Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Crown fit for a King

Whats better for a crown than gold?! Here is the start to the crown molding on the fireplace overmantel. I put the little wood blocks on for extra support, but after I got these pieces installed and I went to put the crown molding on, I realized I had made them too long, so after cutting them down shorter, I then realized I had cut them at the wrong angle. So about an hour later I ended up just prying them off and not using any support blocks.

Jump right to the end product. A full golden crown! I had to miter 10 seperate corners just to do the fireplace. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

And here you can see the rest of the matching crown molding up in the room.

A wider view.

And last, I just finished this up a few hours ago. I put in a engineered floating floor. They are 5" wide oak planks with "distress" to mimic an original wood floor. Installation is relatively simple, the planks just click-lock together.

Another view of the floor, I hadn't put the bathroom doors back on yet.

I can't believe the day has come, but I think its safe to say you can call it a bedroom now. Its not 100% finished, there is some trim work here and there, but its livable and we can finally move in.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Bridge To Nowhere

Christine worked most of the weekend, so I decided to do a little project with the boys, something they could help out on. As a kid when I would go hiking with my parents, my favorite part was when the trails in the woods had bridges or boardwalks on them. Miles and Zander love playing on the trails we have around the house, so I figured we could build a bridge for their trail.

Miles is pounding the lag bolts into the pilot holes while Zander watches.

Pile of parts. I'd like to thank Remus for donating the wood. He dismantled his 100+ year old porch on his house a couple years ago and saved the old oak lumber. When he moved he didn't want to leave the wood behind so he offered it to me. I've had it laying in my backyard for about 8 months, I knew I would eventually find something to do with it.

The bridge is fully assembled (except for a top to the railing). I snapped off 7 lag bolts during assembly when tightening them down. I had drilled pilot holes, but that old oak is just too solid.

Another view, the kids had been long gone by this point. Sweating and getting bit by mosquitoes for 5 hours wasn't the kind of fun they were looking for afterall. Maybe I can get them to dig a pond under the bridge now.... doubtful. They were however excited whem mom got home from work, they couldn't wait to show her what they made. Christine wasn't quite as excited though, I think she may have murmered something that sounded like "Bedroom?".

Monday, June 6, 2011

Even more tile (and some trim)

If you recall awhile back I had built a niche/shelf/storage area in the bathroom above and behind the tub. It will be used for storing towels, etc up top, and blankets, etc in the compartments below. I tiled the niche area to match the floor. I still need to build the doors to cover the lower compartment. They will just be wood and painted to match the rest of the trim.

Here is the completed tile work. I also installed halogen lighting that is controlled with a wall switch.

I made a little progress trimming out the doors, I installed the first layer. I had to router the edge on 96 feet of 1"x6" boards (2 to 3 passes per board). There is still 2 more layers too add to this trim. The last piece to go on, called the "Edge Band" has to be custom milled at a lumberyard. I can't buy "clear stock" (no knots or splits) in a 2"x2" board at the regular lumber yards, I went to 7 different lumber stores! I will then have to router 3 of the edges (again 2-3 passes per edge). Basically what it boils down to is I got myself into a lot more work than I was planning on by trying to replicate the original trim that was around these doors.

The baseboards luckily didn't need any custom routering, but they are still built up out of 4 pieces of lumber. There is a 1"x8" board with a 2-1/2" rounded egg and dart trim piece on top. Covering the joint between those 2 pieces is a 1-3/8" mullion strip (not installed yet in this pic). Then along the floor is a standard 2-1/2" colonial casing. Overall the trim is about 10" tall.

Zander was hanging out while I painted the trim.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More tile work

The nice weather is officially here, so I spent alot of the last weekend outside, plus the lawn is growing 2" a day, so that means plenty of mowing to do. I did get a little bit done in the house though. The bathroom floor is all grouted and ready to be sealed. I also installed the tile on the fireplace base, surround and overmantle. I still need to get that tile grouted, but that will be a quick and easy job.

Here is the tilework on the overmantle. The untiled area is where the TV bracket will mount.

To cut the curved pieces, I made a template out of cardboard, traced it on the tile, then used my angle grinder with a 4" diamond wheel. Then I sanded out any imperfections. Marble is actually relatively easy to shape and sand.

The tile around the fireplace insert was really easy, no cut edges of tile are visible, they are all covered up by the mantle and the insert. I pretty much just had to roughly cut the tiles to size and set them in place.

Here is a close up of the grouted floor. Once I seal it, the grout will darken up some.

