Monday, July 28, 2008

As Requested - Pictures

We originally said we were going to paint the walls Sage but when we saw the colour it was a little to grey for us. Instead we went with "Adventurine" which has more yellow than blue in it. We put three coats of paint on the wall and as of yesterday it was still just a little tacky. It has been very humid these last few days so maybe that has something to do with the drying time.

We're painting the mouldings gloss white and having to paint them in small batches due to space limitations. The crown moulding will be installed first so it was painted first. Hopefully, if the walls are tack free, we'll get the crown installed tonight or tomorrow. In the mean time we have most of the window mouldings in the process of being painted.

I'm actually pretty impressed with the installation of the windows and doors so far. With the windows all closed there is actually enough of a seal to create a vacuum on the interior door when we try to open it. That should make the cloakroom nice and cozy this winter.

On to the carvings. So far I have used six tiles and only have two good carvings to show for it. These three are the kindling pieces I carved. The flower was looking ok, if fuzzy, until I accidentally cut off one of the petals while trying to undercut it to give it depth. The bottom leaf looked great until I tried to create a curled leaf illusion. Every time I walked past it all I saw as the bad cut so it went to the kindling bin, too.

The left leaf was looking good too until I undercut the stem to much and Whoops, there goes another one. At this rate I'm going to need a new kindling bin.

Here are the two good ones so far. I plan to make two of each so they can be paired around the room. I still haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do with them or how they will be displayed. Maybe mount them in a picture frame and call them a patchwork quilt. I just don't know. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Here is the beginning of the second leaf, for the third time. With any luck this one will actually be completed without any oops and I can move on to another apple blossom. I'm planning on oak leaves, apple blossoms, Sparrows, and maybe cone flowers. I'm going to need to buy more basswood I think.

The kittens may not be doing any of the work but they sure look the way I feel. For some reason, probably just the length of the project and the frustration I'm feeling over the things I can't control, I am pooped. Mentally and physically I'm just downright tired. I'll be glad when we finish this project and I can look ahead to other projects.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Taking a Break

Yesterday was day 25 of our renovations. I painted the walls with the first coat of wall paint and discovered that no matter how careful I am or what gadgets I have, I will get paint on the ceiling. I also managed to paint the power circuit, myself, and the floor. I never claimed to be a neat painter but I thought I was better than that.

Today, I am taking a break from renovations and work on carvings. I discovered that I didn't know enough about relief carving to take on the large plaque that PeterC had requested. To learn about relief carving and how my new tools worked I decided to create some 4" x 4" tiles that will be used to decorate the newly renovated room, whenever it gets finished that is.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Renovations - Day 24

This project is beginning to feel like an epic. We are on day 24 of what we thought would be a 10 day project. It is amazing how much work you can do for so little progress. But, when I walk out into the room I can see that we have done a lot of work and can see just how much progress we have made. We have doors and windows that don't leak air. We have a solid, if somewhat squeaky, floor. Best of all we have plans for where to go from here and the experience to get it all done. All that from a "simple" renovation of a 10 x 9 mudroom.

While PeterC was at work I applied the last coat of paint to the ceiling and removed the blue painters tape from the wall. To my horror the tape "that won't pull off paint" pulled large sections of primer off the wall. I tried pulling it fast; I tried slow; and I tried glacial speed. It didn't make any difference to the amount of damage the tape did. I'll have to figure out a different way to keep from getting wall paint on the ceiling.

Speaking of wall paint...When PeterC got home from work we headed up to BMR and purchased three gallons of our chosen colour and several of the casing pieces we need for the windows. I spent a good part of the afternoon researching window casing ideas and found a site that showed how to use three different mouldings to create a cornice above the window so I knew what I wanted even before we went up there.

Unfortunately, I was so excited to be buying the mouldings that I forgot some essential pieces, the pieces that lay flat against the the frame to hide the gaps around the inserts. It is going to take three days to paint the walls, allowing a day for each coat to dry. In that time I can get the mouldings we do have painted with a semi-gloss white and hopefully get the cornices built and ready to install. By then we will have made another tripto BMR to purchase the forgotten pieces.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Renovations - Day 21, 22, & 23

Day 21 - I didn't do much more than the second coat of primer on the ceiling. It turned out that we had three cans of primer so if a third coat is required we won't have to buy another can. We're using Sico brand paint which seems to be pretty good paint. I'm no paint expert but it really seems to cover well at least on the second coat.

