A bit of this and that

Today has been a day of bits. While I’d made it down both sides and as far as I can on the front of the house with the cedar, and I’d cut and painted a few furring strips for the back of the house, I’d not made enough to actually start putting cedar strips up. So I started this morning with cutting and painting more furring strips – made more complex by the need for some extra wide ones to go either side of the back door – and those needed planing down to the right thickness.

That whole process took a while, because I had to work out how many I needed – and what the spacing is going to be on the back*. It’s tricky because I’m trying to minimise wood usage, but also trying to work it so that it looks the way we want. The balance is tough.

Anyhow. The strips given their first coat I popped into the bathroom to put up a bit of concrete board. It’s not a high priority job, but the board had got a big chip out of it while it’s been stood in the hall (also, we have had to move it a few times… so why not attach it to the wall).

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(The space on the right of the wall will be a built in shelf for the shower/bath, the space on the left is an obscured glass window to let some real outside light into the bathroom).

It’s odd, and you don’t really get the impact of it from the photo, but it has a weirdly progress-feeling effect. Despite only being a bit of wall that I’ve put up purely because it’s handy to have stuff out of the way, it makes the room feel more complete – and because it obscures the view through the house a bit, it makes the whole house feel more like a house.

Anyhow, that took a little time, so then I put a second coat of paint on the furring strips. Then I started planing the strips for the back of the house… like I said, lots of bits of jobs today.

I paused to go around our trees with our arborist, who’s coming to prune them back for the winter, then ran out and grabbed lunch before heading back for the application of more cedar. It took a while, as it always does, to mark up the position of the furring strips and this was the moment when I worked out that I wasn’t fond of my proposed strip layout. Having pondered some more, I managed to come up with a plan that I think should work and so started attaching the furring strips (well, actually, I’d attached some already, so there’s a random extra strip that’ll be hidden behind the cedar).

Having cut some cedar strips I spent some time applying them. My back, knees and neck are now all killing me… hunching over to paint, plane, cut and apply them for much of the day is not…ideal

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I realised that I didn’t post a picture of the ceiling from yesterday… so here it is:

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And Arksen said they’d refund the cost of the lift, which is good. But bad, in that now we don’t have a functioning lift. I had a look at it to see if it is fixable, and I think if I take this bit, with the hideous failing weld, down to a local welder they could probably fix it.

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It is utter shit though, I mean, it’s half-assedly welded around less than half of the off-centre tube which acts as part of the brake – and which takes all of the load from the drywall from the moment it’s lifted from its endstop. I’m inclined, also, to find some *BIG* washers, so that the load is spread onto the metal arm that supports it, and the bracket, rather than just onto that bit of tube and the weld.

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So we’ll see. It’s either that or rent a better lift for the whole of the job.

* I realised later that while my plan would work, it’d end up with two joints closer than I’d like further down the wall, so ended up tweaking the positioning of the furring strips.

Scaling great heights

So, as the mizzle switched to drizzle to rain, I continued my quest to attach all the cedar to the house. I ran around and used the pinpunch to get the nails I’d not bothered to put in all the way in (some on the south side, some on the front), and I reached the very top of the two runs of 2′ either side of the door*. Now we need the bit that goes across the top of the door, which I need Kathryn present for. I can do one of them, but the rest of them require me to be properly up on the ladder. Which we’ve agreed is a two person activity (as in, we need a second person at the house).

Still, it adds some form to the building.

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When Kathryn arrived we switched back to drywall. After the heady heights of yesterday’s rapid** installation, todays went somewhat slower. We didn’t get it quite as well balanced on the lift (although it looked okay at ground level, as it went up things started to go a bit skew-whiff), and getting it to align was a struggle. Also, it turned out that we had cut it very slightly too large. It was actually perfect except for one stud which was out of line enough that it jussssst fouled at the top (not ours, for once). Eventually we got it installed, but it was fiddly.

Then we had to cut the bits of wood that make up for the uneven framing of the walls… (it’s really that the two layers of the angled top-plate aren’t quite aligned where they meet the slope of the ceiling). That took a while because they each need to be made for their specific spot. Then glued and screwed to the trusses (because we want them to move with the trusses, not the wall). Then we attached the x-crack which went up okay… And then it was time to head home. Frustrating, as we’d both hoped to get that bit of drywall up.

