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.

Partial Fireplace Deconstruction

My house was built in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. I don’t know because it was a foreclosure and the bank didn’t really give a shit, they just wanted to sell it. It is easy to tell the era due to the rest of the houses in the neighborhood and the style of the house.

The fireplace is one of those dated artifacts that is not to my liking. It consists of a false brick veneer with a brick hearth that sticks out from the wall about a foot.


If the original designer of the house had put in some storage under the hearth or made it somewhat more useful, it might have been worth keeping. Otherwise the hearth just takes up too much space and I wanted to take it out before I re-did the floors in the living room.


I surrounded the area around the fireplace with sheet plastic that I attached to the ceiling with tape and push pins. I smashed the hearth brickwork with a sledge hammer and a pry bar. Under the brick veneer I found dirt and brick fill, no hidden treasure of gold and rubies.


There is still a layer of brick attached to the block fireplace that I was not able to remove. Like many of the projects at my house this is a mult-stage project. When I get ready to hire someone to do the drywall throughout the house, I will remove the remainder of the bricks and have drywall installed where the brick is now.

I was somewhat worried about completing this project as it was not undoable, but I am happy with the extra space I have in the living room and the fireplace is still functional.

Also see the Toolmonger post.

Crap In The Attic

When I was house hunting one of the things on my list was a house with a accessible attic. This house does not disappoint. In fact the previous owners laid plywood through a large amount of it for storage. They also left a lot of trash up there.

I have found:

  • Empty cardboard boxes.
  • Kids “artwork”. Like kindergarden level stuff.
  • A jockstrap
  • Empty Old Milwaukee beer cans.
  • Spilled rat poison.
  • More cardboard boxes.
  • Little pieces of miscellaneous paper.
  • Wire hangers.

Unexpected Benefits

This house was listed with the clause that the seller would “clean up debris and weeds”. There was quite a bit of weeds and some “debris” but it wasn’t so bad. When I made my offer I said I would would clean up the weeds and crap left behind. They accepted my offer and the rest is history.

On the final contract, they put back in that the Seller would clean up the weeds and debris. WTF? According to the seller’s agent, it was “already scheduled”. OK, whatever. Last week the people they contracted to clean up the place, and oh boy did they do a terrific job. Some of the debris had value to me, but the clean up costs vs the costs of the items more than likely even out. Check out these before and after pics.

Front of the house, not a lot of weeds here, but it was nice to have it cleaned up. Makes a difference in the look of the place from the road.

Front of houseFront of house

The partially finished storage shed. I think there was some interesting things in here I would have liked to have had. There was also a big wood pile next to it which was taken.

Other weird out buildingOther weird out building

This is the back yard, showing the back 1/4 acre that hasn’t been devleoped. I didn’t expect them to clean up these weeds.

Rest of back yardRest of back yard after weeds removed

The vegetable garden. Again, will be a lot easier to get stuff growing here too.

Vegetable gardenVegetable garden after weeds removed

The once grassy area in the back yard (sprinkler system is present). It will be a lot easier to get grass in now.

Back yard (partitioned)Back yard (partitioned) after weeds