Fixing Plumbing Inspection Issues

The bar sink drain was improved by moving the drain pipe to the middle of the 2 x 6 wall. I raised the drain to the level of the trap and reinstalled the air vent.

Rerouted bar sink drain

Rerouted bar sink drain

The master bath drain just needed to be turned horizonatally to the drain pipe. It was vertical which broke the trap weir rule.

Changed Master Vanity Drain

Changed master vanity drain

In the family bathroom, I removed the clean out that was unnecessary and replaced the sanitary tee with an elbow. I moved the drain over a bit to allow more room between the vanity and the shower wall.

Then I had to fix the gas piping. At first I kept the old gas valve and bought another gas valve, an 18″ black pipe and some more yellow gas tape since I could not find the roll I had. I altered the piping as the inspector recommended because there is no other gas valve inside to turn off the gas to the stove while I worked on it. Keeping the old valve allowed me to turn off the gas to the stove to install a new valve in the stove cabinet.

Because the drain was too close to the wall where the pipe ran, the pipe was going to need to be boxed in. An extra step and a pain for drywalling.

Family Bath Drain and Gas Pipe

Black gas pipe into stove cabinet

I kept smelling gas while working on the new piping so I decided to get rid of the old valve and run the pipe on the other side of the drain so that it would not stick out past the 2 x 4’s. I bought another gas valve and turned off the gas outside to install it at the beginning of the pipe run to the stove. I realized I could clear the drain pipe in the wall by raising the gas supply to the bottom of the air vent and running it on the other side of the drain.

Valve and gas supply to stove

Valve and gas supply to stove

I put in the valve and then a 24″ vertical pipe that clears the washing machine supply. At the stove, the pipe descends again 18″ and I used a 12″ pipe to attach the gas valve and flex piping inside the cabinet.

Gas pipe to stove

Gas pipe to stove

Next I had to install the new chrome back flow preventer on the tub faucet hand shower.

Backflow preventer

Backflow preventer

And finally to protect the pipe from nails or screws in the 2 x 4’s I installed metal plates on both sides of the studs over the places where the pipes went through the wall.

Metal plates to protect water pipes

Metal plates to protect water pipes

While I had the walls and pipes exposed, I also installed the box for the icemaker’s water supply. The pipe now goes to a valve in the wall and can be shut off there as well as at the supply in the corner of the kitchen.

Icemaker water supply

Icemaker water supply box for drywall installation

These tasks were all the inspector noted. So I think I can call him back to check the work and hopefully pass the rough plumbing inspection.

UPDATE: Everything fixed, everything passed! Check the rough plumbing inspection off the list.

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One Afternoon, One Siding Piece

My brother couldn’t finish the siding on the lower house because we ran out of siding. So we tried to order more, just the unpainted stucco version, but it ended up being backordered so it didn’t arrive until this week. Unfortunately when I went to pick it up, they informed me that four of the five sheets I ordered were pretty severely damaged. So I just took one and returned the others as damaged.

I brought the piece home yesterday and today after the grandkids went home from their fun overnight at about noon, we took it out of the truck and I measured to cut it for the inner part of the master bedroom doorway. Even though the height of the section was a bit taller than a sheet of siding, I had to cut an angle in the top in order to slide it into place under the porch overhang. Unfortunately as soon as I took the nippers to the board, a big chunk fell out of the corner. So I had to trim the board by about 2 inches for the inside corner. Once that was done, Dave lifted it into place and I drew the line for the other edge. We cut the board and sighed with relief when it didn’t break.

Newly cut piece of siding

Newly cut piece of siding

We tried nails to find the center of the box for the outside light, then I drilled a hole in the box and started a long screw. I thought some wet paint on the screw head would make a mark at the center of the box on the siding but if it did, it was impossible to see. Instead we measured from the top, bottom and side and drilled a pilot hole big enough to peep through. It was over the hole for the box so I made the hole bigger and tried to determine where the center of the box was located with a screwdriver poked through the hole. Eventually I had a circle on the panel to cut out with a grinder and some tile nippers. After trying it again up on the wall, I had to make the hole larger at the bottom but it turned out the opening was over the hole for the box which was fortunate.

I didn’t get the panel screwed on, just a couple of nails, not nailed in all the way are holding it up, along with a couple of boards leaning against the panel. Tomorrow will get out there and get it screwed in and painted. Since this is the unpainted and therefore cheaper version of the panels, I’m going to use some of the extra edge paint to have the whole panel match, until I get around to changing the outside color to better match the existing stucco.

I hope the pieces left of the siding are enough to cover the rear entry door area. That would mean all the torn off siding from last year gets replaced before deep winter arrives.

Siding to Master Porch

Siding to Master Porch

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The Great Unwind


For a couple of years we have been using my family’s 60’s silver Christmas tree. It is definitely a classic and with a new rotating light, fascinated the grandkids.

