Spackel Time

I keep flip-flopping between paper and fiberglass mesh tape, this time I went with the fiberglass.  It’s a bit easier to put on, as you can do it without any mud, but you need to cut it with a knife as opposed to the paper stuff which is easily torn by hand.  In addition, the mesh is more difficult to put in corners, nor does it work as well there.

The walls in general were in quite bad shape, so in addition to the patch over the pluming, I needed to pull off a 4’x4′ section that was extremely bowed, and had to do a lot more skim coating and sanding.    I typically use the USG Dust Control joint compound, that comes pre-mixed in a large bucket.  However this time I tried using the setting type joint compound instead.  The primary advantage is the faster drying time, but it also shrinks a bit less and goes on smoother.  Of course the setting type needs to be mixed, but thats easy enough with a drill mixer.  I got the 90 minutes kind (there is a 45 and a 15 minute as well)  despite the name its actually supposed to take between 90-130 minutes to cure.  Mine actually took more like 5 or 6 hours.  I’m not sure what the reason for this was, however it was still alot faster than the pre-mixed kind, and allowed me to finish in a weekend instead of a few weeks.

Laundry Room Plumbing

Plumbing is of course key to any laundry room, and the old plumbing in ours needed some work.  There were two main problems with the plumbing, the first being the lack of shut-off valves on the faucet.  To remove the old sink I needed to turn off the water for the whole house.  The valves for the washing machine were of the old screw type, and the hose was impossible to get off of the cold one as well.  Those got chucked, and in their place I got a nice dual valve, in a wall recess with a drain.

The dual valve is great as it lets you easily turn off the water while you’re on vacation or whatnot, and the drain means that the washing machine won’t drain into the sink now.  However with all of this plumbing in the wall things got a bit tight, which made things a bit difficult.

The pipes for the sink get nice new valves, but the valves need to go on the other side of the sheetrock.  All of the soldering went well, I used a piece of sheet metal to prevent the torch from igniting the insulation.  I did manage to scorch some of the paper, and the studs, but thats about it.

New Water Main Shut-off

A good ball valve on the main water line is something every house should have.    Like many older homes, our house had a tired old stem valve as the shutoff.  Not only does this valve take about ten turns to fully close, but ours at least, still leaks a bit when tightened all the way.  Ohh and did I mention you need to use a strap wrench to even get the handle to turn?  Not something you want to have to deal with in an emergency.   Even worse, having to use such a big wrench makes it very likely that you’ll snap the handle right off, and then be left with no way to shut the water off at all.

Theoretically this should be an easy job, shut the water off, cut a section of pipe out, and solder in the new valve.  However when you can’t shut off the water completely, it makes soldering in the valve very difficult.  Still with a bit of persistence I was able to get it in and leak free.  Now with just a quick and easy quarter turn the water is shut off completely.

Backsplash Removal

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the backslash removal was a giant pain.  I tried to use my pry-bar to pop it up, but didn’t realize that there was construction adhesive gluing the entire back of it to the wall.  And then once I got part of it off, I realized it went behind the cabinets.  I had to remove the top and bottom cabinent, but was fortunately able to slide it out from behind the big end cabinet.  I also managed to take a nice chunk of skin off my knuckles when my hand slammed against the dried (and sharp) adhesive.    Good news is that its now out of there, and my blood is mostly cleaned up.  The bad news is I had to tear off a good portion of the wall, and whats left is going to need a heck of a sanding.

Floor Removal

Taking up the floor of the laundry room was a pretty painless process.  using a pry bar and a hammer I was able to make quick work of the floor.  There were actually two layers of it, the top being these fake tiles, and the bottom being standard linoleum.  I’ll use some adhesive remover to take care of the black adhesive, and get back to bare concrete.

Spraying the Cabinet Doors

Someday I’ll get a nice finishing room for all my wood working projects, until then this make shift spray booth in my basement will have to do.  I first tried painting the doors all by hand, but this caused immense amounts of frustration as I tried to hold them, and paint them at the same time.  So I thought I’d give spraying them a shot.  I fired up my trusty beast of a compressor added a bit of water to the regular latex paint to thin it a bit and went to town.  Spraying them worked fantastically, I got a nice even finish and it was painless.  It did take a few more coats though, I think I did four in all.

Painting the Cabinets

I started painting the cabinets in November, and it took a good month and a half.  Mostly this was because going to school three nights a week meant I wanted to spend my weekends relaxing rather than painting.    Still, painting the cabinets was also alot of work, first they needed a good cleaning with TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) to remove years of accumulated dirt and grease.  Then they got a light sanding to clean em up some more, and give the paint a key.  I also modified the far cabinet that had shelves on both sides, to only have shelves on the near side, so that the the other side could be used for brooms and mops.  With that done, I put on a coat of primer, and then two coats of paint.  If this was in a kitchen, or the cabinets were of better quality, I would also give them a coat of poly or two to protect them, but I’m not bothering with these.

Laundry Room Time

I actually started this project back in November, but between the holidays and class I’ve been making slow progress, and haven’t gotten around to posting about it till now.  The laundry room in our house is in a rather sorry state.  The washer and dryer looked ok when we bought the house 2.5 years ago, but the washer conked out a few months ago and was replaced with a nice front loading Bosch that we’ve been happy with.  The rest of the room is quite awful though.  The cabinets are a kind of ugly green stain, the floor is  made of these fake-tile things, the sink faucet leaks and the walls are covered in a very dated green plaid.  Even more disturbing is that the wallpaper is sticky to the touch.

So everything is getting ripped out.  The cabinets are going to be painted and  the little counter top will be replaced with a nice cherry one.   The wallpaper will be stripped, the flooring taken up and the sink will be chucked.   We’ll also put in a new light fixture, since I broke the glass one a few months ago.  As or the laundry machines, I’m going to work around them until its time to do the floor, and then move them out and hopefully get the floor in quickly, before we run out of clean underwear.

New Patio Light!

Jess wanted to replace the dingy old patio light with a nice new one.  Normally when a guy says his wife wants to replace something, that generally means that they want him to do it.  Not this time for Jess though, she wanted to do it herself.  She did a great job, I gave her a hand holding it, and taking her picture, but that was it.  The new light works great, and looks much nicer.  Now if someone would just paint those gutters…

Leaky Kitchen Sink

The other day Jess  calls me into the kitchen and points out the puddle of water she noticed underneath the sink.  It looked like it had been there for awhile, and was hidden behind some bottles and such.  After a bit of routing around I was able to find that the slip nut that connects the trap to the drain had cracked, and water was leaking from there.  These chromed brass traps come in various quality levels, with the cheapest 22 gauge ones not being much thicker than paper, so its not surprising that it broke.  Once I’d figured out what the problem was, it was easy enough to run to Lowes and get a replacement (the nice thick 17 gauge one), and solder it back in.  Not a big deal, but its irritating that I had to spend my night doing this because the previous guy was to cheap to spend the extra 5 bucks on the higher quality one.