No Floor, and a Floor (and More)

I apologize for not updating until now, but all weekend we have been working until I was literally too tired to do anything more than go right to bed.


So our permit expires on Saturday. City of Alameda is closed on Friday, because Americans just don't understand economics at all (a self-perpetuating system, really). We have inspections scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week, but we really needed to have them last week, and that could not happen because of staffing cuts (see above about Americans and economics).

Last week Noel went in to the city to ask what we could do about this. The answer is that we will get as much inspected as possible and then next week they will issue a new (smaller) permit to finish the work. We'd like that to include as little as possible, so this weekend was all about getting as much ready to inspect and sign off on as possible.

Both days, our neighbor Richard came over and worked tirelessly on finishing up the siding trim. We made a nasty discovery Saturday morning, which was that the bullnose trim piece that we half-assedly did not measure did not fit over the trim. We will have to spend some time on that one and get more made, but that was definitely not going to happen before Thursday. So Richard went around the house basically covering up the building paper so we could final the siding and move on.

(Do we have pictures of this? No. Not for any good reason, but we were working more than we were documenting.)

On Saturday I applied sealant to all the holes in the walls -- I'm not 100 percent sure why, since we had to add OPEN VENTS to the crawlspace, so those neatly sealed holes do nothing for air infiltration. But anyway.

In the meantime, Noel worked on the bathroom floor.

Bathroom floor before

This is the floor before. We are lowering the floor to put in a shower drain, so he had to take up the last pieces of old flooring and cut the joists.

This is why carpenters hate plumbers

And reason #1 why we decided to lower the ceiling downstairs rather than make this floor work. This is what happens when you let a plumber work unsupervised.

Removing the old floor went fast.

Looking up

Then it was time to work on cutting the joists.

The laser level jig

About half Noel's time was spent making and setting up this jig for the laser level. That enabled him to cut each board in the same place, so the floor is level and even. The jig has a cross-piece that holds the level to the right height, and that is supported by a pair of boards, one on either end.

Cutting the joists

Once that was in place, cutting the joists went fairly uneventfully, though with old hard wood it was not easy.

The floor lowered

And the finished work.

Bringing plywood in

Then there was hauling plywood in -- with the requisite logistics.

Glued and screwed

The plywood is two layers of 1/2" plywood, both screwed down, with a layer of glue in between to solidify the floor.

Finished floor

And there's the subfloor.

Blocking around the edges

Then there was the tedious process of adding wood blocking around the edges so that the mortar for the floor doesn't just fall out of the sides and all over the place.

That finished up last night.

In the meantime, yesterday I got almost done with the PEX installation.

The first couple of tubes installed

I started with the powder room, because it was easiest, and ran tubes from the sink location under the floor to the manifold (Noel helped me install the manifold and drill some holes, then took off with the drill to work on the blocking). Then, starting at the manifold and working back to the bathroom, I tightened up and secured the tubing, working out the slack. At the turn under the sink, I tee'd off for the toilet tank filler. It all went pretty fast.

Almost all plumbed upstairs, too

So fast that when Noel took a break from blocking because one last piece was driving him crazy, he helped me get almost all the way done with the upstairs bathroom, too. (We still need to get the drop-ear fittings in the right place before we can be totally done.

The magnificent PEX tool

The key to this speed was the wonderful tool Dan Neumansky lent us, which automatically stretches the fittings so you don't kill yourself working them out with a hand tool. Making a connection took seconds, and boom, there you go, supply plumbing almost done.

We'll finish that up tonight, and get the connection to the main water line ready as well, then I'm planning to hire a real plumber to make the final connections for us.

posted by ayse on 11/17/14