Posts Tagged Silicone Caulk

The Royal Treatment

As in, making & installing crown molding in the bathroom. Neither our local lumberyard or even the home improvement stores carried the shape & size of crown molding I wanted. I wanted a large but simple cove shape. No fancy ripples, extra lines, or fake classical over-stylization. No outward bow, no fuss, no fancy. Just a cove. Just like this:

craftsman crownSure, I could order it, but at special order price? Heck no. So my brain reminds me that in shop class way back in high school our instructor told us that table saws can be set-up to run the board at an angle to the blade, creating a cove. So I went to YouTube to find some tutorials.

This video was my favorite, it was less guess & check and more technical to get the right angle to get the exact cove I want.

It basically consisted of clamping a long fence at an angle to the blade, and tightening a featherboard on the opposite side to keep the piece tight against the fence. Then let her rip! It took several passes on each board, starting by just shaving off a hair the first pass, and slowly raising the blade each time. The trick was keeping the board pushed down on top of the blade, as they kept wanting to raise. In total it took about an hour to cut the cove on 4 boards. And the pile of sawdust was pretty impressive. After cutting the cove, I cut a 45 degree miter off both the top and bottom edges of each side, so that the board would sit up against the corner of the ceiling & wall. I really didn’t take any photos of this step, it was pretty dusty.

I needed just about 36 feet for the entire perimeter of the bathroom, so I simply used 1″ x 4″ pine boards. Although I stripped the paint and re-stained the woodwork around the door & window, I knew from the get-go that the crown would be painted white. I want it to feel like part of the ceiling.

Even by running the boards a second time across the blade without raising it, each board still had kerf marks along the entire length of the cove. This meant first scraping the cove with a metal scraper, and then lots and lots of sanding. I actually wrapped sandpaper around a short length of 3″ PVC pipe to sand the cove, and then sanded the mitered edges too.

A coat of primer and 2 careful coats of Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic (supposed to be the best latex enamel on the market, drying to a hard finish recommended for trim and cabinetry). I also added a measured amount of Floetrol to the paint. Floetrol is a paint additive designed to slow the drying time to make sure the paint levels as it dries. This helps eliminate any brush or roller marks. The results were worth all the work – they looked like factory finish trim boards!

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Then measure, mark, measure, and cut. And then cut again, because with crown molding I always forget that by holding the board up against the miter saw fence it is upside down. So it’s a mental game to get it just right. Luckily I only made the wrong angle cut twice, each on the first end of a board and not when the measurement had to be exact. One wrong cut and it’s very easy to be stuck with a piece 2″ too short.

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The first few walls were pretty simple. The corners seemed to line up alright, and the walls were pretty flat.

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Then came the corner of the South wall, where I kept the original plaster. Apparently it is not an exact 90 degree angle. No surprise there though. And lots of nail holes to try to get the cove molding as tight as possible to both the ceiling and wall.

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Once all the pieces were hung, then came filling every nail hole, corner, and seam along the ceiling with white paintable caulk. I put the priority on getting the trim tight to the wall, and it worked pretty well. This way I could use caulk in the seam where it meets the ceiling to fill any gaps and not have to do this along the black paint.P1040075 B

I still have to go back for touch-up painting the spots where I caulked, but I’m thrilled with how it turned out. It looks much more elevated than any other room in the house. A touch of class in a classic bathroom. And then the ugly attic access. Eventually that will be painted the same enamel white along with the narrow trim around it, and won’t be such an eyesore in the middle of the ceiling.

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Everyday I’m Tiling

But still not finished. I must have put in the equivalent of 5 full 8 hour work days over the course of last week, doing any last minute prep and then tiling the shower surround and bathroom walls.

As far as last minute prep: I caulked the seam around the window opening between the cement board and old window frame (which becomes the rough opening for the new replacement window) and then painted the waterproofing membrane over top once the silicone was dry – one cannot be overly waterproof. I also caulked the joint where the cement board meets the tub, running my finger along the bead of silicone to make sure it wouldn’t dry proud of the cement board and effect the tiles adhering flat.

And then it was time to bust out the wet saw and mix up mortar. I also purchased a manual tile cutter, because I thought it might be faster for straight cuts on these small tiles, but a wet saw is the only way I know how to cut corners or grind rounded shapes in a piece of porcelain tile. And sometimes I just need to shave the slightest sliver away from a cut, and the wet saw is the best for this also.

For mortar, the tile store sold me Full Flex Premium thin set mortar. They explained that it would be the best product to use for everything – the shower walls, bath walls, and floor. I roughly followed the mixing ingredients, until it was about the thickness of cake icing. Although the professionals will trowel it onto the walls in a small section at a time, I kept finding it would dry too quickly that way (lots of cutting tiles, then re-cutting tiles, and before too long the mortar wasn’t sticky any more). So I switched to using the back-butter method, where I lather up each tile, scrape with a notched trowel, and then push the tile into place. It goes slower, but I felt it was cleaner and gave me more control.

The large areas went fairly quick.

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I started with the tub side wall, under and around the window. Rather than get fancy with the corners, I simply tiled the side wall all the way to the corner and then butted each row of the front and back wall up against the corner once again. Once its all grouted, it will just be a straight line in the corner rather than a weave that a professional might make by doing one row at a time and alternating each row.