Day 22 - We got up early and started installing the door. PeterC built up the sill that the door would sit on while I put the first coat of paint on the ceiling. The painting was straight forward, though the pastel pink was a little bit of a shock. It turned out it was only a temporary colour and faded as the paint dried to a nice flat white. It also dried to an eggshell texture which helped to cover up any messy drywall compound. I have discovered that no matter how smooth the walls look when you stop sanding, they will look lumpy and bumpy as the light changes.

The door sill was not quite as straight forward as the painting. The sill had to be built up an extra 3 inches because we raised the floor by that much. Unfortunately, two layers of 2 x 6 came up higher than we needed so we had to shave 1/4 inch off the last layer. PeterC chose to use the router rather than the table saw. While the removal was much more even it did take quite a bit of extra time. It was almost 2:00pm before we test fit the door and found that we needed to add 1 x 6 boards to either side of the opening to take up the extra space. Once the framing was done the door installed fairly easily.

Once the door was in we decided to go to Home Depot and purchase a deadbolt and door knob. While we were in town we decided to eat at Shoeless Joe's to celebrate a birthday and an anniversary. The service was pretty good and the food was not bad either. I ordered a Steak and Rib platter that included lattice fries. The ribs were so-so but the steak was tender even after sending it back to be cooked a little more. There were enough fries on the plate to feed two so there was no way you could say the portions were not big enough. Over all not a bad place to eat but the price will limit it to special days only.

At Home Depot we found a knob and deadbolt that matched the front door's hardware. It doesn't have the old fashioned feel to it that I would have preferred but it is a good quality lock and reasonably priced. We asked the salesperson about getting the deadbolt and door knob set up for the same key and he was more than happy to do it for us. Unfortunately, he wasn't very good at it and kept "blowing the pins". An hour later, and fifteen minutes before the store closed, he announced that he wouldn't be able to do it and suggested we go with separate keys. While it would have been nice to have one less key on my keyring, I'm not to heart broken about it. We can always call in a locksmith at a later date.

Day 23 - PeterC mowed the hayfield we were calling the backyard. The rain and humidity over the last few weeks had the grass growing what seemed like an inch every day. As soon as he finished mowing the birds all flocked in looking for bugs and seeds they were not able to get to while the grass was so high. The earwigs are terrible this year. Everything we turned over revealed a mass of squirming earwigs. I keep hoping the birds will do something about them while they forage through the cut grass.

While PeterC mowed I installed the door hardware. The door was already drilled for the hardware but the frame was not. After marking the location of the holes we needed, I used a hammer and chisel to remove the wood to recess the striker plates and the reinforcer for the deadbolt. I was very surprised at how deep the hole had to be for the deadbolt. If I had realized the door came pre-drilled for the hardware I would have requested no deadbolt. A lesson learned.

There have been many lessons with this project. The biggest and most important is not to underestimate just how long it will take to get a project like this done. We estimated ten days and it has already been twenty three with several more to go. The drywall compound, the missed delivery date, and drying times on the paint are all things we didn't take into consideration when planning this project. Needless to say we will be more lenient with the time schedule on the next project.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Renovations - Day 20

I originally thought I was going to be able to go straight to priming today but in the morning light I could see several areas that need sanding. I tried each gadget PeterC purchased yesterday and found I simply preferred the hand sander while standing on the ladder. I could put pressure into it unlike the sanding pads on the pole and it didn't clog like the vacuum sander did.

I worked at it until I had what looked like a reasonably smooth, level surface and then I started priming. I started on the walls and found out that one can of primer does one thin coat on every surface in our little room. By the time I got around to doing the ceiling I was running quite low on paint and had to really squeeze the roller to get any paint at all on the last 2' x 2' area.

