Category Archives: House Work

Certainteed Shingles Suck

So, yeah, this is a widespread thing.

Basically, we’ve got 25 year shingles failing after about 10 – out and out failing.


We’ve filed for our share of the class action lawsuit, the shingles, pictures and supporting documentation should be on their doorstep tomorrow.  Let’s hope it all goes smoothly!


On Sunday, I built a shelf. A big shelf.

One of the interesting parts of our house is, what I have perceived to be, the lack of storage.  By that, I mean that there aren’t many shelves or closets in the house.  Around Christmas time, I put up a fair bit of shelving to finally unpack all of our books and DVDs  in the basement

Pre-built shelving is also pretty expensive when it comes down to it.  The big chunks of press board also start to deform under load – especially when they get deep.  I’d had my eye on doing some shelving in our laundry room for some time, so I went o Menards, bought five 2″x4″x8’s, three 1″x6″x8′ and fashioned a shelf from a design that made sense in my head.

The result was a shelf that was  ~20″s deep and eight feet long.  Kristin had picked up some free after rebate metal brackets that I was able to put to good use.  When I was putting the shelf together in the basement, I randomly decided that I would use four crossbeams (?) to connect the front and back 2×4″s.  It took me longer than I care to admit to do the math, but I finally realized that this cut the 2x4x8 into three segments, centered 32″s from each end.  I used wood glue anywhere I used screws to minimize the flexing and general wobbliness that home built projects can have.  I also pre-drilled all of the screws.  As luck would have it, studs are centered at 16″s and this made it possible to put the shelf on the wall easily!  Lucky me!

After trying to straighten one of the brackets and having it break in my hands, I reconsidered the 100lb rating off each of them and decided to include at least one 2×4 support.  Two would make it look  symmetrical but one is all that is really needed.  Also, in order to make another support I would have had to cut up one of the 2×4″s supporting my miter saw… yeah, I guess maybe I am lazy and just didn’t want to cut on the ground the rest of the day.  When I make the next batch of shelves for in the back room in the basement, maybe I’ll take care of it 🙂  What made the support more interesting than I anticipated was that, when cut at a 45 degree angle the face of the brace 2×4 was longer than the face of the support 2×4.  That sounds more complicated than it is – but in the pictures you can see where I experimented with cutting a little of the brace off from the other way and it fits up snug without peeking out from underneath.  It just took a few trips out to the garage to get the angle and length of the brace right.

What I would appreciate some input on is how to keep the darn thing square with the world.  The 2x4s were ever so slightly warped, resulting in a situation where only three corners of the built shelf would touch the ground, the fourth corner about half an inch in the air.  For a shelf eight feet long, this seemed acceptable and I just screwed in onto the wall anyway.

It may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but I could lay out on it, it was cheap, and it fits right in with the exposed floor joists.

The truly sad thing?  I spent more time installing a vanity light in my bathroom Tuesday night than building this shelf!


Home Projects

First off, the theater room had an organizer I had purchased about six months ago from but had never assembled and installed.  As you can see, it does work but I would never buy a glass shelf/single rear pillar setup ever again.  Getting it leveled was a bear.



The last week or so the room has really be set straight.  It has gone from a stressfully messy room to one that I really enjoy spending time in.  Of course, the new projector you can see in this picture helps!  More on that in a follow up piece…

More of the room. Windows open for max photo light...

When my mom and dad were up for new years, they helped me to kick off a couple of projects that I had been contemplating – and putting off – for some time.  The first was installing some shelves into the weird wall indent we have in our basement.

Three shelves, note the "hide away" support brackets

Now with unboxed stuff...

Next was a “tank topper” for the main floor bathroom.  Since under the sink is dominated by cat supplies, it will provide a place to keep necessities like extra toilet paper and consolidate our medicine supplies into one location.  We got it at Home Depot and it has Oak Facing and while that is nice, it only came with two internal shelves and one of them is the bottom of the upper chamber.  In order to get the shelves as seen we bought a couple extra oak boards and I used a neighbors saws to trim them to the right size.  They are easy to pick out as the bottom shelf due to the fact we haven’t stained them yet.  We are waiting for warmer weather for that.  I was glad to have had cabinet hanging experience as it didn’t come with directions or screws.  We also had to put the towel ring on there as the other prime real estate is consumed by the vent work for the air exchanger.  The final touch was some clearance knobs for the doors from Lowes that better matched the brush nickel towel ring.


It feels nice to have some projects completed and the house cleaner and more organized.


Thoughts for later.

Over the past weekend I started a couple projects with the help of Kristin and my mom and dad. After successfully completing them, pictures and descriptions later – I promise, I started looking at actually tackling some other home projects that I had been considered. In so doing, I stumbled upon some internet sites I want to keep track of.

Firstly, I want to build some real shelves into the basement “storage room.” As my parents noted, the cheapo metal shelf supports I purchased aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. Get it?

Those look pretty interesting. I think I want to change just about every aspect of how it is done – making at least one section deeper, making it shorter, using plywood for the shelving surface, etc. but somehow having a base plan makes it seem much more achievable. The garage would probably be better off with them too.

I’d like to make that book shelf even lower and use it as a DVD/Game/media/center channel stand. I would modify other things too – for instance, I am thinking I could avoid the dowel work by using furniture screws, but at the same time I could use a drill bit and take out 1/2″ deep or so and put a short dowel in for the same look. Any thoughts on that? I think using screws would speed up the assembly considerably while reducing the chance of error as well.

Looking at that, I realized that high quality lumber, like Oak, is expensive but is what I would need to use in order to match the trim, etc. It would be a piece of entertainment furniture, so painting black might look good…

Tada! Instructions! The internet is great, isn’t it?

I have read that a desire to “finish” things is part of being an expectant father. It wasn’t something I had considered as a source of motivation, but I guess it works. Five months and counting…


Laminate flooring is down, but not done…

Kristin and I made it to the last row of flooring right now, where we unfortunately ended up about half an inch long.   This means we have to take 1/2″ off about 6′ worth of flooring.  Luckily, D. Meier has a table saw we can use for this.  With any luck, that will make this adjustment rather trivial.

From there we need to work on the threshold and that is going to take some special massaging. The little pieces of wood that are on the interior of the door frame that help the door seal up are too close to the floor on the one side.  We’ll see what I can get done with the dremel, hopefully it is rather painless.  I have no idea how we would go about taking that wood off so that we could cut it in  a more traditional manner.

At least we are a lot closer now than we were Saturday afternoon.  Another plus was the acquisition of a power miter which should prove to be handy in the future…


Working on the office…

Kristin and I are putting in some laminate flooring to comepensate for the fact the previous flooring was installed around the cabinents that were installed. 

Should be a good time, Kristin has been reading up on it and we are going to start tomorrow morning after finishing the last of the prep work tonight.  We’ll see how the ol’ manual miter box works for me 🙂