Master Bedroom Remodel: It's Almost Complete

Its hard to belive that I can call a project complete, but I’m getting so close to the Master Bedroom project being complete.

Last month I hired someone to finish the drywall in both the bedroom and bathroom (along with a hallway issue). They taped and cleaned up the parts where the new and old dry comes together then textured them.

Master bedroom needs a closet door

Since then I have painted, put in a new door and installed the closet hardware. The only thing left is to put in trim, all the outlet covers and a closet door. Those will be completed once I decide exactly what I want.

South Side Gate Replacement

Residential fencing in albuquerque and Rio Rancho used to be made of wood until the last 20 years or so. While they build fences of block now I have a older house and all of the fencing and gates are made of wood. For whatever reason a large amount of it has decomposed and fallen down mostly since I moved in.

Before new gate

The gate on the south side of the house is the worse and it’s also the primary access to the back yard with a vehicle. I decided it was time to get off my butt and replace it with not only a fence that isn’t falling but with one that has more privacy.

I didn’t go into this project with any detailed plans. I knew I wanted to bring the gate to be flush with the front of the house, the old gate sat back about 6 feet. I also wanted a short gate for people and a long gate for vehicles with a 5 foot fence section at the edge of the property.

First gate post put up

I started by adding a single post on the first day to get an idea of what I was doing. I dug a hole, leveled a 4×4 redwood post and anchored it with some quick setting cement. That was it for the day. The next day the City of Rio Rancho inspector came by and red tagged the house due to the old falling gate and “debris” they could see in my back yard.

I found the timing strange and I have to wonder if someone called or the inspector just saw the work I was doing and decided to complain.

Side fencing installed

It took another day to build the corner which consisted of the 5 foot fence section and tying into the old fence. The biggest difficultly was positioning the sections of 2x4s around a rather large yucca. The plant is nice looking but very pointy and I left quite a bit of blood on the plant.

Majority of the gate is done and I have some issues to address

The main part of the fence was completed 2 days after I started. I had to go back at least three times and redo the position slats since I screwed up the level. I know several ways not to level fence slats.

The continuation of this project will be to clean up the river rocks on the side and level the ground. I also need to continue with the 6 foot fence along the south side of the property.

What Happens To Cactus In Severe Cold Weather

cactus affected by cold

We had some record or near record below zero temperatures in the Albuquerque area this winter. While native plants can handle the cold, this might have been too much for them. Good To Grow as several pictures of the effects of the cold on local cactus and Agaves.

I have a small prickly pair cactus in my front yard. Ever winter it “lays down” like the cactus in the pictures. Hopefully it survived.

I Won A DuoFast FloorMaster 250BN Nailer

One Project Closer had a give-away for a DuoFast FloorMaster 250BN Nailer. I made a comment to enter the contest and and won.

And it’s time to declare the winner of our latest giveaway for a DuoFast FloorMaster 250BN Nailer.

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The competition was intense but we only have one nailer to handout and this one goes to Greg from Greg In The Desert. Greg left a comment on the giveaway announcement good for one entry and he got real lucky. Congratulations!

What the Winner Gets

Greg gets a brand new DuoFast FloorMaster 250BN Nailer delivered to his front door, a retail value of about $275.

This nailer features a 45° angled tip- perfect for installing hardwood floors, 120PSI max pressure, and sinks 16 gauge finish nails through 1.5″ of solid material consistently. This nailer is a great addition for the tough spots where a traditional nailer won’t fit.

What am I going to do with this floor nailer? I’m not sure as I have concrete floors. I’m sure I will find use for it in the future.

Information I Should Have Known About Gypcrete Before Having It Installed

I installed self leveling concrete in the master bathroom (about 7 by 8 feet). It did not come out good with the primary issue being that it was not completely level. I had calculated how much of the SLC I needed to do the job but some of it seeped through holes in the concrete. I did my best to fill all of the holes but SLC will find it’s way through the smallest of holes. I had a situation where the SLC was draining through holes as it was drying, leaving some sloping in places.

For the master bedroom I decided to contract the install of self leveling concrete to third party. I choose to have Koch Mechanical install Gypcrete. Gypcrete is not the same as the concrete product I bought at Lowes for bathroom, some would argue it’s not a concrete product at all. There are a number of things I should have understood about Gypcrete before I had it installed, thankfully non of it’s issues would prevent me from using it.

Gypcrete is a brand name belonging to the Maxxon company. Although proprietary, the name of the product should indicated that it contains a large amount of gypsum. According to the Manufacturer it is superior at dissipating heat vs normal concrete. Thus, the company that installed it for me specializes is installing gypcrete over radiant floor heating.

