Drywall and Recessed Boxes

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Saturday, November 26, 2016 0 comments
It has been a while since I've posted an update to the Family Room Remodel project. I have everything done inside the wall that I can do. We just had the cable company out to install the final line that I needed for the lower custom Wall Plate that I had built from RiteAV. In my lower wall plate I have three HDMI ports, one coax port, and two network ports. I also have a pass through port, incase I needed something later and finally I have another speaker wire wall plate for the surround sound. Lots of wires!

I have installed the Drywall finally, cut my opening for the lower wall plate and I've added a four gang recessed box for my wall plates. I'm pretty sure I found that via Amazon. 

I put labels on all of the cables that were similar, mainly the speaker wires. It certainly does look like a mess coming from there and my wife wasn't quite sure what to think of all of the wires, but I asured here we needed them all for this project and they all had a purpose. 

The backside of the RiteAV Wall Plate is packed so nice and tight, but it is a very simple product, easy to use and you can customize your ports to your liking. There are no wire splicing whatsoever, you just connect the cables right to the correct ports.

When everything is connected, in place and completed, we are left with this wonderful looking setup. Doesn't this have a nice, clean professional look to it?

In the meantime, I was building the recessed box that will house the HDTV, which I neglected to take any photos of until it was finished. I used my Kreg jig for this project. The box dimensions are right around 5' x 3' with a depth of six inches. It will hold a 65" HDTV with about an inch border around to spare.

This is my original TV stand bracket that I purchased. I have another blog post coming about why I had to purchase a second one. This one was cheep, about 20 bucks.

In the upper Wall Plate box, I'm using a three gang that will house electrical, another pass through and one more custom RiteAV plate, but only four ports for this one, three HDMI and one network port.

With everything in place, it all has the familiar professional looking feel to it. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

This became a favorite resting spot for my cat Lily before the TV was installed.

The second recessed box I need to build has dimensions of 2'6" x 3' with a 10" depth. This box will have a couple of shelves and will hold decorative items.

Both boxes are installed and I have the holes drilled for the shelves. I made them adjustable as I'm unsure what we will put on these shelves currently.

It's coming along great and we are getting close to finishing phase one of this project. Next up is painting, and moving the top wall plate.

Basement Window Sill Replacement

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Monday, October 24, 2016 0 comments
So with the Garage Painting Project completed, we had some trim work around the house windows that needed a quick paint job. Wifey noticed one of the windows, ummm, didn't want any paint on it. Essentially, it was in rough shape the last time we painted it. This time around, it started to crumble. My first thought was to replace the entire window, as that is what we'd like to do with all of the house windows, just not right now. After some thought, I decided I would tackle replacing the rotted window sill myself.

As you can see, there's just not much left of it on the outside of the house. Most of the remaining frame is still in great condition. The bottom of the two side pieces where the decaying wood is really the only other questionable portion. Time to find my Sawzall and cut out the rotted sill.

There it is, my Milwaukee Sawzall, ready to cut out the bad board. First I made two cuts, but left one to two inches of wood. There were no nails in the main part of the sill, but I did have staples holding the window frame together.

Next I used a 1 inch chisels and started breaking out the remainder of the sill piece by piece. The staples were about an inch long, so I had a tough time breaking these free. Eventually they came out and the old board was completely gone.

I purchased a 2" x 6" AC2 Green Treated board from Menards for $3.39 and I was ready to recreate the new sill plate.

So after taking my window frame measurements, I needed to figure out how to cut an angle on the front of the sill as the board will sit at a bit of an angle once it is installed. So I used the back side of the original sill, as it also had an angled cut.

The remaining piece was so small, there just wasn't enough to get a true angle. I couldn't quite match it up on my test cuts, so decided to just take a guess and be happy with it.

So the width of the window was 36 inches, however the inside frame was 34.5 inches. Or something close to that. With the front and rear of the new sill angled, I made the cuts on the side of the board.

The YouTube video I found, it said to spray paint the sill with a water resistant primer, which I was eager to do.  After spraying the new board, I then recalled I needed to make more cuts to the front and sides of the new sill.

I had to break out the Shop Smith at this point to make these next cuts. I needed to match up the angle of the new sill in order to keep the cuts correct.

I just used a single blade and made several runs through, then chiseled and sanded for the final finish.

