Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beginning to put the bathroom back together again

The process of putting things back together again actually began long before demolition was completed.  As P found joists and studs that needed replacing or reinforcing, he would mark them down and note measurements, and periodically give me the list so I could go cut them out.

My initial reaction when he asked me to do this was, "Are you crazy?  You want me cutting out the pieces that will hold our house up?"

And then I thought, well, why not?  Really, it's just like quilting: take a measurement and cut out a piece with reasonable accuracy.  (Well, it makes sense to me.)

I got out the jigsaw and....  Actually, do you mind if I go off on a tangent here about the jigsaw?  I know I'm going to sound like a flunky in the Bosch marketing department, but I don't care--we love this saw.  Here's how wonderful it is: 1. it's the only saw I'm allowed to use without supervision,* and 2. it cuts through so many surfaces so easily that we never call it the jigsaw.  Around here, it's known as the butter saw--whatever you've got, it slices it like butter.  If even I, with my complete lack of upper body strength, find it easy to make straight cuts, you know you've got a winner.

Image courtesy
So I took my--ahem, our--totally dreamy butter saw and some saw horses and some parallel clamps and a tape measure and a square (only after I was scolded for not using it), and whipped out some structural members for the house.  And then I strutted around like a proud rooster. 

In most cases, P used these pieces to "sister" the rotten joists, rather than removing the old ones.  'Cause while they're partially rotten, they are still holding up our house.  And we'd like it to stay up while we're working.

Old joists with new sister and reinforcers--and you can see how much rotten wood was removed and why we needed something else to hold up the new floor!
For energy efficiency purposes, I would have rather started by fixing the rotten members in the attic and replacing the ceiling in the closet.  But practically speaking, and from a safety standpoint, the floor absolutely had to be done first.  I've been complaining lately (to anyone who will listen--my parents, the guy at the Home Depot paint counter...) about what a pain it is to work in closets and bathrooms--much less a bathroom closet!  But try a bathroom closet with most of the floor removed:

Needless to say, we're putting in a new (sub)floor before we raise a ladder.

Since we're only replacing the damaged parts of the subfloor, we need the new floor to be exactly the same width as the old one.  Easy, right?  Subfloors are pretty standard, right?  We happily trotted home with a 4'x8' piece of 3/4" OSB before even looking at the thickness of the old floor.

Said OSB is now sitting uselessly in the kitchen--worse than useless, it's blocking access to important things like the napkins and stamps.  Bane of my existence.  (I know, I have a really good existence.)  Turns out the subfloors in our addition are made of--so far as we can tell--2 cm thick OSB.  Where in the world does a person find metric OSB?  It's very nearly 26/32", so we wandered around Home Depot looking for that.  Which of course doesn't exist.  But three cheers for elementary school math!  I spotted some 15/32" and 11/32" plywood, so we'll just have a two layer floor. 

Make that a three layer floor--the 2 cm OSB in our bathroom was covered with 1/4" OSB.  But only the bathroom, not the rest of the addition.  No idea why--maybe to make the vinyl floor in the bathroom line up more evenly with the bedroom floor, which was covered in both carpet pad and carpet?  But ours is not to wonder why.  All we need to know is that either we need the new subfloor to be 26/32+1/4 thick, or we had to remove the 1/4 from the whole room.  We decided to go with the thicker floor, and to replicate the layering.  This way, if we ever want to join up the flooring surfaces in the bedroom and bath, we can just peel off the bathroom's top layer, and leave everything else intact.  (P has delusions of moving the bathroom to the other side of the master bedroom, and then the current bathroom would become part of the bedroom....  Yeah.  Silly boy.)

So we cut out our plywood, and then, being the crazy thorough people we are, we glued it down with construction adhesive, and then nailed in a whole bunch of nails.  P recruited me to help nail--which after a minute of whining, I discovered I actually enjoyed!  (Yes, honey, you were right with that prediction.)  P was nailing on his end of the board, and I was terribly proud of myself to find that I got in at least one nail for every two he did--if I was really on a role, I could match him nearly stroke for stroke.  (Yes, we have his n' hers hammers.  Doesn't everyone?  And yes, he was letting me use the better hammer, so I did have an edge there.) 

All of that is to say that the boards are not going anywhere.  P actually gave them a pep talk about being our floor for the next 20 to 90 years, and how important they were and how they better stay put.  I pity the fools who try to move them. 

I hope they don't turn out to be us.

*I'm allowed to use this saw, and not others, because 1. it's hard (but certainly not impossible) to cut off your fingers, and 2. it's quite unlikely to have kickback problems.  Kickback is when you hit a knot or funny bit of grain in the wood and the saw sends the wood flying.  Doesn't sound so scary until you see a piece of wood embedded in a wall 15 feet away, and think about what that could do to a nice, soft abdomen.  Eek!

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