Sponsored Links


April 2009
« Mar   May »

Toilet Mold Remediation

In working on the Particle Board Bathrooms, after removing the wall paper was the mold issue behind the toilet. Part of the problem was the water leak from where the toilet was attached to the wall. Removing the mold was a simple issue of wiping the area down with household bleach. An effective and cheap method.


These are wall mount toilets.

Wall mounted toilets are for the most part a commercial product. Partly
due to the ease of cleaning in a commerical arena.  One of the more annoying spots to clean
in your house is the floors and walls around the toilet in your house.
Especially with the cheaper toilets with the snake sides with all those
nooks and crannies that attract dirt and crap.

I thought for some time that these were cool items, because of the
cleaning deal, but I have revised my thinking. The setup and backing
necessary is not for the faint of heart and certainly outside of the
range of your typical tract carpenter or builder. Cost and replacement
is another consideration. Big people may have a problem over time, as
the wax ring is vertical and is the major source of leakage, which can
go unnoticed until the backing has rotted and it falls off the wall. These are not the things that you can run to the mega store and buy off the shelf.

The second issue was the water stains. After repairing and smoothing down the wall surface, I applied KILZ to the wall areas where the stains were.


A coat of primer and two coats of semigloss and we are done.


Definitely a high number on the weirdness scale.

Chicken Tips

A lot of house bloggers seem to be channeling  Green Acres with raising  chickens. When I was a young lad in Northern Minnesota, I lived with my grandparents for a number of years.
We raised chickens, usually a hundred at a whack. From the delivery in January, keeping them warm in the attic with light bulbs, to corralling them in the run and coop, to their eventual demise with a Michigan double bit ax wielded by my grandmother at o dark hundred, with me acting as the chase crew and chief scalder and plucker.

We raised for meat and not eggs. One of our neighbors did the egg thing and we swapped. You slaughter while they are sleeping so that you can get a number of chickens processed before they wake up and go crazy, making it almost impossible to get them plucked, gutted and cleaned before you had to get ready for school. Yeah, you worked on a farm.

We raised White longhorns, which at the time, around 50 years ago, were the Cadillac of meat producing chickens. One of the things that chickens do is get chicken lice. Like dogs with fleas, chickens get lice. Lice powder is white and you sprinkle and rub it on the chickens to get rid of lice.

It is every bit as amusing as you might think. White powder on White chickens. My grandfather came up with the most elegant solution for doing this effectively. We mixed powdered blue carpenters chalk with the powder. This let you see how well you did as well as letting you know that the chickens were done.

If you are going to raise chickens keep this in mind.

Particle Board Bathrooms – Continued

Having gotten over the weirdness of particle board as a wall material in bathrooms, the next stage of the project is bag the room again prior to sanding the walls. ( We did it once already for removing the wallpaper.The walls have to be sanded to remove bits of trash and glue left over from removing the wallpaper. Plus the fuzz from the water used getting the paper backing off the wall, and the odd bits and holes from the compound popping out from the paper removal, and the leftover silicone caulking.
There is some water staining around the base of the toilet, that will get repaired and a coat of Kilz, before priming and painting. It is remarkable how little water damage there is considering this is a bathroom. Good Wallpaper. It is also amazing how much time these two little rooms are taking.

Here I have covered the floor in Red Rosin Paper, taped and bagged the counter, toilet, and  shower. All of the towel bars, mirrors and other fixtures are sitting in the tub while I do this.

Tech Note: Remember to wipe down and vacuum the areas where your tape goes.  You get a better seal and only have to do it once. The deal is to do it right or do it over.  I don’t do over.


Having bagged, it is time to skim coat. I am using 45 min. speed set, in the belief that I would be able to skim coat,  sand and prime  this day. Silly me.

By the time I got finished skim coating these two rooms I had seriously run out of time for the day. Next up is sanding, touch up, vacuuming up the dust, caulking the inside corners,  walls and ceilings, baseboards and door trim, KILZ around the toilet, and primer.

For those of you contemplating doing a bathroom refresh by removing the wall paper and repainting, allow enough time to be able to work around surprises. For example I have around 16 hours in these two to this point. Sanding, cleaning, touch up,  caulking and priming will suck up another 6-8 hours. This is taking longer because it is smooth wall, and that is how it is done.

Particle Board Bathrooms

It was a simple condo repaint job.  Patch the holes from picture hangers,  remove the wall paper and repaint the two bathrooms. 2 Bed, 2 bath, no real oddball features until I started removing the wall paper in the first bath. I pulled the medicine cabinet and was greeted with this. Particle board.

