Bumble Bee Bathroom – Floor Rebuild

This part was definitely a learning experience.  Who knew that hammering nails was so hard?

After the total destruction of the bathroom floor was complete, I had to rebuild it from scratch.  I modeled the new floor framing based on the old layout with added reinforcement of 2 x 10s to make up for some water damage that weakened one of the main floor joists.  I then also put in new 2 x 8 floor joists and used joist hangers to make sure everything was solid.  This should ensure we have a solid base for the tile floor and tub that we’ll be putting in.

On a funny note, I had about a 20% failure rate for nails.  The 10d structural nails that were required went through the new soft pine like butter, but when they hit the old hardwood joists they would stop and bend.  This made for a longer than anticipated job and it didn’t help that I had to hammer around copper pipes and wiring while doing a contortionist routine on the ladder.

I think the outcome is pretty good though for my first time doing any framing.

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Bumble Bee Bathroom – a.k.a. “The Bomb Shelter”

Trips to the land fill:

  1. 950 Pounds of Cement and Tile
  2. 830 Pounds of Cement and Tile
  3. 1,050 Pounds of Cement, Tile, Cast Iron Tub, and Cast Iron Sewage Pipes

That’s a whopping 2,830 pounds of debris cleared out of this single little 8 by 4 feet bathroom.  WTF?

Needless to say, I never thought it would finish once I started the demolition, but I’m finally there.  I ended up having to tear out the entire subfloor and today I’m going to start building it back again.

Here’s some more pictures of the mortar and tiles finally being cleaned out.

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Bumble Bee Bathroom – Destruction Part 1 of ?

I thought it would take an afternoon to tear out this bathroom.  Wow, was I wrong.

It’s going on 2 weeks now, and I’ve filled up my truck bed with mortar.  I’ve probably carried out about 1,000 pounds of cement.

I can picture the original installers saying “This should last 50 years!”.  And it did.

Back in the day, they would about 3 inches of mortar on the floor then lay the tiles over top.  Also, on the walls, they would put up a wire mesh, layer 3 inches of mortar there too, and then tile over it.  Crazy heavy!

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Bumble Bee Bathroom – Before

Up next on the list is a bathroom renovation.  I like to call this the “Bumble Bee” theme, with the black and yellow.

You can see most of the tile is in relatively good shape, but someone went a little overboard with the caulk.

The toilet uses about 4 gallons per flush and the bath tub finish is pretty much gone.

I’ll be basically gutting the entire thing and starting fresh.

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New Mailbox

The old mailbox just wasn’t cutting it after being engulfed in a giant vine for years.

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Nothing to do with the house, but they tasted really good 🙂  Also the wife made a really good German Chocolate cake.  Both were a hit for our Oktoberfest party in October.

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We are slowly upgrading the lighting throughout the house.  Here is the new light we put over the dining room table.

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Crown Moulding

The crown moulding in the living room and dining room is finally complete.  It might have cost less to have someone else come and install it though, since I ended up wasting about $100 in material due to bad cuts, and I ended up buying a new miter saw.

The wife wanted the largest crown moulding we could buy, and I didn’t realize it at first, but this just magnifies any off angles in the corners.  It also was too large to fit in my old 10 inch miter saw.

I am happy with the outcome though, and it looks much better than my first attempt in our old house in Florida.

I ended up going with coped corners, and that seems like it was the right choice.

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New Windows

We officially decided to bite the bullet and spend some money on new windows.  We could only open about 3 or 4 windows out of the 25 we have in the house, so not only were they really ugly, but they were a safety hazard.  Also, none of them had any screens, so the bugs loved coming in the house when we did actually open some of them.

Everything went well and I’m mostly happy with the outcome.  The big picture window was going to be replaced with 3 double hung windows, but they accidentally ordered them too short, so it seems like we’ll have another month before they’re complete.  Also, it’s been a week now, and we still have the old ones sitting on the back porch…  I’m guessing the workers already got paid, so they don’t have any motivation to come clean up the rest.

Also, if you ever get all wooden windows replaced, I would make sure what type of materials they are going to be replacing the old wood with.  Ours was replaced by an aluminum “wrap” that I’m not too excited about.  If I had known that, I probably would have tried to find a company that would re-do the exterior trim with wood instead.

At least we can open all our windows and they all have screens to keep the bugs out.  Now the rest of the exterior looks bad compared to the new windows, but that is a good problem to have.

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Officially 1/2 of a Plumber

I have the sewage side of the plumbing equation down, so I consider myself 1/2 of a plumber.

“It’s a shitty job, but someone’s got to do it.”

That’s what our “plumber” said as the kitchen sewage was backing up onto the kitchen floor.

I called the plumber because I didn’t want to make matters worse.  The wife was washing dishes and when she drained the sink, water started flowing onto the floor from under the dishwasher.  I crawled under the crawl space to check things out, and sure enough water was coming down from the separate drain where the dishwasher is.

Since I didn’t have a snake to try and clear the clog, I figured I’d call a professional to get this handled quickly.  3 days later the plumber showed up and proceeded to run a hose from outside into the kitchen.  When I asked him if a snake/auger would be better to clear the clog, he said yes, but he didn’t have one (how does a plumber not have one?).  Anyways, he stuck the hose into the pipe, plugged up all other drains, and turned it on full blast.  Nothing happened for 30 seconds or so, but then I heard it give way.  Except it was the pipes behind the kitchen sink giving way to the pressure, and not the clog clearing.

After he explained that the fix would now probably cost $2,000 to fix, since all the kitchen sewage lines would need to be replaced, I kindly paid him his $150 service fee for the extraordinary work accomplished thus far, and sent him on his way.

I decided to tackle the job myself after I bought a snake for $29 and cleared the clog next to the place where the kitchen sewage run entered the main line.  This included demoing the wall behind the sink and dishwasher to get access to the pipes, cutting out the cast iron pipes (no small task), cutting the cast iron pipes in the crawl space, and replacing everything with new PVC pipes.  In all it cost around $100 (plus $150 to the plumber).

Below are some pics of the mayhem (after I had cleaned up the sewage on the floor).

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