28 February 2010

Progress and problems

Tom and I spent yesterday doing finishing-up projects in the bathroom while our hired help worked upstairs. As long as it took to do things before, it takes even longer now. I can't squeeze places I used to fit into easily, I can't climb up and down into the attic as readily, and bending from the waist causes more than a fair amount of discomfort. Despite that, we got a bit done. We hung 4 pieces of backerboard in the shower:

It's kinda dark in there now.

Now we can cut the greenboard to hang above those pieces and finish the mudding.

Then we had to cut nailer blocks for this outside corner of the shower. We had to rip a 45 degree angle off the corner of a 2x4. Our battery-operated circular required a fresh battery every 6 inches or so. Luckily our hired help had a corded saw that made short work of it, and we were able to install it without issue. That 2x4 nailer was the only reason we had not previously installed greenboard on the tub wall. Now that it's there, we cut and hung a piece to fit:

My pretty faucet is hidden away from the dust for the time being. I think this is also the tub's first appearance without the blue protective film along the edges!

We also installed a piece of drywall on the toilet half-wall and cut out the spaces for shelving and the access panel:

I bought the necessary escutcheon and valve for the toilet supply line, so I can probably install that soon and turn the water back on.

Meanwhile, one story above us...

Walls and slope all insulated.

"Are you done taking pictures for your blog yet?"

The un-insulated spacing is for an access door to storage space behind the knee walls.

There are a couple of issues we're going to have to address in the attic before drywalling can begin up there. I marked on the sole plate where I wanted to put outlets and communication (cable, ethernet, telephone, etc) boxes, but they only paid attention to the outlet marks. We need to take out a few batts of insulation and hang boxes for the missing communications receptacles. Also relating to that, we planned on running all of our communications for the whole house up to the cavity behind the attic knee wall (the left wall in the photo above) for a central hub. They isolated one of the sections we've already run for that (behind the wall on the right side of the above photo), so we'll have to connect those areas somehow. Seeing that this will be probably the next space to be finished, we might have to scrap the attic hub and put it in the basement instead. That would probably be better for protecting the equipment from heat, anyway.

The rafters that form the ceiling of the room also do not have insulation between them. We still have to run the dryer duct up to the roof vent (a 10-minute job if Lowe's would ever restock the materials I need to finish it) and hang and wire the recessed lights for the room. Tom and I will probably at least mark locations for the lights today, if not hang them and start wiring.

The last issue is the location of the second access door. For some reason, Donny thought it should go behind the area cut out for the spiral staircase. The slope of the roofline prevents an access door from swinging into the access area, so it must swing out. However, there will be a railing around the hole for the staircase. You'd barely be able to crack the door open, much less put anything back there or crawl back there yourself. So we'll just take out one batt of insulation and swap places with the space he left open. There's a lot of miscommunication that can happen when you don't have a drafted set of plans for workers to refer to. Until a few weeks ago, that wasn't really an issue because we were doing it all ourselves, and I could accommodate for issues as I went along. Having to coordinate what I'm working on with what they're working on and answering questions and picking up necessary materials and equipment and trying to explain that the junction box has to be accessible is enough to wear a pregnant lady out completely.

25 February 2010

Attic, revisited

This is what our attic room looked like a few days ago:

And this is what it looks like today:

And the other side:

We decided to have the hired help do this work since I'm unable to haul heavy OSB upstairs, and my ability to climb into the attic is diminishing daily. While they were measuring and marking and cutting and attaching the studs, I worked on hanging insulation and attaching metal plates between the new studs and the old roof framing.

The dark wooden post in the last picture could not be removed, so we had to angle the wall to avoid it. (If we had been able to take it out, we would have built a bench seat over the ductwork.) From there, it goes straight back to meet the other wall at 90 degrees. It'll be a trick to frame that angled portion (attaching it to the roof framing, specifically), but fortunately it's not going to be my brain cells grinding together to figure it out.

