Home Renovations

Discussion in 'General foundry chat' started by PatJ, May 16, 2018.

  1. PatJ

    PatJ Silver Banner Member

    This has nothing to do with castings, but perhaps some ideas for Dave's place.

    My wife said "Don't buy this place, its a dump", but the framing was solid, no termites, and a pretty good and relatively modern HVAC system.
    It did have a bit of the "Bates Motel" look to it when we bought it.
    The woman we bought it from was seriously into "RED" everything.

    We bought it for a good price, but spent 7 months renovating it.

    I think it turned out well.

    New kitchen, new floor tiles, paint inside and out, refinished wood floors.
    Uses water-based floor finish, and really like how that turned out, plus no fumes to deal with.
    I did the granite countertop work in the kitchen. That was not fun at all.
    Total rewire with new panelboard and service entrance. Moved the electric meter outside the fenced area.

    There was a huge overgrown oak tree right up against the back of the house, with gigantic limbs hanging ominously in every direction, and rot in the center.
    It had to go (trees are expensive to remove).

    New fence. There were at least two sets of old concrete fence post bases in the ground.
    I used the smallest gas powered auger to drill new holes in the ground, so that when I hit an old concrete base, it did not grab and spin me around like a rag doll.

    Used a Bosch triple laser device to get the floor tile straight, and that worked like a charm.
    Some of the tile flowed through three different rooms, and no problem with alignment with the laser.

    A few before/after photos.

    I need to cast some transition pieces where the tile meets the wood floor.
    I can't seem to find anything except thin cheap stuff.

    It did become obvious that I am no spring chicken anymore while we were doing the work.
    It takes a lot of Advil to do a project like this at my age.










    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    Red97 and Jason like this.
  2. _Jason

    _Jason Copper

    Looks fantastic!
  3. PatJ

    PatJ Silver Banner Member

    Thanks; it was a whole lot of grunt work.
    Had to rent a full-sized dumpster, and it took a full day to fill it up with demolition stuff.

    The neighbors kept coming over and saying "Hey, we want to hire you to work on our house".
    I said "I have a day job on top of this project; I don't have time or the desire to do this for anyone else".
    You could not pay me enough to do this work every day.

    We had to move 54 boxes of floor tiles at 70 lbs each, plus backer board, plus remove all the old tile (tile is really heavy), and the granite slabs were super heavy even though it was only 3/4" thick.
    I have great admiration for people who do physical labor for a living; its tough and hard on the body.
    Some really good jelly knee pads are a must.
    I was never so glad to finish and get back to pushing a mouse all day.
  4. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    Looks good Pat. I HATE setting tile on the 45. I ran travertine in our house and that was not up for discussion with my wife.
    I had a few wood/stone transition pieces to make as off the shelf stuff never fits right. Many hours later with the planer and half a dozen stains I nailed it. Or rather liquid nailed them down.
    There is good and bad with a concrete slab.

    Lippage will not be tolerated if my feet have to touch it. These work very well and are worth the money. Next time, I would
    just throw the stone down as fast I could and grind the stuff smooth with a machine.

    Here is the stack of rejects. Never buy travertine from homeless depot.


  5. PatJ

    PatJ Silver Banner Member

    I was lucky in that the floor tiles were very consistent, and all the same dimensions.
    I have heard that it can be otherwise.

    The backerboard helped level out the wood floor underneath.

    I had not done any tile work previously, so I spent a few nights watching YT videos on how to lay floor tiles.
    As with backyard casting information, some people on YT offer good floor tile advice, and some offer less than good ideas.
    One just has to know "right" on YT when they see it.
    Generally the guys who do it for a living have the best methods.

    I watched videos for the granite work, and for the floor finishing.
    The water-based floor finish I used is really tough stuff. We used one coat of Bona Amberseal, and then two coats of Bona Mega Clear HD.
    Not cheap, but very durable and no fumes at all.

    There was not much that was useful on YT as far as rewiring an entire house, but luckily I knew how to do that part.
  6. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    The university of YouTube strikes again. Good job. My dad who is 80 uses it to fix stuff at home. He is so proud he fixed the washer machine using YT.
  7. PatJ

    PatJ Silver Banner Member

    I have fixed two different HVAC units by watching YT, as well as a washing machine and dryer.
    I am good at fixing things, but YT will show you the exact sequence, where every screw and bolt is located, how to replace a part, where to buy a part, etc.
    Its the one good feature of YT.

    I replaced my central air handling unit control module when it kept flaming out.
    Same problem kept happening with a new controller.
    I checked the pressure switch, etc. and the same problem kept occurring on and off for years.

    I finally found a video on YT that said "Use steel wool, and clean off the small stainless steel wire that protrudes into the flame".
    I was very skeptical since I had tried everything and I have done a lot of that sort of thing (repair and work on controls).
    I cleaned the electrode, and bingo, the unit has never had a problem since.

    The electrode had an invisible coat of oxide on it, and the controller was passing a small current through the electrode (via a single wire).
    If the flame was present, the flame conducted a small amount of current from the electrode to the grounded frame of the unit, and thus combustion was confirmed by the controller.
    A little oxidation was all it took to stop the current flow.
    A little steel wool was all it took to make it right again.
  8. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    if ya ever need help with an hvac, hit me up. I can usually finger it out.
  9. PatJ

    PatJ Silver Banner Member

    Thanks, I will take you up on that.

    The newer units are safer, but there is a lot more than can cause them to stop working, and the error codes don't necessarily help and don't generally give the right error code.

    The older HVAC units had a gas solenoid, a thermocouple on the pilot light, and maybe a couple of high temperature fuses.
    I had the motor bearings sieze on an old unit, and the gas came on and just kept burning , but with no fan running.
    Luckily I smelled it and was able to turn it off.

    The new units have pressure switches to sense when the fan is running.
    I have had the pressure switch line clog with dirt/dust.
  10. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    The next time HVAC troubles sneak up on you visit this YouTube channel. I know this guy and he's been in the industry forever. The channel has tons of good trouble shooting advice.
    The cardboard sliderule is an amazing tool when it comes to servicing. It's so easy even I can service units correctly.

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