Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Slow Weekend II

Last weekend was another non-productive one as far as home improvement went. Anyone who checks this blog on a semi-regular basis probably also readings the Chateau Mold blog. Ann and Lori only live a couple of hours from us. On Sunday we were up in their area and had the pleasure of seeing their house/project and then having a nice brunch. It was a lot of fun to walk around, looking at things you've seen posted to a blog and being able to tap them with your knuckle. It is also fun to see how different people tackle problems and projects differently. One thing is for sure: Ann and Lori are doing a great job with their place.

One topic of debate that came up was how to, or even if you should, deal with rude or obnoxious contractors. Brit and I have found with people we have hired to do work on our house (and car too), that sometimes the men will be polite and courteous to me, but then be rude, aggressive, or condescending to Brit. How much of this is chauvinism and how much is them wanting to deal only with the person they initially made contact with (being me)? The issue is not totally limited to males. We had a female telephone repair person come out to the house who was polite and courteous to me, but who I observed talking down to the female babysitter (whom she assumed was my wife) while I was in the other room. If it does turn out that a contractor is rude to one spouse but not the other, how much of that should be tolerated? If there is major price difference between Mr. Polite and Mr. A-hole should you suck it up and get the better price?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Tub Detail

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Project Complete

Tonight I finished the tile mosaic on the side of the tub in the master bath when I grouted it. This wasn't more than about an hour's work and made for a nice little after dinner project.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Before cutting, make sure all your tile is of uniform thickness (should be a no brainer, right?)
  2. Getting the goobers of grout out from in between all the little individual peices is a much larger task with irregular mosaic peices that it is with uniformly square tiles. That cheap toothbrush the dentist always gives out works wonders
  3. Wear gloves even though you don't want to (good advice for life in general)
  4. When doing a 1.5x2' section, as opposed to tiling the entire bedroom, don't mess around with mixing up mastic. Just go buy the premixed can of it.
  5. Plastic picnic ware works great as a trowel
  6. When cleaning up the grout use an old kitchen sponge with the abrasive scrubby side - again, great for getting in between the mosaic peices

Stuff to try for next time:

  1. Cut and fire my own tiles. The pale blue and rose red glazes would combine to make a hazel nutty color that would blend well with the brown tile we have - maybe a leaping Chinook with a red back and a brown underneath and gray/silver on top under belly? I could probably do a fairly decent woodland stream scene with a little pre-planning
  2. Try photographing scenes from around Clark Creek House and then running them through the mosaic filter in photoshop. I might get some pretty decent patterns for cutting tiles. Look into expanding the black lines in the filter so as to match the offsets inbetween individual tiles where the grout will go
  3. If mosaic projects are going to get involved, look into tiling onto a cement board for later hanging - sitting on the bathroom floor is getting old fast.

For little jobs like this one I don't use a float to apply the grout - just mush it in with your fingers.

Grout Applied

Grout Applied

All Done

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

To Labor or not to Labor? Silly Question...

Back to work after a busy four days off. Friday I got two pickup loads of gravel for the driveway and humped a load of pea gravel one duffel bag at a time (10 shovels per bag) up the steps and filled in anther little area in the pation project. Saturday I spent most of the day working with wire brush bits and grinders, getting all the old blacking and rust off the woodstove and then reblacking it. Sunday I didn't accomplish anything :). Yesterday I put a coat of stain and seal on the deck and then spent the rest of the day assembling apple pies to go in the freezer with my wife and mother. I think deck seal is an area where it pays to get the good stuff. I can't remember the brand but the stuff I've been really happy with has a nut oil base. Its twenty five bucks a can but the wood stays sealed and has a very nice natural looking sheen instead of looking like its coated in plastic.