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Thread: Adventures in DIY

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter eldergill View Post
    I find stuff that's "not so hard" ends up taking about 5 hours

    Pete
    If it's plumbing, and it only takes five hours, I'm happy.

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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter eldergill View Post
    I find stuff that's "not so hard" ends up taking about 5 hours

    Pete
    No kidding. I decided to put an attic ladder in the garage. After cutting the opening in the sheetrock, I found that, before I could put the ladder in, I would first need to do some rewiring. Seems whoever put that outlet on the far wall decided they'd just run the wire right across the middle of the attic rather than going along the wall.
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  3. #33
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    Trebuchet's rule of DIY plumbing: If it involves turning off the water to the whole house, call a professional. Same goes for electricity, I suppose.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  4. #34
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    I've done plumbing where I had to turn the water off to the house - for instance when I put in a new valve for a shower (there isn't a general cutoff for the bathroom - older house). The key there is to plan ahead: Get everything you need for the plumbing, try to make sure you don't forget anything, and fill a few containers with water for use while the water is off.

    It does depend on the scale of the project, of course. There are things I'll call a plumber for, but that's rare.

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  5. #35
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    Calling this thread back from the dead for an update. The master bath remodel stalled for quite some time due to the physical limitations I mentioned previously. But the doc recently found a medication to improve my mobility, so I've resumed the project with a vengeance.

    Here's the old single-sink vanity, taken shortly after I started the project:



    After ripping out the old carcass, replumbing and rewiring for the planned double vanity, sheetrocking, mudding, texturing, and painting, here's where I was last week:



    Being a Federal employee, I just had a 3-day weekend which I stretched into four in order to really get things done. In the first two days, I managed to install the cabinetry, vanity top, sinks, etc., as seen here:

    [Photo missing]

    Oh...and sometime during the previous week, I installed new track lighting.

    I still have to attend to a couple of other details, like installing the toe kick trim. Then comes tile, for the backsplash, floor, and tub surround. But that will have to wait a bit. Not long ago, my wife and I decided to pull the trigger on a new closet system. Ours is very old...maybe even original to the house, built in 1984...and since I moved the closet door, we now have some unused space. The system kit should arrive on or about Thursday, so I spent much of the latter half of my weekend to ripping out the old system and prepping the walls and ceiling for fresh paint.

    Add to all of the above, a run to the landfill with a truckload of project waste, a couple of trips to the home centers, and other errands. Brett was a busy boy this weekend.
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  6. #36
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    I like that center cabinet. Very nice.

  7. #37
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    Its not complete until you reinstall all the clutter around the sinks . Nice work, want to come and do my house
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  8. #38
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    I did the kitchen floor (and downstairs hall floor) for my parents place a few years ago. Turned out well but we're regretting not putting the underlay under it; some of the tiles are cracking now and stuff. . Now we know at least. Dad and I also put the bulk of the kitchen together too.

    Nowadays, mom and dad have got a contractor in finishing up the bulk of the house projects that were left. They got tired of having a lot of things 75-90% done and decided to refinance a bit and get it all wrapped up. Of course since someone else is doing all the work, they have no outlet for their reno urges, so they're looking at my Condo now. :P

    Our plans are to put crown molding around the main living areas; a tile backsplash in the kitchen and bathroom, and a slat board storage system in the laundry room once we can find the product. (We bought a box of slat boards, but it was the last box and had a lot of damaged tiles, and now dad can't find any more in his company's system. We may need to go with a different product now. )

  9. #39
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    Very nice. I have a half-remodeled bathroom that could use tending to, when you're done there. What are you doing for the floor?

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Its not complete until you reinstall all the clutter around the sinks . Nice work, want to come and do my house
    1. Most of the pictured clutter consisted of tools. The Wife would not approve where the new vanity is concerned.