Antique Silver Tree

Antique Silver Tree

But this year I thought I would like to try one of those tall skinny fake trees. I want to use our traditional ornaments again and they are too heavy for the silver tree. I’ve been looking for a tree for a few months on craigslist but the sellers were either too far away or I was not as motivated as I am now. The sellers are smart to wait for the holidays to get the best price. I bought the tree from a family who pick them up at garage sales etc. all year and refurbish them if they can. They were decorating their house when I arrived to buy the tree, the kids were on the roof, and invited me back to see it at night. Last year they won a prize and their entire December electric bill was paid for them! This one had been prelit and they could not fix the lights. But I decided to take the lights off the tree.

Craigslist 9 ft. tree

Craigslist 9 ft. tree

Instead of just cutting them off though, like most of the examples on other blogs, I just unwound them from branch to branch. I actually think this was easier, because every other branch had a twig wrapped completely around the light and it would have been difficult to find them all and unwrap them. But I was rewarded with tons of needles falling onto the floor and to me. I think this tree is pretty old! But it serves the purpose for this year.

Unwinding the lights

Unwinding the lights

As it was it took me about five hours to unwrap all the lights. There are more blackened bulbs than clear ones so it was probably a power surge that killed these lights.

Broken light pile

Broken light pile

I’m not sure if these strings of lights have enough value to save for another project. There are several fused plugs and it is always good to have extra plugs around but they are only rated for 3 amps. They are all white lights.
I’m thinking of ordering sets of LED bulbs to replace them with. Some say the LED’s are too bright but I have some that are not very bright. Just a bit large for the tree. I like the look of this tall skinny tree though. I had to rearrange all the living room furniture to fit it into the room.

New Christmas Tree

New Christmas Tree

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Family Affair Soffit

Both my brother and my sister helped install the soffit for the ventilation ductwork. We finished two ten foot sections.

John Installs the Soffit

John Installs the Soffit

John recommended building it with the metal studs and he showed me how to use them. Jean was very helpful as ladder holder and getting tools and screws.

Jean Holds the Ladder

Jean Holds the Ladder

The duct will exit the attic into the metal soffit or shaft.

Soffit for Ventilation Duct

Soffit for Ventilation Duct

Under the windows, I will install corian as light shelves. These will reflect the sunlight up to the ceiling and allow it to penetrate the room more fully.

Soffit Under Window

Soffit Under Window


We think this area might need quarter inch drywall to stabilize the studs without being too heavy. With the soffit in place, I can install the ducts and the ventilation system.

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Back to the Siding

My brother generously offered to visit and help with the house construction. It is sort of a vacation for him and he likes house building projects almost as much as I do. He is much more of a perfectionist though, which can’t be a bad thing when cutting and hanging panel siding!

One of the big chores for the siding was to replace the insulation over the trombe wall areas. There is a gap behind the upper siding and the interior block wall that is inaccessible from inside the house. We first noticed this area when the original drywall was torn off.

Block wall

Block wall is thick but does not hold up the rafters

Another photo of the inaccessible area from the master bedroom stoop when the siding was taken off. There is a gap between the block and the surface of the trombe wall.

Left side interior, Right side behind slag block wall

Left side interior, Right side behind slump block wall

The only way to get into the gap area was to tear off the outside siding and polyiso sheathing around the trombe wall glazing area. Then we removed and discarded all the old insulation.

Gap Over Trombe Glazing

Gap Over Trombe Glazing

Tearing off the siding and removing all the nails, sheathing and insulation was time consuming.

Tearing Out Old PolyIso and Fiberglass Insulation

Tearing Out Old PolyIso and Fiberglass Insulation

There was a gap of about 12 inches or the width of the outer trombe masonry.

Size of the Gap

Size of the Gap

Then the gap was refilled with Roxul rock wool insulation.

Filling Gap with Roxul Insulation

Filling Gap with Roxul Insulation

The Roxul insulation was cut to fit behind the outer wall that is over the block masonry wall and up into the rafters.

Insulation Going In Above Window

Insulation Going In Above Window

After resheathing with foil backed polyiso the drip edges were installed above the siding. Then the sheathing was covered with Siga exterior membrane, layered with the rain screen, and lined with steel wool above and below to keep out insects and mice. Finally the siding could be cut and fit over the wall assembly.

Applying the Siding

Applying the Siding

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Rough Plumbing Inspection #2

Failed again!

Plumbing Inspection Report

Plumbing Inspection Report

I was disappointed to find that there were several errors in the plumbing that I have been working so hard to get to the inspection stage. I broke a couple of rules, one that I knew about and another that I didn’t know.