22 February 2010

More tile pictures

Here's the bathroom tile, all grouted and sealed:

We (I) picked a colored grout rather than plain black, white, or gray. It's called pewter and is a bit lighter and more silvery than the standard gray grout. It picks up the color of the veins in the tile pretty well. It's a little thing, but I think it makes a difference.

There's still a little bit of drywall work left to do in the bathroom, so I want to get that done this week. After that's done, I'll prepare the walls for priming (wiping them down with a tack cloth to get rid of the loose drywall dust). I want to do this before installing the toilet so it's not such a hassle to paint behind it. I should probably look into baseboards pretty soon for the same reason, even if that little section behind the toilet is the only place to have a baseboard for a while.

20 February 2010

Check and check.

We finally got two things checked off the to-do list featured on the side bar of the blog. Tom and I hooked up the water heater to the circuit breaker, and our hired help tiled the bathroom floor. They'll be back tomorrow for the grout. Here's a peek:

Donny said that he was "Christian cursing" us under his breath when he started, but that he had to admit it was a good-looking pattern.

We returned a few hours later to see if the water heater had done its job. And it works! No explosions, no floods! We are thrilled.

12 February 2010

Bits and pieces

As promised, here are some photos of what Tom and I managed to do this weekend.

First we cut pieces of 2x8 to fit vertically between the studs in the shower. This will help keep the concrete contained when we pour the slab. We also cut chicken wire (you can see it if you look closely) to fit snugly in the bottom of the shower floor. Our shower will have 2 layers of concrete separated by a rubber waterproofing membrane. The chicken wire will act as reinforcement (like rebar) for the first layer. It will be a thinner layer and will need that bit of reinforcement to support the weight of the other layer of concrete and tile that will rest on it.

Then we cut 4 pieces of 2x8 for the shower curb. This will help form the concrete floor, plus contain water when the shower is running. Right now it's a shelf for tools and miscellaneous equipment.

Yesterday I hung plastic sheeting up in the shower, which will be a vapor barrier behind the backerboard and tile. Maybe I've just been watching too many detective shows, but it seems like it would have been very easy for somebody to suffocate me with all that plastic and make it look like an accident. I'm glad my husband loves me. And that I don't have a life insurance policy.

11 February 2010

3-step process

The mudding process is in various stages of completion. The bedroom drywall has been sanded and is awaiting its third and final coat. The closet drywall has two coats and is ready to be sanded. The bathroom has only one coat. I'm not terribly happy with the way the mud looks in the bathroom so far, but there is plenty of time for it to be fixed. It is only one layer, after all.

The drywall guys made a brilliant suggestion so obvious I can't believe I hadn't thought of it. They suggested we stuff a bit of insulation into the ends of the HVAC ducts that are hanging from the rafters and (temporarily) move the thermostat into the bedroom. This will keep the heat contained mostly in the master suite, and we won't waste a ton of money heating the rest of the upstairs.

To help seal off the master suite, I'll be hanging plastic sheeting over the doorway. I'll also hang it in the shower as a waterproofing measure behind the backerboard. I should be able to get all of that done this afternoon without too much trouble. I'll post some photos of this as well as what Tom and I did this weekend.

06 February 2010

Progress report.

The guys that my extremely generous in-laws arranged to do the drywall finishing have been working at the house for the past two days. This is what the bedroom looked like the last time we fooled with it:

And here are some photos of what it looked like at closing time today:

They even hung a bit of drywall in the bathroom. Unfortunately, their hanging skills aren't as good as their mudding skills. While we painstakingly measured each piece of drywall and had to take them down several times to cut off little bits here and there to make sure they fit tightly, they left much larger gaps. But, since they're pretty good at mudding, I'm hopeful they can take care of it.

Because of the sloppiness with the drywall, we're a little leery of letting them do everything that they had talked about doing, including building the shower from scratch and tiling the floor. I'm perfectly willing to take on those projects myself.

If they continue at the rate they're going, we'll be able to prime by next weekend!