Plumbing for a Pedestal Sink

When you install a pedestal Lavatory, the plumbing is exposed, so you should make it look clean and presentable. The copper stub out should be cut off at one inch. This will accommodate a standard escutcheon trim ring and the valve will seat perfectly on the pipe and tight against the escutcheon trim ring. No copper pipe will show between the valve and the escutcheon trim ring.

 My friend Bob, who is a master plumber, taught me to use tri-flow spray lubricant, when installing valves. You spray it on the pipe, ferrule and inside the valve before tightening. Tri-flow keeps the valve from leaking and you don't have to over-tighten the nut, which causes the ferrule to cut deeply into the copper pipe. WD-40 works also, but not nearly as well as Tri-flow, which contains silicone and helps to create a good seal. I also use quarter turn ball valves, they do not restrict the flow of water, like a gate style shut off and they are so much faster to turn on and off. They cost just a little bit more, but are well worth the difference in price.

The waste line uses a short sanitary tee in the wall and the trap adapter is glued tight to the fitting. The wall is framed with two by fours, so the adapter sticks out a little too far to cover with one escutcheon trim ring, so I had to use two (see in the photo above) . The back one is still missing screws in the picture, I just have to locate a couple of chrome plated bugle head screws to fill in the holes and it will be complete.

Installing a Kitchen Slate Floor

Slate makes a very rich and beautiful floor, but there are some things that need to be taken into consideration before you proceed. Slate is a stone and is split, so there is a lot of variation in its' thickness. Some slate is split on both faces, while other slate is called 'gauged'. That means the back side has been ground or surfaced to make it more uniform in thickness. Gauged slate still can vary from 1/4" to 5/8" thick in the same box. To get around this difference, you need to plan on using a lot of thin set mortar over your backing material.

Whether you use Hardibacker, Wonderboard or a Mortar bed, you start with a flat surface and are laying an uneven material. It is a lot less work if you start with your thickest slates and work away from there. Most slate tiles will have high and low areas in each tile and you just have to split the difference to insure that one part of the tile does not stick up and stub a barefoot toe in the middle of the night.

A floor is a lot more interesting if you lay it diagonally, especially if your kitchen is long like mine is. Tiles laid in a straight pattern make a long kitchen look like a hallway. Diagonally laid slate requires a lot more cutting and a little more material, but is definitely worth the extra work.

Daniel, laid out all of the slate, by pattern and color and did an excellent job, to make sure that there were no runs of similar colored tile; that would make the floor boring. I put in a small section of floor, when he was away and he sure let me know how ugly my part of the floor turned out. "Boring!!" too much of the same color, fortunately for me the dining room table covers that part of the floor.

I put dark green Granite counter tops in, but do not like the way Granite slabs look when used as a back splash. I thought the slate would be much more interesting, and I think it is. I cut the 12"x12" floor tiles into 6"x6" back splash tiles, and laid them diagonally.I love the way they came out and it was at a fraction of the price that granite slabs would have been.

All of the slate in the pictures was purchased at Lowe's. They had a closeout on some multicolored slate and I offered them $1.00 each if I would take all they had including the broken ones, and they accepted. This floor is the result and what a bargain it was.

After the slate is laid, it must be cleaned up and pre-sealed before grouting. It really helps to be careful to keep the thinset mortar off of the surface while working. This is where a damp rag and a bucket of water come in handy while laying the slate. I used a masonry sealer that is sold in the paint department at Home Depot. It is the same sealer I used after grouting. It goes on white and turns clear when it dries. This sealer is very inexpensive and durable. The finish is absolutely awesome in my opinion and costs a fraction of most of the sealers sold in the tile department or in tile stores. After grouting the slate, I put on two more coats of sealer, It is so beautiful it takes my breath away - just like my wife.

Isolate Your New Plumbing Project

Are you remodeling your kitchen or bathroom or adding on to your house. It is always a good idea to isolate new plumbing, by adding valves. It is much easier to shut off a zone, than shutoff the whole house. Ball Valves are very effective and inexpensive for this task. It is a lot easier to shut down a part of the house, so that life can go on, while you work.