    2. The Wife has more work planned for me, I'm afraid...and you can't afford me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taeolas View Post
    Turned out well but we're regretting not putting the underlay under it; some of the tiles are cracking now and stuff.
    I've already tiled the shower area and closet, where I used ¼" HardieBacker cement board as the underlayment. It makes for a solid, tile-friendly surface but screwing the stuff down is a chore. The outer bathroom floor is raised above the main subloor and since it has a squeak or two (to be fixed), there is some concern for movement down the road. So, I'm going to use Schluter DITRA underlayment this time. It acts as a decoupling layer, providing the tile bed some mechanical isolation from subfloor movement. For a given area, it's more expensive than backer board but it looks much easier to install. Instead of scoring and snapping the boards and driving a few hundred screws, I'll cut the material with a utility knife and apply it with thinset. That alone is worth the cost to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    What are you doing for the floor?
    The aforementioned tile:



    It's a beige travertine-looking ceramic tile: 9 x 12 on the floor (as in the picture), 6 x 6 for the tub surround, and bullnose trim for the vanity back splash. That's a mocha-colored grout.
    Last edited by PetersCreek; 2014-Aug-27 at 08:53 PM. Reason: Repaired image link
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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    It's a beige travertine-looking ceramic tile: 9 x 12 on the floor, 6 x 6 (as in the picture) for the tub surround, and bullnose trim for the vanity back splash. That's a mocha-colored grout.
    You can't expect me to actually go back and review the entire thread, can you?! Nice tiles. We redid our bathroom floor in similar tiles, though we used a . . . I think it's called a "hopscotch" pattern (see attachment - dark gray area is the repeating pattern)? Dunno. My brother's the union tile guy. He did the work. And our grout is almost the same beige as the tile itself.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I've done plumbing where I had to turn the water off to the house - for instance when I put in a new valve for a shower (there isn't a general cutoff for the bathroom - older house).
    Last time I had to shut off the main, I installed additional shutoffs. Now, every leg has it's own shutoff in the basement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    The key there is to plan ahead: Get everything you need for the plumbing, try to make sure you don't forget anything....
    Impossible! You never have all you need for the plumbing.


    The last room I did was a bathroom. It cost almost twice as much as when I redid my kitchen (I replaced all the cabinets, trim, floor, etc. but didn't replace the major appliances).
    But; the bathroom was a complete down to the stud/joist remodel. The previous owners left me with a floor the consitancy of SpongeBob. I didn't need tools to pull the subfloor out. I just needed to yank or pound in what was left of the nails.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Last time I had to shut off the main, I installed additional shutoffs. Now, every leg has it's own shutoff in the basement.
    My shower is the only section of plumbing without it's own cutoff, which is ridiculous since the shower has it's own access panel in the back of an adjacent closet. When they put that in, why wouldn't you install a shutoff? The valve is leaking, and needs replaced. I keep putting it off because I'm not doing it until I can also cut in a shutoff valve. Shouldn't be *that* hard, but you know how those things go. And I've never soldered anything before, so that might be an adventure.

    Impossible! You never have all you need for the plumbing.
    Agreed! When I put in my new garbage disposal in the kitchen sink, it only took *two* trips to the hardware store (three if you count shopping the units the first time prior to actually buying one.) That's the most successful I've ever been when dealing with plumbing-related hardware purchases. When I put my vanity in the bathroom, I think I made a total of four trips in addition to actually buying the vanity+sink and faucet.

  14. #44
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    Speaking of plumbing, I've reached another (and pretty much last) major milestone in the master bath remodel: the whirlpool tub.



    We bribed friends (with food) to come over and help lug it upstairs and set it in the mortar bed. The water supply still needs to be connected and the base needs to be paneled but the hard part is over. About the paper wrap...our cats took a liking to crawling under the subfloor through the drain cutout. In fact, we had to pause installation today when Abigail sneaked in behind our backs. We tried rattling the treat bag. No dice. After a bit of banging on the floor and gentle probing with a length of PEX tubing, she finally sauntered out like it was her idea in the first place. Good thing I checked one more time.
    Last edited by PetersCreek; 2014-Aug-27 at 08:56 PM. Reason: Repaired image link
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  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Good thing I checked one more time.
    Yeah, good thing. Nice looking tub.
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  16. #46
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    My 90 year old father had a stroke in August that left him partially paralyzed on his left side. He will be returning home from the rehab program in the middle of March. The small bathroom (5'8" x 8'6") on the main floor of his house was unsuitable for someone in a wheelchair, so I took on the task of renovating it.

