I haven’t posted an update in a bit because I’ve been doing some late night work and such on the thing and I have real work to do during the day. So, here’s the whirlwind update of what has happened.
Friday, Day 7: I put on the first part of the second coat of stain on the door. I kept it simple, wasn’t careful, but still manage to come up with passable results. It’s not as good as Terri would have done on it, but it’s good enough for government work.
Saturday, Day 8: In the morning, I put the last of the second coat of stain on the door. I’m done with staining for the moment. I will have more to do after I put in the flooring and need to put in trim since I don’t really want to put the put back the orange trim I took out. The color of much of the wood work in our house is a nasty shade of orange. I much prefer the warm brown I have on the door.
After I stained, my folks arrived and my dad and I started on the demo to rip open the wall on one side. We also opened the ceiling so we could mount the header to the floor joists. During Gabe’s nap we headed off to the store to pick up some materials (and pizza for fortification) and came back with some 2x4s and a sheet of dry wall (amongst other things).
We managed to get most of the framing prep done and pulled the wire from the electrical box in the hallway. The wiring was moved into the new framing so we could put the box in the room rather than having the light switch in the hall. We left the wire loose for the night and called it.
Sunday, Day 9: The next morning, we went to church. After church, we put up the frames and wired the light on and finished the framing and cut and hung the dry wall. I also put on the new electrical box in the room and we moved the switch to it’s new home. Finally, we were able to get the door hung. The door wasn’t (and isn’t) all the way set. I still need to shim the jamb side of the door so that it’s level. I might also need to sand and re-stain the door near the outside-top a little so it won’t rub.
This was the part I needed the most help with and the part that I see as hump to get over on finishing the room. I would have liked to have the taping and mudding started, but that will come shortly.
Monday, Day 10. I was originally planning to tape and start mudding on Monday, but I was sore from the weekend and tired from work. I am a computer geek and this is more exertion than I’m used to. I also noticed that the hall is now really dark. I thought my mudding might end up looking a bit better if I installed a light.
So, I took another trip to Home Depot, bought a recessed light, some 14-2 2-wire cable and other bits (splices, etc.) that I would need to do this. I used the template that came with the recessed light to figure out what to cut and cut out the hole in the ceiling. (I’m getting a lot of practice with my key hole saw.) I ran my wiring, installed a junction box, splice everything in, and viola! I have a new light.
Well, sort of. I’m a newb when it comes to electrical wiring and thought I had it right, but I was wrong. What I had assumed was the line to the middle landing light was actually the source. So, the bottom landing light was now always on. FAIL.
So, I spliced my way into the 14-2 3-wire that went between the switches. I got it a little better this time. I wired it so that only the bottom switch was able to switch the light. This had the interesting side effect of allowing us to use the light switch to turn the light on and off separately from the top one. Even more interesting, you could use the switch the upper landing off and the lower landing on one way and switch the lower landing off and the upper landing on the other. FAIL.
Tuesday, Day 11. I stayed up very late working on the wiring the day before. So I took the evening off.
Wednesday, Day 12. I spent the evening puzzling over what I had done wrong on Monday and planning what to try next. I reviewed my understanding of three way lights and tried to figure out a solution. The big issue is that most of the wiring for these two lights is inaccessible.
The wiring from the switches to the top landing light is actually in the box for the upstairs switch. The wiring from the source goes into the downstairs switch. Somehow, I needed to get my light to get its wiring from the upstairs switch. Solution! The return wire (white) from the source is just passed through in all the boxes. So, I should be able to take the returning white wire and wire it in to the downstairs light, right? It will be a series circuit, but maybe it won’t be too bad.
So, I did that. It worked, but the landing light was really dim. I think it has to do with the fact that I currently have an incandescent bulb on the upper landing and a compact fluorescent on the bottom landing. This wasn’t going to work. I knew it probably wouldn’t, but I had to try.
Thursday, Day 13. I continued to puzzle over how to get the light to work. I was pretty well out of options with the existing wiring. So, I came up with another solution. I need one more wire that would pass back from the upstairs switch. This way I could split the line between coming out of the upstairs switch (the line that was switched properly by both 3-way switches) and run the lights in parallel so they’d each be powered independently without resistance from one interfering with the other.
I went to the hardware store to pick up a wire fish, another electrical box (because I was pretty sure I was going to demolish the existing one upstairs), more splices (ran out of my last box), and an auger bit.
I put the auger bit onto my drill, but it was getting late and I had bad technique. I ended up overheating the drill, so I called it a night.
Friday, Day 14. This evening, I improved my technique and drilled a hole up through the 2x4 between floors in the wall below the upstairs light switch. I think pulled out the electrical box for that switch and pushed the fish up the hole. Terri pulled that through and then I used the fish to feed another line down through the hole. I then ran the line out of the closet into the rafters and around into the utility room where I have my junction box. I then spliced everything in so that the switch upstairs now had two switched lines come out of it, one to the downstairs light and one to the upper landing light.
P.S. I’m not going to show you what’s inside that blue box. You don’t want know what that looks like.
Now that I have my light, it is time to tape and mud the new walls. There’s not much to do, but taping and mudding has to be done carefully to make sure you get your seams feathered well. Otherwise, you’re in for hours and hours and hours of sanding if you want it to look at all good. I don’t want to do that. Once that’s done, we’ll prime and paint and finish filling the painting for the other parts.
After that, I can start working on putting in the new flooring. I’m also considering my options for white boards still. I think I’m going to shrink the size of the white board wall just a bit (30” or so) so I can keep a bookcase on that wall, but it will still be pretty large (70” x 80” or so). The major question that remains is what material to use. I’ve considered:
Thrifty White Tileboard. This is white sheets of melamine that you can get at Home Depot. From all reports it works as an okay surface, but not very good. I’d consider it for Gabe, I think, but the stuff down at the local Home Depot is pretty beat up. So, it doesn’t seem like a great solution to me.
Whiteboard Paint. I was a little psyched about trying this initially and then did more research. You can actually by magnetic primer or mixes to put in regular primary to make it magentic. Then, you can paint whiteboard paint over that. I actually found a company that produces a clear whiteboard paint you can use over regular household paint. It sounds cool, but the reviews of all such things aren’t any better than the tileboard. If I’m going to go through that much expense and work, I might as well go with the tileboard.
Films and Wallpapers. You can use a number of plastic films for a whiteboard surface. However, they cost an arm and a leg. If I’m going to use something like this, I might as well go with ceramicsteel for the cost.
Ceramicsteel. I want this. It is hard. It is magnetic. It is the best possible surface. It is $800+ for the size I want. That’s well outside my budget. Maybe I’ll do that someday, but I’ll skip it for now.
Glass/Acrylic. This looks like the best compromise. I’m looking into various makers of glass and acrylic to see what I can find. Glass would probably be a better surface, but is probably going to be too expensive. I also have to worry about painting it and mounting it. It will be heavy and I’ll need to get some help putting it up. I’m doing price checking, but if it’s too expensive, this may be a no-go. I’m not busting my budget for this, as much as I’d like to.
I’m leaning toward acrylic at the moment (what you might know as Plexiglas or Lucite). I’ll need to find some high quality, high gloss stuff that won’t be easily damaged. Terri has found some places for me to look through while I’ve been working. I need to look through them and probably contact them to ask some questions about it.
Anyway, my battery is getting low and I need my sleep tonight.