennsic I was trying to get a few bits of detail done around the windows in our room. The detail involves spar varnish and removing the windows from the frames, so I wanted to do it while no one was home and I could sleep on the couch. Needless to say, it isn't quite done - all the stain is complete and the spar varnish hasn't been started yet. Tomorrow.

Also on the spar varnish frontier, I managed to get the first coat of varnish on the front doors yesterday morning, leaving them dry just in time for Irene to stop by. Of course, they're going to need at least two more coats, but they look a lot better than they did back in the days of crappy brown latex paint.

July 10, 2011

Getting better at tiling, and making major progress on the shower. I've got all the walls up to the level of the shelf, and the right wall (as you enter the shower) almost all the way up to the top. The next bit is the shelf itself, which promises to be a PITA. Then it's about 4 hours of work to the top after that.

The thing that I haven't talked about here until just this moment that's been going in the background is that I found a company in Albany that does cut and stained glass restoration. They've got the old windows from the front doors and the door from the four built in bookcases in the study. The front doors themselves are about 40% stripped of paint, and I'm hoping the "new" windows will be getting installed on Thursday, along with a new coat of spar varnish on the doors.

June 25, 2011

Now that I'm into open territory tiling, it takes about 30 minutes per course of tile. That includes the time to mix the mortar and clean up, so doing more at a time will drop that average. (20 minutes to make a batch of mortar, 10-15 minutes to clean up at the end.) I'm at 8 courses all the way around the shower, and I'm hoping to get at least 4 more done tomorrow.

And Amanda ordered the replacement sill earlier this week, and they told her it might take 2 weeks.

June 19, 2011

The "seat" is tiled (OK, it's more of a step) and much of the walls are now 5 courses of tile high. A couple more fiddly bits and it will speed up a lot - 2 courses took less time than 4 tiles around the seat. Unfortunately, I also found that the marble sill I'd bought for the shower doesn't fit because of the various design changes - it's way too long, and it's too narrow. Too long I can solve, too narrow involves ordering new. 3-4 weeks for the custom cut, pushing the shower's finish date into mid- to late- July.

June 12, 2011

Starting to get real tiling done in the shower. Got a few more coves in place - these are slow due to excessive trimming and beveling requirements. After that, got 3 courses of subway tile up on two of the walls. A few more coves and I'll be able to get the third and fourth walls rolling, too.

June 8, 2011

Doing some research, it appears that whole-house surge protection costs on the order of $500 installed. Why doesn't every single house have this?

June 7, 2011

Worked a bit the other day on getting the first course of tiles on the wall. These are the coves at the base, and the only cutting that is being done on these is at the corners for both length and bevel. After John spent over an hour on one corner - two tiles - the big question became: "Do I go get a wet saw to try and speed this up?". I can't cut the coves on the tile cutter I'd picked up because of the curve, so it was 100% dremel work. Each bathroom is going to end up with a dozen or so corners, once the shower stalls are included. They sell consumer-grade wet saws starting around $100. 30 or 40 hours of dremel work, plus dremel diamond blades at $20 each (probably 5-10 of them)... no brainer.

I just fired up the new wet saw for the first time. It cuts tile nearly as fast as my table saw cuts plywood. I zapped off the next couple coves and the first dozen half subway tiles for the corners going up the walls. Tomorrow I have to deal with the non-levelness of the row of coves by cutting the bottoms of the first course of subway tiles to make the top of that course level. After that it will get much easier - only cuts for length, keep checking for level as I go. I'll probably get to that Thursday, if I can maintain any amount of motivation in the nasty weather we're about to get.

June 3, 2011

Well, the real cost of repairs is already over my deductible. Ugh.

The floor of the shower stall is tiled and grouted. Unfortunately, we're going to be cleaning out some of the grout lines and trying again, to fix what seemed like a good idea at the time. We pre-made the patterns of tiles with hot glue, figuring that was close enough to what the sheets of tiles are attached with. It doesn't hold as well, so it takes more hot glue to get the job done than whatever they use for real. So some of the blobs of glue stick up through the grout. ARGH.

May 31, 2011

The great plan was, this week I am between jobs, to get massive amounts done on the bathroom. Someone had other plans for me. So we got home from the SCA event this past weekend to discover that half the breakers in the house were tripped and some would not reset without tripping again. It appears that a car accident took down the telephone pole at the end of the street, taking the transformer with it. The resultant power problems fried most of the appliances and UPSs in the house, including the boiler. Refrigerators were about the only thing running that weren't killed. The biggest problem is that, according to my neighbor, when they went outside there was no car, just a down pole and fire. So I'm going to be fighting with insurance and National Grid and the TroyPD until someone figures out who was at fault and whose insurance needs to pay up.