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Above is the closeup of the corner. I also left an 1/8th inch gap between the bottom row and the lip of the tub, as instructed by the TileMasterGA via YouTube. Rather than grout this line, it will be filled with white silicone to seal the space and create a waterproof line so water cannot get beneath the tile or behind the tub.

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The wood trim attached to the wall provided a straight edge to begin tiling this wall, level with the ledge of the tub. This way, each row would meet in the corner and the grout lines would be aligned.

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The second wood piece is just slightly below what will be the top edge of the vanity cabinet. Since I expect the cabinet to be pretty permanent, I went all cheap scape and decided I didn’t need to tile the area that would be hidden behind the cabinet. Seemed like a waste of tile and time.

Around the window, I cut the ties flush with the inside edge of the wood frame. The new window will be a snug fit inside this frame, and once the window is installed I can place the marble ledge for the window sill and use bullnose edge tiles up the sides to finish the inside edges.

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It took several long days, hundreds of trips outside to the wet saw to cut (and then re-cut – and then cut my fingers on sharp edge of the tile), but the large areas went pretty fast.P1030771 B

Above is a sneak peak of my floor tile, I plan to start that next week. Although it will have a simple border along the walls, it should go much faster being 12×12 inch sheets and a simple square floor area. It was the trim pieces and corners and anything needing cut after cut which took longer. A few days later, and this is the result:

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This last photo shows the top details where the tile meets the painted drywall. Black line, mini subway tiles, a 2nd black line, and then a decorative chair rail cap. I finished the wall tile late tonight, but I still need to scrub some excess mortar out some of the joints so that the grout will be even. I’m thinking super pale gray grout for the walls (just slightly off-white to provide some contrast), and medium gray grout for the floor tile to give that antique floor look. But I’ll get the floor fully tiled first, and then I’ll begin the grouting step. My inspiration for the floor:

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Under Pressure

If you feel the need to sing along with David Bowie to get into the groove for this post, you can link to the music video of “Under Pressure” here. Or just hum along to it as you read on down the page.

Last weekend I forewarned that I was about to embark on a pressure washing adventure. I am here blogging to you to say it was successful. No falling off ladders, no broken arms or busted windows. We were thankful for a warm sunshiny day and cranked up the pressure washer. Be cautioned, if you use a pressure washer you will get wet. Like, soaking wet. I recommend high school chemistry class goggles and machine gun operator ear protection. Clothes are optional. I am wearing clothes in these photos only because I am extremely pale skinned and didn’t want the camera operator to get blinded in case of a camera flash. Oh yeah, and because I have neighbors.

This is the back side of the house, notice how there is no grass growing. The backyard has a the most massive oak tree I have ever seen and it needs trimmed like a tangled fur shaggy dog. The amount of shade provided by this tree prevents grass from growing very well in the back yard, the lawn is mostly creeping charlie and other green weeds. But I am concerned with the house right now. The trees and lawn will happen. Eventually.

In these pictures I’m pressure washing a length of soffit. I also took the opportunity to clean off the gutters and downspouts, even jumping up on the roof to carefully wash off some moss in certain areas and blast out the last of those crazy helicopter seeds that our maple trees provide a downpour of. The trick is to be careful with the tips on the pressure washer. Start out with a wide angle. If it’s not doing enough work, slowly work down to a lesser angle. I used 40 on the shingles mostly to wash them of dirt. On the gables, I first used the 25 nozzle and then the 15 nozzle to remove what I felt to be an adequate amount of loose paint. The 15 nozzle did leave some grooves in the wood gables if I stayed in the same place too long. The trick was to keep it moving. Then I washed what I already knew was a trouble spot. And it turned out my fears were correct. Wet wood chunks flew off the house and I cringed.

I knew there was a problem here. I didn’t know how bad it was. This short length of gutter has been tilted so that rather than drain to the downspout, it lays in the opposite end and drips down the side of the house left of the window. The vertical board siding above the gutter, as well as the two rows of shingles below the gutter were in bad bad shape. As in, I ripped the wet pieces off with my bare hands. The fascia board behind the gutter and the soffit board below had to come down. The smaller red circle to the upper left shows where the upper fascia board was rotted as well. I already had to rebuild a short length of soffit and fascia as I mentioned back in this post, and the process is just the opposite of tearing the pieces off. Measure new boards to length, dry fit, shave 1/8″ off length, dry fit again, use paintable caulk and set the new board in place. Nail board securely into ends of rafters. Caulk all seams with paintable caulking. (Why the italics? Read this post to find out why I now pay much more attention to what kind of caulking I use.)

So how well did the pressure washing work? Check out how much bare wood is exposed on the south gable after being power washed. It was pretty much solid white when I began.

I should snap a pic of the ground around the foundation. Covering the ground with plastic only worked about halfway. The dark mulch now looks like salt and pepper with all the white paint flecks that flew off the house. Oh well, live and learn. We need to re-mulch around the house anyways.

The last few days have been crazy with scraping, priming, scraping, ladder climbing, scraping, and priming. Move ladder and repeat.

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