… Getting close on Bedroom & Bathroom

First off, I should mention that we now have non-wood heat in the house, provided by our lovely boiler & radiant floor system.  Right now we only have the front half of the first floor heated, but that includes the kitchen, office & living room (which is still our sleeping quarters as well).  We love our wood stove; it got us through a kicker of a winter.  But there is something quite nice about not having to choose between getting up in the middle of the night to stoke the fire and having a forty degree house in the morning.  The luxury has made us weaker already.

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The radiant floor system will eventually serve the entire house, except for one bedroom which is over the beadboard ceiling in the kitchen.  We did not want to pull the ceiling down, so that bedroom will have a baseboard radiator.  It will also have its own thermostat, which makes it a great guest room.  We will have to pull down the plaster ceiling in the parlor to heat the master bedroom, but that ceiling is already damaged, and removing it will allow for an easy ceiling fan installation and will let us insulate for sound. 

As for the master bedroom, we have made progress up there despite the last few months finding both of us up to our ears in big projects.  Allison is part of a new food business and I have begun another broken house rehab.  It is true, rehabbing two houses at the same time is often unwise, but when the master bedroom, bathroom and guest room of our home are done, A. and I should have all the finished space that we will need for now.  The outside of the house still has a few things left to do (porch repair, notably), but with the roof and most of the painting & window repair done, the outside is starting to look respectable.  So I plan to dial back on our home and work on Project #2 at three-quarter steam.

And as you can see, we are getting very close on that bed & bath situation:ImageImage

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Still some paintwork to do on the windows & trim, still need to find doors for both bedrooms.  And the old floorboards need something done.  The plan is to paint them and then coat the paint in polyurethane.  The floorboards are pine, which is a softwood and therefore not the greatest choice for holding a finish, but it is what we have for now.  They had been painted in the past and, dadgummit, we’re going to do it again.  We’ll throw down some rugs in the high traffic areas and hope for the best.  Even without 3/4″ T&G rock maple, we will be so happy to have a bedroom & bathroom we just won’t care.  ETA on move-in day?  I hate construction timelines, but let’s say May 4th.

Oh, and here’s the hallway outside the bedrooms, finally getting drywall:ImageInsulating the window weight pockets.  We put a lot of work into saving the old wood window sashes, and now the challenge is to make them as energy-efficient as possible.  The weight pockets are usually a tough spot to get to, but sometimes you just have to pull the casings off and fit some polyiso foam board back there.  Caulk and spray foam are also handy if used with a careful hand.  The trick is to insulate the pocket as much as possible without interfering with the movement of the window weights.  I have heard the suggestioof fitting the weights into PVC pipe to act as a tight-fitting channel for the weight while allowing insulation to be packed around it.  I haven’t tried yet, but it sounds like a neat idea:

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Here you see the layers.  We caulked the joints between our sheathing boards, fit fiberglass between the studs, 1/2″ foam board over that and then the drywall.  I like the idea of having even thicker walls with more room for insulation, but our house is long and skinny and thicker walls would have compounded our design challenges.  One does what one can.Image

Building a Bedroom

For the last couple weeks, the major project has been the two bedrooms and bathroom that make up the front half of the second floor.  For the time being, the plan is to finish the front half of the house and leave the back rough.  As two people we do not need anymore space than that right now.  We also need to turn our focus from working on the house to working on making a living; both of us are starting big projects this coming year.  So the back half of the house will remain a framed box, which will also give us the opportunity to plan the next phases thoroughly.  Working without a rush is nice.  Of course, we still have to finish up the exterior painting and repair the porch this summer.  It never really stops.

Here are some photos of the second floor.  I, with help from friends, have insulated with fiberglass batts between the exterior wall studs.  Half inch polyisocyanurate foam boards with foil facing are over the face of the studs, to provide additional insulation and insulate between the wall studs and the drywall.  That’s called a thermal break, because it hinders the travel of heat from the inside of the house to the outside, through the framing.  That type of direct contact heat travel is called conduction.  The foil face is to provide a vapor barrier and to reflect heat back into the room.  Before the drywall goes up, all of the seams will be taped with a foil tape as well.  Polyiso foam has a good R value (resistance to heat travel) per inch of thickness, but it has had issues in the past with shrinkage over time.  That’s no fun.  Hopefully the manufacturers have worked on that, but it is still a good idea to tape seams for air sealing and to create a continuous vapor barrier.  I often use fiberglass batts with kraft paper facing behind the foam, because the paper holds the fiberglass in place and prevents slumping over time.  I put a slash in the paper facing every two or three inches, so any moisture that gets trapped between the facing and foam board has a way to get out.  That’s the theory, anyway.

The photo below is of the front bedroom.  The room off to the left is the bathroom.Image

Looking from the front bedroom toward the stairs and hall.  The pocket doors to the left will open into a walk-in closet, which was my solution for keeping the pocket doors but not having them travel between two bedrooms.  I am a simple man; I prefer bedrooms that open into halls, not other bedrooms.Image

Looking down the hall, toward the stairs.  The yellow is the curved plasterwork that we left in place.  It is the most worthy plaster in the house, so I will attempt a repair instead of starting from scratch.  In the ceiling is R-19 fiberglass between 2×6 ceiling joists.  The attic is walkable and has a floor, but was not built to be a dance hall.  It makes for good storage right now, though it would be neat to someday take advantage of the view of Lake Erie that can be had from the one west-facing window.Image

And here the back half of the second floor waits, dreaming.  Note the new plywood visible between the “barn wood” or skip sheathing.  And the lack of sunlight pouring in.  These are good things.Image