I wasn't to pleased with the results as it looked splotchy while I was doing the painting. But, once it dried, and the afternoon sun hit it, the paint looked much more even with only the thin spot on the ceiling really showing badly. I'm starting on the ceiling tomorrow so at least the thin area gets a good coverage and we'll see how well the rest of it goes. If we have to we'll go get another can of primer and put a third coat on everything.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Renovations - Day 18 & 19

Day 18 - After work PeterC tried to sand the drywall joints with the electric sander but it turned out to be a little to powerful for the job. The grit came off the paper very fast and left scars on the drywall. I know it is possible to sand using an electric sander but it may require one with a slower oscillation so the paper cover of the drywall doesn't get scarred up to bad. I was hoping to use the sander to speed up the job but to also keep the mess to a minimum. Our sander has an attachment that allows the vacuum to be hooked up to it and that would have been much nicer than dust and grit flying everywhere.

Day 19 - I got up early this morning and decided to give the sanding a try using a wooden bock with the sand paper wrapped around it. It worked pretty good for the centre of the panel but not so well for the corners. I don't know if it a result of the corners themselves or the size of my sanding block. It also made a huge mess. I looked like I had gone grey overnight when I finally gave it up.

PeterC called at lunch to let me know the door was being delivered free of charge, I guess because it was shipped separate from the windows. When the delivery truck dropped off the door I got a bit queasy. At first blush the door looks bigger than the hole we have for it. The delivery guy, who was also the same guy who measured everything, was pretty confident that as long as we cut the opening back to the studs we would be fine. I guess we'll have to see when we get around to installing it this weekend.

When PeterC got home he had a couple of bags full of every gadget Home Depot sells for sanding drywall. I think he is getting tired of shopping, lol. One of the gadgets was a sanding pole you hooked to your vacuum. While I cooked supper he started sanding. I can't say the vacuum gadget worked all that well since he looked at white as I did this morning, but he did get a good amount of the sanding done.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Renovations - Day 16 & 17

Day 16 - It took a good part of the day but we finally finished building up the window frame and installing the east window. Even though we built everything level it looks silly. It turned out that the siding was not put on level and so the window and window sill look like it is sloping down.

I really like these windows. They are double hung, energy efficient, and UV protected. I didn't realize the glass was actually a little darker than the other windows until we installed them. Then it was easy to see the colour difference. I still want to replace the standard screen with cat proof screen otherwise we'll have huge holes for mosquitoes to get in.

Day 17 - Got up early this morning and finished the last layer of gloop. Once it is dry we can sand it smooth and start the painting process. We've decided on white ceiling, white trim, and sage green walls. With the tile patterned vinyl floor it should look very pretty.

I can't be jealous of PeterC's new toy anymore. He asked me to carve a plaque for the new room. Since I didn't have any tools for relief carving he took me to Wood-N-Feathers in Merrickville to purchase some new carving tools. We just got back and I am now the proud owner of six new Warren tools: a fishtail gouge, two U gouges, two V gouges, and a spoon gouge. I just hope I can do justice to the wood, the tools, and the pattern.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Renovations - Day 14 & 15

Day 14- Things are progressing slowly right now. It rained really hard all day long and was really hot in the morning. Luckily we got a call last night to say our vinyl flooring was in so we went into town to pick up the flooring. While we were there we did the grocery shopping and picked up animal feed. We got really lucky and caught the bird seed on sale for 30% off. We bought two bags of everything we needed. Considering how much birdseed we go through that will last us to the end of August, maybe.

I thought we had finished the second coat of compound yesterday but to my dismay I discovered otherwise today.You have to put on three coats of drywall joint compound but you have to let each coat dry completely before you put on the next coat. The second coat on the corner tape has to be done in a special way which slows the job down even more, you have to do the second coat on one side of the tape at a time. So it takes a minimum of two days to do the second coat on the corners. After getting home from shopping PeterC put the second coat of compound on the other side of the corners while I put the third coat on the screw heads.

Day 15 - We got a call saying our order from North Star, the window company we decided to order from, were in so we headed into town again. It turned out it was just the windows. The door was not shipped and when the salesman checked we found out it will be July 15th before it gets here. The lesson here is to order custom made windows and doors at least a month before you plan to start your project. I think next time we do windows I want them to be in hand before I take the old windows out. That way if it rains we don't have to put plastic up over the openings.

