Monday, February 29, 2016

Antique Farm Benches

I found two simple eight foot long antique barn benches from a farm in PA for $70.00, in good shape and nearly ready to repaint. Today I stripped the remaining paint for sanding and painting them white for Christian's farm. Soon he will have a dining room floor in his farmhouse and these will match the length of an old French farm table he will use there while leaving the room open to views out the windows on both sides.

Both benches will provide affordable seating anywhere around Christian's farm in case he wants to move them outside onto the lawn or into the barn sometimes.

Beautiful bench seating... more elaborate Scandinavian or French farmhouse and manor house benches!
(Images via Pinterest.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Sturdy Subfloor

Bill found a 1 1/8" thick tongue and groove plywood made by Georgia Pacific which will meet code to span the 35"on center gaps between Christian's old trunk/beams that support the dining room floor. These 1780's floor beams are oak tree trunks made flat on top and are in remarkably great shape. The old floor here wasn't, so I located these (rare here) sub-floor boards from a left-over lot in PA since we just need nine of them. Each 4' X 8' board made in Oregon weighs 99 lbs., and they ship free to a NJ branch and then here in four days.

The earlier image above shows the tree trunk beams best, which had bark still in some spots while all were inches away from solid clay ground.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Installing a New Air Handler and Ducts

Christan has hired Stellitano Heating and Air Conditioning to install a new air handler and duct work to complete his heating system. They are absolutely the best in our area and we have watched them grow from a few to a fleet of hard to miss red trucks with great logos and a terrific team of workers... over the years.

Initially Gary Stellitano (owner) surveyed the house with advice and then returned to critique the boiler system Bill and Christian built. Last week in record breaking cold weather, we made a few revisions and are now ready for the red trucks and some team work! Luckily the single digit temperatures disappeared the day they arrived, and the air handler is being fit into the new crawl space Christian created.

My job as "gopher" has been to pick-up bales of insulation and find tools like a vintage Ridgid pipe threader on craigslist; while Christian has run his wood stove, installed insulation, and brought space heaters from home and work to keep the water now in pipelines from freezing. Bill remains our driving force.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gray Grout And Tiles

We are installing 2" Hexagonal Carrara Marble Honed tiles in Christian's main bathroom and Basketweave Carrara Marble Honed tiles in his master bath. Both will have a medium gray grout around them, which will bring out the various shades of gray while being easier to keep clean on both floors. The tile came from "Marble Online"; 60% off list price (about $9 and $11/sq. ft.) with free shipping.  
Below are inspirational pictures via Pinterest.

We will also use white subway tiles and gray grout on some walls. These will be "Bright Snow White Subway Tiles" from Home Depot for $1.76 sq. ft. 

Roxul Vs. Fiberglass Vs. Foam Insulation

The upstairs bathrooms and ceilings in Christian's old farmhouse are being insulated with "Roxul" insulation bats made for either ceilings or walls, which have "R" values of 23 and 15; respectively. The largest room will accommodate two layers of R15 in the ceiling which will well insulate the main part of the oldest structure of the house. This insulation is made of lava-type stone making it fire and water/mold resistant while deadening sounds - which is all perfect for Christian's locations. Fiberglass is a bit less expensive, but the difference felt in a completed room is remarkable while the installation of "Roxul" dense bats (cut with a bread knife), is easy and less irritating.

The pink foam strips act as lifts on the roof walls to prevent any insulation from trapping moisture. These "Raft-R-Mate Attic Vent" boards as well as several types of "Roxul" insulation are sold at Home Depots.

The R value per inch for fiberglass insulation is 3.14, Roxul is 4.1, and closed cell foam would be around 5 for the rafter depth we have here. An install of 5" thick closed cell foam in the open ceilings of Christian's old farmhouse cost $3,000; however a partial house install does not work with this product. Spraying foam on old wooden beams, floor boards and electrical wiring seems wrong and too expensive for us besides. Single cell foam would be $2,000 for the same areas with the same issues and an R value of 3.7 per inch.

Five of the upstairs rooms in this farmhouse have had their plaster ceilings removed and recessed lights as well as fans in the bathrooms have been installed. Two layers of Roxul 2" X 4" insulation bats have been installed in two ceilings with deep enough joists, with single layers of 2" X 6" bats in the others.

The main bathroom below, had Roxul Safe & Sound also installed in the tub surround area which sound proofs the space from the adjoining guest bedroom.

Update: Below are the finished rooms...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Planning the Master Bathroom

Christian's master bathroom will have hydronic floor heat feeding a new cast iron floor radiator in the adjoining dressing room which is not usual, but both rooms are furthest from the boiler and the latter has one hot air duct we are supplementing. New "Ruxul" insulation made in Canada will be installed here as well which is superior in R value, non flamable and sound deadening.

The PEX lines will again run 6" apart which is terrific in a bathroom floor as opposed to the usual 8" span.

Christian has rewired the main wall here (and room) to allow for a mirrored medicine cabinet, double wall sconces for maximum lighting, a recessed shower light, and ceiling exhaust fan. 

Early on, the sub-floor was removed to replace the toilet connection with a taller pipe...