Operation Reduce Wood Piles

With the kitchen remodel project behind me and warm weather I am once again fully focused on my house.  During demo I saved some of the lathe as I knew I would need to fur out the studs surrounding windows and doors.  The window and door moulding was installed accounting for the thickness of the lathe and 20180222_132037plaster.  If I attach the drywall directly to the studs there will be a gap between the  moulding and wall the width of the lathe.  I definitely have to fur out the walls with windows, but I’m being selective on walls with doors.  Since I’ve removed all the doors and hinges, I may opt to cut down the door jamb.

20180224_121953.jpgIn addition to the lathe piles I need to get rid of scraps of 2x4s I saved for fire stops.  During my demo inspection the city flagged me for a lack of fire stops.  Due to the age of the house the flooring does not extend to the walls, so in case of a fire I have to fill the void with a piece of wood.


Now that all the air ducts from the second floor have been run to the basement, I also have to frame in new ceilings and walls to hide the ducts in three closets.  My cousin Cameron returned to help me out on that project.  He handled all the cutting and nailing of the frames.  We also raised the opening of the doorway from the living room to hall, so that it matches the height of the other two openings (kitchen to dining room and dining room to living room).


While hanging the furring strips I also worked to remove the remainder of the knob and tub and pulling all the nails out of the studs from both the walls and ceiling.  This is critical in preparing for the drywall phase.  That is too simple a task to not have it done prior to the drywall crew.  I swear if I had a dollar for every nail I’ve removed I could afford to lift the house and completely replace the foundation.


The living room is completely finished.  It is ready for wiring, insulation, new windows, drywall, paint, and floor refinishing.  It’s really scary to think how close I am to the finish line.  Once I get the other rooms to this level my professional trades will take over and things will fly!   There’s a light in my tunnel. 20180224_122716

It Took Fresh Eyes

My cousin Tory stopped by the house to see where he could lend a hand.  I had no idea he had a construction business.  I offered him the 14″, 14′ LVL beam that has been sitting in my living room ever since my dad mis-cut it.  He paused, stared at the opening where we had removed the wall, turned stared at the opening between the living and dining room which was the original and said why don’t you use is to raise this opening so the heights are uniformed.

Brilliant idea, so Cameron (my go to worker) and I tore out the existing framing, cut the LVL into two equal lengths, and hung it.  This is a non-load barring opening, so no fear of the upstairs falling.  It looks awesome.


There Was Light and an End to the Kitchen Tunnel

With the walls painted, floor down, and trim up I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and turned my sights on the cabinets and countertops.  Every aspect of this project EXCEPT for the countertops I had past experience and success in performing.  I have never installed a laminate countertop.  Jackie was looking at ordering custom laminate, which would have been cut to the exact sizes needed, hole cut for the sink, but it was 3x the cost of the stock counters, so I watched a few YouTube videos and told her I felt confident I could handle the cuts.  I should say I felt comfortable I could ask my neighbor to help me with the cuts.

We did cut one of the 4′ sections  to short (his fault), so I had to purchase a new one.  I attempted to cut the hole for my sink by myself and cracked the surface while drilling my pilot holes for the jigsaw blade.  My neighbor came to the rescue on that and we were able to conceal the cracks.

This project was like a riding Space Mountain at Disney World.  A simple ride, but because it’s in the dark the simple hills and turns were more scary.  These were simple task, but because there were so many unknowns uncovered in the process it made simple tasks harder and longer.  In the end the kitchen turned out beautiful.  Her mom is happy, her family is happy, and I’m thrilled to get back to my house.  Here are some final images:


There is a tipping point with paint

Unfortunately for me the scale tipped in a negative way with the kitchen remodel project.  The reason I decided to do the kitchen is because the walls and ceiling appeared to be in relative good shape as compared to the bedroom.  There was some peeling/chipped paint on the ceiling, but a day of scrapping and mudding to fill the big gouges was not bad.  Day two I sanded and wiped down the surfaces in preparation for paint.  I wanted to be sure I was sealing out what existed, so Home Depot recommended Kilz2 water based as they were we had no idea if the existing paint was latex or oil based.  I wasn’t sure if it made a difference.

