Tag Archives: remodeling

Making the pot filler level and plumb

The plumbers that installed the pot filler at the kitchen cooktop did not make it level and plumb — and it wiggled, just a little bit.

As part of the punch list, Odell and Jacinto from Ranserve chisled five bricks from the exterior wall on the outside of the house directly opposite where the pot filler is mounted to the studs inside the wall. In other words, we are working from the outside of the house, to the inside. Why? We don’t want to have to take down the red glass tile backsplash that the pot filler is mounted to inside the kitchen. And, additionally, we need to get to the mounting structure inside the wall; the shortest route is to chisel from the outside in.

This became a two-day project — just to fix an oversight by the plumbers — with another day pending.

Photo essay:

After Jacinto chisled out the brick and cut away the sheathing to expose the studs, we carefully pulled handfuls of the insulating foam away from the studs — to reveal two Ethernet network cables — thin blue cables at left of photo — the blue Pex water line that runs almost horizontally across the stud bay, and the copper angle fitting to which the Pex is coupled.

It took several hours to carefully dissect our way into the house. Photo above reveals two network cables that run down the exterior wall into a conduit that travels under the concrete slab of the kitchen floor, then out to the island, where we can plug various devices into the network inside the house. At right, Odell, Steve and Jacinto — after much discussion — opted to cut away a chunk of stud to yield up access to the copper fitting that screws three times into whatever it is mounted to. And we had to do this without breaking any of the glass tiles on the other side of the drywall visible at the back of the photo. At right, is an older, darker, intact stud original to the house. Further right is a brighter stud — newer wood — and the edge of the OSB sheathing that Ranserve installed against the new stud and several others behind brick that we did not remove. 

The next step was to cut a 2×4 in half, lengthwise, screw that carefully to the intact original stud to the right. But first, we had to drill three holes in the short length of stud to match the three mounting holes in the copper pipe angle, feed bolts through the wood into the pipe angle — and then Steven, who had the slimmest, longest fingers between Odell, Jacinto and Steven, working blind by touch behind the wood, fitting lock washers and nuts to the back end of the bolts. After which we were able to pull the pot filler tight to the wood, adjusting the screws a quarter turn at a time while leveling the pot filler insider the house.

With the pipe angle bolted and the pot filler leveled, Odell and Jacinto cut down a piece of 3/4-inch plywood, screwed that tight to the intact darker stud to the right of the sliced stud, and then drilled three screws into the wood against which the pipe angle is mounted, pulling that short piece of wood into a position where the pot filler inside the kitchen is level, plumb and secure, with minimal wiggles.

With the piping braced, several hours into this episode, we sealed up the house and called it a day, leaving behind a pile of debris on the ground. Jacinto packed away all the tools, and we scheduled to revisit at 8 am the next morning.
Jacinto peeled off the protective plastic. Here’s a close-in shot of the excavation, peering up. Visible in this shot is something new. Jacinto added a vertical run of 3/4-inch plywood, notching it around the Pex tubing. He screwed this at top and bottom to the cut ends of the old stud, using deck-mount screws. Then he carefully screwed the plywood to the chunk of 2×4 that the copper pipe fitting is screwed to. The three nuts are visible on the chunk of 2×4. This creates a mount that is secured from two different directions.
And a close in look down at the debris trapped between the brick and sheathing. We tried to clean most of this out, but it’s nearly impossible. There’s no way to prevent debris from falling into the air gap between the back of the brick and the front of the sheathing.
Jacinto cuts a square of OSB sheathing to fit against the studs.
After test-fitting the OSB, Jacinto used spray foam from a can to re-insulate the stud bay and pipes. He carefully sealed smaller gaps between studs too.
With the foam still curing and sticky, Jacinto screwed the OSB sheathing to the studs. This established a third mounting angle to lock the pipe angle mount firmly into position.
Jacinto taped everything up with Tyvek tape, to close as many air gaps as possible.
Steven collected bricks from the pile left over from remodeling the house. Jacinto chipped old cement away from the bricks.
He mixed up cement from a bag, troweled the cement and bricks into place.
Here’s the final brick, buttered with cement, inserted into the wall.
Jacinto smoothed and pointed the cement, filling gaps.
And now we let the cement dry and cure overnight, to make it ready for painting.

