Prepping lessons from a bath remodel? Yessir. There’s a gaping 24-square foot hole in the Ure master bath this morning. Elaine had a sleepless night thinking about it. “Gives me the heebie jee-geebie’s” is her description of things. Something about fear of insects coming into the house…
As reported Thursday, a hidden water leak is the cause of this misery, but having all the tools in the world and a Lowes half an hour away makes it really a matter of attitude and project management.
This morning, around 9, we will frame out and deck-over. Which will be followed by a liberal application of Bondo all-purpose putty. This weekend Elaine and I will refinish all the walls and the flooring man will be here Wednesday to lay the sheet goods. I always build in a couple of days of “slip time” — even for a simple 1-hour task — because that’s how life works…
For example, I have a number of 3×21″ belts for the belt sander that haven’t been used in 10-years, or so. Brand new, I pulled a 60-grit open-coat and put it on the sander ready to take off some residual glue from the top of the floor joists.
As it was sitting on the bench, there was a “tick” noise. The belt failed sitting still. A real first!
I ran out of 60-grit. Got to looking at the grades others on-hand.. Turns out the belt is joined by a thin strip of heavy paper, glued to both halves of the belt…like so:
This failed because after 10-years in a hot Texas shop, the adhesive loses its grippy and flexy….
This gets me to a point of prepping for Armageddon I doubt anyone has ever gone through: When one moves out of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapon release areas, there is still no getting around the impact of time.
I never figured that sanding belts would be in short supply in the End of Days. But we were stocked-up, just in case.
Another one that’s highly perishable is PVC glue. Oatey makes really good glue, but there’s no getting around solvent penetration over long, long periods…up around 10-years.
Fresh PVC glue is clear, but then it begins to take on a milky look…and that’s when we pick up fresh glue. No use taking chances.
Don’t know if you’ve checked on paint storage. But, we recently got rid of about a dozen, or so, one gallon paint cans because the contents had “skinned over” and were no good.
Super glues have the same problem. Hard tubes are junk.
The two-part epoxies that come in “dual mixing squirters” seem to fare better, but I don’t know if the bond is as good as fresh. I’ll research this and get back to you in a column 10-years from now.
Those paper tubes of construction adhesives, also tend to dry out in 2-4 years, rendering them useless, as well. Ditto the caulking that’s in the gun-ready foil/paper tubes. 2-5 years on those.
(Warm caulk and glue is easier to squeeze than cold tubes, if you’re a newbie to home rebuilding…)
An option is to get everything in hand squeeze tubes made of plastic, but remember even with these you may be looking at 6-10 years of life. The effects of plastic degradation over time are painful. Squeeze tubes are way faster to install.
PVC plastic pipe seems to be OK to the 10-15 year range, and may go 20-25. But the trick here is to remember it depends on the material. Brittles-up over time.
If you’re talking about raw 20-foot joints of pipe (a joint is 20-feet in liquid piping land), it begins to harden noticeably in 10-years, but it probably won’t crack while being worked for 20-25-years.
Once installed, it might go 30-40 years, but something I’ve never seen mentioned is that pipe doesn’t like to move when it gets old. Sort of like people, that way.
Our local rural water purveyors have that problem in spades. Down on the main county road, they have to replace a couple of joints-worth of pipe about once a year.
We’re on what passes for a “mountain” in this part of East Texas. Elevation, base to top, is on the order or 300 feet.
Still, erosion and both a rock quarry and oil fields to the south of us (down hill side a 1/2 mile) may account for the hillside moving a bit.
It doesn’t take much…maybe a 1/16th to a quarter inch per year. But on early PVC? The stuff cracks and breaks…water spews everywhere…and the pipe fixers have jobs-for-life.
Which is why we have a back-up well, but there’s no more certainty to that, either. Takes energy and…
I did mention that solar panels also degrade over time, too?
After 25-years,. it’s common for solar cells to lose anywhere from 10% (good cells) to 25% (or more on cheap cells) of their output? The sun is brutally hot, ice is plenty cold, and the flexing…well you get the idea.
Again, like the human aging process. Hot and cold are less appealing with age, lol…
Material Changes , Too
If it’s been a while since you’ve shopped a flooring job, things have changed. As “value engineering” continues a lot of the sheet goods have become thinner.
The people who sell flooring will go out of their way to convince you that this is an “improvement” but not to my way of thinking.
For one, if you have screws in your decking, you need to fill all the screw heads.
You see, in the “old days” (10-years ago, or longer) the vinyl flooring was thick enough so that you could lay it right up to the walls, and then seal around it with long-life silicone caulking.
Today, the installers insist that all sheet goods should be “floating” – in other words, not edge-bound. “This allows the floor to flex a bit, expand and contract a bit...” so goes the professional pitch. “We get a nice edge by putting in quarter-round.”
Sounds like a crooked sermon, to me. Sounds like an excuse to sell thin sheet goods…lacking dimensional stability.
Frankly, I’m none-too-pleased with this version of “progress.” I like the glued down (*with caulk) edges because it is a very clean looking wall joint. The baseboards and quarter-round are just another thing to get dirty, and if anything ever happened to Scooter, (our bug service fellow) that area behind quarter-round would be the first place any self-respecting bug would set up housekeeping.
There are some limitations to rebuilding modular homes. Again, we’re into manufacturer’s ideas on “value engineering.”
These days, it’s common to be able to order the “northern insulation option” which calls for sidewall framing with 2-by-6’s. But manufacturers continue to go cheap on the floors with 2-by 6’s set on I-beams of steel.
If you build a stick-built home, you can use 2-by-8’s for the joists, and if you put these on 16-inch centers, a 12-foot span is a piece of cake. You would have enough strength to lay ceramic tile, which would be our first choice.
On the other hand, 2-by-6’s on 24-inch centers? Too much flex, too much weight, and it’s a bad engineering call. Maybe the I-beams would work, but color me skeptical.
Things to think about…
Some day, we will sell this place and the 20-park-like acres to move to a city (and a conventional built house). For now, we’re into the “art of the chop saw” which is really the fun of such a place. There are no rules, no permits to pull, no inspectors, no bullshit. Just good common sense and super-strong construction practice.
Which is where my weekend will go.
And update should be forthcoming Monday, but that’s how life goes on the business-end of power tools…
Write when you get rich,