Another pic of the floor

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bathroom floor tile

As usual, this project ended up taking about 2 months longer than expected. A good month and a half of that was due to the fact I had to order the tile twice. My first mistake was going with a company I found on the internet. They seemed to have a good website, and the important part was they were a little cheaper than the other places that I could find that sold Green Onyx tile. The problems started immediately, the website claimed they ship within 48 hours, so after 5 days of not even getting an acknowledgement of my paid order, I decided to email them and ask for a shipping date. Another couple days went by before they responded "shipping today". After another week I emailed again asking for a tracking number and a day later actually got one, but the tile hadn't even shipped yet. So, another week goes by and I finally get the tile, I excitedly open the boxes and was discouraged to see the very poor packaging they used. I knew the tile was extremely fragile, and as I wiped the packing peanuts away, my fears were confirmed. The first tile was chipped, I lifted it up, the next tile was chipped, lifted that one up, next one was cracked. All the way to the bottom of the box, chipped and broken tiles. I immediately called the company, however, like the previous times I tried calling, no answer. I then emailed them, and several days later they said they would file a claim with UPS and ship me new tiles. Another week later I decided to email and ask when they were shipping them, I got the same response as the first time "shipping today". I waited 3-4 days and asked for a tracking number. No response. another day, I emailed again with the same question. Again no response. At this point I couldn't wait any longer, I decided to order from another company, and within 3 days I recieved 20 new tiles ("only" 2 of them were broken). So anyway, now I could finally get to work. I chose 13 of the best tiles, as each Green Onyx tile is very unique as you can see in the pics below. The other cool thing about them is if you hold them up to light, you can see though them like stained glass. Not that this matters when mortaring them down on a floor though!

The first thing I did was dry fit the entire bathroom floor. I had to make a lot of cuts to make the design, I wanted to make sure every tile fit perfectly before I started putting them down permanently. (In the end this worked against me because I was off a little bit on my alignment, so when I got to the last few tiles I had to recut new ones.) After I dry fit every tile, I had to move them back out of the bathroom so I could clean the floor and start the installation.

I started the installation in the center of the room with 9 square feet of Onxy. After the onyx was down, I put a 1-1/4" border of Emperador Dark marble. The rest of the room would be Crema Ivy marble.

I didn't take many pics during the installation because I was worried my mud would set up before I got all the tile down. This next pic was where I ended up before I had to start recutting the tiles. When I got to the door opening I was about 3/8" off of where I should have been.

After recutting the tiles, I got them installed (you can see the green plastic spacers I used to make sure my grout lines were all the same witdth) and now the last step will be to grout the tiles and install the baseboards and trim.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Doors

About 2 weeks ago I had ordered new doors, handles and hinges for the bedrooms, bathroom and closet upstairs. I received the handles and hinges within a few days, but I was just waiting for the doors to come in at Lowes. Box full of handles, its nice to be able to get reproduction hardware that mimics the look of the old victorian styling. I still needed to cut out the wall for the bedroom closet. I used a diamond wheel on my grinder to get a nice cut line without messing up the surrounding wall. About 4 hours later I had the door casing built and the door all installed. I still need to frame out the closet on the other side of the door though. I had to build the door casings from scratch. The walls in the old house are so thick that I couldn't order prehung doors. This is the casing for the closet door. I started by ripping down a 10" wide board. Then I routered out the corner to key them in together. After that I had to router in the hinge slots. The bathroom doors took a little longer, I wanted double doors here so that there wasn't 1 big door swinging out in front of the fireplace. Here is a close up on the handles. The one on the right is the live handle, the one on the left is a dummy handle, that door is held in place by a ball catch on the top. On the inside of the doors I put glass handles to match the chandelier. The next step is to get the new doors trimmed out and then get everything painted. Also I need to do the tile around the fireplace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Iced Out

March 23rd... its Spring... A week ago it was 70 degrees... everyone is thinking warm weather is here soon, the birds are singing.... I put the snow shovels and salt away for the year. Time to start grilling out on the deck, maybe I'll throw a nice steak on the grill... oh wait, I guess there was a little surprise waiting to be dropped on us.

EVERYTHING is covered in ice....

Not even the little tiny pine needles were safe from a frozen entombment.

There was about 1" of ice that came down last night and this morning.
I can't wait for the warm weather to get here and STAY!

Monday, March 21, 2011

In-floor heating cable install

This past weekend I worked on installing the electric heating cable in the bathroom floor. I started off by putting down CBU (Cementous Backer Unit) in all areas of the floor that will not be heated. There is no reason to put heating cable underneath the tub, toilet or right up next to the walls. The CBU is attached to the floor with thinset and roofing nails.

The next step was to prime the floor so the SLC (Self Leveling Cement) will adhere to it well (more on this later). After priming (it dries clear), it was time to install the metal strapping that holds the heating cables in place, also the thermostat pick up (white wire) and the actual heating cable. It is the the copper colored cable, but it is insulated black where it goes into the wall.

