Framing Passed – On to Drywall

I’m still waiting on the invoice from the Advantage Group for their structural engineer report, but the fix to the notched joist was about 12 hours of hard labor and $500-700.  Joist RepairSteve Harm developed the plan for me to sister one 2×2 and two 2×4, 4′ long studs to the each joist that had been notched attached with 1/4″x3″ Simpson SDS bolts.  In the draft drawing he showed 2x4s and 2x6s, so I had to ask for clarification.

Steve’s response, written like a true engineer, “Flexural strength of a member is function of depth squared.  Thus, 2×4 is 3.5 inch deep so 3.5*3.5=12.25 and 2×6 is 5.5 inch deep so 5.5*5.5=30.25 so 2×6 is more than twice as strong as 2×4 in flexure.    If we go deeper might be able to use less boards, but I figured you didn’t want move anything that’s why the detail currently uses 2×4, but thought I should mention the 2x6s just in case.”  HUH????

Bottom line I sandwiched each joist with 2x4s, which meant using more wood and 24 bolts per joist.  The wood was cheap, the bolts not so much.  Because of the PVC pipe that was already attached to my master toilet flange, which needed to stay sloping away from the toilet I didn’t have space to fit a 2×6.  If I had I could have gotten by with one board and only 16 bolts per joist.

20180612_171852I had to move the exhaust fan because it was in the way of the 4′ studs that had to be centered at each notch.  Thankfully that was the only wiring impacted by the repair.  I had to move it back about 2 feet making the wires that were already attached too short.  Fortunately I had enough wire left over, so I didn’t have to buy more.

I handled 98% of this repair myself.  It really was a one person job, but since my father was at the house I had him drill the holes in the new wood.  The report required this to ensure the wood wouldn’t split when the bolts were attached.  That allowed me to get some more “sista girl with skills” action shots, although they aren’t very flattering.  If you can’t tell, I’ve lost about 20 lbs since I started this project.  I call my new workout routine “democise”.

For the most part this was an easy repair.  My impact driver made quick work of most of the bolts.

In addition to purchasing the wood and bolts, I bought a ratchet wrench set as I anticipated my JobMax and impact driver my not fit in all areas.  Boy was I right.  Of the 192 bolts I had to install, about 16 of them ended up in crevices too tight for my power tools.  It meant taking the ratchet wrench and installing by hand.20180624_131738

Just when I didn’t think I could get more sore on a task, something new tested my resolve.  I wore long sleeves and gloves (off while I was taking the selfies), but my wrist and arms got ate up with scratchs.  I didn’t leave the house until midnight that night as I was bound and determined to get this project done, so I could get the inspection rescheduled for Monday, June 26th.


About two months ago I, pre-maturely held a Bless this House gathering as I thought I was days away from drywall (boy was I wrong).  However, as with the Venus Rocks message I found on a hot day of pulling wire, while doing this project I came across two messages written on the wall studs just beneath where I was working that just gave me fuel to reach the finish line.  Thanks to whomever contributed these.

Now I am truly days away from drywall.  I have a few more insulation and blocking task to complete this week, but the drywall crew starts on July 5.  Yes I said crew; I will not be taking on this task.  Messages can still be added to interior studs, so if you want to stop by to add some words yourself or would like to send me something to add, you’ve got about a week to do so.


The Blind Side

Not the feel good movie……………..I wish!  Things have been bumpy, but given this is the first project of this magnitude I’ve taken on I expected it.  I did not expect the results of my framing inspection.

After demo I had to call the city building inspector for a walk through before I could start any new framing.  As we walked we verified my approved plans, all was good.  He pointed out to me that I needed to add “fire stops” between every exterior wall joist were the flooring did not abut the side of the house.  Not a problem, I did that cheaply as I was able to use scrap 2x4s left over from framing.  He did not tell me the holes we drilled for electric and plumbing in those fire stops would need to be filled with a fire caulk, but no big deal I could do that and move forward with insulation, but not drywall.  Great!  Unfortunately there was another issue that is a big deal and could force me to take many steps backwards and spend money not budgeted.

The original plumbing line in the house was a 4″ cast iron pipe that ran along 8 floor joist that had been severely (by today’s code) notched to accommodate the run.  Perhaps it was the black pipe that caused him to miss the gaping cuts, but the smaller, white PVC pipe run in the same channel, jumped out at him, “I didn’t see it then [REALLY], but I see it now.” He took some pics, said he’d discuss with his supervisor, and a four days later I got the sad news that I must address the compromised joist.  I was told to call my structural engineer and/or architect to develop a plan of action.

The house has been standing for almost 100 years with those cuts.  If this had been pointed out to me as an issue during the demo inspection we could have easily sistered new joists and cut appropriate size holes for the new PVC.  At this stage not only did we run the new drain line, but we’ve also run PEX lines for water and electrical wires utilizing the holes left from the knob and tube through those same joist.  The PEX I’m not concerned with, but I cringe at the thought of undoing the electric lines, which have already been connected to the panel.

I sent the above pics to Steve Harm, Associate Principal with Advantage Group Engineers Inc, the same person that did the specifications for the LVL beam I had to place in order to remove the wall  separating the kitchen and dining room.  His response to the pics, “That is pretty nasty looking.  I’ll need to head out there and look at it.  The fix won’t be fun either, I’ll need to see it and take some measurements though.”  Stay tuned.


