Deck: Reassembly Part 3

The deck is heading towards the home stretch! Part 2 of the deck reassembly covers many of the repairs (and then some) that the upper deck needed. New band board was put in along with joist hangers (that were nailed appropriately).

What was truly revolutionary were the StairLok stair brackets (purchased from Deck Superstore). Trex does not recommend an unsupported span greater than 16 inches for their product, which is an awful narrow stair. Our stair widths were 36 (lower to upper deck) and 40 inches (ground to lower deck). After some research, we opted for StairLok because they are easier to build, stronger, and use less material than traditional stair building methods. The gallery describes the process for building the stairs.

Preparation: Remove decking, watch rotten post fall away when railing is removed (see Demo post part 3)

Critical Tools: Stairs – carpenter’s square, screw gun, StairLok brackets, 2x4s, screws, chop saw, tape measure

Decking – Healthy amount of patience, well developed curse word vocabulary, screw gun, clamps, jig saw, circular saw, railing jig, level, nail gun, level, tap measure

Skill Level: Advanced/Expert. If you don’t know what you are doing, things will get ugly.

Tip(s): Check the step frame with a carpenters square. The brackets have a tendency to rack. Confirming that the stairs are square saves a ton of headache during the install.

Use a stop block when numerous pieces that same size need to be cut. Check to make sure the block hasn’t slid at regular intervals in the cutting process.

Set up an assembly line: pre-cut all the stair frames and cross bracing. Then start building. Nothing slows a process down like having to constantly switch tools.

Gallery

Master Bath: Reassembly

What comes apart must go back together! After the fun of demo, the master bath needed to be reassembled. We have been enjoying sharing the hall bath with Alex, but it would be nice to have our own bathroom back.

So, what was involved in the reassembly? First, some unplanned work. In the demo post, the recessed medicine cabinet plan was thwarted by the sink vent pipe and forcing the cabinets to become surface mounted. Like a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a hurricane on the other side of the world, the vent pipe location increased the work load. First, the recessed cut out had to be repaired. Then, a box had to be built as a mount for the lights above the medicine cabinet. Why build this box? Without the box, the lights would be shining directly over the medicine cabinet. The box provides the proper clearance for the lights. This would not have been necessary if the cabinets could have been recessed like originally planned.

Second, in addition to drywall repair, was the hanging of new drywall over the newly framed closet and elevated storage area. All the seams needed to be mudded, taped, and mudded. The walls were sanded smooth and were ready for primer and paint.

The toilet was the third stage of the master bath reassembly. A new wax ring and toilet flange extension. The old wax ring is best if used once. A new one cost $6, which is a small price to pay to prevent sewage leaking. The toilet flange extension was required because we increased the depth of the floor. Don’t forget to purchase new bolts as well. Otherwise you might just have to go out to the store. Again.

And finally, the vanity. The vanity is a beast – it was very interesting to carry it up to the main floor from the garage. The quality of the construction was evident when the holes were drilled for the water and sewer lines – no MDF here, but real plywood.

Skill Level: Expert. Why? Drywall. Custom wooden box build. Wiring work (switching out light fixtures). Plumbing work. Drilling a vanity cabinet for plumbing work. Don’t attempt if you can’t put together IKEA furniture. Even if you have, find a friend with construction experience.

Critical tools: All of them. And the kitchen sink for good measure. Select tools: Drywall (spackling knives, drywall saw, screw gun, nail gun); plumbing (PEX crimpers, hole saw, saw to cut pipe); electrical (wire cutters, wire strippers)

Tips:  Add your sink hardware before setting the vanity top on base.

Paint before setting toilet and vanity. Reduces cut in work, saves time.

Try and coordinate drywall for all projects and hire it out to the pros.

Don’t reuse the toilet’s wax ring.

Paint: Benjamin Moore Regal Select Matte Finish Blue Heather (1620).

Vanity: Wyndham Collection Sheffield Espresso

Lights: allen & roth Merington

Medicine Cabinet: Kohler Aluminum Cabinet

 

Laundry Room: Flooring

And so the first overhaul begins! The laundry room is a 8′ 2.5″ deep and 5′ 7.5″ wide. The washer and dryer sit side by side (but are stackable) and there are two free standing cabinets in the room which provide limited storage. The floor has vinyl peel and and stick tile that is popping up in areas; what lies beneath remains to be seen.

What do we want to do to this room? First we want to increase storage space (a problem through out the house) by adding base and wall cabinets. We will stack the washer and dryer, which provides the space for a utility sink. A wall mounted drying rack and shelving will also increase the functionality of the room. From a cosmetic stand point, the floor will be replaced with porcelain tile and the walls will get new paint. The light fixture must also go, but it is challenging selecting a style to go with the log cabin. Check out the link laundryroom for the floor plan, just trade the utility sink and washer/dryer positions (Jess loves graph paper, Dave is not fond of her graph paper creations).

To make this all work, we must start at the base. The floors are first! The peel and stick tiles were pulling up from the old linoleum underneath due to water infiltration. This was never cleaned up properly so there was an interesting combination of hair, lint, and biological growth between the peel and stick tile and the linoleum. The smell was wonderful. The linoleum was then scraped away to reveal particle board! A highly useless material that turns to mush when wet, making it a fantastically superb choice for sub-floor material in baths and laundry rooms.

3/8″ plywood was laid down over the particle board to provide a fresh surface to adhere tile to without having to scrape up 20 year old linoleum paper backing. Ditra, a tile underlayment, was adhered to the plywood with latex portland cement (a type of thinset). The plywood was wetted down with a sponge prior to the application of thinset. The Ditra was left to bond with the plywood overnight and 12″ x 12″ porcelain tiles were set the next day with MAPEI porcelain tile mortar. The mortar was mixed thin and in small batches because the low humidity resulted in a fast drying; the tiles were set in an offset pattern with 1/8″ spacers. The mortar was allowed to harden overnight, and the next morning, the tiles were grouted. Viola! New floor in approximately 48 hours (okay, the area was only about 45 square ft, but it’s new flooring).

Tile: Floridatile coastal sand (purchased at Loveland Design Carpet One Floor and Home)

Why use Ditra? This product has been on the market for some time and in general is raved about. It prevents cracks in tile floors and serves as a water proof membrane.

Why not use cement board instead of plywood? Cement board is fine product for shower walls. It is heavy though and is a challenge to work with. It imparts stiffness which was not needed in this instance, so 3/8″ plywood was an excellent choice for providing a fresh surface to bond to.

Critical tools: Tile saw, notched trowels, mixer attachment for drill

Skill level: High intermediate – Easy peasy if you have laid tile before and have all the tools and knee pads. Dry fit your tiles first. Having the first row of tiles placed properly is critical for the success of this project.

Note: The tiles were not centered on the room. Why not? There will be appliances and cabinets along the edges of the room, so having a full tile on one side and a partial on another (non-symmetrical) will be difficult to notice. For a room that would have been more open, we would have centered the tiles for symmetry.