Fabulous / Frustrating

Let’s get the fabulous out of the way first, because it’s brief but very good news. We sold our land – contracts exchanged, recorded and paperwork completed, money in the bank. We’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop having had several offers from people that flaked out, or people who ran screaming from Thurston County, when this offer came in it looked too good to be true. And they didn’t run screaming, and they paid, so now it’s off our hands.

Which is an enormous relief.

The frustrating is, as you would expect, the house.

We’re really down to things that I can only do with Kathryn there, because they’re up in the air*, which led to me doing bitty little things which are unrewarding and made it feel kinda like I’d not really achieved anything.

I did put the rainscreen up around the meter box:

IMG_20180718_121010

Which is one of those things that takes ages to cut (because of the fiddly, fiddly shape), but doesn’t really require both of us there. It was just about reachable with just me there – but it is missing a few screws from the very top. Hopefully we won’t have an enormously windy day, although the rest of the screws are fairly well embedded.

I masked off the remaining four windows ready to be treated with danish oil. I will probably oil them on Monday…

I popped in the last bit of insulation in the lower sections of the lounge wall – which means that bit is ready for inspection…

I painted the ceiling of our porch black – it’s actually going to be mostly hidden behind another layer of board, which will also be black**, but I wanted a coat of paint on it. And I’ve cut in and fitted the light fitting box…

I also spent some time fixing a problem that I realised too late to have spent an irritating sum of cash on. While two of the bathroom fans we have (ironically the cheaper ones) will fit between the ceiling joists in the main bathroom****; the fan we actually bought for that bathroom, it turns out, won’t.

So after some debate I realised the simplest solution is to just trade the 3/4 bathroom one for the other bathroom one – that way we actually get the nicer, quieter, but larger fan in our 3/4 (en-suite) bathroom. Which would be great, but it screws up the floor of the mini-attic space above. Which is, of course, irritating. It also necessitates cutting out some more floor for the vent – because it’s a 4″ vent, not a 3″ vent. And it means the 3″ vent cap (which we had for the wall) is now useless, as is the oval 4″ to round 3″ adaptor that is specific to the fan that we bought. Grr.

The other problem with this was it meant I needed to move an outlet wire.

Which it must be said turned out to have enough extra length. So that was good, if somewhat frustrating overall.

So while today has been great in some parts it’s been a bit frustrating in others, and while we’re waiting for the under floor heating stuff, and until I go get the cedar for the trim it’s hard for me to feel useful and like I’m making progress.

* Up in the air junior birdman woman song style.
** Because we have a whole funky dunky lighting thing involving semi-hidden LED lights that glow down from the top of the porch***.
*** Why? Because we like making things deeply over complicated and hard, why else?
**** Which are closer together because it’s our main attic and it may be the case that we own a lot of books.

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.

Carving through the granite

Sometimes I’m somewhat frustrated by the glacial pace of our progress. I have to remind myself that for the most part, it’s just the two of us. Kathryn’s mom has been helping us by painting the backs of the rainscreen panels – which saves us a lot of time because we can just prime/paint the cuts we make to fit around windows and such.

But it’s taken us 3 days to get the front and the north side (not even including the gable) done.

IMG_20180701_153752

Part of this is because we care about the finish and so spend quite a lot of time debating and tweaking and trying to get the lines right.

IMG_20180702_133138

Part of it is learning – most rainscreens are made with far higher quality stuff than we can afford. This is shop-grade T1-11. So although it’s made the same as the APA rated sheathing it’s failed quality control. To try and get it such that it won’t fall apart we want to protect it and fix it firmly, while still allowing it to function as a rainscreen.

It’s fiddly – to try and reduce insect ingress we’ve got this mesh that needs to be fixed between the screen and the housewrap; getting than in place while getting the furring strips that hold the rainscreen out from the building on and lined up right is tricky.

IMG_20180702_161152

But the final result is pretty pleasing.

IMG_20180703_165818

There are many sins that will need to be covered with the trim strips. We’d much prefer to have much better quality materials, with joints that actually fit together really well, and have this section be flat (and actually, we love the colour of the ply). But none of those things are remotely within budget.

Still, it – like many things – is a good learning experience.

We’ve also been gradually picking at the final list of wiring jobs (which is mainly runs to / from lights from switches).

I know we’ll get there, it’s just when that’s bothering me.

Oh, in good news, after 3 attempts the toilet we ordered from Wayfair has arrived…. intact! :)