Plumbing Noise Tips

There is nothing worse than finishing a plumbing project and listening to the pipes, creak and groan or hammer in the walls when you shut off the valve. It just takes a little bit of care to insure this doesn't happen to your project. I always use expanding foam liberally at all penetrations through plates, walls and through studs. It is also simple to strap pipes well, before the drywall goes on. Plumbing noise is a lot harder to fix retroactively.

Flat Roof Solution

I finished the underside of my car port with clear 1/2"x4" cedar. I want to keep it looking nice so I chose EPDM rubber as the waterproofing material above. After nailing down T&G Sturdi-floor plywood, I rolled out the sheet of rubber. It is 60 mil. thick and was quite heavy. After positioning the rubber, I rolled 1/2 of it back and troweled down glue on the plywood. After the glue was all down, I rolled the rubber back and then did the same thing on the other half. I jumped around on it to fine tune the position and then used a roller on the rubber to remove air bubbles.

The rubber is tough enough to take a good deal of traffic, but we try not to sit on chairs or drop heavy objects on it. If one of us does punch a hole in it, a regular inner tube patch kit is all you need to make a repair. Eventually I will build a floating deck and complete the railing to match the house entry. Thats' a job to tackle in the spring. It's getting close to the end of our summer weather, and I am out of money (hopefully temporarily) to take on a project of this size.

The first EPDM roof I put down was about 20 years ago in Sacramento, CA. on my parents flat porch. I inspected it recently and the extreme heat had shrunk the black rubber so that it was tight as a drum. White rubber was not available 20 years ago, and this was a relatively new roofing material. The rubber is still in great condition, but I would use white rubber in a hot locale, to prevent shrinking and also to reflect heat away from the structure. I am going to have to go back to California and pull the rubber up and reset it, or it will probably pull away from the walls and leak.

EPDM rubber has a reported 40-50 year rated lifespan, and after 20 years the rubber still felt as pliable and elastic as when I put it down, so I don't doubt that it could last that long. It would probably last indefinitely as a membrane under a Sedum or Sod roof. Maybe I will do that on my shop - Hmmm? that gets the wheels turning. I guess that is why I am a Perpetual Remodeler, I'm always thinking of something new to start on. The roof is getting old out there.

Hiding the Propane Tanks

We don't have natural gas piped into our property, so we have Propane tanks.
These tanks are not the most beautiful things to see, so I built an enclosure that is attractive and unobtrusive and will blend in with the new shingle siding and the landscaping. I used a couple of pre-made fence panels that I bought from Lowe's. The were cost effective and saved loads of time. One of the panels was used full size and the other one was cut in half and reworked a little so one half served as a gate and the other one is an end panel.
The nice thing about the pre-made panels, is they fit in great with the Mission style architecture.

Details of the Gable End Pop-Out

I cut the wedges for the popout using this make-shift
jig on the table saw.  I would place a 24" long piece of
2" x 6" against the jig and push it through the tablesaw.
It would make two wedges from each piece.
Adding a shadow and an angled pop-out on the Gable end was pretty simple, but a lot of extra work. I started with 2ft. long 2"x6"s and cut them out diagonally on the table saw. I built a simple jig for this to make them all uniform and expedite cutting out so many wedge shaped pieces. I ran a string across the bottom chord of the truss to help align the wedges, then just nailed them on and sheathed the whole thing with 1/2" OSB.

This is a view of the truss from the attic.
You can see the wedges attached to the
vertical chords of the truss to form a
6" popout shadow under the Gable.
This made a 6" shadow and really sets the Gable end off from the rest of the house. The hardest part about adding the angle was getting the shingles to push back into the transition area where the wall goes from vertical to angled. It does create an attractive curve in the shingles, but the shingles kept trying to wander as I would push them back and try to keep the butt ends aligned and on course, while stapling at the same time. People really should have three or four arms and hands, it would be very helpful for these types of tasks.

Under the pop out I filled the 6" shadow area with rough cut cedar 1X and a 4"x4" that was rabbited out to accommodate the wall shingles.