 

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Hauling out the holiday lights

After lunch, Steven climbed the ladder into the storage loft in the garage — and began passing down to Jacquela boxes stuffed with holiday ornaments and lighting.

Working under the eaves and in the trees into the dark, surrounded by a herd of nearly 20 incurious and incautious deer, Jacquela and Steven hung white string lights at the eaves of the house and thee red-lit wreaths at the oak trees in the forest outside the front of the house.

It’s a start on the first major holiday in the house on Emerald Hill.

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Notes, 13 Feb. 2016

Noemi and her team began cleaning up Emerald Hill, getting it ready for Jacquela, Jadin and Steven to move in.

We are about to start the move-in countdown.

Noemi and her team took the protective cardboard off the stairs, cleaned up the construction mess, to reveal a work of art -- hickory risers and treads, steel balusters and handrail, stair lights recessed into the wall.
Noemi and her team took the protective cardboard off the stairs, cleaned up the construction mess, to reveal a work of art — hickory risers and treads, steel balusters and handrail, stair lights recessed into the wall.

In this Saturday chapter, Jacquela and Steven:

  • Donated more boxes and bags of stuff to Goodwill, continuing to clean out Sea Eagle.
  • As we sorted, we set aside a notebook in which Jadin drew pictures of Reboot. We miss our dog.
  • Assembled the wire shelving for the pantry at Emerald Hill.

DSC_9810

  • Visited Lowe’s to check out ceiling fans.
  • Discovered bumpers for the steel shelving in the pantry at the Container Store — along with plastic liners for each shelf.
  • Began boxing up artwork, taking down shelves and patching walls at Sea Eagle.
  • Came up with a potential solution to hide the tankless water heaters — a shoji screen or ceiling-mounted sliding door for the mudroom, and a ceiling-mounted folding door for the laundry room.
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Notes, 9 Feb. 2016

David and Kevin from Brian Chilton Design arrived to complete the stair balusters. That’s David at left, in photo above, talking Ron Dahlke through the timeline to take off the clamps.

Steven assembled the Ikea cabinets for Jadin's closet, test fitting different positions with Jacquela.
Steven assembled the Ikea cabinets for Jadin’s closet, test fitting different positions with Jacquela.
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Is Freddy the owl back?

Way back when we first started this little adventure, there was an owl living in the owl house attached to an oak tree adjacent to the kitchen.

Jadin named it Freddy.

Today, we spotted an owl ensconced at the edge of one of the exhaust ducts on the second floor above the kitchen and master bedroom. The ducts are still open; they have not yet been capped.

Ron said he would research how to encourage the owl to leave what we hope is not a nest, without harming the owl. He also plans to remove and replace the duct, on the presumption that the owl does what all living organisms do — purge waste.

The adventure continues …

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Notes, 14 Jan. 2016

Above, the plumbers installed the pot filler at the cooktop. But it needs an escutcheon. Ron said he will ask Jonelle at Ferguson … Ron also reports that one of the faucets in the master bath does not shut off correctly. He suspects the cartridge needs to be replaced. He asked Barry at Custom Plumbing to work this question.

As Steven arrived this morning at Emerald Hill, he met Christine, who said she lives around the corner. “Is this your house?” she asked. Yes, said Steven. “It’s beautiful. We’ve been watching all the work. Are you happy with the work?” Thank you, said Steven, and yes we are happy. “Good,” she said, “there’s a lot of remodeling now in this neighborhood, and new families with kids moving in. It’s a wonderful neighborhood and now we know who to ask if we decide to remodel again.” Steven pointed to the Ranserve sign at the fence. Call Ranserve, he said.

In the late afternoon, Steven got a chance to relate this story to Ron; it’s the first feedback on this adventure from a neighbor.

Ron reports he stepped on a nail while inspecting another job site. “It was the side of my shoe,” he said.

Steven approved change orders 21 and 25. $5000. CO 21 addresses the additional costs for lumber during framing after we sliced into the framing budget to help pay to replace the oak flooring that could not be saved. CO 25 addresses the additional concrete for the pavers that will comprise the front and side walks, removing some of the original front walk, and the survey needed to calculate impervious cover if we pour the concrete. According to the surveyors, we are good to go with City of Austin rules that limit impervious cover to 45 percent.

