June 4, 2010

framing, kitchen, remuddling

Marg, I know you keep telling me to take a break. I promise, I will!! Sometime soon. šŸ˜€

Actually, things are moving at a slow pace this week. Between the cooking and the laundry and the multitude of household things, and trying to “make do” without a kitchen sink and dryer… plus, working on my job… and researching how to do things (like framing a window and bringing the electric up to code, whatever that may be!)… I’m finding that I only get a few hours a day on the house right now. But things are at least progressing, and I am happy for that.

Right now, I’m working on “construction,” which is basically shoring up supports, building out walls to meet the electrical codes, etc. My attentions are divided into three portions.

First, the kitchen window. We’d removed the window on Sunday. Since then, I have been researching on how to construct a rough opening for the new one, which will be twice the size of the old. But I’ve discovered a few problem areas, and have to address them before I can begin adding new lumber for the new window.

For one, the support beam over the window (and kitchen sink) was hacked into years ago, and never supported correctly. šŸ˜ I cannot understand the psychology of the previous owners… they didn’t remove the ugliest of partition walls in the laundry room because they feared it was a support wall (it wasn’t), but hacked into an exterior support wall and beam in the kitchen to plop in a tiny window (and plugged up the original window as well). ??? Weird.

Anyway, the support beam has dry rot and is missing THREE support studs. It is probably difficult to tell what’s what in the photo (sorry) because the wood is so dark and the light so bright. But this beam supports this side of the back of the house, all two stories!! And about 1/6 of it was missing support! As soon as I realized this, I placed in two 2x4s at the end. What I really needed was 2x6s, but I didn’t have any on hand.

Repairing Kitchen Beam

Last night, I bought some 2x6s and will be replacing the 2x4s with those. Once I am sure that the beam is stable, I will start the rough opening for the window. And believe you-me, it will be one heck of a honking, supported rough opening.

Right below this section of the wall was the kitchen sink. We removed it, to access the beam and to be able to build the rough opening for the window. As soon as we moved the sink back, this is what we saw:

Kitchen Sink Area 1

Yeah, that’s it. No plaster, no drywall, no insulation… nothing. They had installed the cabinet directly onto the lathe. No wonder I got frostbite when I had to wash dishes during the winter! :-p

This is the area after we removed the lathe and brick.

Kitchen Sink Area2

It will be terrific to insulate this and make it weather-tight. I don’t like working with fiberglass batts (the fibers irritate my throat terribly!), but it’s worth it to have a warm, weather-tight home! I look forward to insulating the walls.

I’m also working on building out some of the walls. According to the National Electric Code, electrical wiring must be at least 1.25 inches from the surface of the finished wall. Because some of the studs here are only 2 inches deep (the builder turned the studs around, very odd), I have to add a layer of studs to accommodate for the wiring. This will also help with inserting the insulation, which requires 3.5 inches of stud depth. It does add to the expense, though. LOL, my arms are bulging.

Finally, I’m learning more about the electrical codes (there have been changes since I did the electric in 2007). *sigh* It’s difficult to find exactly WHAT is code. There’s no manual online… you’re at the mercy of the electrical inspector, who (most times) is harsh and too impatient. Plus, talking on the phone doesn’t help you understand much– in some cases, you need a visual representation. Like a manual. WHY isn’t the code online for viewing?! It’s a little frustrating. It’s like the code is thr Holy Grail that we all must abide by or pay through the nose for transgressing, but the code is shrouded in mystery, inaccessible to the average layperson. It’s insane.

Anyway, I’m making due. I did pass inspection in 2007 (I was very, very nitpicky). This year, I’m not as nitpicky, and there are new codes that have passed that I am unsure of. We’ll see how this develops.

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2 Responses to “WorkWorkWorkWork”

  1. Janiss Says:

    What were those former owners thinking with the kitchen? No insulation? Upstate New York? Sheesh! I bet you will save some on your heating bills next winter.

  2. Marg Says:

    Sorry, I missed this post. Now it really does sound like a break is in the schedule. I can see the dry rot over the window. That is scary. Thank heavens you are redoing all this stuff. What a great house you are going to have when you get it all done. Mush on. LOL