    The sink needed to be replaced with a cantilever model so that a chair can be wheeled under it. The bathtub needed to be replaced by a barrier-free shower so that the chair can be moved right into it and also to the adjacent toilet. It took me six weeks, and I finished the major part of the job two nights ago.

    Before, views from entrance. There's no getting a wheelchair into here!


    Demolition. I discovered abandoned plumbing from a previous renovation, rotten floorboards and a joist, and that some remediation had been done earlier. I gutted the room. 400 kg of wood and probably 600+ kg of plaster came out of there. In addition to replacing the rotten joist I also added extra joists because cutting them down to allow the barrier-free shower weakened the floor.


    Mortar in the recessed part of the floor before covering by the Kerdi shower form, then mortaring in the heated floor::


    cont...

  17. #47
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    ...cont:

    Double checking the floor tile layout before starting with the mortar. That's the Kerdi membrane visible in the shower area, and Ditra isolation membrane on the flat part of the floor. Another strip of Kerdi went over the joints between sections of the membranes and in all the corners:


    The sink:


    Lot's of room for a wheelchair now! Needs paint on the other walls and ceiling, shower curtain, some bars and the lights installed.


    Now, back to my regular job.

  18. #48
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    I'm impressed, folks! I used to buy houses and remodel portions of them during my down time. These days I live in an apartment! I can move furniture and hang pictures on different walls...

    I still do all my own work on my car. Does that count?

  19. #49
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    Sorry to hear about your father Torsten, but awesome job on the reno!

    It's funny this thread had been brought back up yesterday, but I didn't notice it. I just pulled it up because I have a quick Q about plumbing, for anyone knowledgable in such things. My shower has an access panel behind it (in the back of an adjacent closet) and I need to get in there and install a shut-off valve. The shower is the only thing in our house that doesn't have a shut-off, and I need to do some work to the faucet. In order to do that, I have to shut off the main line. I'm afraid if I get in there and find out it's going to take longer to fix than expected (always a possibility!) I'll be stranded with no water in my house until it's fixed.

    So, the line feeding the shower is a 1/2" copper pipe (I need to re-check on the size, but I think that's what it is.) I thought I had read somewhere that to install an in-line shutoff valve you have to solder it in. Then I came across something yesterday that was a DIY guide that just used the compression washers/nuts and didn't involve any soldering.

    Can you install it that way? I've never soldered, and while I *think* I could do it, having a torch that close to the studs and lathe (it's a plaster wall) makes me nervous, plus buying soldering equipment is an extra expense. If I can avoid doing that, great. If not, there will soon be a Fazor running around with a torch in his possession. Does the world really need that?

  20. #50
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    Fazor, your shower job would violate Treb's first law of DIY plumbing: I never even attempt anything that would require shutting off the water to the whole house, for just the reasons you state. I suppose you could apply that to electricity as well, although since every circuit has its own breaker it doesn't really come up.

    Last summer I had an outdoor faucet replaced by a plumber (first law!) and I was thinking he used some sort of compression fitting in the process. I just looked, however, and he soldered on an adapter to allow use of the short bit of plastic tubing to the new faucet. 1/2" copper is likely too heavy for a normal compression fitting.