Matt from Ranserve picked up from Lights Fantastic three shop lights that are needed to complete the electrical install in the garage.

Steven delivered the third exterior light needed for the back, side and garage doors, caps that Ron needs to close off irrigation lines that will otherwise run under the new pavers for the new walks, floor stops ordered from Amazon, the Ring door chime needed for the front door.

A team from Celis Drywall walked the house looking for ceiling cracks to repair. There are cracks in the kitchen ceiling, at the top of the stairs, in the train room, in bedroom 4, and other minor repairs. The weather cycle — warm and humid alternating with cold and dry — is opening and closing joints because of expansion and contraction. Steven was told, “this is normal. We know how to fix it.”

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Notes, 13 Jan. 2016

A rare day when Steven did not make it to Emerald Hill.

Instead, he pulled an “all-nighter” and “all-dayer” recovering his desktop computer from the Windows “Blue Screen of Death.”

This blog post is produced on the recovered machine, so let’s consider that progress. There’s a long road to still travel.

Steven did take a break today to order the glass doors for the fireplace; to talk with Mark Rehberg about how to sign off on the concrete that Ranserve has to pour at the front and side walks when the change-order software is not working — we agreed to work from a note or other document that allows us to circle back to proper procedure when the software is running again; took delivery from Amazon of the Ring door chime for the front door; and purchased a lottery ticket, just because $1.5 billion is so *&^% compelling.

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Catching up, questions

Steven spotted several items to talk with Ron about …

Above, the ceiling fan in the master bedroom is centered in the center of the ceiling. Duh! But … it is not centered over the bed. The black line annotating the photo locates the approximate center line between the two 4-inch can lights over the bed. Jacquela wants the ceiling fan centered over the bed. Steven will discuss with Ron. This will probably become a change order. Expensive illustration of how you just can’t catch every small detail until all the parts start to assemble into a finished room.

Why did the plumbers or electricians open up the drywall where the tankless water heater will mount in the mudroom?
Why did the plumbers or electricians open up the drywall where the tankless water heater will mount in the mudroom?
The ceiling fan in the family room is too low. There's about one foot between the top of Jacquela's head and the bottom of the light kit. The "problem" may be the mounting post. It looks like it's six or eight inches tall. Steven remembers asking for a 3-inch post from Lights Fantastic. That shorter post would raise the fan closer to the ceiling -- which means Mark Rehberg from Ranserve, at six-foot-something tall, won't get a haircut if he walks under the fan while it spins. Something to discuss with Ron.
The ceiling fan in the family room is too low. There’s about one foot between the top of Jacquela’s head and the bottom of the light kit. The “problem” may be the mounting post. It looks like it’s six or eight inches tall. Steven remembers asking for a 3-inch post from Lights Fantastic. That shorter post would raise the fan closer to the ceiling — which means Mark Rehberg from Ranserve, at six-foot-something tall, won’t get a haircut if he walks under the fan while it spins. Something to discuss with Ron.
White PVC drain pipe under the sink in the mudroom bath. Can we swap this out for chrome to "dress it up?"
White PVC drain pipe under the sink in the mudroom bath. Can we swap this out for chrome to “dress it up?”
Before departing on business for a week, Steven reported to Ron that a seam was buckling in the ceiling of the family room where two sheets of drywall meet. Someone has now started to carve the sheets apart. Something to discuss with Ron.
Before departing on business for a week, Steven reported to Ron that a seam was buckling in the ceiling of the family room where two sheets of drywall meet. And the buckling is traveling toward the kitchen, from where Steven shot this photo. Someone has now started to carve the sheets apart. Was the drywall installed correctly? Is structure shifting in the house? Something to discuss with Ron.
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Notes, 11 Dec. 2015

Steven visited Brian Chilton Metalworks today, delivering the metal mask that will be mounted over the fireplace. Brian will design a mount for the mask and match the patina from the mask when he finishes off the stair balusters and handrail.

These are the heavy metal brackets that Ron will slide under the quartz island countertop to support it across the seating bridge.
These are the heavy metal brackets that Ron will slide under the quartz island countertop to support it across the seating bridge.
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