Made the cuts on the sides, cleaned it up and spray painted the board once again, so it hopefully slides right in place. Well, you know it will be a bit of a fight.

And this is the final look of the board. I did have a bit of a struggle with the board. First, I had removed a 1 1/4 inch board and replaced it with a 1.5 inch board. I knew I would have to cut some of the frame out, however since some of this wood that contacted the old sill plate was rotting, it wasn't a big deal to raise the plate by a quarter inch.

I did have to do a bit more sanding to get the board in place, but eventually I was able to get the replacement sill in place. The one item I overlooked was the aluminum storm and screen frame was now a but to large for the smaller opening. I fixed this by cutting off a small portion of the frame. I had a full functioning window at this point.

Lastly, I used some wood filler in the quarter inch gap on the left side of the sill to fill in the last of the rotted wood. I was debating between replacing the entire strip of wood or just the last few inches of the wood, but my father suggested to try the wood filler. In the end it was a quicker fix and is covered up quite well with the last coat of paint.

Here is the finished project. I will have to replace the glazing another time as the weather is starting to turn for the season and there are a couple of pressing projects that need attention yet before the snow flies.

Oh yeah, let's put the storm window back on to complete this project.

Before and After

Garage Painting - Part 2

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Saturday, August 13, 2016 0 comments
If you missed the beginning of this adventure or want to see the original color of the garage, here is the link to part 1: Garage Painting - Part 1

I'm sure my father told me this when I was very young, if your painting a house, or a garage in this case, always start in the back and work your way to the front. It kinda made sense as a youth, but didn't think much of it until I was in my 20's. I had gone over to a friends house for BBQing. When I pulled up to their house it was painted a dark blue color. Very nice I must say. Went inside, said our hellos and finally adventured to their back yard. There it was, it all made sense finally, peeling gray paint in the back of the house.

So naturally I asked about the blue paint color in the front. Their response surprised me as it they had painted the front almost two years prior. It was bigger project than they expected and was going to finish the next weekend. Fast forward two years and they have never painted the back of their home.

So yes, always start in the back.

Naturally my wife and I did start in the back of the garage. We had purchased paint three years ago when we were going to originally start the project, but then we must have ran out of warm weather and pushed it to the next year, and then the next yet year obviously. And finally a third summer is when we did finally start the garage painting project. Though, last year I guess I did start the fascia boards. They all had to be replaced, so technically it did start last summer, just didn't get to the bigger part of the project until this summer.

We could tell from the first coat of paint that the garage would require two coats of paint. The original one gallon was so old, the paint started thinning. It looked terrible when it went onto the garage. So yes, a second coat was required to cover then terrible first coat of paint.

Naturally we ran out of paint and needed a second gallon to complete the primer coat. The only bad part was, the color mix chart on the top of the paint can was damaged, so when I brought it to Menards to match it up, they couldn't figure out what color to make. So they used their color analyzer to match it the best they could. Unfortunately, it was a bit darker when they mixed it, so as you can see, now we have two slightly different colors of paint for our base coat.

Our base coat is completed, and the two toned look is almost okay actually, but not how we needed it to look. But honestly, it almost looked like that was what we were trying to do. So this time when I went back to Menards, I  brought a piece of our house siding so they could figure out the correct color we needed. This time, it was a perfect match!

It's quite the change from the white garage with forest green trim. You can see a bit of that color scheme on our house porch.

The finished project, the last coat is completed. This adventure is now over. Though we do have a couple odds and end to finish up, but mainly small trim work and I must replace the service door yet.

Summer Projects In Full Swing

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Saturday, July 30, 2016 0 comments
We've come to that time of the year here in Minnesota where I can work outside in warm weather. The sun gives us light until 8:30-9:00, and I need to get my outside projects done while I can. This does mean all of my indoor projects are on hiatus until I knock a few items off my outdoor to-do list.

My project lists includes painting the garage to match the house, staining the deck, painting the three season porch to match the house and garage, change all of the outside doors and replace some windows. If there is time, paint the underside of the fascia boards, but that may end up being a next spring project. Fun stuff folks!

About six years ago, we had hail damage to our home. The siding was damaged enough where insurance would cover the damage, so we had it repaired. Our house was white at the time with green trim. Naturally we went with a light tan color with white trim.