First one of the most common errors that I KNEW about is using a sanitary tee for a horizontal drain. In my quest to include a stupid cleanout behind the family room bathroom sink, I ended up extending the pipe with a sanitary tee. Just not thinking I guess.

New Sink Plumbing

New Sink Plumbing

So I’m just going to eliminate the cleanout and use a sweep elbow for the drain.

The second error was not something I was aware of or understood. The water in the trap may not be above the opening to the vent. They call the normal water level in the trap the water weir.

Rules for fixture venting

Rules for fixture venting

Some additional illustrations of the trap weir rule.

Trap weir not higher than vent

Trap weir not higher than vent

I broke this rule both at the master bathroom sink by raising the drain at the end of the pipe run, and the bar sink.

Master Bath Sink Drain

Master Bath Sink Drain

Bar Sink Drain

Bar Sink Drain

In the master bath the solution is to turn the upturned pipe towards the sink, and for the bar sink I will have to raise the air vent tee.
I also have to install nail plates on both sides of the studs where the water pipes run. He said they had to have clearance of 1.5 inches from the stud edge. And a back flow valve on the hand held shower in the master bath to prevent water from entering the supply if the shower is dropped into the tub.

Besides looking at the plumbing, the inspector looked at the gas line to the stove and said it has to be black pipe all the way into the cabinet, not flex pipe. He also looked at the wood boiler, and said he needed the installation instructions to be sure it was installed correctly. So I sent him the manual and the data on the pressure relief valves and an explanation of our installation.

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Don’t Think Twice

The plumbing for the garage sink originally went through the garage wall and ran to the sink on the garage side. I was advised to bring that plumbing into the house to protect it from freezing and to install freeze proof spigots for the supply on the garage side.

I worked with what I had at first. Took a full afternoon to drill holes in the drywall and install the outdoor spigots and connect to the existing drain pipe. I had used the back plates that came with the spigots and just bolted them to the drywall.

Spigots Bolted to Drywall

Spigots Bolted to Drywall

They seemed firm enough but upon reflextion there was nothing I could do to stabilize them if the drywall cracked from the pressure of turning them on and off. I had also created a huge turn around to the existing drain that just looked weird.

Drain Connection to Existing Pipes

Drain Connection to Existing Pipes

So I decided to take apart what I did one day and do it again the next. I installed a board to back up the faucets and support the drain pipe too.

Installed Support Board

Installed Support Board

I drilled holes through this board for the faucets and the drain rests on top of the board.
Then I cut out all of the drain I had assembled and realigned the drain pipe with a new cleanout and a new tee fitting that faced the right direction.

Redoing Drain Position

Redoing Drain Position

New Tee and New Cleanout

New Tee and New Cleanout

The new drain looks more normal and should function better too.

New Drain

New Drain

The faucets are now screwed through the drywall into the board making them much more sturdy.

Spigots Screwed to Support Board

Spigots Screwed to Support Board


Finally I completed the supply connections and the rough in was done.
Completed Rough In

Completed Rough In


I guess I’m glad I did think twice about this install.

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Drains

The master bath shower drain is just a regular clamp drain. But my brother was really happy with the Schluter shower system when he installed it so I bought the sloped foam underlayment for the showers. In the master I am using a linear drain so I will have to try to duplicate the Schluter linear drain construction with the Kerdi liner. But I splurged on the family room shower and bought the Schluter drain system.

Yesterday I installed the drain body and I used the power hammer to break up the concrete around the drain pipe. As with the master bathroom shower, that took most of the day. Then I had to measure down the exact amount to cut the standing pipe the right height to glue on the drain body and keep the drain level and high enough to sit on the foam spacers.

Schluter Kerdi Drain

Schluter Kerdi Drain

The sloped foam floor will fit under the drain body and there is another piece that fits inside for the drain plate.

Schlüter drain design

Schlüter drain design

The brushed brass finish on the aluminum plate will match the Delta faucets in this bathroom.

Schlüter Brass Drain Cover

Schlüter Brass Drain Cover

I had just enough time left to also rough in the sink drain in the master bathroom.

Master Bath Sink Drain

Master Bath Sink Drain

Only a few items left on the rough plumbing list. The bar sink off the kitchen, the garage sink and the header over the shower in the family room bath. Plus a few cross pieces to support the pipes.

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Family Room Shower Plumbing

The shower in the family room bathroom is long and narrow. The faucets are all Delta Water Sense and I chose the champagne bronze color for this bathroom. The color is similar to brass which I thought would give it a more rustic appearance. It was not easy finding discounts on all the parts for the shower and sink but I was able to order everything from Amazon or Ebay at reduced cost. Thank goodness as faucets are ridiculously expensive. As it is the most expensive part of the bathroom was this hardware.

