Sunday, January 18, 2009

It Works! But then......

The powder room project has been one big roller coaster ride. You've already heard about the painting fiasco which finally came to a happy ending. Next was getting the high tank toilet in service.

Two more orders and I finally had everything I needed to put the tank in operation. I ordered new flush and fill assemblies from DEA Bath. They weren't cheap, but the quality was impressive - all copper and brass construction. So I enlarged the hole for the flush and installed everything in the tank. I left the back off so I could do a leak test and see most of the joints in the copper tank.

Well 24 hrs with no leaks I was comfortable to hang it on the wall. I finish up the assembly, hang on the wall.... and guess what?? Yep a slow drip. Take it down, clear RTV the solder joints on the inside of the tank, reinstall - and still a leak. Back down, dissassemble everything, and notice the leak appeared to come from the flush assembly donut through the tank. So I RTV the outside solder joints just in case, then reassemble using some putty along with the donut gaskets. Passed the first leak test without back and final assembly test. Back on the wall this time all was good.

Then it took three tries to get the spud on bowl end leak free. Finished the fill line install and it was ready for business. I must say these units have one heck of a flush! I guess the 7 feet of head pressure helps. So all was right with the powder room and finally could concentrate all my energy to the kitchen........ until

The cold came - I mean the REALLY COLD came. Since the plumbing was redone in the bath/kitchen, I've only had one trouble spot with freezing - right where a cold line 90's up and was against a cinderblock skirting the back section of house. I had a fix in mind for this, but didn't get to it yet. Last year I removed the exposed cinderblock and rebuilt the original style beadboard skirt where the deck didn't cover it. Needless to say it's not airtight, but last winter I had no problems, so figured the pipe insualtion was enough.

Then came temps under 10 degrees and the pipes froze.... all of them! So saturday I spend building a sealed/insulated inner wall around the skirt, and was going to heat trace the pipes until I heard some bad things about that. Ended up just adding another layer if insulation. I got as far as freeing up all but the tub lines and thought I was in the clear. Then I hear the noise and it wasn't the tub starting to flow like I thought.

Go under and see the hole in the pipe. No biggie, I'll cut and solder a coupling at the break. Well no coupling in stock, go to HD and back, couple the pipe and take a look around. Hmmmm, how di water spray over here??? Oh hell, another break thawing out. Then another.... five in all. Its about 8pm at this point, and it ain;t getting fixed today. So I cut out the bad stuff and figure I'll leave the powder room out of commision till I feel like going down in the crawl space again. That was till this morning when Rach tried to do laundry. The cold line tees off this run - back in the hole! So brain storm, I go to HD and pick up a pair of valves with the compression fittings to pop on the lines to the tub. 10 minute job, valve them out, and laundry, toilet and bath sink are back in service. At this point the tub can wait till spring.
The last fix was to open up the crawl space to the basement again as recommended by a friend. Since the space is pretty tight from the outside, it should acclimate to the basement temp and keep the pipes even happier. I built a filler piece when I first moved in to seal this off, and didn't want to completely open this up in case of any critters getting in the crawl space, so I ended up cutting in a vent, which will let the air through and the keep any critters out.

Ah, what an adventure this powder room has been.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Obama Express

Guess who made an appearance past the Hall House??!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Making Pre-Hung Doors Continued....

So here's a little more on how I built pre-hung doors assemblies using salvaged doors. There may be better ways, this was just the method I came up with. I lay the door on horses opening direction down. After ripping some 1x pine to the jamb thickness I lay them on each side of the door. I use paint sticks as a gap shim between the jamb sides and door, then pipe clamp together to keep stable. Now I can measure for the header piece. I cut the top piece to length and then I router the thickness of the side jamb pieces into each end of the top (half the thickness of the top piece) This leaves a slot on each end for the side pieces to fit into making a nice tight joint. I reassemble the pieces around the door this time using paint sticks for the top gap as well. Now I can mark my cuts for the bottom of the door, which I also had to allow for the thickness that the kitchen floor will be built up. Once these are cut it's time for final assembly. I nail and glue the top joints and shim between the door and jamb assembly again - using pipe clamps as before to hold things together.

I do some quick checks for squareness and then it's time to brace the assembly so it can be moved around for installation. Using the top measurement, I cut three identical length stick (I used scrap from ripping down the jambs). Marking at measured points down each side I then fasten each support to the jamb having the ends flush with the edge of the jamb. This should guarantee that the width stays true from top to bottom of your built jamb. I also add corner bracing at the top. At this point you should have a pretty sturdy assembly and can now mark and mortise your hinges as I showed earlier.

Finally install as you would any pre-hung door. After the unit is installed, just remove the bracing. You may have to do some minor adjusting during the install depending on the condition of the door (it was surely shaved to fit another opening that wasn't square!), but so far I've had pretty good luck with this method and can do one start to finish in a few hours now.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Appreciation For Pre-Hung Doors

I'm in door mode right now in the kitchen and powder room. The powder room jamb I built and installed a while back, but never fully installed the door in the jamb. This created some problems during the install and not having the door in which left me with a little planing to do.

I picked up a neat tool - a Porter Cable hinge mortising kit for routering doors/jambs. It's fully adjustable to accept any size hinge and any thickness door and door height. So here is a shot setting it up on the jamb. There are little pins you hammer down to hold the jig in place. Then using a router with a guide, you router out the hinge mortise for each. Then remove the jig and square the corners, since I'm using orignal style hinges.

Next you take the jig and place on the door. There are adjustable ends with markings so you can account for the top and bottom clearances when placing the jig on the door. Then repeat the router sequence. The true test was mounting each half of the hinge to the door and jamb - and then pinning the door in place. Wouldn't you know it went right together! Is was a little pricy a tool even second hand - but when I have 15 or so doors to do from scratch, using salvage doors to boot, it was worth every penny.

So for the next door , the dishwasher closet, I built the jamb on saw horses around the door. But this time I mortised the door and jamb, making a complete unit. Then adding some cross bracing to keep things squared up I installed the complete unit into the opening with no problems. A few shims, nail in place, remove the bracing and call it done. Only things to add was the stop trim and mortise the strike plate for the lock.

The next door (basement) I'll go into a little more detail of how I made the jamb since my camera was dead when I did that part....