Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Feeling like home

Wow, time has been flying by. Lots of "normal" work to do, so we've only been working on the house a few hours each night.

We started the weekend by organizing the piles of tools and stuff. I took a hint from my dad and bought two small tool boxes, one for plumbing and one for electrical. I also bought a tool bag thing with lots of pockets. We're not 100% organized yet, but things are much tidier.



We got tired of staring at a non-working kitchen faucet, so we spent some more time under the house running the supply lines. I'm a huge fan of the Shark Bite fittings and PEX pipe. Instead of completely drying the copper and using the torch in tight places, I can quickly tap into the main lines and use a minimum of fittings.

Here's how I tapped into the cold and hot water lines:

I had started by building some 2x4 supports for the three stub-outs that extend into the island sink cabinet. This shot shows the hot/cold lines for the sink, hot line for the dishwasher and shock arrestor on the hot water line:

Here's the three stub-outs going up through the floor...

... connecting to the shut-off valves under the sink:

After getting some drain plumbing advice on Terry Love's forum, I ended up redoing the drain. I replaced the 1-1/2" vertical pipe with 2", and used a Santee fitting instead of the supply tee I incorrectly used the first time. I wasn't quite as careful with the PVC primer this time.

After cleaning up the tools on Saturday, I started laying some more floor in the TV area. Jen came home about halfway through and helped me finish.

On Sunday, we headed up to Costco Home and picked up our dining set. Once again, the Jeep roof rack saved us a delivery charge. We had to unpack the chairs to get 'em in the back, though. We barely got everything to fit!

When we get back from California, we'll run the electrical to the island and undercabinet lighting, then install the dishwasher.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Got drain, need water

We made our temporary plywood countertop for the island the other night and attached the undermount sink to it. It sure is nice not having a pile of unusable cabinets in the middle of our kitchen anymore! We have some framed end panels for the island that I'll attach when we get done with the plumbing. They basically look exactly like the cabinet doors, and there will be two per side.

The island is massive. In fact, the whole kitchen really has a "workplace" kind of feel to it, which I really like. I can't wait to get our concrete countertops done so I can roll out some pizza crusts!

Last night we plumbed the sink and disposal drain for the island. I'm not sure if code requires separate p-traps, but I chose to do it anyway because it's far superior than using one. I also put a couple 45-degree fittings in place of a normal tailpiece so we don't have to worry about hearing water dripping into the trap.

Using the air admittance valve to vent the system eliminated a lot of pipe and really made for a clean installation.

Under the floor, I transitioned to 2" ABS using a rubber reducing sleeve. I added a couple long-turn fittings and a cleanout, and then connected the new pipe to the old sink drain pipe.

I'm going diving tonight, but I hope to hook up the water supply lines after that. I was going to use copper, but I have Shark Bite fittings and some PEX here, so I'll probably use that with some copper stub-outs to run the sink and dishwasher supply lines.

After that, I'll have to figure out how I'm going to get power to the island. =)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More plumbing

At long last, the island cabinets are set in place. It was tricky because the floor is not totally level there, and the island basically was high centered where the addition and old house meet. After some careful shimming, though, I managed to get everything reasonably level. I used some small finish nails to keep the shims in place in the middle of the island, and I sunk a few 3" screws through the sides of the cabinets at the bottom to keep the island in place.

We picked up a sink the other day, so tonight we're pretty much ready to run the plumbing and electrical. I think I'll put a separate p-trap on the sink and disposal and vent them both using the same air admittance valve. I plan to use 1-1/2" PVC under the sink and transition to 2" ABS under the floor using a rubber sleeve. Should be fun!

Our super fancy dancy expensive Electrolux oven requires service not 24 hours after being turned on. We were watching TV Friday night, and when we got up to go to bed, we noticed the oven light was on. No amount of futzing with the Star Trek Enterprise-like control panel would remedy the problem. A quick Google search revealed that one of the boards was likely bad and would need to be replaced.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Looking like a kitchen

This will be a quick post just to show you our progress on the kitchen. Over the past couple days, we've only put in a few hours each night because I've had a lot of other work to do. We did manage to get the fridge plumbed, 220V circuit installed, set all the outside cabinets and installed the microwave and oven.

Here are a couple shots of how it's looking so far (sorry for the fishbowl effect -- I was using my wide angle lens):

Fortunately, the Electrolux oven only required a 20-amp circuit, so running the 12-3 line and adding the tandem breaker was no big deal (our other range had massive 6-gauge wire on a 50-amp circuit!). I dropped it down the wall behind the oven and into a cut-in box in the wall. Then I ran it into a metal j-box inside the cabinet, behind the drawers under the oven. When I built my oven shelf, I made it about 2" short so the metal conduit coming out of the oven could drop behind to my j-box. It made for a really nice, tidy installation.

Big thanks to Erik for helping me while I modified the cabinet and then swinging by again tonight to help me heft the 200-lb oven into place!

Next... plumb the cooktop gas line, build temporary plywood countertops, set the island cabinets and plumb the sink and dishwasher!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One step closer

We've been pretty busy with non-house stuff the past couple days, so progress has been slow. Jen installed all the crawlspace insulation we bought the other day, and sold two of our old windows, our old movie room lights and some trim we ripped.