20180121_174055After two days of prep almost immediately when I applied the first quote of Kilz2 the ceiling started to bubble.  Exactly what I was afraid of happened.  I called Home Depot and explained what was happening and was told most likely there were already too many layers of paint and the weight of another coat was just pulling the paint away from the ceiling.  They said my only option was to strip the layers away.  This is where my 4-5 day projected turned into a month.  I ended up purchasing a product called Redi-Strip and apply it to the ceiling and left for the night.  The next morning strips of paint were hanging from the ceiling or were on the floor.  I thought, wow, this is going to be easy.  Not so fast.  About 50% of the ceiling did not give that easy, so the physical strain of scrapping began.


If you assume most people apply two coats of paint, I scraped through at least 4 layers (pink and yellow) to get to what clearly was two more additional colors.  The white you see above is plaster.  The darker tan was on top of the lighter tan, which must have been oil based, as it got gummy and did not scrap off easily.  Since my surface was so rough from the various layers I decided to buy and apply more stripper.  For some STUPID reason I decided I should be pro active and apply the stripper to the walls as I assumed they were also heavily layered and would peel like the ceiling.  I left for the evening.

Dumb, dumb, dumb move.  Unlike previously I was not greeted with layers of peeling paint.  The remaining paint on the ceiling crackled, but the product had dried hard, so I had to reactivate it with water before I could scrap it off.  The walls, under the product. did nothing, but the product had dried on them as well.  I knew I could not paint over the stripper, so I was forced scrap the walls.  In some areas it scrapped easily, in most it did not.  It took 4 days to scrap the walls and ceiling.  I discovered too late that I did not have the right scraper.  At the start of the final day I went and bought a bladed scrapper used to remove wallpaper.  I only wish I had that from day one.  While I did gouge the walls in some areas, the speed in which the blades went through the layers of paint was amazing.  I filled the kitchen garbage can 3 times with layers of paint, but after another day of sanding the patched areas I was finally ready for paint………again.

The ceiling took two coats of Kilz2.  After the first coat the ceiling turned the same pale green it turned when I applied the stripper and it started to crack like the stripper.  I was in a complete panic as obviously the product was still active in areas.  I actually called the Kilz technical support line and was told to apply another coat.  I did and left for the day.  When I returned the next day you could still see cracks in areas, but not as profound as after the first coat.  In the worst areas I applied spackeling compound and sanded once dry.  I then applied the actual ceiling paint and crossed my fingers.  Thankfully the paint adhered and proceeded to apply two coats of Kilz2 to the walls.  I also applied the ceiling paint to the back door and base boards, some of which I had to cut new.  I’m loosing track of the number of days I’ve been on this project at this point.

Jackie was called out-of-town the day I was ready to apply the wall color, but I took a picture and sent it to her so she could see it on the wall.  She immediately texted back “Is it pink”.  She had the same reaction I had, the tan was too pink, but I responded that it got darker as it dried.  I completed the room and she returned home.  20180203_141553Unfortunately she let it slip that she did not like the color and planned to repaint it after I was done.  I could not let her do that, especially since the base boards and floor weren’t down yet, so I told her I’d repaint.  We had a unopen gallon of the first color, so I took it back to Home Depot and lucked up when an actual representative 11859from Behr paint was working the counter.  He darkened it as much as possible and I returned to the house to repaint the kitchen.  This was the day I thought I was just laying floor, so that is why I did not leave until 8:15am the next day.  As I said, my mission that day was floors and I was not leaving until they were down.

20180206_073338The change was subtle, but an improvement.

To Be Continued…………………………………….

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Kelly Clarkson sang this so well and could easily adopt this song for the kitchen remodel project that I took on.  The friend I did the mirror frame for, Vicki, has a great deal of faith and belief in my skills.  She is one of my greatest cheerleaders and just before New Year asked if she could give my number to a friend from church who needed some work done at her mother’s house.  I was flattered, said yes, and within a week went and met with Jackie at her mother’s house.  Two rooms needed attention, the bedroom and kitchen.