    Torsten, good luck with taking care of your father. I know how that goes, having just finished seven years of looking after my father, my mother, and my mother-in-law. I am very glad none of them wound up in a nursing home for any length of time. You're doing the right thing.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Fazor, your shower job would violate Treb's first law of DIY plumbing: I never even attempt anything that would require shutting off the water to the whole house, for just the reasons you state. I suppose you could apply that to electricity as well, although since every circuit has its own breaker it doesn't really come up.
    Well, I've violated both laws already. Had to shut off the main water valve to replace quarter-turn shutoffs for hot and cold water when I installed the new bathroom sink, but that was something that I knew wouldn't be an issue to do. Rather, "knew" as well as you can possibly know, since weird things can pop up. Also shut the main breaker to the electricity once, but had to do that in order to install a new breaker in the box itself. That one made me nervous simply because I'd never dealt with any kind of electricity, though the process was incredibly simple. Of course I still invested in a voltage meter so I could check everything from the box itself to the other breakers to the individual lines before and after installing. That was four years ago -- house hasn't burned down... yet.

  22. #52
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    We finished up the crown molding in my new condo a couple of weekends ago. Had the main room done before Christmas, but didn't have time/manpower to get the rest done until recently. It turned out quite well, but because we did the bedroom half and half, it didn't line up as cleanly as the main room did. (Plus there was an outside corner in the bedroom that we cut the long piece a bit too short).

    My condo also has electric heat, and one of the thermostats had been malfunctioning for most of January/Early Feb; meaning I was basically heating my condo from one register. Stupidly I hadn't looked into it until my parents came down and realized my spare bedroom was starting a second job as a pizza oven. Picked up a new thermostat for 10$ (dad's price), hooked up the two wires and its working fine now... But looking at my power bill now I'm wishing I'd done it long before then. Basically DOUBLED my power consumption from what I normally run. *wince*

  23. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    So, the line feeding the shower is a 1/2" copper pipe (I need to re-check on the size, but I think that's what it is.) I thought I had read somewhere that to install an in-line shutoff valve you have to solder it in. Then I came across something yesterday that was a DIY guide that just used the compression washers/nuts and didn't involve any soldering.
    You don't have to solder a shutoff valve but it is the traditional way to go. If this were some other type of copper fitting (tee, elbow) that was to be enclosed in a wall, I'd say solder it. Since this valve will be readily accessible, you could use a valve with compression fittings but in some spaces, getting two wrenches on it can be tough. I think you can go an easier way, like I did.

    I can do a pretty decent job of sweating copper...even next to a stud...but when I plumbed the whirlpool supply, I decided to give the Push To Connect style fittings a try. I just didn't want to solder next to my new tub's plastic plumbing. I went with a pair of GatorBITE valves from Lowe's but
    the (virtual) industry standard is SharkBite. Home Depot carries the brand, including this ball valve shutoff. You might also pick up one or two SharkBite caps. If you run in to trouble, you can push the cap the cut line(s) so you can restore water to the rest of the house while you sort out the trouble.

    As I said, I went with Lowe's version, the GatorBITE ball valve. It's functionally identical to SharkBite. Installation was a snap: just mark the prescribed distance from the end of a cut/deburred/clean pipe, then push the connector on until it seats completely, to the mark. An added benefit of this system is, the valve body rotates freely on the pipe, so if the access or clearance is a problem your can move the handle to a better position. I also took advantage of the fact that these valves connect both copper and PEX tubing. I roughed in the whirlpool supply with copper but when I installed valves, I ran PEX to the tub faucet body with GatorBITE adapters. Easy and no leaks. If it every does leak, a cheap, plastic tool allows me to remove and replace the fitting.
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  24. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    . . . I decided to give the Push To Connect style fittings a try. I just didn't want to solder next to my new tub's plastic plumbing. I went with a pair of GatorBITE valves from Lowe's but
    the (virtual) industry standard is SharkBite. Home Depot carries the brand, including this ball valve shutoff. You might also pick up one or two SharkBite caps. If you run in to trouble, you can push the cap the cut line(s) so you can restore water to the rest of the house while you sort out the trouble . . .
    Awesome PetersCreek. I saw these at Lowe's yesterday, but was in a hurry and all the helpers were busy (I'm not to fond of our Lowe's plumbing supply folk anyway. Some departments are very helpful. They're rather not.) I didn't pick one up because I wasn't sure how they'd work or if you needed a certain type of pipe/thread/seat for them to work.