However, during that process our drywall lift started making some…worse noises than it has made. And the winding mechanism is now, I think, at a worse angle than it was. And it looks like the bolt that holds that mechanism on may be pulling through the metalwork where it’s held on.

Did I mention it’s a piece of crap?

It’s actually “rated” for a 150lb piece of drywall, and the sheets we’re lifting are just over 100lb, so it should be fine. Buuuut… it looks like someone was learning to weld using the cheapest, thinnest metal they could find when they made it:

Scabby Drywall Lift

We’ll see what Arksen have to say – it’s warrantied for one year, so hopefully they’ll ship a replacement.

* It’s actually 1′ 11¾” because…err, because. I think because we concluded it was a better size for the green sheets (which we still haven’t quite put up). Also, it means you can definitely get 6 out of our not quite 12′ strips. Some are 12′, some are 12’¼”, some are 11′ 11¾”.

** By our standards

Roughing it

So the past few days have been rough. I’m starting to come out the other side of feelings of utter despair – so far I’ve proven something to myself about bending, not breaking, although some of that is down to a lot of time with my wife holding me and giving me somewhere to hide from the world. Most of this is down to the evil ongoing in the world. Watching as more facists get power, watching the institutions I grew up with (the BBC, the Guardian) amplify the words of those who would have me dead and ask if it’s just “a refreshing alternative to political correctness”, seeing locally bigots running around with pride… It’s been tough.

There have also been the appalling events in the news, hate crimes happening at least every week, and most likely every single day. Murderous terrorists running around while the GOP conflate the discomfort of being called out for being an arsehole over dinner with being gunned down in a supermarket, and then having the press bothsidesism it to be comparable.

It’s left me profoundly worried about our safety here.

It’s left me profoundly disturbed and considering where we should go. The vague “we should have a plan” has become a more and more incessant clamour in my brain.

It’s made more tricky by the fact that the inside of our house still looks like this:

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Which is not conducive to selling it.

Thankfully, my wife pointed out to me that while we may not be happy with contractors as a general rule, they’d be fine if we were selling it, and a good team of contractors could probably have the place done in a month, maybe two.

As it is I’ve started to nose at Canada. My wife reminded me that if we want to leave the US and don’t want to go back to the UK (where they’re still debating whether I should be a person in the press on a regular basis, and hate crimes against minorities and LGBTQIA people went up dramatically last year), then I might have to get over myself and get some more OB/GYN education and some more surgical experience. Although, that said, I also now have an MSc in Critical Care (which I didn’t have when I applied last time) and I’ve completed the NCLEX (which again, I didn’t have last time). We should probably think a bit about where we’ll go if we do, because the application timeline wasn’t terribly short.

Of course, particularly Sunday night, after I’d curled up and cried for a bit, I slept like absolute shit. That led to a bad day yesterday, where pretty much every job had some mistake in it. Basically my day started badly when the store had run out of the specific stainless steel finish nails we use for our cedar trim and then…

– I picked up the wrong paint – and instead of priming the last two sheets to go on the outside of the house, I instead painted them with the top-coat intended for the trim (which is just off white). I realised this as I closed the can. There is some debate about whether the paint will adhere online if you do this, with some arguing the main purpose of primer is to soak into the wood and prevent you wasting the more expensive top coat, and some arguing that primer has some binders in it to make it stick to the wood better. Fuck knows. I put top coat on all the same, but I’m not sure whether we should go ahead and put it up.

– I misscut the trim I’d carefully left long on the front of the house. It’s marginal, I think less than a mm, maybe a mm at most. But still, depressing. I’m going to have to get a sander and see if I can blend it with the ones around it to make it ‘fit’.

– I forgot to pre-paint the vertical of the furring strip next to the door. That’s meant to be black, not white, which meant I had to try and paint around the cedar I’d put up yesterday. In that process I managed to get paint onto the cedar (not a lot, and not anywhere visible, thankfully).

In the end I switched to digging the trench (which will be filled with stones) around the front of the house, which is a less stressful thing to do.

Bloody e-bayers

As the weather has gradually got less clement (is that a thing? I mean, it’s inclement, so surely it’s becoming less clement? ;) ) we’ve paused a little on our painting odyssey. Which is kinda frustrating – we’ve painted the eaves on the south and the west side, we’ve also painted all but the last approximately 8 feet of the north side. But the weather’s been misty and damp – which isn’t ideal for painting – so we’re holding off until the weekend when it’s meant to be just overcast, rather than mizzley.

