As part of the remodel we’re moving the wall between the master bedroom and the master bath to make the master bath a little roomier. As it is, the door can’t be opened all the way because it hits the counter. We’re going to pull the wall back a bit and replace the swinging door with a pocket door (Laura would say Squee or some such at this point).
To do this we have to remove two of the existing closets and rebuild one of them in a slightly different location. This is how things started.
The closet to the left with the swinging door is the linen closet and will be moving to a larger space in the hall. The closet to right is Laura’s and the one that needs to be moved.
And this is how it looks now.
So, that’s two closets gone. What about the third? Ah, well. The future TV room has a closet (with a water heater in it that will be moving).
The library is on the other side of that closet and we need all the room we can get in the library. So we’re going to rebuild the TV room closet to be only 12 inches deep. That should be plenty for DVDs and the like.
We knew there were issues with the septic system when we bought the house, the big thing being that the line from the tank to the drain field had to be replaced. Knowing that, we allocated money in our budget for that operation based on a local expert’s estimate.
Unfortunately, none of us thought about the line from the house to the tank and about a third of it also had to be replaced adding a bit more cost we hadn’t planned on. Drat! All in all, though, the vendors who did the work did a great job of keeping the costs down in addition to doing great work.
From the House to the Tank
The problematic pipe from the house to the tank was of a type called Orangeburg (Wikipedia). Orangeburg was made of layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together. So, essentially, a tube made of rolled up tar paper. Yeah. That’s a great idea. Well, actually not so much.
Over time the pipe is slowly crushed by the earth around it to the point where little or nothing can pass through any more. Ours had gotten to that point.
Oddly enough, the other two thirds of the pipe from the house is iron and in fine shape. You really have to wonder why they didn’t use iron all the way to the tank.
So they had to tear up our beautiful driveway and dig a trench to replace the Orangeburg. Bummer.
From the Tank to the Drain Field
The line from the tank to the drain field was made of corrugated plastic pipe which had also slowly been crushed over the years.
The plan was to replace this with high-density polyethylene pipe using a pipe-bursting machine (Wikipedia). Basically, you feed a very thick cable (7/8″?), through the old pipe and then pull the new pipe through, shattering the old pipe in the process. This is really great since you only have to dig a couple of holes for the entry and exit instead of trenching. Or so goes the theory.
In this case we ran into a problem. It turns out that pipe bursting doesn’t work so well with corrugated pipe. Instead of bursting, it just condenses like an accordion. You can see it in a video further along in the post.
In the end they had to dig a trench for part of that replacement too. Not a big deal, though, since it’s just out in the field.
The pipe-bursting process is pretty interesting.
This is the head that attaches to the new pipe and the cable. That’s 4-inch pipe on the left.
The 20-foot sections of pipe are literally welded together. The two ends are clamped into a gadget that keeps them perfectly aligned. A special tool is then used to even up the ends so that they mate exactly. Finally, a heating iron is clamped between them until the ends begin to melt and finally, the iron is removed and the ends are clamped together until the joint cools. Voila! a single piece of pipe.
Here you can see the front of the new pipe being pulled through an intermediate hole that was required because of the length of the run. You can also see some of the compressed corrugated pipe.
So, seven weeks from closing to having a septic system we can actually use.
I had no idea how satisfying it could be to flush a toilet 😉
I took advantage of the nice weather last Thursday to take down the 12-foot satellite dish on the upper garage roof.
There was no realistic way to just remove it, especially by myself, so I disassembled it and took it down piece by piece.
Its construction was pretty straightforward. Nineteen supports bolted to a central hub bolted in turn to the support tripod. The 19 supports result in 18 metal mesh panels that create the semi-hemispherical shape of the dish.
Each panel was mounted to the supports with about a gazillion small, self-drilling, self-tapping screws. Most of them were rusty and not particularly willing to disengage. I used an impact driver to remove them and in the process destroyed a total of three sockets.
After a certain point I started removing the supports as well. These were mounted to the central hub with 9/16-inch bolts, most of which were pretty rusty. You can also see some of the mesh panels in the foreground.
The last two supports were a bit more difficult to remove. In addition to the two large bolts mounting them to the central hub, they were “captured” by some of the support hardware. That meant that I had to remove some very large, very rusty bolts.
I left the tripod because it is mounted to the garage roof and removing it would result in leaks into the garage. It can wait until we’re ready to pitch that roof.
Here is some of the hardware that held the thing together.
We went over to our house on Sunday to do a little tidying up. You know how it goes. Work is messy. Sometimes time needs to be taken to get control of the mess that had been made.
I started with the totally easy stuff, and cleaned up the pile in the master bedroom that had accumulated with the walls coming down.
Maybe about half (or so) of the flooring in the dining room has bothered to let go of the underlayment so far. Ask Dave about the amount of work he’s put in on that little chore, and how much he’s looking forward to doing the rest. LOL Oh my. That pile of flooring sitting there over by the window has been driving me a bit bonkers, so clearing that away was my next task. I decided to play with the settings on my phone, and created a little time-lapse video of this chore:
As Dave’s been tearing the paneling out of the bedrooms he’s been stacking the wood against the wall in the living room. While it’s a grand place to stage the planks, boards, moulding, trim, and miscellaneous bits of wood, it can’t all stay there. For one thing, he means to take down the walls in the living room, too, but can’t do it with all that other wood leaning there. We forgot that one of the reasons we wanted to take the truck over was that we wanted to move the paneling and other pieces of wood from the house down to the barn. So we took the BMW. Ha! Because 8-foot-tall paneling pieces won’t fit in the BMW, we staged it all in the second garage. First I had to clean out the garage a bit.
Apparently, when the previous owner decided to put this house on the market, the yard wasn’t the only thing that was over-filled with blackberries and ivy. Yes, the garage was, too. They cut the plant material off at the outside of the wall, and again a couple feet down from the top of the walls, and left it all in a pile in the middle of the floor. That was months ago, so it was nicely dried up, and easy to move. I rolled all that plant-mess up, and carried it down to the nearest burn pile. Ta da!
As I dealt with the plant material and sweeping up, Dave continued getting nails out of the boards and planks. When I announced that I had rolled up the dead plant bits, and gotten rid of them, he joined me in the garage to move some of the bigger things out of the way, you know, the things attached to the walls. There is this one shelving unit that’s basically okay just in the way, so it was detached from the wall and moved around a few times. I don’t know if you can really see it, but there’s part of a cupboard hanging on the wall toward the right side of the above photo. There wasn’t much left of it or its neighbor to the right. There’s nothing left of either of them now. The wood from those cabinets was in such bad shape that it wasn’t worth saving. More sweeping, more plant material cut down, more sweeping… Dave has a plan. We start moving the wood from the living room to the garage in a large, slightly wonky figure eight. I took a brief squirrel moment, and cut some ivy out of a small nearby tree. I’m going to need a heavy pair of loppers to get the rest. Finally, the wood is all moved! Here it is in the garage. The living room walls are visible again. Hooray!
Oh, and yes, there are two (three?) door frames still in the living room. There is a different plan for those that will be executed on a different day. Now it’s time to stop for the day. Because it’s time to stop, here’s my closing photo:
I meant to share this earlier, but only finally got around to figuring out how to get this file off of my phone today. This is our new driveway. The lower part, the part closest to the road, belongs to someone else. We have an easement. The upper part of the driveway is ours. The video is just over one minute in length. Oh, by the way, the road isn’t exactly smooth. Also, I took the video with my iPhone while Dave was driving the truck, so it’s, er, a bit bumpy.