Category Archives: plumbing

Structural engineering and plumbing

With the house down to studs, it’s time to map framing changes with the structural engineer, Ben Feldt from Feldt Consulting Engineers, and the plumber, Barry Samsel from Custom Plumbing Services.

Plumbing needs chases for pipes — waste, hot and cold water supplies, venting stacks — with enough vertical height to ensure the 1/4+-inch slope required by code.

Ron needs Ben to spec the locations and sizes for the chases.

Ben confirmed we can take out the non-loadbearing wall between the kitchen and family room, to create a “Great Room.” He will properly size the beam that will replace the undersized beam between the family and living rooms — the beam that is visibly deflecting under the second-floor loads. He will size beams for the ceiling in order to properly move the rabbit-warren of walls in what will become Jadin’s bath, aka “bath 2.” He will spec beams and studs elsewhere in the house to fix structural issues — at the back door and windows in the family room, in the master bedroom and the kitchen ceiling under the master bedroom, and elsewhere.

We knew the house needed these fixes. There are no surprises. We did our homework in the planning and discussion phase for this remodel. And we went spelunking, opening up holes in the drywall to confirm our suspicions, drawing the changes into the plans with Brett the architect and Michelle, keeper of all things budget at Ranserve.

From left, Barry, Ron, Ben and Jorge Santiago (from Feldt) talk through and sketch structural changes to the ceiling over the living room.
In bath 2, figuring out where to insert beams to carry loads.
In bath 2, using the LED light of a smartphone to figure out where to insert beams to carry loads. Yes, there is an app for that … Jorge at left, Ben in the middle, Ron at right.
Barry and Ron. This may be Steven's favorite photo of the remodel, so far. The lighting makes it look and feel reminiscent of a Renaissance painting.
Barry and Ron. This may be Steven’s favorite photo of the remodel, so far. The lighting makes it look and feel reminiscent of a Renaissance painting.
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Things we did today: 18 June 2015

  • Habitat. Lauren Gregory from Habitat scheduled pickup for 24 June of items staged in the garage for donation.
  • HVAC. Kyle Bacon at Elite HVAC and Bryan Mitchell at Carrier are reviewing the HVAC systems and selections. Ross Britton finalized bath vent/light units with Elite. Elite updated quote to include vent/light units selected by Steven.
  • Doors. Ron Dahlke from Ranserve obtained quote for potential front door from Brian Wolter at Stock Building Supply. Steven will review with Ron. Still waiting on additional exterior and interior door quote from BMC West.
  • Countertops. Steven is scheduling a meeting with Kim Strmiska at Austin Stone Works to walk the “boneyard” for “remaindered” material left over from other jobs that might be adopted for use as shelving in the master shower and at the fireplace hearth.
  • Plumbing fixtures. Steven received updated quote from Jonell Speak at Ferguson and forwarded to Ranserve and Jacquela for final review and approval.
  • Kitchen appliances. Steven messaged Kristin Nauert at Harway with questions about the appliance selections, working toward final review and approval.
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How to not cut structure when remodeling a bath, continued …

DSC_9958With insulation removed it’s now possible to see just how badly the structure was cut when the upstairs bathrooms were remodeled sometime during the life of this house.

At left, the blocking was turned sideways and cut to shreds. At right, the blocking was cut by half. In the middle, the blocking is, well, holed beyond integrity. And the ceiling beams are compromised.

Building code today prohibits this.

Steven is thinking that taking the house down to stud is a smart decision.


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CPI: Plumbing fixtures

CPI is not the Consumer Price Index.

When it comes to remodeling, CPI is the acronym for Critical Path Items — the decisions that must be made or everything else cascades to failure and delay.

Today’s assignment from Ranserve is to finalize the plumbing fixtures — toilets, showers, shower heads, sinks, drains, faucets, etc.

Steven met today with Jonell Speak at Ferguson to go over every item in four pages of fixtures previously selected during three meetings in person with Jonell and Jacquela, and countless email messages with Jonell and her assistant Herb.

Ranserve, the plumber and Jacquela are now triple-checking all that work.

Jonell would not allow Steven to photograph her to document the two-hour meeting. She did allow this shot of her desk.


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