Saturday, May 24, 2008

Doing, not Blogging

For once I'm actually spending more time on a renovation project than I am on blogging about it. I've started the upstairs bathroom renovation. First on the list was getting the electrical worked out. It was initially a challenge to figure out how to put two wall sconces on this wall:

Note where the right-side sconce would go: Brick wall just behind the drywall. And to the left? A pipe taking up some prime real estate that could be used by the left sconce.

With help from my buddies at the Old House Web forums, I did manage to squeeze a pan box in front of the brick and a regular rectangular box just to the left of the pipe (a hex or round box would have put the light too far over to the left).

There is still much fun to be had. See the j-box sitting there to the left? It has a wire (on the lights circuit, btw) running down from the 2nd floor, connected to a wire running back up again - a path to nowhere. Being particularly un-fond of random junction boxes, I'm going to bring those wires up to the box I'll use for the left sconce and eliminate the random j-box.

The wiring for the left sconce is a hassle: See, the light was originally on the left wall instead of over the sink. What should have been good news was that there was JUST enough wire to reach over to the sconce location -- it only went into the box by an inch or two, but code allows me to pigtail it from there.


The PO's somehow had managed to get that wire past inspection even though it was missing the outer sheath for around a foot. I tried to find some way to allow that - put it through conduit? apply some sheathing material? But the code is clear: Sheathing must reach into the box, period. So getting this hooked up will require tearing out half my bathroom ceiling so that I can unstaple enough of this run of wire in order to pull it closer to that wall and give me the extra foot I need. Oh, did I mention that they took the wire from the switch, ran it up, angled it to the back of the room, then angled it back forward to use for this light? Brilliant. NOT.

I also won't have enough play to move the GFCI to the adjoining wall, so I'm going to do one of two things: Maybe (but less likely) I'll just leave it behind the sink, though move it as far to the left as possible. But more likely I'll take the wire into a j-box that I can see down the wall behind the bathroom sink cabinet (is that legal?!? probably not), and connect it to a new wire that I then run up to where I need it on the left side.

Now I just need to decide if it's going to be worth the extra cost of even more drywalling to tear out around the switch so that I can actually make use of the 3-wire they used on the switch for the vent/light, in order to put in separate controls for the light and the fan. WHY would they run the right kind of wire to do that, but not bother putting in the third switch?!?

I'm playing tag with my plumber, trying to get him here to give me an estimate for that work, which will include negotiating with him about whether I'm ordering what I've picked out or what he likes to use. We'll see.

I also need to start tracking down a drywall pro, since that's one project I'm not willing to tackle. I miss real plaster -- if for no other reason than no one ever expected it to look nice and smooth. I can't make drywall finishing look nice and smooth.

And in my next destructive moment (hormonal overload? office dickwad strikes again? Partner gets "in a mood"?) I'm' going to tear out the vinyl and laun, and make sure that I really do have a nice solid plywood subfloor under there. This will be my first big adventure in tiling. Pray for me.

No comments: