Lakeshore Cottage

A reno blog for a cottage just outside of Toronto
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3 day weekend update

Monday, December 19th, 2011

This weekend was pretty productive, although the theme for this kind of work seems to be that everything takes longer than you expect. We both took Friday off and headed up to the cottage with the dog early afternoon. We began by clearing out the old laminate/particle board flooring that we left scattered throughout the house which improved the overall smell of the place. We were able to finish off most of the drywalling in the green room save for one corner and a partial wall… we ran out of ceiling drywall in the corner. It’s looking a helluva lot better down there now.

We did do a run to HD for more drywall and parked it in the room for later – it’s annoying to have to go to HD during the middle of the day because it kills at least an hour from working time. The closest HD is located very conveniently at the exit I take off the 401E on the way to the cottage so usually I am able to plan out what I need to buy/bring with me to do whatever and am able to pick it up on the way in for the day.

I feel like we did more work on Friday than just drywalling but I’m feeling pretty tired right now and can’t remember everything. We didn’t stay too crazy late and headed to our hotel to shower up and check in (second weekend we’ve done this, it’s a “fun” and cheap getaway when the price of gas is painful with my truck) and then went off to the main drag in Port Hope for what ended up being a really awesome and drawn-out dinner at a local restaurant.

Saturday was an early start due to the continental breakfast ending at 10am and we started off with a trip to HD for a toilet, tar paper and some other things I can’t remember now. Or maybe the toilet was Friday. Not sure. It didn’t get installed though and is sitting in the kitchen currently. Under the laminate flooring that we took up last week was plastic/foam underlayment that we finally took up Saturday, because we had intended to put the tar paper overtop it, hoping it was in decent enough condition. Turned out that the initial wood subfloor/paneling that had been laid down was saturated with dog urine in some areas so badly that the wood was still wet and rotted. I tore up one piece before it sunk in that the entire floor needed to come up. Painful work that lasted a long part of the day. Hundreds of nails.

Molly put plastic wrap on some of the windows and then helped with the nails. We did a HD trip for some new wood and then headed back to the city at a decent hour to make another round of Christmas parties.

I headed up alone late Sunday and worked on putting the floor back together. I didn’t get to the tar paper because by the time I was done, it was too dark to figure out if the floor was still moving in some areas and possibly needed more screws. It helps to watch someone walk around on top of it to see where there is still movement.

I was too sore at this point to put together the cabinet we bought for my tools and just cleaned up generally before heading out. Also, Rosie (the dog) was miserable until I figured out too late that I needed to sacrifice one of the heaters and point it directly at her to keep her (and me) happy:

I’m really happy that the height of the new floor basically matches the height of the existing hardwood. It’s a totally different colour but I don’t care since I am going to be sanding it all anyway. At this point, we’ve torn out and replaced so much of the house that the only thing left that has any chance of holding the urine smell is the existing hardwood. As much as I didn’t want to have to do it, tearing out that subfloor (and seeing the clean stuff under it) was the right decision.

Things I learned/shit to remember for the future:

1. I need to buy a second battery for my cordless drill. It died halfway through my floor screwing and using my corded one is painful after a while because it’s much heavier/larger than the cordless.

2. A 2×4 is helpful when drawing straight lines across large pieces of plywood

3. Make sure whatever you’re using to hold up your plywood is far enough away from your saw when you’re cutting it, or you’ll hack into your (in my case) plastic totes

4. The jigsaw is not as clean but so much easier to handle alone than a circular saw

5. Drilling holes in each corner when you are cutting out shapes like floor registers/vents is so much easier to deal with than just drilling one initial starter hole

6. When putting down your subfloor, stagger the seams so it’s stronger. Plan out where the full panels can go too… if you’re going to have a lot of foot traffic in one area, don’t end a panel in the middle of that space.

I’m not sure when I’ll be back at the cottage (sometime after the 27th) but my to do list includes:

– Any leftover floor screws for spots with movement
– Tar paper overtop the subfloor
– Shingles to make the floor flat to even out valleys
– Heading into the crawlspace under the house to vacuum between the floor joists (so many dead spiders, it’s disgusting) and then…
– Putting Roxul R-22 between all the floor joists and then XPS rigid foam under that if I need the extra R-value for the eco audit grants
– Figure out how I can start planning the hearth I need to build for under the pellet stove (am I laying the hardwood floor under it, or just building it ontop of the subfloor?) and then…
– Build the hearth, so I can move the stove in place to get it working to heat the place. I’m thinking a 2×4 frame with a plywood and cement board top, with leftover tile on top of that.

Exhausted but happy. Overall it was a productive and awesome weekend, for so many reasons that don’t just pertain to cottage work. Life is good! Happy holidays to any readers.


Minor updates

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Last Friday was successful. After work, Molly and I brought up a second couch that will one day live in the boathouse, and the new (to me) pellet stove. Two friends met us at my place and the four of us carried the pellet stove into the cottage. Christ, that took some muscle. After unloading it we all pretty much went our ways – the friends to their cottage an hour fiften away from mine, and we went to a nearby Comfort Inn instead of driving back to the city and then coming out again the next day. This worked well because the eco audit was happening at 9am the next morning. The audit didn’t really reveal anything I didn’t already know. I’ll get the most out of upgrading the insulation everywhere: attic, basement headers, crawlspace joists (for the floor above), crawlspace walls, etc.

Probably the biggest thing for Friday though, was being able to flick light switches and have light come on. Ha ha! I had received a text message from Brian Friday before we left Toronto telling me to bring a bunch of lightbulbs because power was restored through a lot of the house. Fucking awesome.

Also accomplished Saturday was ripping up the floor in the main room which basically took less than 10 minutes to do. After the ordeal of ripping up the floor in the one bedroom, I was worried about the amount of work/time that might be needed to rip up the main floor, but it was all tongue and groove crappy flooring that wasn’t difficult at all.