The bedroom just needs painting, but the walls and ceilings were severely peeling and in need of patching in many areas.  After showing pictures to my dad, he confirmed that there would be a lot of labor and time to get the walls paint ready, so I told her I couldn’t start the bedroom until after my house was ready.  MLK weekend I started work on the kitchen. I projected 4, full, days, maybe 5 to repair cabinets, paint, lay new peel and stick flooring, and replace the countertops.   I was off by about 3 weeks on the time frame.  I had not planned to post this project, so I did not take a lot of before or during pictures to share.

What could go wrong, went wrong with this project.  I started with the cabinet bottom.  After years of heavy items and dripping water the bottom was completely sagging, so I told her I could replace the bottom.  Piece of cake, I’ve done the same at mine and my neighbor’s house across the street.  Not in this case.  The floor underneath and wall behind many parts of cabinet did not exist.  Fortunately with the wall missing the stud was revealed, so I ended up taking a 1×4 piece of wood and nailing it the length of the back wall to create a ledge for the new bottom.  I then took scrap 2x4s from my house and screwed them perpendicular to the 1×4 and kick plate to create more support for the bottom.  The bottom I had to install in 4 sections, but we covered it with adhesive paper that overlapped the seems.  This simple project took most of one day, but turned out great.

The original plan was to apply the peel and stick flooring on top of the existing tile floor, but as I was working on the sink I realized that too many of the old floor were loose.  I told her I had no choice but to pull up the floor.  More time, but easy.  Well that was until I reached a patch of black mold in the center of the room.  I got all the tile up and went to Home Depot for a product to treat the mold.  I applied that and left for the day.  The next day I returned to find sections of the floor buckling.  Turns out the old tile was laid on top of 1/4″ plywood, which I had to remove also.  More time and not so easy.  My floor demo tools were at my house, so all I had was a 15″ crow bar.  My back and arms burned by the end of that day, but I got it all up.  Underneath the tile and plywood were at least two more layers of tile.  Fortunately they were adhered well enough that I decided to lay on top of that.  Removing the plywood forced the need to remove all the baseboard, which was not part of the original scope of work.

Three weeks of working on different aspects of the kitchen happened between taking up the floor and laying down the new floor, but the new floor looks wonderful.  The day I put the flooring down I started at 9am and did not leave until 8:15am the next day.  I had set that day as the day I was putting down the floor and refused to leave until it was done.

To be continued……………….

The Beginning of Creature Comforts

I really like the idea of supporting my neighborhood businesses and Camp Washington is jammed packed with great ones.  I dine frequently at Camp Washington Chili, over 75 years of chili goodness, but I love their egg salad, turkey melts, and breakfast sandwiches (bacon or sausage with fried egg).  They are also my remote bathroom of choice until my plumbing is installed.  Camp Washington Hardware has bailed me out frequently with bolts and drill bits.  They even allowed me to do a little bartering by buying my huge overage of 6d nails in exchange for the paint, pan, and roller to coat the underside of the 1st floor bathtub.

I selected Baker, Bauer, & Fish Heating and Cooling, located within a mile of my house to install my HVAC system. Tom Baker has been great to work with and he and his crew have been braving the cold to get the ducts run from my future master suite to the basement.  Running ducts needed to get done before my plumber and electrician could get started.  Progress may seem like it’s going slow, but I can see the finish line and know that once the electric and plumbing rough-in is complete things are going to fly.  I can’t wait until next winter to experience gas heating.

Another Door Complete

It’s actually been done for a while, but I’ve been pulled away from my house to work on a kitchen remodel, that post is coming soon.  This door had the worst graffiti of all the first floor doors.  I used only the process outline in the YouTube video How To Restore a Wood Door.  I’ve been using Restor-A-Finish color Ebony Brown. Turned out great.  Here is the before:


Here is the after: