Monday, December 2, 2019

Thanksgiving Skylight

Thanksgiving: A time for family, relaxation, good food, sport on TV.....or in our case, time to install a skylight in the entrance hallway. The hallway was always dark, and even though we improved it a lot by getting rid of the black floor tile, it was still markedly dim.

This project started with lifting some of the sheeting we installed in the attic, peeling back the insulation and disconnecting the hallway lighting fixture.


A blank canvas:


I cut out an opening in the ceiling with the oscillating tool and then installed 2"x 6" bracing before the joists were cut out with a combination of my brand new cordless circular saw and the OT.


Framed around the opening with more 2" x 6" lumber which was installed with the trusty nail gun.


Blocking was installed at the attic side to make sure the framing was absolutely solid.


Time to cut a hole in the roof - I cut this from the outside with the new circular saw, which meant no screwing around with extension cords on the roof. It's not obvious in this photo, but we did support the rafter at both ends before it was cut out.


Installed 2" x 6" framing around the opening and the rough edge was trimmed with the oscillating tool.


Went back up on the roof to tear off the shingles around the opening. The weather took a turn for the worse during this operation....


It was a very odd feeling looking through the roof, through the floor, through the open front door and back outside.


The skylight was very carefully aligned over tut 'ole, and we installed the flashing kit which is best explained here.


Patched the roof around the skylight with a variety of shingles...


Ten minutes later it was pouring with rain!


Framed out the lightwell.


Installed the drywall at the lightwell.


All exposed joints were taped at the attic side...


Wrapped the attic side of the lightwell with R30 fiberglass.


Came out nice !!!


*Yeah....we'll plaster it at some point I guess...

Monday, November 25, 2019

Entrance Hallway Floor

Welcome to our entrance hallway; it was a lot darker than in looks in this photo. Obviously the slate black tile had to go, apart from the color, it was out-of-wack with the hardwood we have throughout the rest of the entry level, and hasn't been fashionable since the early 80s at best. 


We were pretty sure the tile had been installed over hardwood, because there was a height difference, and the hardwood continued into the hallway closet. This proved to be the case, and after fifteen minutes with a hammer and the hardened steel chisel I made at Riddlesdown High we had all the hardwood exposed. So far so good.


Unfortunately, we discovered that the hardwood was moisture-damaged at the perimeter of the tile-covered section. I think this is the result of years of mopping the hardwood -  small amounts of water leach under the tile, and can't evaporate. After doing a quick damage assessment, it became clear we would have to replace about a third of the hardwood in the hallway. This was much better that I had anticipated, but also means more refinishing work.



First though, we had to remove the residual tile adhesive. Most of it came off with the tile or was loose; the rest of it was softened by applying a towel that had been soaked in dilute acetic acid (vinegar) and scraped off wit' tut palette knife...except the boards which will be replaced which we din't b'ther wit. After that was done, I started pulling up the damaged boards. The first thing I found was a missing section of the sub floor, which I had to fix before I could go any further.



Onto the hardwood installation. I started by custom fitting the first two pieces to make a perfect 90 degree angle. This took some back and forth with the plane, but means the new boards will be parallel to the rest of the old ones, and to the boards in the kitchen, and perpendicular to those in the hallway......which they were not before, although they were close.


Laying down the rest of the boards was straightforward.


I installed a random assortment of 4, 6 and 8 inch boards to replicate the originals, however because I modified the the transition at the kitchen doorway, I had to custom-make the last board to fit into a 5.5 inch gap.


Came out pretty nice. Marty would have been happy with that:


The damaged section at the front of the hallway was repaired in the same way, and then I covered all the new boards with paper in preparation for heavy foot traffic.


A few weeks later it was time to road test my brand new belt sander (Makita 9903, if you're interested). There was a height difference between the hardwood in the living room and the section which had been tiled over - I'm guessing the living room has been refinished at some point in the past - so that's where I started. 


I flattened out the hump, with a 40 grit belt, and then went over all the original hardwood with 80 grit until it looked identical to the replaced sections. The entire hallway then had a good going over with the random orbital sander at first 80 grit, then 120. It looked great when it was done:


We got every bit of dust we could off the floor, including vacuuming in all the groves, and then we applied a very light coat of diluted polyurethane varnish, and sanded to 240 grit with the orbital.


Two further coats of polyurethane and it was all done:



The floor in the kitchen was repaired and the adjacent two boards were re-finished in exactly the same way, although not at the same time! (see this post for further details)


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Kitchen Remodel Part Three

The kitchen has been a bit of a slog, mainly because we've had several periods of inactivity while we wait for the next bit to be accomplished by someone else. The wall tile was another example. The tile we chose was handmade, and as a result the tiles are somewhat irregular and a good few are slightly bowed. I really didn't fancy faffing 'round wit tut install myself, so we had a pro bring in his tackle and bust the do-ins out of it.



Finally onto the cabinets!!  Started out by taking off all the doors and drawer fronts and took them down to the workshop for processing. Then we emptied out all the cabinets and gave everything a really good cleaning with degreaser, inside and out, and ripped off the old 70's style baseboard

The hardwood floor in front of the sink and dishwasher was water-damaged, and the board next to it was probably the most beaten up in the whole house, so I pulled them up and took the time to install some new oak flooring. The kick panel was in poor shape so I replaced that too. I'll be coming back to finishing the floor later on.



Once everything was nice and clean I installed the new baseboard. We'll be putting the same baseboard in the dining room and office as well....eventually.


Time for some primer! One coat of primer was all it took to totally transform the look of the kitchen. The key to getting a professional finish, is that you only put on a very thin layer of paint - ultimately this meant that we had to paint two coats of primer, but the overall effect was worth it.




Onto the doors: There were 38 in all, including shelves from the glass-fronted cabinet, and every one had to be thoroughly degreased and sanded to 120 grit.



Followed by two coats of primer, applied with a combination of brushes and a roller...



Then it was back upstairs to paint the top coat - Templeton Gray by Benjamin Moore, if you're wondering.



And then back downstairs to do the same with the 38 door panels. Twice.


The following weekend the doors were re-hung and adjusted. I managed to keep the dicking around with hinge adjustment to a minimum by making sure all the hinges went back on the same doors, and we replaced all the knobs and pulls as part of our crusade to rid the house of fake brass. Here's how it all shook down:




PS...if you're wondering how we did the floor, then watch this space...