Gypcrete is installed in a liquid form and can be walked on in few hours, and is completely dries in 30 days. It doesn’t cure like concrete, it just dries. The finished product is like having a floor made of solid chalk. It can be scraped and dented with sharp objects. I don’t know for sure, but it seems like it could be busted up and re-liquified.

Gypecrete absorbs water easily and might react with concrete products. It also isn’t a structural product and can crack easily. For these reason the manufacturer recommends some sort of anti-fracture membrane or barrier between the Gypcrete and thinset. Since I had it installed over a very solid concrete floor (as opposed to a more flexible wood floor) I wasn’t worried about cracks.

Although the thinset I used stated it was ok to use on top of Gypsum, I felt it was a good idea to put some kind of barrier. I put down RedGuard, which is an expensive waterproofing liquid plastic that is rolled on like paint.

I’m happy to report the tile has been installed and there have been no issues with the tile, thinset or gypcrete.

Master Bedroom Remodel: Ready For Tile

This last November I installed tile in the Kitchen, it was supposed to be practice for the master bathroom tile install. I’m glad I did. I learned a few things: one that the dry winter air made it difficult to keep up with the drying the concrete products, two that it’s easy to lay a tile and think it’s level only to come back later and realize it is not.

My very small kitchen does not need perfect tile. As some point I will remodel it and do something else. I decided that I needed additonal practice and I would tile the master bedroom before attempting the bathroom. Before I could do anything with the master bedroom I had to remove all the crap that had accumulated since I had started using it as storage. To remove the crap from the master bedroom means making space in other rooms. I made about two trips to Goodwill. I still have quite a bit of crap but it felt good getting rid of that stuff.

The master bedroom had been unused for about 5 years with no remodeling progress and once I had the room cleared the project started to move quickly. I started by putting in a larger electrical conduit from the breaker box to the attic, I then ran the 220volt wires from the box to the thermostat location in the bedroom. I also finally wired up the electrical to the master bathroom’s radiant floor heating elements. Then I installed the insulating mat on the concrete floor and the the WarmlyYours heating elements. Getting the conduit to the breaker box was a huge step, since it also allows me to complete a number of other projects.

Before putting down the elements I thought I would try to install wallpaper. After a day or so the wallpaper was in it started separating from the wall. I still need to go back and fix it.

The electric heating elements need to be covered in some sort of cement product such as thinset or self leveling concrete. After my experience of putting in self leveling concrete in the master bathroom I knew I didn’t want to try it again. I considered using a layer of thinset but decided that the risks of having to crawl around on the elements and having to deal with the height thickness in the closet, which had no elements, was too much of a problem. I eventually had a local company Koch Mechanical install a 3/4 inch layer of gypcrete. On a square foot basis, the $400 I payed them for the installation may have been expensive, I could have easily wasted that much trying to do it myself.

The gypcrete was installed on Thursday and I was able to walk on it in only a few hours after it was installed. Good news as I didn’t have to fight to keep the cat out. It’s still very soft and will take a few weeks to fully harden. Also good news as I have other plans for the next few weeks.

This weekend I also installed a ceiling fan along with a separate wall switch and a hallway socket on the same circuit. This completes the electrical work for these two rooms and I can put up remaining pieces of drywall.

I expect to have this room complete, except for painted trim, in thirty days.

2010 Energy Tax Credits

One Project Closer has a run down on the 2010 energy tax credits that were extended by the US Congress.

I’m glad to see that doors are still on the list as I intended to have them replaced at my house, but ran out of money. Another project on my list for next year is a new metal roof.

For all qualified upgrades, the credit is 30% of the covered cost up to a $1500 total credit. For instance, if you pay $3000 for insulation (excluding installation costs), your credit would be $900. The house must be your principal residence and the credits don’t apply to new construction. Other, upgrade-specific restrictions apply, so see the site for details.

  • Energy Efficient Windows and Doors, including many Storm Doors and Skylights. Cost eligible for the tax credit does not include installation costs. Certain other restrictions (like U-value and IECC qualifications apply).
  • Water Heaters. Credit includes installation costs; some restrictions for energy efficiency apply.
  • Metal and Asphalt Roofs. Credit does NOT include installation costs. The roof must be highly energy efficient (asphalt roofs must have cooling granules, for instance).
  • Insulation, whether spray foam, fiberglass, or blow-in cellulose, they’re all covered so long as they meet IECC requirements. Installation cost is NOT covered.
  • HVAC Components, including certain Advanced Air Handlers, Air Force Heat Pumps, Central A/C Units, Boilers, Propane, and Gas Furnaces. Tax credits include installation costs.
  • Biomass Stoves.