    The only other thing I was nervous about is it said "simply push them on until they seat. I'll be cutting into an existing line. I can imagine pushing in one direction, but I don't know how I'd then push again in another. For instance, once I cut out a section, I could push the valve up on the upper portion of the pipe, but not sure how rigid the bottom pipe will be, and if it will move enough for me to be able to push it into the seat.

  25. #55
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    Depending on how much movement you can get, you might need a slip coupling as well, it'll connect two pieces of tube that can't move relative to each other by having one end without a depth stop so it'll slide far enough up to clear the other piece before sliding back. You'll need to get the removal tool for that one though in order to release it enough to slide back to seat the other end.
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  26. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    ...I could push the valve up on the upper portion of the pipe, but not sure how rigid the bottom pipe will be, and if it will move enough for me to be able to push it into the seat.
    That could be a problem no matter what kind of connector you use but moreso with the PTC connectors. The pipe seats into the fitting to about 1 inch in depth so you'll need more slack to work with. Do you know what's going on with the pipes down below? There may be some wiggle room to be had but then again, not.

    Also, I forgot to mention that you should check your local plumbing code to see if PTC connectors are allowed. Many allow them in accessible areas...others not at all.

    Although I'm handy and bull-headed enough to tackle this kind of project myself, if you're concerned about getting into a pickle in the middle of the job, perhaps you should consider having a plumber do it for you. It seems simple enough not to cost a fortune...in plumber's dollars, that is.
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  27. #57
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    I had to sweat some Tees into the existing copper lines, but I was fortunate that there was enough give in the line due to an elbow further along the system and a long unrestrained section of pipe beyond that. The shutoffs at the sink and toilet connected with compression fittings. I used PEX for some parts of the plumbing. I quite liked that. Still, there were 18 or 19 sweated connections in there.

    I like that GatorBITE and SharkBite method. I think I'll be buiding one more house at some point, and these are good things to know about.

  28. #58
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    Henrik's suggestion of a slip fitting sounds good. I've used sweat slips but they do make a SharkBite version. The SharkBite website has a How It Works page where you can see a video describing the slip coupling.
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    The Gatorbite/Sharkbite technology is what the plumber used on my outdoor faucet referred to above. It actually caused a problem in that it allowed the faucet, which is was not attached to the outside wall, to spin. Attaching it was awkward at best because there's a brick facing and the hole in the brick was oversized. I wound up sealing it in with expanding foam, which I needed to do anyhow to avoid air infiltration. I'm going to have to look again at the connection to the copper but we're at the other place now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    The Gatorbite/Sharkbite technology is what the plumber used on my outdoor faucet referred to above. It actually caused a problem in that it allowed the faucet, which is was not attached to the outside wall, to spin.
    I discovered the same phenomenon on my father's outside faucet, and didn't realize the explanation was that type of fitting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    Sorry to hear about your father Torsten, but awesome job on the reno!
    Thanks! I wondered whether I'd ever get that job done and see my own home again. It was the longest I've been away in ~24 years. (He lives in Victoria on Vancouver Island and I live ~900 km away in the centre of the province.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Torsten, good luck with taking care of your father. I know how that goes, having just finished seven years of looking after my father, my mother, and my mother-in-law. I am very glad none of them wound up in a nursing home for any length of time. You're doing the right thing.
    He's fortunate that he lives right across the street from one of my sisters, and I have another sister just up the peninsula who visits often. He also has a bunch of grandchildren in town. He's had visitors every day and he's been getting home for the afternoon on the weekends. It's obvious that it brings him great pleasure to be in his own place. We've arranged for a live-in caregiver who will help a certain number of hours a day. He also is eligible for other in-home assistance that the public health care service provides. With all these sources of help we're hoping things will go well. He's working very hard at the rehab place, as he really wants to be able to go swimming again, which is what he did every morning of his retired life until the stroke. We've had him in the pool once already. He's also been able to attend concerts, so he's pretty pampered, all things considered.

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