We moved onto the green room after and finished adding poly to the walls overtop the insulation and then put up a full sheet of drywall on one of the walls before we ran out of time (holiday parties to attend!). I had a meeting Sunday afternoon which meant I couldn’t head up to the cottage which was painful.

We’ve mostly got Friday off (Molly has a work thing at 9am) and we’re heading to the cottage again, for another overnight hotel stay to do more work Fri/Sat. Sunday I’ll probably go up on my own.

Goals for this weekend: grind all the nails off the hardwood flooring and figure out how much exactly I have, finish drywalling the green room, buy/assemble a cabinet to store my tools in and figure that out (I’m getting paranoid that everything is scattered everywhere), put tar paper down over the existing subfloor on the main floor and level with roofing shingles (need to look on kijiji), maybe start placing the hardwood on the main floor and figure out how I’m going to tackle it. We’ll see how far we get!

Weekday updates

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Since my post Monday:

– the new electrical panel has been installed and it’s huge… I’ll live with it somehow
– basic electrical passed inspection so it means I’ll have hydro to the furnace, water pump and one outlet at the panel (although now that I write this, I realize I don’t remember seeing an outlet at the panel)
– hydro supposedly was being restored today but Brian the electrician is checking it tomorrow and I think doing more work
– my water filtration equipment arrived by mail: a uv light and a 20″ carbon+sediment filter (2 filters, they’re huge)
– ESSO my oil supplier is sending someone out late tomorrow morning to inspect the furnace and oil tank before delivering me oil to heat the place
– Molly the awesome girlfriend and I delivered a couch and a chair last night and cleaned out the furnace air register duct areas because I remembered they were clogged with hair and was worried that if the furnace came on, it would spread everywhere
– I picked up a pellet stove from kijiji (continuing the awesomeness of kijiji) for super cheap and it’s currently sitting in the back of my Ranger until it goes to its forever home at the cottage
– two friends who have their own cottage are going to help me unload the stove (all 180lbs of it) tomorrow night on their way to theirs and depending on M’s schedule, maybe we’ll stay overnight closer to the cottage because…
– an eco audit is scheduled for Saturday at 9am

I feel like there was one other thing, but all of those things are pretty significant. I’ve now got a shitload of projects and not much time. It really would have been helpful to take that week off now instead of when I first bought the place a month ago!

Completely unrelated: tomorrow morning I’m upgrading my drivers license to an M2 motorcycle class. Looking forward to the day I can sell the Ranger the trade it in for a Jeep and a bike and take one to the cottage after rugby.

Green room part 2

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Another weekend, another weekend of work. I had a pretty early start on Saturday morning and met the hardwood flooring guy in Courtice for my 400sf of hardwood flooring. We loaded the bed and the rear cab full of flooring and I was on my way. The best part was this exchange:

Flooring Seller: “Man, I love kijiji.”
Me: “I know. I bought this flooring on kijiji!”
Flooring Seller: “I bought my truck on kijiji.”
Me: “I bought *my* truck on kijiji.”
Random guy walking his dog goes by: “I bought this dog on kijiji!”

This is what 400sf of oak flooring looks like.

I unloaded it in time for two friends to arrive, D&J. We hit up Home Depot for batt and rigid insulation and 9 sheets of drywall (3 ceiling, 6 wall) and then spent the rest of the day/evening finishing up the insulation, nail removal/joist prep for drywall, and attached the 3 sheets of 5/8″ on the ceiling.

Sunday was a bit of a different story productivity-wise however, as I was trying to find the motivation to go up after a friends birthday house party Saturday night. I had to leave a cheque for Brian the electrician though so I took up the last load of cottage-related stuff from my storage locker here in Toronto and considered that a success. Then I remembered that I needed to demo the closet that the old electrical panel was living in so Brian would have more room for the new panel.

I’m waiting to hear from Brian that we got a pass on the electrical. I’m crossing my fingers. He was supposed to do the work and pass the inspection today in order for hydro to be restored on Wednesday. This means that when M and I go up on Saturday, we should have one working electrical outlet at the panel, a furnace with hydro (but no oil), and possibly a working submersible water pump. In order to have oil delivered for my furnace I need the company to come out and inspect the oil tank (pretty new) and the furnace (really ancient). Hopefully they are both up to whatever standards they need. I’m also curious to see if I will have a working water pump or not.

Plan for this weekend – put poly on the walls in the green room and finish drywalling, possibly start mudding.

Main floor hardwood score

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

The biggest update since my last post was scoring enough Oak hardwood flooring to cover the main livingroom area and the bigger bedroom — for $1/square foot. Currently there is light (beech?) hardwood throughout the smaller bedroom, the kitchen, diningroom and space infront of the sliding patio doors. It’s all really gross from the dogs that lived there and no amount of scrubbing has made it any less gross. My plan is to sand the floors down (the finish has already worn off in a lot of areas) and paint them white. Therefore, it didn’t really matter what the newer hardwood looked like since they’ll be getting the same treatment, and when an ad for 400 sf of Oak popped up on kijiji for $390, I was all over it. What makes it even better is that the person lives in a town on the way to the cottage so I’m grabbing it early Saturday morning.

Speaking of Saturday, I have managed to snag the help of 3 friends, so it looks like drywalling the green room will be a go.

Sunday – I’ll probably have some kind of a date with the floor.

Electrical update – waiting for Brain the electrician to call me back later today, but he suggested Monday as a date for starting work. Finally!

Now if only kijiji/craigslist would come through for me on some cheap floor tile, I’d be set. Until then, I may find myself with a 7am date at Olympia Tile’s clearance warehouse.