Love the new look of the house, exactly how we envisioned it. The one problem was, our garage was painted white, so no siding. At the time, we didn't want to spend the extra on siding for the garage, so we decided we would paint it to match. Well, six years, or who knows, maybe it's eight years later, we are just getting to painting the detached garage. We do however have a big even coming up at our home next summer, think graduation, so there is a push to get things done.

With the detached garage, there is a three season porch attached to it. Ultimately, this became our storage shed as we have another three season porch attached to our home. I know, confusing isn't it? We are unsure what the original home owners thinking was, but I do believe the one attached to the garage was first. Then years later they decided to install a sliding glass door and add a three season porch to the house. It's the only logical timeline we could think of.

See all that storage? It's actually kinda nice, but I do have future plans for this in a few years. I'm going to incorporate part of this into my workshop. But that wont go on a to-do list until my current projects are completed in a couple of years.

But that is the old paint scheme in a nutshell. White boards with green trim. It's time for change. And no, the glass isn't that clean, we decided to remove all of the windows on the porch so it would be easier and faster to paint.

My wife was a big help here with the trim work and painting the lower half of the garage. She doesn't like the heights, so I get ladder duty all the time. The service door she is standing in front of, that was replaced two summers ago.

It was a wise idea as we could be fast and sloppy with this step and not have to worry about getting paint where we didn't want it to be.

That service door will be replaced and that was the only thing we never painted green when we first moved in. Originally the trim was black. The door needed to be replaced when we moved in, it still needs to be replaced and is on the summer to-do list.

Here are a few before photos with the trim mostly painted. The back of the garage with the wood keep.

A different view of the garage porch, plus a little bit or the porch attached to our house.

A terrible shot of the front of the garage after we power washed it. Those lights, so ugly, I need to replace those too.

The garage door was looking so bad and faded.

And one final shot from my three season porch through the screen. That's what the unusual lines are in this photo.

Next comes the long awaited base coat of paint to cover the white.

Cable Company Visit

Posted by Steve Cuddihy On Sunday, July 10, 2016 0 comments
I am getting close to adding the Sheetrock to the new wall, but one last thing to do is call the cable company to install a new line where the TV is going to reside. This proved to be more difficult than I anticipated since they normally install the cable lines in an older house like mine by drilling on the outside of the house wall. It's simple and quick for them, but it's ugly for me to have a black coax cable run along the outside of my house.

I currently have one cable line running from the back of my home, around the side, over a door that leads into this family room, then finally it jets into my bedroom wall. This side of the house has my drive way and is the second most visible side of my house. Since I am moving my TV from the back of my house to the side of my house, that means another coax cable will be run from the back of the house, over the door and another hole drilled fifteen feet from my other coax cable outlet.

My plan  is simple, get rid of all of the cables that run on the second most visible side of my home by drilling in the back of the house and into the ceiling where cable lines can be hidden from sight, like they should be. Plus, I want a second line to run through the new wall and into my bedroom. This will eliminate all of the visible cable lines on the side of my house.

I had Omar out to my house. There was a drizzle of rain coming down. Just enough to get everything wet and stay wet. I told Omar the plan I had for where I wanted the cable to be run. He looked at me puzzled until I showed him the open stud wall I had just built. It actually to some convincing for him to do what I had requested. He took a deep breath and left for his van to get supplies.

He came back with a tape measure, his drill, and an 18" tube that he normally uses to pass the cable through the wall. when I looked at the tube, I knew that wouldn't work since he needed to pass the cable at least four feet to the opening in the ceiling, but I let him try his method first. He drilled the hole, attached the coax cable to his 18" tube, and inserted into the freshly drilled hole.

Omar then came inside the house, looked at how far he needed to go and went back to his van. He returned with nothing, but told me he needed a longer tube to pass the cable. Ah ha! It was Omar's lucky day as I just happened to have a 12 foot tube for doing that very thing! We worked together, him from the outside, me standing on my ladder, and there it was, a new cable line exactly where I wanted it to be.

Now this I wasn't expecting, but he assured me it would be just fine. He only ran one line into the house, then split it here. My only concern is what if that line, or either line goes bad in the future, how does it get repaired? I know the answer, a new line run along the side of my home.

This is the beautiful part of the cable line. All that is visible now is this small little cable line. The rest is hidden in the decorative corner piece on the house. I couldn't be happier. You did great work Omar, thank you.