Sink + cabinets = progress

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Sink + cabinets = progress

Last Friday the contractor put in a temporary sink just as we were leaving to go away for the weekend. Which was a great thing as we haven’t had water on the main floor for about 6 weeks. But as we were going out the door, I heard them say, “Wait its leaking!” This is not what you want to hear as you leave the house for two nights and you have newly installed hardwood floors. Hardwood and water; not a good mix.

But they of course found out where the leak was and replaced that connection so when we got home everything was dry!

Water in the kitchen- what a concept!

Its been really great to be able to use the kitchen to do basic stuff like wash and chop veggies without going up and down the stairs. Now that we are using the kitchen, we are really looking forward to when the countertop arrives and all the rest of the tasks can be done. Seems a bit strange that the countertop holds up most of the stuff required to complete the job, but when I saw the fabricator template using the cardboard, I understood that since the walls are not perfectly square there would be no sense to fabricating it then having to re-cut and fit it on site. Better to do as much as possible at the factory and do small (again, cross fingers) customizations on site.

I’ve spent a bit of time patching the damage from the electricians doing a bit of re-wiring in the upstairs hall. It made sense to do this extra now because they ran a feed up to the hall for the track lighting and we could then use that to put in an additional outlet in the office and replace an old one in the middle bedroom. I just hope I have enough paint (and that it hasn’t dried out) to paint over the drywall compound.

Today they are installing the range hood which is great because not only does that finish off one more task, but it gets that big box out of my basement where I’ve stored it for the past 3 months!

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All quiet for the time being

Its been a few days since we’ve had work on the house here. Last week Wednesday the flooring was finished and after some cleanup, the contractor came by Friday to put down some paper and masonite to protect the flooring.

It’s actually been a good break for us- a chance to catch our breath while we wait for the cabinets to arrive. I haven’t heard confirmation if they are on the truck, but I am crossing my fingers that they arrive towards the end of this week and they can start the work of installation.

I have a feeling that it may be a tricky install because in my last conversation with the contractor about the reframing of the back wall, he mentioned that the wall is about an inch out which will affect how the cabinets (especially the lowers) go in.

But we are really hoping that once the lowers go in we can get a temporary sink and faucet hookup and some plywood counters so at least we can start inhabiting the main floor of the house again. Its been a bit trying to prep food (well I haven’t really been too ambitious, mostly microwave reheating and toaster). It will be such a relief to get some things back into the cabinets and drawers. Here is what it looks like currently:

Wow! Where’d all this stuff come from? I’m so embarassed.

Compare that to how it looks when our stuff from the main floor isn’t all piled together.


And the baseboard arrived today from Central-Fairbank Lumber! I am installing it myself and the trim around the new window to save a bit of money. My neighbor told me that the profile of the original deep baseboard was still being produced and this saves me from having to get it custom milled. He even has a paint sprayer, so instead of priming and painting  with a brush, I will see if its possible to spray it on (outside) and save a ton of time. At least that’s the theory.

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No break on weekend for me

Even though the contractors were not here on the weekend, I was still here working to take advantage of the fact that the finished floor had yet to be installed.

Just to back up a bit, last week the mason and the installer were here on Thursday ripping out the old window to make a new opening for the new one I just picked up on Wednesday morning from Brock. I felt good that the old one is not going to the landfill but the contractor is taking it away for a shed he is building.

I am glad I was here to help with the questions as they sized the new opening and cut the brick. Man oh man what a mess! Since our house is double walled brick construction, they had to cut the exterior and interior brick with the quick cut saw. There was dust everywhere! So instead of going down to my mother-in-laws on Friday like we were going to, we just hightailed it out of here Thursday night instead after a short cleanup.

Even though they were here till about 8:30 they weren’t able to get the new window into the frame so they nailed up some plywood over the opening.

Plywood for a window? Seems hard to see through

The weather held out and we didn’t get any rain so things are looking good today for them to get the duct run above the window and the window installed.

New window opening with new brick.

The plumber put in the new copper on Thursday and the water pressure is fantastic in the bathroom. It improved in the rest of the house when we updated the water main from lead (ugh) to copper about 4 years ago, but because of the last bit of galvanized, we weren’t getting the benefit in the bathroom. Now just the ceiling needs to be patched.

Nice copper!

So why then was I here on the weekend? Well since the flooring is going down this week, I took the opportunity to finish patching some access holes the electrician put in so I could put a coat of paint on the ceiling. I know, I know, I will just  have to paint again after that hole gets repaired but it wont be as much work and I will only have to tarp a smaller area rather than the whole floor. I also painted (Aura by Benjamin Moore) the first coat on the walls and the new color (Feather Grey) looks great. I have to say that this is the best paint I’ve ever used. Goes on really quickly because it covers really well. So now have to do a second coat for the walls when I get a chance.

So today it seems like everyone showed up! The plumber was here to move the drain line in the basement so the HVAC guy could re route the duct into the main plenum. The installer is here to put in the window and frame and drywall the south wall. The electrician is re-wiring something (I don’t even know what exactly…) And on top of that the flooring guys showed up to repair and sand the upstairs hall, and start the finished flooring on the main floor. It’s quite a challenge to move around in here today and even work as the power is on and off. Good thing I’m using a laptop!

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New duct plan

The installer working with the duct situation came up with a great plan.

New location for the duct.

The duct would run up the wall behind the fridge, along the top of the cabinets, between the joists and into the existing hole. This would eliminate cutting the joists, losing headroom in the basement and having the duct in a cold space.  The box on the wall would be eliminated and placement of the window does not have to be exact and providing more room for the casing.

Only one outlet would have to be relocated, so I think that this looks like a pretty good option. We will see once I pick up the window tomorrow.