We also installed the Watts hot water recirculator, and, boy, does that thing make a difference! We used to wait for at least 30 seconds for hot water, but now it's pretty much instant. I was going to get the version where you install the pump under your sink, but ended up getting one where the pump goes on the water heater, which made for a cleaner install.

If you've never seen these, here's how they work: the pump goes on the hot water outlet from your water heater and runs on a schedule you define with a timer thingie.

Then you install a little temperature-controlled valve on the faucet furthest from your water heater.

The valve connects your hot and cold lines (creating a loop), and opens when the hot water temp drops. If the pump is running, pressure in your hot water line is higher than your cold line, so water from your hot line will be pushed into your cold line, where it will eventually make it back to the water heater. This action draws new hot water into the hot line.

Yesterday, I helped with an Open Water scuba class, and then came home to work on getting the hood installed. Installing a hood isn't particularly difficult, it's just that we didn't add any blocking to support it before we sheetrocked that wall. Our main bathroom is on the opposite side of that wall, and we plan to remodel it eventually, so the best option was to install the blocking from that side. Here's a shot of me in my dive underwear opening the wall with the sawsall:

Once I had the wall opened, it was relatively easy to add a couple horizontal 2x4's between the framing. The only difficult part was that the bathroom vent pipe was right in the middle, but I was able to slip the blocking behind it (on the kitchen side).

With the blocking in place, installing the hood was simply a matter of screwing the hood and the duct cover support to the wall. I had previously laid everything out on the wall so the hood was level and centered over the cooktop cabinet. The laser level I bought the other day really comes in handy for this kind of task when you're working by yourself.

After the hood was secured to the wall, Jen and I ran a new 15-amp circuit first to the outlet for the cooktop, then up to the hood. If we had run the electrical before sheetrocking the wall, I probably would have tapped into the existing 20-amp circuit that the kitchen outlets are on. However, this would have been a mistake because that's a GFI circuit, and the cooktop manual says it might trip a GFI circuit. So, in hindsight, the extra effort is probably going to pay off.

The only other thing to do with the hood is to get the stainless duct cover cut down. The hood comes with two covers that fit together so you can telescope them to the right length. Both of them are too long for our ceiling, so we'll have to take it to a sheet metal shop and have them cut it down with a waterjet or laser or something.

Our plan today is to get a couple little things at Home Depot, then hopefully finish plumbing the fridge, relocate the 220V outlet for the oven, and start setting some cabinets.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So close, yet so far

We moved all the cabinets into the house to make sure they were all okay. Turns out the cabinet above the fridge is too tall, so McLendons is replacing it with a shorter one. All the others appear to be good, with the exception of some rub marks that we'll try to remove.

Before I can set the cabinets, I need to do a few things (in order of difficulty):

1) Install two outlets (trivial)
2) Run the fridge plumbing (pretty minor)
3) Move the 220V circuit (not too bad)
4) Install power for the cooktop (gotta decide which circuit I want it on)
5) Install vent pipe and electrical for exhaust hood (pain in rear)

The hood is the stumbling block at the moment. The wall it will mount to has studs 24" OC, so I'll need to open the wall and install some blocking to properly support the hood. However, it just so happens that the stinking drain vent pipe is right in the way.

Also, we need to decide what we're putting on the walls above the countertop and behind the hood. We've talked about using tile, but that should really be in place before I do the hood so I know where to position it.

At any rate, here are some photos of the cabinets. We've temporarily positioned the island cabinets together, but they are several feet from where the island will actually go so we have space to work on the base and wall cabinets.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The floor is looking pretty awesome

We made some pretty good visible progress today. Up until now, the old living room was basically a dirty junk pile. We decided to empty it out, tear up the carpet, and run the flooring into it. Here's what it looked like before we took the carpet out:

Fortunately, Jen still had the phone number for a lady who wanted our used carpet, so we managed to get that out of the house within a couple hours. Here's a couple shots of Jen and Mr. Finch (Jen's dad) selecting and placing boards once the carpet was gone:

By the time we quit at 11:30 PM, we had quite a bit of flooring down. So far, we've gone through 17 boxes of flooring, which is about a third of what we bought. Here's a few shots of where we're at:

Here's a little video Jen shot while Ken and I were laying the floor. Imagine doing this all day long:

Our goal for tomorrow is to finish the floor in the kitchen and bring in the cabinets. First, I need to cap the old drain pipe and fridge water line. I also need to drop an outlet behind the new cooktop and finish moving the old 220 outlet to its new location, but I'll probably do the electrical after I temporarily place the cabinets. If things go well, I'm going to trick Erik into helping me install appliances on Wednesday while Jen and Erica go to Knit Night at Starbucks. =)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Painting in the rain

We worked well after dark last night trying to finish priming the siding on the house, and we ended up finishing the shed in the rain this morning. Jen worked the brush on the tight spots, while Ken and I used rollers on the big spots.

After putting all the paint stuff away this morning, we set to start in on the floor. It was still raining lightly, so we set up the 10x10 canopy to create a covered work area right outside the slider.

Laying floor takes a lot of hand tools...

... and a lot of power tools ...

... some very careful measuring ...

... and a smidge of elbow grease.

It took us several hours to get about half of the first row down. That's because the first row has to be perfect or the rest of it will be out of whack. The real kicker is that we're shooting for a super tight fit against the slider and two windows so we have the option to not trim that out. It'll probably take us another hour or two to finish the first row tomorrow, and then we should make a lot of progress quickly with the following rows.