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.

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Master Bathroom Remodel: Drywall Installed

IMG_0466

I’m a few weeks late on posting this. I really haven’t had the time to sit down and right a proper entry until now. The day that I never thought would come finally came, the dry wall is up in the master bath. There were times when I was demolishing the bathroom that I thought it would it would be a impossible task to finish it. It was such a mess and was going to cost so much money to put back together. This is a big milestone for me.

This was my first time installing drywall and I made a few mistakes. Apparently the top peice of drywall should go up first. I put the bottom peice up first which left me with a gap at the top. I also managed to to incorrectly measure every single protrusion through the wall and had to make all the holes in the drywall larger to adjust.

Next items to start working on are the flooring and the shower waterproofing. The Warmly Yours floor heating was very expenisve and cost me my budget for the next few months. The schluter kerdi product I plan to use for the shower stall will be pretty expensive so that purchase will have to wait. I will work with what I have but won’t be able to buy much therefore I don’t expect a lot of progress over the next month.

The Mess That Is My Underground Duct Work

Swamp cooler duct work 3

This was only the second summer I’ve lived in this house, and the second year I’ve ran the swamp cooler. I thought I was lucky to have a swamp cooler that sets on the ground instead of the roof. I expect to have some dirt get through the ducting, but i had quite a bit of it all summer long this year. I also found that the cooled air was making it out our under the concrete pad that the cooler is setting on. Summer is over, so i pulled off the swamp cooler to take a look. I found a huge mess.

The metal duct work is mostly rusted away. I would expect that the ducting would be incased in concrete, which it appears there was an attempt to do so. Except only 50% of the ducting had concrete surrounding it, the rest was up against dirt. Damp dirt, which led to the rusting and the mud which penetrated the ducting.

I pulled up the majority of rusted mess out. I allowed the pit to dry out then vacuumed up as much of the dirt with a shop vac as I could. I also found a layer of dirt in the 18 inch duct that leads to the main distribution center under the forced air heater. Thankfully that where the dirt stops.

Temporary sealing of duct work for winter

I’ve got a huge mess to clean up. I’m going to need to talk to a HVAC contractor to see what can be done. Hopefully I can do most of it myself, but I will need some advice. I decided not to deal with it this fall, instead I sealed up the main 18 duct so the heated air wont get out this summer. I took a piece of foam and a piece of plywood, sized up to the wall where the inlet to the house is, and held them with some 2×4’s that I hammered into place.The foam compresses and seems to have a good seal. I filled any other holes with pieces of foam and some expanding foam.

If your interested in following the progress, you can view pictures at a flickr set.

Spring Is Nearly Here

The average last frost date in Albuquerque is April 15th. I’m not letting that stop me from getting an early start on my vegetable garden this year. Last year I made many mistakes producing lack luster results. That’s ok because I have learned from my mistakes and will hopefully produce a bountiful harvest this summer.

The overall size of the garden has increased to 120 square feet from 100 last year. I’ve changed the irrigation system to make it easier to manage. Last year I had a single soaker hose that snaked from row to row. It was hard to move around and get water just where I wanted. The hose itself sucked because it was a thin walled hose with holes every 12 inches. Again hard to get water just where I wanted. This year I have a single poly hose that runs along the inside wall. I can then connect smaller hoses to this hose along the perimeter anywhere I want. I’m already using 1/4 inch recycled tire hose which is a soaker hose that spews water all over it.

My biggest concern is lack of nutrients in the soil. I added amendments last year and added more this year but it’s just not going to be enough. To overcome this I will use compost tea. “Why go to the extra trouble of brewing, straining, and spraying a tea rather than just working compost into the soil? There are several reasons. First, compost tea makes the benefits of compost go farther. What’s more, when sprayed on the leaves, compost tea helps suppress foliar diseases, increases the amount of nutrients available to the plant, and speeds the breakdown of toxins. Using compost tea has even been shown to increase the nutritional quality and improve the flavor of vegetables.” I’m betting a lot on this so it better work as good as they say.