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It’s made a difference that’s big to us, but probably subtle to everyone else. Making the house feel more finished. It’s kinda pleasing, despite being a job we’d never really factored into our scheduling.

I’ve also been continuing my quest to attach all the cedar in the world to our house. I did a count today and we may, just may, have enough. It’s going to be spectacularly tight though. It’s a pretty simple, albeit long, job. And I’m not hugely looking forward to the next round of planing as I’d really hoped that the drywall would be out of the way before then. However, particularly after today’s little… experience, it won’t be.

So – we got a drywall lift. The listing (still up on ebay) says that it can lift 150lbs to a 15′ sloped ceiling. Interestingly, it’s now saying it can only lift a 4’x8′ sheet, but the manual (and I use that term loosely) that comes with it says it can lift a 4’x12′ sheet – and the extension bars that it comes with clearly make a 4’x12′ sheet possible.

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However, it’s also clearly a piece of crap. Ropey welds and a wire-rope feed that scrapes the wire up against the winch wheel. It’s nasssty to use and our 100lbs (45kg) drywall sheets are clearly very near it’s real maximum, especially at full extension. Which we’ll get to.

So yesterday we put up the second and third drywall sheets that we’ve ever put up in our lives. There’s a little tweaking needed, we didn’t put enough screws down the edges (but the middle is fine). The summary of that process is: it was a total mare. It took us about 2 hours per sheet – which is a ridiculous amount of time, although some of that is just the sheer weight of the sheet, and some of it is dealing with the unsquareness of the house, but most of it is trying to get it into position. Partly that’s because we’ve gone with a single 12′ sheet cut down to the 138″ width of the room which means that it’s tight to get in there, and then getting it up to ceiling height is a pig. Oh, and did I mention – they’re f’kin heavy. Right at our limit for carrying and positioning with any kind of vague accuracy.

Also, as has been mentioned these are the second and third sheets we’ve ever put up and it turns out that starting off with cathedral ceilings is perhaps not the simplest of things to start off with.

Anyhow, despite the lift making some moderately unpleasant noises, we got the drywall up on the bottom two sections of the cathedral ceiling in our bedroom:

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And so today we set to on the top sheet and a bit. Now, this is where things start to get tricky. We’re dealing with both the unsquareness of the house, and the (and this bit is our fault) unsquareness of the 13′ high walls. See, 13′ it turns out is really beyond our limit for lifting and accurately fixing. So when we got the walls ‘up’ there was not as much straightness as we’d like*. Now, cathedral ceilings are prone to cracking at the seams anyway, it turns out, so I’d found this stuff called “x-crack” which is meant to help with that problem and with unsquare walls. So having made some extra little bits of triangular wood which made a flat section at the peak of the roof (helping to remove part of our unsquareness), and applied X-crack (removing a bit more of our unsquareness), we cut and fit our little thin section that goes right up at the top.

Now the theory was that this would leave a 4’0.25″ gap at the top.

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It did not.

Which is about par for how this has gone. Instead, it ended up with a 3’11.something-just-shy-of-four-foot gap, which was really quite annoying. Still, we reasoned, rather than take down the teeny drywall sheet we’d just really very carefully manoeuvred up and fixed in place, the x-crack, the triangular bits of wood then recut the wood bits shorter, fit them back…then the x-crack, then recut the thin bit of drywall to make it thinner**, then get it back up, we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and we’d cut the 4′ wide board down just a smidge (which in this case is 0.5″).

That done we loaded it up onto the hoist. The hoist that the listing said can lift up to a 15′ sloped ceiling, I remind you.

About 11′ later we discovered that our lift cannot lift to a 15′ ceiling.

It’s limit is a good 18″ lower than that. And actually, when you read the specs in the manual it says that an extension bar is required for that final bit of lifting***. An extension bar which was not included. So we are pondering various ideas for what to do now. Do we do all the bits we can do and then come back for the high bits when we’ve got an extension bar? Do we even trust the damn thing with an extension bar…? It is f’ckin terrifying the way it creaks and groans lifting these boards, no matter what it’s official weight limit is. At the current maximum height I think it’s got nearly 20cm of play horizontally. I’m currently engaged in ranting complaining moderately politely at the person who sold it on e-bay. If I’d’ve known it wasn’t able to lift to our 13’6″ ceilings, I’d not have bought it, obviously. Because why would I want a lift that’s not capable of doing what we need?

At any rate, we need to come up with a plan, because currently we have a lot of drywall on the floor, and a distinct lack of it on the ceiling.

* and wanting more straightness is a damn rare occurrence around here.
** which is technically thinner than is recommended for x-crack, but is what we’ve ended up with because of other compromises.
*** Well, actually, it lists its maximum height as 110 ft (or 33.6m), which I think is probably an error.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t

So adding to our tally of inspections that are signed off, and good news on the house front, we had our insulation signed off. That means framing, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and insulation are all passed. What does that mean? That means we can put up drywall… only…well, let’s start back a little bit.

We also managed to drag our less than light 1940s (most likely), cast iron salvaged bath into position which meant that both the shower in the little bathroom and the bath in the big bathroom could have their drains connected. So we did that.

Now in that process we had to make a hole for the bath drain to go through before putting the bath in position. Well, we could have put the bath in position, then marked it, then moved it, made the hole, then moved it back. Did I mention it’s cast iron? And incredibly heavy?

So instead we went with measuring and making the hole, then “sliding” the bath into position, then passing the drain through the bath and tightening it up from underneath. But this came with a few caveats. I, for some reason (which currently escapes me) decided to drill a hole that was really the minimum size I could get away with for the hole. I think I had vague thoughts about trying to minimise weakening of the floor, and that there are a lot of extra joists we threw under there to try and add more support and I hoped to avoid cutting into them…

Who knows. I thought it’d be big enough… but…

And because the bath was too heavy to lift I just felt the rim of the drain with my finger and thought it felt okay. See, I couldn’t really see it very well through the hole which… wasn’t big enough.

So I thought I’d get away with it, and that the seal would be good enough…

I mean, I don’t know what possessed me to think any of these things. Because it has literally never been true. I’ve always had a mare of a time sealing salvaged sinks and baths well. I’ve always needed to clean them thoroughly with sharp blades. I’ve often had to have several goes.

So I threw some water in the bath and it seemed to be staying there, so I let it drain. I’d already got cold and filthy grovelling under the house and we had above-ground stuff to do, so I thought I’d recheck it the next day. So yesterday I threw a bucket of water in the bath and left it to sit for a while. It seemed okay…

….and then I went under the house an hour or two later and found… a puddle of water and a slow, steady drip from under the bath. Fuck.

So I got to grovel round in the filthy water (pooled on the muddy upper surface of the old, filthy vapour barrier). I ended up hacking the floor to bits with totally inappropriate tools, because the bath sits very low to the ground so the pilot bit of our big hole drilling drill bits would foul on the bottom of the bath – so I abused the hell out of my smaller Forstner drill bits to make a few holes around the original hole – which allowed me to pull out more floor, which allowed me to get the blade in to scrape the bottom of the bath and the pipe wrench in. I’m also not convinced the drain’s really the right size.

I ordered it based on it being the only one I could find that didn’t require a threaded hole and being roughly the right size, but I feel like a 1.5″ drain would actually probably fit fine, and possibly be a better fit. So that’s ordered, but they’re coming to spray foam on Monday, so if this one’s sealed and working I’m inclined to leave it unless the new drain is clearly going to be a way better fit. This is one of those – not being familiar with the stuff so it’s harder to work out what size to order things. At any rate, the rest of the plumbing’s fine, or at least appears so… so if I have to rectify this it shouldn’t be impossible.

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We’ve also put up the pocket door frames, which is quite exciting. It means all the framing is truly completed. Apart from any fixes needed when we’re drywalling… And it adds that final sort of definition to the spaces. The door frames to both bathrooms and the laundry were massive voids because the pocket door frames were missing… now they’re in, and finally the rooms feel more room like.

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So, we should be drywalling… only, you need the wood to be under 15% humidity…

Yeah, about that.

