Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Laundry Room Half Bath Project – or how a Plumbing Project Touched Every Room in the Retro Ranch (and almost every exterior wall too!)

Episode VI: Return of the Electrical, HVAC and Drywall Subs

With the plumbing for the laundry room basically completed, we needed the electrical contractors to do their magic. Their schedule was backed up so things were pushed to after Thanksgiving. Their task, reposition the ceiling light in what would become the laundry area, install a new ceiling light/ exhaust fan in the powder room and add a new circuit to the electrical panel. Of course this meant cutting more holes in the garage walls, so Ted the Drywall Guy would have lots to do. While opening the walls the electricians discovered a wire almost chewed through by some long since deceased rodent (or was this the work of Ben the rat?). As part of this project’s extras (or “scope creep” for those following along) a junction box was installed in the patio ceiling so we might install a fan this summer – bonus! 

I would be remiss if I didn’t share an unfortunate “oops” during the electrical work. It seems when the electrician was backing his van up to the garage, he didn’t allow clearance for the ladder on his roof and broke off a large piece of trim along the garage eve. Troy of NWHC was able to refit the pieces that had been broken off with some glue and Bondo (like what body shops use on cars). With a lot of sanding and painting it’s now almost good as new.


The HVAC register was in a great location in the powder room but the dryer vent, which previously exited the exterior wall at almost floor level, was rerouted to vent up over the new bathroom through the attic and out the eve for the new stackable washer/dryer. Keeping an eagle eye on the project progress, while likely a pain in the tuchus for our general contractor, spotted the vent opening in the laundry room was about eight inches too low for a stacked dryer - the sub fixed it the next day. A vent for the exhaust fan was also installed. While the vent sub was there the city inspector came by and approved the work after the contractor explained the scope of work. Although not exactly in chronological order, Rick, our extraordinaire brick mason, patched the holes where the old dryer vent had been and did some windowsill tuck-pointing in about 2 hours on a Friday morning. I defy anyone to point out where the old vent had been. Rick is a true craftsman!


Once City inspectors had blessed both the mechanical (venting) and electrical, it was time for Ted the Drywall Guy to come back to install sheetrock, patch holes and slip-coat the laundry room, powder room and garage. This work spread over a weekend and he had heaters and fans going to help the mud cure. So after patching several interior walls (for hose bibs and the wet bar work) and this project we had hoped Ted was done. Yours truly two coated the laundry room and powder room walls and ceilings and first coated the repaired garage walls in a marathon painting evening as our annual holiday party was coming up in a few days. 

The Thursday before the party Robert the flooring and tile guy dropped off the marmoleum flooring and said he would be back the following week to install it. After some pleading (something about happy wife, happy life) Robert installed the new floor on Friday, the day before to the party. His techniques and skills were a marvel to watch and Beth’s bright blue floor looks fantastic. Robert was back early the next week to install the wall tile in the powder room.

The finishes were coming together so it was time for the finish plumbing, electric, delivery of the new washer / dryer and more. What could possibly go wrong? Tune in next week to learn about the world’s noisiest dryer and how you need to be careful when installing the water heater straps.