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Adventures in Home Renovation....


well, lets just call this chapter of my home renovation journal "plumbing the depths".

I had some pipes freeze this past winter because they were buried in a basement wall right next to the foundation wall. Back in January, I had one of these "offending" pipes relocated well away from the foundation wall, but another one still needed to be moved.

Fast forward to this past weekend - I decided to tackle this plumbing job myself and used the occasion to also extend a cold water line so I could install a tap in the rear (outside) of the house so the garden could be more easily watered. At the same time, I relocated the supply pipes for the washing machine (temporarily) to a new location - the final location will come following the installation of my new high efficiency gas furnace (this fall).

Everything was going along fine - I rejigged all the piping, moved the washer/dryer (and levelled them in their new location), hooked up my newly relocated dryer vent (now outside the garage) etc, etc. All that remained for me to do was pressure test the water system - I cautiously cranked open the main water valve (after shutting off all the kitchen/bathroom taps). It was then that I heard the faint trickle of water on the other side of the basement. I shut off the water main (again) and went to investigate. To my surprise, I discovered that I had forgotten to solder the last joint in the cold water line to the washing machine. F****!!! Oh yeah, did I mention that it was now 11:45pm (Saturday night).

Despite being dirty and tired, I then proceeded to re-drain the entire water system for the entire house, soldered the last jpipe oint and re tested the water system. HOORAY! - everything worked as it should and I had no leaks!

As a reward to myself for all my hard work, I went and saw Stompin' Tom Connors at a local venue here in Brandon on Sunday. Quite a colourful character - he put on a great show belting out all his "standards" including "The Hockey Song" etc, etc.

With the plumbing sorted out, I am in a position to finish building perimeter stud walls in the basement to warm up that space this winter. Once the walls are up, I can then run some new electrical, cable, computer and phone supply lines. To date, where I've already built some perimeter stud walls, I've installed some electrical wiring to allow for the future installation of some supplementary baseboard heaters (to assist the furnace to keep the basement warm in the winter) - damn, I'm thinking of just about everything, aren't I.

Now all that remains to to is everything!

Still on the to do list:
New high eficiency gas furnace (this fall)
Move the central air unit to side of house (will be done when furnace is swapped)
Install 2 new steel man doors into attached garage
Install rear yard privacy fence (currently chain link)
Install french doors in rear of house onto deck (also yet to be built)
Strip balance of wallpaper thoughout main floor of house
Refinish oak hardwood floors in main floor of house.
Install new kitchen cabinetry/flooring
Redo all 3 bathrooms (new fixtures/flooring)

Other than that, the house is perfect! - I can see from the list (above), that I now officially have no free time and will for the forseeable future be covered in plaster dust. Ah well, at this little project will serve to beep me out of the bars at night - even if it drives me to drink!


JNA said:
Q. Are you trying to reenact the movie The Money Pit ?

You may just have a point there! It is also true, however, that my list did not include a timetable. This is because it will take me years (if not decades) to complete all these projects.

Maybe I was born with a genetic defect that has resulted in a strong desire to "fix" my personal space. After thinking about it, perhaps my family is simply evolving towards a race of superhuman (or subhuman, depending on your perspective) "fix it" artists. My dad is a retired (or retarded, depending on your perspective) civil engineer, my mum studied urban geography at university and my sister is a landscape architect. I guess we are all in one way or another involved in forming/altering the built environment.

If I had to design my family's coat of arms, it would have to have a 16 oz claw hammer or circular saw surrounded by minaturized 25' tape measures.


pandersen said:
If I had to design my family's coat of arms, it would have to have a 16 oz claw hammer or circular saw surrounded by minaturized 25' tape measures.
And a few band aids maybe ....?

Sounds like you are a very handy Cyburbian Pandersen. I know when I do a big project around the house, the later in the day it becomes and the more tired I get, the more mistakes I start to make. Sometimes it is smarter for me to spend 1/2 an hour the next morning finishing off rather than 2 hours at the end of the day doing the same job a couple of times over.

Zoning Goddess

I bow to your expertise. ;-)

My idea of a big home renovation project is rippping up my carpet and having the underlying terrazzo restored by anyone other than me who I can pay to do it.


Staff member
Pandersen: that is why I hire out all my plumbing work. That trickle sound would honk me off big-time.

I spent the weekend putting final paint on all the casework around the windows and doors in the total kitchen remodel I've been doing for 11 months. I've done all the work except the plumbing and cabinet/counter installation. Quite a big project, but now I'm considering building a new garage structure. I think I'm infected with the remodelling bug. ;-)



I'm so far behind.. I was supposed to have everything done already....I mean.. I've been in the house for almost 3 months! :-D

On the long-term to do list.

Install moulding on the top of the cabinets.
Paint all the pink trim antique white.
remove wall paper, wallpaper paste, and paint medimum/dark green
replace vinyl floor with slate/stone flooring.
replace 1980s era ceiling fan and light fixtures with architecturally relavent models
replace countertops w/ stone/corian
install under cabinet-mount work/spot lights

Rest of the First Floor:
Refinish/Repair all wood trim/windows/counter-weights/wood storms/screens
Pull up carpet refinish all hardwood and stairs

2nd Floor:
Refinish/Repair all wood trim/windows/counter-weights/wood storms/screens
Refinish all hardwood and stairs

2nd Floor Bathroom:
Restore bathroom (includes medicene cabinet, walls, windows, etc.
Remove carpet (ICK!) restore floor hexagonal tile
Install shower curtain rod

Find origin of the small persistant leak and fix
Install a second bathroom
Finish a kids toy room/play room or future bedroom
Finish the laundry room area.

Remove old Ivy
Re-roof in 6-10 years (hopfully clay tile to match style/era)
Tuck-point and repair brickwork.
Paint trim a more stricking color combination than current...soft pink.. ick.

I believe I will be done by 2020...seriously.


maudit anglais
I'd post my "to do" list but I don't think there is enough bandwidth available to support it...

We're coming up on one year in the new house, and while everyone else seems to think we've done a lot of work, Mrs. Tranplanner and I think we haven't done enough!


I know your pain. My parents house is over 100 years old, and we have done significant renovations to it. And to save money we did all the work ourselves. I now know how to do wiring, plaster, some plumbing, hang dry wall, flooring, painting, and just about everything else. Oh and we build a new garage.

But having lived in Apartments for the past 4 years, and dorms for 3 years before that, I have not had any chance to have fun. Most has been hanging shelves at my GF’s new apartment.


michaelskis said:
I know your pain

When I was still at home (Ontario), I helped to restore and renovate my parents 160 year old field stone farm house. The previous owner of the property had been in the place from the 1940's and hadn't done anything in the past 30 years.

I gutted the plaster and lath, insulated, rewired etc and did the demolition in the upper floor in preparation for a contractor built board and batton addition. While that was going on, my family was stripping all the original woodwork and plank flooring in the original house.

I sometimes wonder how I ever finished my undergraduate degree as I was so busy with renovation. Come to think of it, I distinctly recall spending a summer day in 1993 tiling my parents nerw master bedroom ensuite bathroom when my mum came upstairs with what turned out to be my letter of admission to graduate school. If nothing else, that prompted me to finish the tiling job before the end of the summer.