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We’ve known for a while that it wasn’t going to be that easy. But now the insulation’s in, we’ve thrown some heating in, and (freakily) turned on the “whole house fan”, so hopefully the house’ll be dryer. Weirdly, you can have two studs that are nailed together along their entire run and one will be 8% RH and the next one will be 17% RH. Mostly though, the new stuff is around 8-10% and the older stuff is around 12-17%. The ceiling trusses are tend to be in the higher end too… which is a pain, because that’s where we wanted to start. Anyhow, we’ve got to clear some space – both to space to work and space to store the drywall when it arrives. So I’ve gone back to working on the cedar:

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I’ve also been working on the bit of wood that hides the transformers for the hidden LED lights that lurk behind the cedar that will go around our front porch. Hopefully they (and it) will work.

On the drywall front, we’ve got a book, and we’ve ordered some funky things that apparently help deal with the drywall joints at angles on the cathedral ceilings (which apparently like to crack) and our clumsy framing at the top of the cathedral ceiling wall. Only now do I work out how we could have held the walls up and vertical while we faffed about to get something more accurately in-line than we did. Thankfully, you’re not meant to put screws in too near the top of the wall, so it may be that the worst of our bits of framing don’t actually matter.

And soon we’ll place the terrifyingly huge order for drywall. We also need to lay some of the heating pipework to feed the hot-water towel warmers – since they hang on the wall that pipe will need to go in before the drywall.

So there’s much progress, but it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll be in by our vague and unspoken deadline. Sadly. There’s so much drywall to do… and this is our first ever attempt at drywall, so I don’t expect a lot of speed.

Inspection the first.

So we finally managed to reach an actual formal inspection point. We’ve had partial inspections which have allowed us to proceed in a non-standard order (exterior framing so we could wrap and rainscreen the building; but that’s not a formally recognised point).

But today after we worked all through the weekend we got all the work done to get the wiring inspected.

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And…

We passed!

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There were a couple of earth issues which he asked we change – so that’s done (it took about 20 minutes); he described the install as being neat (which I didn’t dance at, despite the urge); and he didn’t have any issues with the panel wiring, which had me quite worried. He also wanted some fireproof foam on the conduit through to the panel – so that’s done too (I had that around, just didn’t want to spray it until he’d inspected).

The panel is still missing 2 breakers – a 40A one (which arrived today) for the Rav4 EV charger, and a 15A AFCI (I think, it’s either an AFCI or a GFCI). The wires are in place for it, and the earth is wired in, but the actual breaker hasn’t arrived for one of them, and the other arrived this evening at about 8pm.

Since the weather has been somewhat inclement this week we’ve switched to doing some interior work, and have started putting up the baffles on the cathedral ceiling. The hope is that we’ll get the next inspection on Monday and then move on to insulating. That will mean we can heat the house.

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Which given that we’re entering the colder, wetter part of the year is important. There are a couple of bits of plumbing to do under the house (connecting up the bath and the shower drains) and then we should be good to spray-foam under there (that’s a job we’re paying someone to do).

But at any rate, despite the wetness of the weather and the fact that we’ve not yet got the rain-water holding tank in the ground, or the outside of the building painted*, passing the inspection has injected some positivity into a project that was starting to feel like an interminable awful thing with no end in sight. At least now there’s it feels like there’s actual progress and we’re moving towards a place we can enjoy.

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* Painting party next weekend folks…unless it’s raining!

Snip, strip, clip, repeat

So during / after my little breakdown on Tuesday (sorry about that, you didn’t really need to endure it, but hey…) I went down to BOB and forked out some cash for a few new tools (a chunkier wire stripper, a pair of “electrician’s scissors” and a less bent set of needle nose pliers which I will endeavour not to cover in engine oil and gunk, I promise), a terrifying quantity of sockets (outlets), lightswitches, little wire-joiners, wire twist joiners (which I still think are hideous, but they are easy), and some more odds and sods, and set to on the wiring.

I realised after my little freakout (again, sorry), that actually – as inspections go – for the first time we’ve ever fully wired a house – “please connect these things and I’ll come back” is really a fucking amazing outcome. I’m hoping that <em>is</em> the total of it when he comes for the do-over. But really – not getting “jesus, what have you done” is a serious prize.

So I spent yesterday fairly solidly working on the wiring – caught a mistake <em>I’d</em> made (extra, pointless wire) which I then sat down with Kathryn last night going over the circuit several times to be sure it was right before today wiring everything that could possibly be related to it, and concluding that no – that wire is pointless – and pulling it out.