When we got home we installed the insert right away. It actually went really well and was mostly installed pretty quickly. I stuffed pink insulation around the inside gaps and used a white caulking to seal the outside while PeterC started building the frame up in the other window. So, until we finish the painting the west window is as finished as it is going to be.

We knew the fact that we had to remove the frame from the east window was really going to slow thing down and we were right. We worked on the window frame most of the day and finally called a halt for supper. We got most of the frame installed but we have to put in the stop strips, the strips the insert is installed against and caulked around, and the sloping window sill on the outside. We will have to finish it tomorrow.

The second coat of compound PeterC put up yesterday was not dry even at 4:00 pm so we couldn't get the third coat done. We don't know if the humidity had anything to do with it not drying though PeterC suspects he put the second coat on to heavy. Once the window is installed tomorrow, we will have to do the final coat of compound and let it dry. I really hope we get the sanding of the drywall done so I can prime and paint next week after PeterC goes back to work. He is already saying he needs a vacation from his vacation.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Renovations - Day 13

Yesterday was so hot and humid we decided to claim holiday rights. I vacuumed the evolving dust bunnies up while PeterC worked on his computer. In the end, it required replacing but not before he gave it a good computer nerd try. We tried using his old memory to upgrade my PC but it didn't work. Oh well, maybe next year I'll get an upgrade too.

We got up early to get as work done as possible since it is supposed to be hotter today than yesterday. Considering it was 80% humidity and 28ÂșC in the shade at 8:00 am this morning, I can believe it will be much hotter this afternoon. As it was we were both soaked by the time we finished a couple of hours later.

Today was the second coat of gloop, my new name for the joint compound since that is the sound it makes when it slides off your trowel and hits either the new wooden floor or the head of the shortest person in the room. Guess who that would be, yup me. Luckily it washes out easily. We also finished securing the floor with the 4" masonry screws. Now there is very little movement in the floor and what is there would require screws every 4" to 6" but we aren't planning on doing that.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Renovations - Day 12

The drywall is done, done, DONE *insert happy dance*. We got up early and installed the last piece. Even though we measured it several times and verified all the measurements we still had to trim some extra off the bottom but it is done. We discovered that the Ryobi cordless circular saw works well to cut small pieces of drywall rather than trying to cut and snap like you do with larger pieces. To bad we didn't figure this out a few days ago, it would have saved us some time.

Since we got the last piece installed so early we were able to get the joints taped, the screw heads puttied, and I started rebuilding the hole left by removing all the rotted wood. The taping pretty much took the rest of the day but while PeterC did the taping, and a very nice job of it too, I spent the day doing the other work that needed to be done. I even got a good start on removing the drywall compound someone put around the edge of the interior door so they wouldn't have to install extra wide casings.

I was so happy about getting the drywall done that I picked a few cups of Red Currants and made a Rhubarb & Red Currant crumble for dessert. It is the first real home cooked meal we've had since this project began and we enjoyed it very much. I never realized just how spoilt I have become having the time and energy to cook real food that we enjoy. I don't know how I did it when I was working full time.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Renovations - Day 11

I hate drywall. Really, really hate it. We were almost done with the room and only had to do the piece that goes around the right hand side of the east window and we screwed it up. We don't know how but we messed up bad. We measured four times and cut to our measurements, and had to re-cut, and re-cut again, and by the end of it the piece had big gaps along the left side. Of course it was our last piece of drywall so we had to go into town to buy a new piece. By the time we got back neither of us wanted to even look at the drywall again.

If we ever build our own house we are going to have rooms that are 8, 10,or 12 feet high and multiples of 4 feet on each wall. Putting the drywall itself up isn't bad as long as you have straight studs to screw to but cutting it, especially for rooms that aren't square is for the birds. I'm not sure how to solve the window and door notch issues though. We have to have windows and the DIY books all say the drywall needs to be notched around the openings rather than ending on the edges of the openings. Maybe practise makes perfect but thank heavens we're using casing around the windows and doors.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Renovations - Day 10

The day started with an animal emergency. Our dwarf rabbit Storm suffered a stroke sometime during the night and we had to have him put to sleep. He was almost eight years old and had lived a happy, safe, and spoiled life but it was still hard to say goodbye after all these years.

