Sunday, June 11, 2006


One of the latest fads in forums are userbars. They're nothing more than little graphics to stick in people's signatures to show things they're interested in, from music to cars to games they play. They look pretty, but they're almost completely useless. So of course they're spreading like wildfire.

Besides working on the minor bits of plumbing and changing the bedroom door, I had Edis work with me on the ceiling drywall. Not only is drywall on the ceiling in a more awkward spot for lifting and fastening, it's also normally 5/8" thick instead of 1/2" thick, and so is that much heavier. But one splurge I made in purchases for the addition was a drywall lift. It's mechanically a pretty simple thing, but it makes life much, much easier than trying to apply drywall to a ceiling by brute force as I've done countless times at Habitat. When I'm done with the drywall lift, I plan to donate it to East Bay Habitat. Or if they don't want to accept it for some reason, keep it and take it with me any times I work with drywall when volunteering there in the future. After using it for a day, I'm never going back to the old way.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Well, I passed two out of the three inspections today: electrical and framing. For plumbing, I need to cover the corners of the shower threshold, and cover any staples in the top of the threshold. But the bigger thing is that the vent for the sink drain needs to be least 6" above the level of the sink before it goes horizontal. It's doable to change, but it'll be some work. I remember reading about that somewhere, but obviously didn't remember that when I was installing the DWV pipes.

The more significant but easier change is that we probably won't be able to have the pocket door on the steps. Even though the door doesn't swing, the building code seems to say that we'd need a 36" landing on either side. Moving it back a little would get the hallway side OK, but that plus 36" on the other side doesn't work. It will be easy enough to put a swinging door at the top. And the inspector wasn't 100% sure as the code doesn't talk about a pocket door in this case, and said I could talk with the code check people and see if they'd OK it as-is. It's my fault for not re-doing the plans completely when I changed the bathroom to the bedroom level -- it probably would have been caught during code check before if I had. And better it's caught now than in a month when everything has drywall.

But everything else is OK, and I can put drywall on the ceiling, which means I can move forward with insulation. And more research is needed on the door. I need to follow the building code, but it'd be nice to have the pocket door as planned.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Water Goes Woooosh!

I didn't get the inspection this week...but it's scheduled for Monday and I'm ready to go. However, when I called to schedule the inspection, I found out my electrical permit had expired, because I hadn't had any inspections done on the electrical yet (there having been no electrical to do before there were walls). So I had to run down to the permit office and get the permit extended, which cost about $67, and took about 67 minutes of waiting.

I ran the 4-3 gauge wire from the main panel to the new sub-panel, and it was a lot of work. Each part of the wire that size is basically 7 strands of 14 or 12 gauge wire twisted around each other, so it's like wrestling with 7 pieces of Romex at the same time. Heavy and not very flexible to say the least. But after running it and hooking up the sub-panel this afternoon, I flipped the appropriate circuit breakers and brought the sub-panel up. So far so good--no sparks or flames, for example. I tried each of the 4 new circuits in turn, and everything worked except one of the loft lights, until I got to the circuit for the outdoor lighting. I suspect the light fixture above the front door, but we'll see tomorrow.

The DWV pipes have been ready to go for a bit, and this week I put in the shower pan liner. The drain is plugged for testing, and it's held water for a couple days with no leaks. I plugged the toilet and sink drains, and put another plug just above where the new DWV pipes tie into the existing, and with Kat's help filled it from the roof to make sure the pipes above the floor level don't leak (below floor level had been tested earlier).

It held water all day with no problems, but I didn't want to leave the pressure on it all weekend (it only has to hold for 10 minutes for the inspection). So I let air out of the bottom plug to let the water out, and woooosh! Most of it went down the drain as intended, but the partially deflated plug got pushed down by the water, and a lot came up out of the clean out. It was refreshing, to say the least. Unfortunately, the plug got turned upside down, so I had to stab it to let the rest of the air out and get it out of the drain. Which means I need another for the inspection.