I also realised that if we’re having a separate gas hob and electric oven (the new plan because we can’t afford a euro-size cooker and our kitchen is titchy, and US cookers are needlessly massive as a general rule; this way we can at least save some of the wasted space by getting two built-ins – It also means we can have the proper arrangement of appliances. Gas stove, electric oven) then we need an outlet for the spark-igniter to plug / be wired into.  So I added that one in to one of the kitchen circuits. As a side point, I’ve not seen an equivalent for the Europe’s Fused Connection Unit faceplates which are nifty things… But most of the gas stove tops I’ve seen just have a plug on the end of the lead anyhow…

So I’ve worked my way down  starting from the lounge – I think I’ve done all the sockets in the lounge, kitchen, laundry, dining room, and one bathroom (with the exception of the ceiling fan, which I need to be up in the loft space to connect). I’ve started on the main bedroom, leaving the boiler cupboard, the main bathroom, the second bedroom, the hall outlets and the outside sockets to do.

I’ve also ordered a frankly terrifying quantity of breakers – made worse by the fact that since we’ve replaced / upgraded the panel and the wiring I suspect (though am not sure) that everything has to be either arc fault or ground fault protected except for a couple of items… and actually, now I come to think about it, they may also need to be protected too. That means that instead of using a $6 breaker, I’ve had to order breakers that are well into double figures. And I’m now wondering if the two standard breakers that I picked up at BOB (which were cheaper than the online prices, amazingly) might need to go back because I’m thinking they may well need to be GFCI instead.

Which’d mean instead of $16, they’d be $80, at best ($150 at BOB).

Still. Hopefully we can get the wiring side all sorted by the end of the weekend (although the breakers won’t be in) – and it looks like it <em>might</em> be cool enough – and not rainy for long enough for us to get the last of the rainscreen up. That would be good.

Also, our rainwater tank arrived – and it’s fucking massive. Which is great, except that I’ve looked at the hole it’s meant to be going in, and it ain’t big enough. So that’s a bugger. If anyone has a burning desire to dig holes in rock-hard clay, be sure to let me know. We rented a digger and tried, and it didn’t seem to be successful.

Damn forums

So, I was doing some reading about prepping for inspections and wandered across a discussion of the fact that while it is ‘to code’ to have a 12/2 run from the panel and then 14/2 spurs from that run (if you have lights and outlets on a circuit), so long as that circuit has a breaker correct for the lower rated wire… apparently inspectors don’t like it. Or more specifically, they don’t like it when DIYers do it. Fine, apparently, if you’re a pro-electrician (and it’s done following the code). But likely to lead to tedious discussions if you’re a DIYer.

Which is funny because that’s how it says to do it in my code book.

Thankfully we’d only done that on a couple of circuits, so I spent some of today tweaking those circuits – removing the 14/2 (thinner gauge) wire and replacing it with 12/2 (which we had left over). Sadly, the boiler circuit (which consists of one double outlet, one light and the smoke detectors) is more of a pain to fix. But if our inspector doesn’t like it I can fix it with one run of 14/2 back to the panel and replacing the single outlet box with a double – and splitting the two circuits. Not a nightmare, but a pain.

I also plumbed in the shower – which, it turns out has a weird quirk – in that while it’s a “raindrop shower”, the showerhead is only about 14″ from the inside of the stud wall (3.5″ thick). Now – to be fair, there’s a female drop-ear that it connects to – but it was asking that to be positioned a minimum of 1 5/8″ back from the surface of the wall. Which still left the showerhead approximately 1′ from the wall. Which is insane. Add to that the fact that our bath has approximately 3″ wide surround, and suddenly you’re looking at a shower that’s only 9″ (22cm) from the edge of the bath…

Which is…not ideal.

After much futzing with it, I managed to position the drop-ear *just* inside the wall – which gains us back almost an inch and a half. I’m slightly worrying that we’ll end up having to buy a longer adapter* – lord knows the damn thing was expensive enough, but it was about the only US-spec shower we could find that fell remotely in our price range and at least faintly reflected the Crane Drexel sink.