Particle board detail at medicine cab opening

I thought that this was an anomaly until I went around the room. The entire bathroom is sheathed in particle board. Stapled to the studs, a smear of compound to cover the staple holes and wallpapered over. No primer, no sealer, just particle board and wallpaper. The first bath was relatively easy to strip as they used a fabric type wallpaper that came off easy.
wall detail

The detailing behind the wallpaper at the corners was very good however. The are a couple hundred condo units in this development so the builder got it down to a science.
corner detail at shower

The second bath was a different animal having a paper wallpaper. Here I stripped off the  face and then softened and scrapped the paper back  off with water. About 4 hours of mess.
paper wallpaper takes more time

Skim coat, Primer, and Paint.  Particle board walls? Another entry in the Weird Construction Techniques category, for sure.

Canadian Home Renovation

A little ‘salty’ in spots but he nails remodeling.

Hattip to Denise Holtby.

Laundry Room Makeover 2

In our last posting on the laundry room we had installed the cabinets. This is the state of play in our last episode. The cabinets are pre finished inside so we will leave well enough alone. The outsides of the cabs are solid red oak face frames with red oak faced plywood inserts. The sides are raw particle board.

Since this is a ‘wet’ location we want to protect the surfaces. We will primer and apply two coats of Behr Semi Gloss Interior Enamel. It has everything you want in a paint. Excellent body, wonderful brushability, excellent coverage, and a reasonable drying time. Actually we are painting the entire room.

Because I am basically lazy, I only want to do things once. So to paint the cabinets I am taking the doors off and painting them in the garage.

This does a couple of things. It allows me to paint the doors flat, minimizing paint buildup in the lower corners, and not having to fight the door to paint the face frames on the hinge sides.

After applying primer and paint, I took some wire coat hangers and made hooks to hang the doors. I am using the garage track as my hanger. You don’t need as much space to spread out the doors, and you can only work on one at a time.

Note: Remember to unplug the garage door opener when you do this.

Having painted and installed the doors, here is our painted  laundry room. We also applied a coat of polyurethane to the small shelf over the units and on the cabinet side next to the dryer. Just a little added protection for these areas.

On the left end we will install a little white board for notes and a key holder below.
The overhead shelving will hold all of the industrial size packages of paper goods and other things. On the right side some hooks will hold the step ladder and some brooms and other cleaning paraphernalia.

Here is the other side of the laundry room.

Here is where we started.

Why Remodel?

Today my current client mentioned why she is remodeling.

"I want this to be the house that the other kids want to hang out at."

Can't argue with that.

Roofing Repair Project Act 5

Now that the repair is complete it is time for the roofer. Here is Vern from Collum Roofing, on Thursday morning starting with the roofing felt. They did find a good match in style and color for the replacement shingles. Client Mom Approved!


At the end of the day, the  area under the AC unit is covered. The ridge is still raw but is not critical for placing the AC unit.

Friday  morning, Dave from MD’s arrives to place the AC unit. The crane was late due to traffic. (Note: No matter how well you schedule and how good your people are, things happen) About an hour later the unit is set, reconnected and tested.

Saturday morning, the roofer was back and finished the roof.

The Roofing Repair Project is complete.


This project started as simple statement.

“When it rains the trim around my bathroom door leaks”.

The visual cues told two stories. The first was the visual damage in which told us there was damage and the patio cover was a contributor.
This caused us to repair the patio cover, which we did.
There are no isolated events in remodeling. Something is always related to what you are doing, and the bite it takes out of your butt hopefully is small.
This pushed our original schedule back a week, with the weekend and all. We were able to schedule our crane and the tear off as our roofer is flexible and we have worked with them before.

The repairs were straightforward in as much as anything in remodeling can be, which brings us to the conclusion of this project.

When you are scheduling remodeling, always allow extra time, at a minimum 50-100%. This way when projects happen smoothly and quickly you can pat yourself on the back and enjoy some of that time smiling at yourselves.
When the project sucks up all the available time, you will not have stressed yourself out.

Quote of the Day

 "You can't consume your way to sustainability." 

Caravan Adventures

The workhorse of my life has developed transmission problems. Downshifting into low when you are driving down the road. At 35 miles an hour it is annoying, but at freeway speeds it is downright scary. Not recommended in a hot climate nor in Phoenix, as the heat buildup will destroy it.

This has severely handicapped me in moving materials and tools. A 10 on the life suckage meter for sure.

It is in the capable hands of my mechanic, who shall remain nameless, as he has enough work, and if I tell you who and where, you will all run over their making it harder for me to get service. Normally I am happy to share my partners in remodeling and construction with you, but you will have to find your own mechanic.

But I am not without resources and friends. I am currently cruising around in a 1986 Ford Tempo. 30K actual miles, as they only used it for cruising around
town at their northern hideaway.

Interesting little car, as it was one of the cars that had an Automatic Seatbelt ‘Feature’. It is every bit as strange as it sounds. Sort of like so many horror
films where the victim would sit in a chair and straps and manacles
would snap into place letting the monster know it was time to go to work. What happens is when you get in the car, and close the door, you turn on the key, and the seat belt runs along a track over the door and tightens itself around you. It does not let you go until the engine is off and you open the door.

But it is a set of wheels, and my adaptability index is high. I am a remodeler.