I Needed a Zen Moment

Honestly, the plumbing and electrical rough-in took its toll out on me.  I was beat down, sore, tired, defeated, ready to quit, just in a bad place mentally with these projects.  While I learned a great deal, I entered into these projects knowing very little about the processes, so I had no comfort zone to lean on and that is a hard place for me to be.

I needed to find my happy place again, so for the last two days I worked at the house by myself tackling patching the floors in the master bathroom water closet.  Even though patching wood floors was something I just learned to do on this project, I feel I’ve gotten pretty good at it.  I was so in my zone that I didn’t take a before picture, but I had to replace the board around the vent because they mis-drilled and left me with three half drilled ruts in the floor.  About a 6″x12″ section of boards were missing from the old plumbing that ran to the tub.  I had to fix two toilet holes; one from the original toilet and the second from where I had the new toilet hole moved further from the wall.  20180325_194439While the first placement met code, my foot would have been resting on the vent when I sat on the toilet, so I had to move it over about a foot.  I had to also patch weakened boards caused by the original sink location.  Hard to believe that what will now be a water closet once housed a 4′ tub, toilet, and sink.

Right now the patch looks obvious, but once I use epoxy to fill the large voids, sand, and marine polyurethane they are going to be gorgeous.  They feel SOLID, but for extra strength in front and behind the toilet flange I cistered some scrap 2x10s to the floor joist.  I will be able to sit confidently.

I had patched the radiator holes in the bedroom area months ago, but there was one board, near the landing that had a major crack in it making that spot really soft.  I seemed to step on it every time I entered the room, so while I was on a roll I decided to cut it out and replace it too.

I can’t wait to start patching the pine floors in the kitchen, office, and bedroom on the first floor.  Those planks are not as wide as the attic floors, but still pine.  Now that the attic is finished all the remaining boards salvage from the “wet area” of the bathroom can be dedicated to the 1st floor.  I just have to rip them down to the right width and create a new groove for the tongue and groove application.  I’ll be using a router for the first time to accomplish this project.

Where There is Truth There is Light

20180530_100909Another milestone reached.  I passed, ON THE FIRST ATTEMPT, my electrical rough-in inspection.  Mark, Inspector with IBI Cincinnati, pointed out two items, but neither were of huge concern to stop him from hanging the approved tag.  One was the location of the dishwasher outlet, which I knew had to be moved anyway.  I got the manufacturer specs on the model I selected and they list a specific area in which to connect to power.  6″ is maximum height and mine was set at the height of all my outlets.  Mark also suggested that it be located on the opposite side of the stud.  The other was in one box the uncovered wires were sticking out of the back of the gang box.  I just had to pull some of the slack in the line enough so the casing went through the box at least 3/4″.

Honestly, after the consultation inspection I scheduled, I knew we were going to pass.  My father truly did a marvelous job designing and laying out the electric in my house.  The only area of concern was the length of time it was taking.  My original deadline for moving into my house was June 8, my mother’s birthday.  I’ve now set a new date of July 4, probably still a stretch, but key to making this happen was getting the electrical rough-in done and passed so the framing inspection could be scheduled. Closing of the walls can’t start until after the framing inspection, which could not be scheduled without the plumbing and electric rough-in approved.

My father returned from Florida on May 18.  We started working at the house on the 19th and I had hoped to get the electrical inspection scheduled for Friday, May 25th.  After working 10+ hour days Saturday and Sunday we were still pulling wire and had not started dressing the outlet boxes.  At the pace we were moving the inspection was looking more like the first week of June, so I knew I needed to call in help.

I was getting my hair done and mentioned to my hairdresser that I needed an electrician and she quickly called her electrician Paul McGhee with Truth Electric, a city licensed electrician.  He agreed to take a look at the project and thankfully agreed to provide his service.  While we still missed the 25th deadline, with him working with us 3 days I was able to schedule the inspection for Wed, May 30th.

After two failed experiences with other electricians my father convinced me that our tackling the electric was plausible and he was right.  Pulling the wire, while exhausting, was not complicated.  We started with the easy, straight-forward runs for the outlets (plugs).  What was more complicated were the switch boxes as I, based on code requirements and personal desire, had a lot of 3-way connections and even one 4-way.  I also bought humidity sensing exhaust fans for the bathrooms and these had a certain level of complication.  We actually called the manufacturer who recommended we call an electrician.

This is where having Mr. McGhee was so beneficial.  He took on all the more complicated wiring, exhaust fans, AC disconnect box install, and even added a run for an outdoor motion detection light I wanted on the rear of the house.


Probably the most impressive thing he did was give me working lights in two rooms under the porch in the basement.  JTL Electric told me it would be impossible to use the existing light locations in the ceiling of those rooms.  Well, where there is Truth Electric there is light as Mr. McGhee was able to fish the wires through the original junction box and without drilling holes in my concrete walls gave me light in those two rooms.  My dad and I pulled the wires for the 6 lights in the main part of the basement, but Mr. McGhee made the 3-way switch connections giving me functioning lights in the basement.  No more flashlight toilet runs at night!


I can’t wait to get the workbench I made last year down there.  I have plans to make my own dining room table and office desk from some of the trees I had cut down from the backyard and master bed headboard from the bead board I found in the basement.  Not to mention I have a boat load of trim and doors I can work on from a cool basement instead of a hot garage at my current house.