May 15, 2011

So my plan for the weekend was to get the shower stall upstairs tiled. Unfortunately, I own a house, and therefore other things will break to keep me from making progress. This time it was the water feed to the square toilet (in the half bath) deciding that it was meant to let the water _out_. Also, the handy little shutoff valve for the toilet? Slowed the water, but didn't stop it. The next valve back shut off both the toilet in question and the cold water for the shower. ARGH. Saturday a bit less than 2' of pipe and valves got replaced, along with the flex hose to the toilet AND the fill valve inside the toilet. It was one of those: "As long as you have it open, the part is cheap but getting in there again isn't worth it."

Today the floor of the shower stall got tiled. We shall see if I did it right.

May 12, 2011

Amanda got a good start during the day today, and after I got home we made more. We're sleeping in our new bedroom tonight. Probably about 80% moved. By the weekend I will be concentrating on the shower stall in the upstairs bathroom and occasionally ripping out bits of the ceiling in 4. The goal is for the bathroom to be done by the summer party.

May 11, 2011

Blinds went in over the weekend, patched up some holes I'd been ignoring in the closet walls, got a couple coats of paint in the closet...

3 is done.

April 18, 2011

Too much excitement lately, none of it working on the house. So I'm going to try and get back to making progress. I really want that bedroom and bathroom done...

Amanda and I ordered the blinds for the windows in 3 yesterday. About time that get dealt with.

I just found someone in Albany who does stained glass restoration work. I figured there had to be _someone_, since there are enough churches around here getting their windows fixed on a regular basis. I'll try and call them tomorrow and get a feel for rates. I'd love to fix up the front doors this year, including the original cut glass windows.

February 27, 2011

Lots of progress since the last update. All plaster patching was completed a while back, and the entire room has been painted. One more coat still to go on the ceiling, but the rest is done. Unfortunately, window treatments are looking to be special order.

In an interesting side note, looking at utility bills over the years, last winter was the first time we went the entire winter and never had a bill over $700 for a month (gas + electricity). This winter is looking to be the first with none over $600. And that's with the couple weeks of bitter cold around here factored in. I keep making progress on sealing the place up...

February 14, 2011

I gouged out the various cracks in the plaster that formed in 3 during the saga of the bulging dining room floor (5? years ago), and spackled all of them, and a second coat on the parts I did yesterday. There's one spot that might need 4 coats before I'll be able to paint, and the rest will just need one more as of now. Getting very close.

February 13, 2011

More progress today - Amanda sanded all the mouldings with 400 grit to take the little bit of roughness out. I went around with spackle and glopped in the first pass of patching plaster. Also got a bunch of the stuff we don't need up there any more moved down to the basement, and got the painting supplies moved up. Oh, and picked up 2 gallons of paint.

February 11, 2011

All the mouldings in 3 are varnished. A bit of plaster yet to be patched, then paint, then we move in.

January 30, 2011

Finally got back to things. A few days ago I went through and did some final touchup on the stain, because a few spots really looked too light to match. Then yesterday I dug out the spar varnish and went to town. The first coat took nearly 8 hours to do, and effectively crushed everything else I wanted to do this weekend. At this point I have a second coat on the baseboards and door frames, and one coat on the windows. The windows will end up with 4, the doors and baseboards are done.

Hopefully sometime later this week I will give the door frames a quick light sanding and get the strike plates back on, and if I'm really lucky I'll get a second coat on one or both windows.

January 9, 2011

Three things done this weekend - yesterday we got a monitored alarm system installed, complete with fire detection. Hopefully, tomorrow, I will get a massive discount on my homeowner's insurance.

Second, today I got the second coat of stain on all the mouldings in 3. It took three sessions of work, and a gasmask. But it is done. By Wednesday it ought to be dry enough for me to start varnishing.

Third, this is the new photo album of all the pictures. No, they aren't all captioned yet. That's going to take a while.

2010 Archived Commentary
2009 Archived Commentary
2008 Archived Commentary
2007 Archived Commentary
2006 Archived Commentary
2005 Archived Commentary
2004 Archived Commentary
2003 Archived Commentary
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