I may also have to add a nailplate of some sort to hide in the wall because the pipe is now well less than 1 1/4″ back from the drywall surface. And the cursed thing that is the shower valve (which took a couple of hours of futzing with) probably needs a bit of the stud edge trimmed off to make the faceplate fit. It doesn’t *say* it needs that space in the directions for installation – but when you look at the faceplate it is *meant* to be recessed into the wall. Which is fine…if there’s not a stud right where the damn valve needs to be.

Still, I’m going to leave that for the minute, now it’s far enough along for the plumbing inspection – I think – and that tweak can be in the final inspection.

The list of things to do for inspection is getting shorter though.

  • Low voltage wiring (network)
  • Tighten last earthquake bolt (under pile of insulation)
  • Vent ducting 3/4 bath (requires gable rainscreen to be present)
  • Vent ducting laundry (requires gable rainscreen to be present)
  • Vent ducting main bath
  • Smoke detector wiring and bedroom boxes
  • Exterior light box rear(requires rainscreen to be present)
  • Exterior light box front
  • Insulation lounge wall (partly done)
  • Framing: Both bedroom / attic wall sections, section above laundry room)
  • Plumbing vents – run through laundry room attic wall framing

We’ve started measuring for the funky triangular bits of framing that sit in the sections between the attic and the two bedrooms and the little mini attic above the laundry and 3/4 bath. It’s made hideously complex by the fact we really want a built in shelf above the doors in both bedrooms. Which is pretty much what you’d expect considering the number of multi-way switches we’ve installed in a tiny, tiny house.

Incidentally, USians, is premixed coloured paint a thing here? I’ve not seen it anywhere I’ve been – everywhere seems to only be mix-to-order, which is bizarre to me. I only realised they didn’t have it at Home Depot** after wandering around for about 10 minutes looking for it…

…and then was somewhat fazed – because in the UK there’s usually a few aisles of varying qualities of premixed colours (cheap -> expensive), plus you can go get whatever you want mixed (moderate -> more expensive).

In the end I got my little tin of black paint mixed… but… well… is this me being blind?

* And this is where I really, really miss UK plumbing, because normally in the UK this bit would be a compression joint and a bit of pipe you cut to length, but here it has to be threaded at the wall end – and since this has a 90 degree bend in it for the shower head… they just make it some length or other.
** Or possibly BOB, which might be my new name for it (Big Orange Box – because I tend to call it B&Q).

Yet more copper

So, we continued our plan to put all of the copper in the world in our house. At least, it somewhat feels that way. We’ve used way more than I guestimated based on the book – which says you’ll need N rolls of W, X, Y and Z gauges for a medium size house. I thought, given our house’s smallness that we’d need much less. Turns out that we’ve needed about 2/3rds as much.

Part of that is that I like to break off rooms into separate circuits – and break off lighting and sockets into separate circuits.

Part of it is that we’ve tended to route things the “gold standard” way (over the top of windows, rather than under them).

Anyhow, today we worked on it some more… it was very hot out and the idea of putting up rainscreen even in the shade on such a hot day was pretty unappealing. As I’ve whinged before, the project’s not exactly going fast, and I’m hoping that when we do (hopefully) get the permit signed off and can start insulating and drywalling (plasterboarding) that we might get that going a bit quicker.

We still have the ply to put down on the floor – along with the heating pipes – which needs to be done before we can start faffing around with walls. And we’re starting to really struggle with all the crap in the house. Offcuts of wood that are potentially useful. Offcuts of wood that we’re thinking of using for firewood. Offcuts of ply that might be handy. Offcuts of ply that are probably scrap, but irritatingly large and thus kept around. The beams we got because I f’cked up and bought an extra beam – which turned out to be handy, because we f’cked up and cut it to the wrong length and which we might use in the garage…

The gardening stuff…

It’s all got to go somewhere. And that means a shed, realistically. Because while I’d love to throw the garage up, we aren’t in a position to do that really. We’re thinking of giving in and getting some nasty brackets with a cut list, then throwing a shed up (hopefully in a couple of days) – just because it would make things much more managable.

But that means probably spending money on an excavator rental, or hand digging a large hole. One is costly in money, the other in time we don’t have.

Which we could probably complain about more, but for the fact that we’ve booked a holiday – 8 days away from this madness. Which – despite the loss of 2 weekends, and a solid week of work – is I think needed to keep us at least slightly sane.