The shower valve is generic Delta and can work with most of the trim packages that are sold separately. My son-in-law pointed out how handy it is to have Delta shower faucets because they have separate controls for the temperature and the flow. The temperature can stay set from shower to shower. With a temp controlled valve like the one I bought for the master shower (17T), the temp is automatically regulated to stay the same even if the hot and cold ratio changes, but I have less expensive pressure controlled valve (17) in this shower which makes the pressure of hot and cold balance but not the temperature. The rough in valve was installed about the same height as in the master bath, or about 44 inches from the finished shower floor.

Shower Valve

Shower Valve

Since this is a large shower, it seemed as though a hand held shower would be a big help for both cleaning the shower and for an additional source of spray. I didn’t want the hand held right next to the shower head so I looked for installations that placed it on the opposite or side wall. I decided that the best position would be next to a bench that I hope to install at the opposite end of this shower head. The diverter valve is a bit smaller than the shower valve and with the furring on the wall there was about enough space to install it flush with the eventual finished wall.

Depth for Diverter Valve

Depth for Diverter Valve

I reused the 1/2″ copper from the demolition to install the diverter valve. Copper has a bit wider inside dimension than 1/2″ pex so I thought it would be more likely to deliver a higher volume to the spray. And I had the copper to reuse.

Diverter Installation

Diverter Installation

The supply pipes I used had originally fed the washer and dryer in the utility room before the demolition. These pipes are connected directly to the cold and hot water sources and don’t go through the water loop. But the proximity to the heater means that there should not be a very long wait for hot water at this connection. Plus the service is 3/4″ copper to the wall that holds the valve. I installed two shutoffs in the utility room that control just this shower.

3/4 inch Shutoffs

3/4 inch Shutoffs

The copper connects to 1/2″ pex and to the shower valve in the wall.

Copper to Pex

Copper to Pex

Since I was running out of elbows, I just bent the pex in a wide arc to fit in the wall and connect to the shower valve.

Pex Shower Connections

Pex Shower Connections

The copper feeds the diverter valve and then goes back to the shower head. The valve will allow the shower head to spray, or the sliding hand shower, or both.

Reused Copper to Diverter Valve

Reused Copper to Diverter Valve

I also reused the metal plates that protect the pipes in the furring studs. I had just enough to do this section.
Next I have to put the sink faucet and toilet plumbing into the walls and set up for a wall mount faucet to the sink.

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More Electrical Work

The electricians started the rough electrical work on August 5th. Today they may have finished with everything on the original plans. There were some changes that were challenging, like the fact that the ceiling wires had to be enclosed in metal flex conduit to pass inspection. I also had planned an indoor outlet for the mini split but it turned out that had to be an outdoor outlet which ended up being an outside junction box and a service outlet.

Outside Wiring

Outside Wiring

The setup looks very fancy for a small mini-split air conditioner that runs on only a 15 amp 110 circuit. There is a breaker in this sub panel that I believe is for the service outlet.

Lone circuit breaker in outside box

Lone circuit breaker in outside box

I am assuming a second breaker would be needed for the actual air conditioner. The electrician put two 20 amp breaker feeds in the new outside breaker box to this box but only one 15 amp in the box. I wish he had just put in the second breaker so the wiring for the air conditioner could be done more easily but I guess the idea is that they don’t put in the breaker unless the device is ready to be hooked up. Same with the wiring for the oven. They didn’t hook it up at all. I tried to find the 220 breakers that were hooked up to the stove and electric dryer electrical boxes and had to ask where they wired them. It turned out they were not hooked up in the breaker box. I told the electrician I needed an outlet for the oven I just bought. He moved the box that would have powered a stove to behind the cabinet where I will put the oven and had to install it higher but he put in the outlet for the oven.

Oven 220 Outlet

Oven 220 Outlet

But he said he didn’t have an outlet for the dryer box. So I asked him to hook it up in the breaker box and label it anyway. I haven’t checked the box to see if he did this though.
He also finished installing the lights for the closets and the utility room. The two closet lights were wired but didn’t have junction boxes, and the light in the utility room had to be wired. He said he wired it to the washing machine outlet. The switch is next to the washer dryer stack, but there is enough room to use it.

Utility Room Light Switch

Utility Room Light Switch

The closet lights are above the doors and because the fixtures I bought are LED they only have to be 6 inches from the storage areas instead of the usual 12 so there is plenty of clearance. They originally had issues with code and installing these lights, but I found the code and bought LED’s and asked for the lights over the doors which would have passed even with incandescent lights.

Closet light wiring

Closet light wiring

The fact that the electrical work has spanned three months seems to indicate that the project is just a slow one overall, and despite doing the work ourselves, we may not be that much slower than the professionals!

UPDATE:
The outside breaker box was installed too low so the electrician returned to put it up on a pole to avoid typical snow levels.

Box on Pole

Box on Pole

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