Needless to say, we were despondent most of the day but we continued working on the drywall. We have now completed half the room walls plus the ceiling. Things are progressing slower than we had hoped at the beginning of this project but we are learning a lot which will come in handy when we start the inside of the house.

We would have gotten more drywall done if we hadn't discovered that the window frame on the east facing window was completely rotted out along two sides. In the end we decided to rip the entire frame out and rebuild it to fit the window insert that was ordered. There is something about demolition that will lift a sad mood. Maybe it is cathartic to destroy things once in a while, though I expect any work that requires exertion would work just as well.

PeterC decided to ham it up for the camera by pointing out where the rot occurred and just how much work we did to get the frame out of the way. There is still a little rot in the 2x4" studs along the side and bottom but it is small enough sections that I can use the Dremel to excise it. Afterwards I will use an exterior wood filler to rebuild those areas.

With the frame completely removed, it gives us a chance to make it look at least somewhat like the frame of the west window. We get to build up the sill so that it sweeps out away from the window, letting rain and melting snow slide harmlessly to the ground instead of seeping into the frame and causing further damage. We both feel it is better to spend extra time and money now than to hide a problem and let it fester.

On a more positive note, the garden seems to be flourishing quite happily without our attention. The weather has been warm with fairly regular rain at night which they just love. Here you can see the bush beans, the Scarlet Creepers, what sprouted of the corn, and in the background the potatoes and lettuce. For supper we pulled a few beets, picked some lettuce, and some spinach that hadn't gone to seed yet.

Amazingly enough we even have volunteer tomatoes growing out of the compost bin. We weren't as diligent about turning it as we should have been and now we have to leave it so the tomatoes can grow. While neither of us had planned on planting tomatoes this year, "Never ignore a gift from Mother Nature" is our motto.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Renovations - Days 7, 8, & 9

As you might have guessed by my lack of daily updates we've been busy trying to get things done on the mud room. We've made progress though some days it surely felt like we were moving backwards not forwards.

Day 7: We finished the subflooring, finally. It took longer than expected to finish it but it looks great. We do have to go back and add more screws but we are waiting for 4" masonry screws. We installed the insulation in the ceiling, fighting the odd widths between the joists. With only one exception the joists ranged between 25" and 28" centres. Since we bought 16" centre insulation it required a whole piece plus a few inches extra to fill the space. The insulation was only R22 so to get extra value PeterC decided to double the thickness in the tallest part of the A-frame. We managed to get one piece of vapour barrier on the ceiling before we were too pooped to climb the ladders again.

Day 8: We finished insulating the room quite early. The walls were much easier to work with, even though the studs ranged between 16" and 22" centres. Once we finished, PeterC took the old door frame out and cut the opening larger to accommodate the new door when it arrives. While he did that I finished putting up vapour barrier until I ran out on the last 4 foot section of wall. Another trip to BMR will fix that.

We managed to put one piece of drywall up on the ceiling and discovered in the process that I am to short to hold the drywall up over my head while PeterC tried to find the nailing strips. We managed to get it attached but my arms gave out after only a few minutes. To find the nailing strips and make sure we hit them each time with the drywall screws we used our chalk line to mark the drywall after it was in place.

We decided to go into town to return some extra bags of insulation, to look for a solution to the short arms problem, and to see a movie. While we were in town PeterC found a new toy to "help us install the mouldings" so he now has a cordless nailer. I need to come up with a few really important projects so I can buy some new toys too. I'm feeling left out. The solution for the short arms turned out to be a long handled T. Being to cheap to buy one I decided we would make one from wood the next day.

Day 9: Picked up the vapour barrier and 4" screws this morning and finished the drywall on the ceiling. The first piece we installed yesterday looked terrible with all kinds of extra holes where we missed the nailing strips and where the screws pulled through. By the end of the day our drywall didn't look half bad and we were using far fewer screws than before. We started to drywall the walls but a couple of mistakes really slowed us down.

We have learnt that it is easier to drywall the ceiling with just the ceiling vapour barrier in place. When you add the vapour barrier to the walls before the drywall on the ceiling there is multiple chances for the tape to pull to tight across the corners making it impossible to get the drywall right in there. We also love our chalk line. We used it again today on the ceiling and made a nicer job of the screwing.