After all the strapping was down, it was a matter of weaving the heating cable back and forth across the room and hooking it into the tabs on the strapping. I will mention that before installing the cable you need to check the electrical resistance of it, to make sure it has not been damaged. The cable is comprised of a resistive electrical wire, with a copper shielded casing. It can be damaged, punctured or cut if you aren't careful, and any damage would cause it to short out and not work. Now is the time to return a damaged cable!

Because I was installing the heating cable and SLC directly over plywood, I had to install a reinforcing membrane over everything. It is basically a plastic mesh that I had to staple down literally every 2", I used about 2000 staples to get all the bumps out of the mesh. Luckily I was using an air stapler. I also had to be extremely careful to not hit the cable with a staple, that would have been very bad! Once all the mesh was installed, I needed to prime the mesh, cables and strapping. I used a garden weed sprayer and basically just sprayed everything down.

After everything was dry again, it was now time for the final step. I was really nervous about this step because of some of the horror stories I've read. I had never worked with SLC before, and there was a hundred dollars worth of material on the line if it didn't turn out right. Thats not including the heating cables and mesh which probably couldn't be saved if they were coverd in chunks of hardened cement. The SLC is pretty touchy, you have to mix a pretty exact amount of water with each bag, mix it for a designated amount of time, and be careful not to get air bubbles in the mix. The other catch is it lists it as a 10 minute working time. After checking the resistance on the cable one last time, before the point of no return, it was time to get started. I had 10 minutes to get all three bags mixed, poured and spread out onto the floor. My dad ran the mixing paddle while I poured and spread the SLC. We got it all down really fast and the only problem we had was a couple lumps where it didn't get mixed up good. Fortunately I was able to pick those little chunks out with ease. As far as the spreading process, I just had to push the SLC around the room and into the corners, after that it just had to live up to its name, and self level. After this all dries, the final step will be to tile the floor.
This pic was taken before we mixed up the last batch.

On a side note. Earlier during the day when I was stapling down the plastic mesh, I heard a super loud crashing noise from downstairs. The first thing I could think of was the kids had knocked the TV off the wall or something. I ran downstairs to a cloud of dust and giant chunks of plaster all over the floor. Luckily nobody was hurt. The dogs had actually been sleeping in the room when it happened.

Turns out the air compressor, running upstairs for a couple hours, had vibrated the plaster off the ceiling below it. When we got it all cleaned up, it filled a large trash barrel and weighed at least 100 pounds. Looks like I have to add another project to the list on a schedule sooner than I anticipated!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bedroom mantle continued

The next step after framing was to drywall the mantle and install the corner bead. I had enough leftover scraps of drywall to do the whole thing. This step was relatively simple, although it was my first time working with bullnose cornerbead. The bullnose is just around the opening where the TV goes. The trickiest part was getting the arched bullnose to fit the curve properly, it just took some extra time to trim it all to fit good.

A few coats of mud and a little sanding later, things are starting to look alot better. Here is a closeup of the bullnosed arch. The plywood area behind the TV will eventually be tiled to match the actual mantle and hearth.

Here's how it looks currently, fully built in and part of the room now. I still need to put crown molding along the top edge. The two "rectangular bump outs" are strictly cosmetic to add some more detail when I install the crown. The tile leaning against the wall is what will go along the very bottom and also behind the TV. The bad news is the gas firebox I had framed this out to fit is out of stock now at Lowes, and it was a seasonal item. I searched online, and also contacted Lowe's corporate headquarters to try and locate one. I might not be able to get the firebox until September!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bedroom Fireplace Mantle with TV Niche

Over the weekend I began framing the mantle area for the fireplace in the master bedroom. I started out by making a simple rectangular hearth out of 2x6's and screwed that to the floor. Next I ran the gas line, electric, coax cable and ethernet cable up through the hearth, as the TV will be mounted above the fireplace.

The niche area for the TV will have a curved/arched top. I took two pieces of OSB to cut my template out of. I clamped them together so both pieces would be identical after I made the cut.

Once the two pieces were cut, I had to build them out to the proper thickness by nailing in spacer blocks. I needed to use several of them so that when I drywall this curve there will be plenty of spots to screw into.

The next step was to mount the arched piece I just built, into the framework for the mantle. In the pic below, the TV will mount in the upper area and the firebox will be in the bottom. You can also see the gas line and wires coming up through the hearth in the lower right corner.

I put the marble mantle in place to make sure everything was fitting together properly. The next step is to drywall everything.

to be continued...

statistics history
Dell Computers