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Duct tape is not really for ducts

One of the key things in this reno that I’ve talked about before is moving (actually replacing) the existing window with a new one in a location that allows us to get the upper cabinets right to the south wall. Thats becasue the existing one is too tight to the corner and too low to get a countertop in. But whats required is not only work on cutting a new rough opening (hope to pickup the window today or tomorrow so contractor can measure off it for the opening) but moving a duct that runs from the basement to the second floor office.

The original plan was to extend the duct run along the joist space in the basement, notch out the joist closest to the south wall and run the duct up about 14″ closer to the door. When the contractor thought about this, he decided that wasn’t a good idea as the joist was already notched for the existing duct and had been structurally compromised.

They have cut the floor to prep for putting in the headers.

So what they are going to do today is put in a header of 2 x 2×8’s back to the next joist over and sit them into the brick exterior of the house. That will allow them to cut the joist and join it to the header giving them room to move the duct.

Also, the are running the duct in a straighter run in the basement eliminating some of the 5 or 6 bends which are currently there. No wonder that original duct doesn’t really do much to supply the office! Hardly any air is getting by all those bends! I am hoping that the new supply line will be much more efficient.

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Framing is a drag

I have spent the past couple of days framing in the ductwork along the ceiling.

Roughed in bulkhead to contain main supply duct.

The original plan, last year was to relocate all the ducts to the side wall so we would have the full height ceiling but when I found out that the price tag on that event would be several thousand, that quickly dropped off the scope of work. So now I am enclosing with some G1S ply so that I can get a bit more height under the ducts and it is a bit more durable than drywall.
Of course as I was going along putting up the 2 x 2s I found the place where the former owners had hacked out a section of the main duct run, because, well, I guess because they could… Maybe it was the supply to the sauna which they later covered up because there were no registers in the sauna before I took it out. No matter, I had some sheet metal left over from the first patch job I did (which incidently increased the amount of heat we got in the Master bedroom), so I just bent it up and used some self tapping screws to fix it in place. Then I taped the seams with some of that metal duct tape. BTW, the traditional “duct tape” is good for everything but ducts. It dries out so that makes it useless for patching ducts. Who would have guessed?
The next task is to get the plywood cut and secured into place.

Roughed in bulkhead to contain main supply duct.

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Bit More Demo

A slight bit more demo last night. Took out the drywall on a wall for the furnace room; one which I though I would not have to tear down. Tonight have to rip out the studs and rebuild as it has to be extended for the door to the work/laundry area. Behind this wall are two jackposts which were put in years ago that I sure don’t want to touch, so I will just build around them. I have studs left over from the closet project Graham did, so hopefully I will have enough wood to construct all this.

Existing joists with plywood laminated and blocking installed.

I also took a look at the return air duct because I need to put in a floor level return and route it to the return duct which is attached to the ceiling. I put my hand up there (behind the water pipes, wires etc.) and found that there is a huge hole in the duct on the top surface. Normally this is not a problem since the way the return is done, there is sheet metal covering the joist space so that becomes the plenum for the return air. The problem is that the joist space is open on the other end so air just gets sucked in from between the wall and the floor. After the electricians finish with the wiring I will go in and close it off and route a return to the floor level.

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Start in the Middle

For those who haven’t heard my constant complaining, I am finishing the basement in our 1920’s vintage house. The house is pretty small and to boot, also very narrow (about 12 and a half feet wide on the inside), so getting the most out of the space means using every inch effectively.
I wanted to start documenting what I have done, even though I have completed a lot of work to date (and many trips to the nearest Home Depot).
So for those of you who have been asking here are the latest images.

Rigid insulation fixed to wall.

I finished putting in the rigid insulation and securing it using strapping and many tapcon screws, so that I can have a surface to attach the drywall. I am using Type “X” drywall for the walls and want to get all the surfaces trued before I start putting it up. As you can see the bottom of the wall is not quite in line with the rest of the wall, so I have to shim a bit to get everything straight.
Also, have to wait for the Electricians to finish rewiring the basement next week before I can put up the ceiling drywall and tape.

More insulation. Note ‘slide’ I built to get bags of concrete into the basement leaning against the far wall.

Sunday, as I was looking at the bathroom, I decided to take a peak under the drywall on the exterior wall of the bathroom. I was trying not to disturb too much in that room as I wanted to focus on the main space, and besides, it was already pretty much finished, except for some awful cedar siding which I ripped out. I was just going to patch these areas and put up a new ceiling and call it a day, but as these things go, there is always something else hiding behind the wall.
When I looked behind the old drywall, lo and behold, there was no insulation behind the wall. Hello? Exterior Wall? Insulation? I thought that generally insulation was supposed to go against the cold wall of the house, but I guess the person who renovated the house in the 70s wasn’t so fussy. So I figured, take out the drywall and put up the rigid insulation to take care of the problem. As I took down the drywall, I noticed an area of about 9 x 3 inches which had insulation stuck in it. I had to remove this and it was really dirty. Why was it dirty? Well as it turns out, it was covering a hole in the wall which went straight through to the outside! No wonder the bathroom was so cold in the winter!

Bathroom bulkhead built around gas supply pipe.

But hey, never let an opportunity go to waste. I was going to replace the vent fan anyway (the old one just vented into the joist space, duh), so I went to the Depot on Monday to buy a fan and duct so that I could use the hole to vent to the outside. So what if I had to wriggle myself under the front porch of the house through dirt and stuff to install the duct from the outside and seal it. All in a day’s work.
Hooked up the fan and the duct and built the bulkhead for the drywall and thought, this was just supposed to take a couple of hours; what happened to the rest of the day?

Bathroom bulkhead built around exhaust fan using existing hole in wall.