Monday, May 12, 2014


We've recently bought a house to rent out and have been remodeling it.  One of the things we are doing is splitting the master bedroom up into two rooms.

The house smells like cat so the first thing we did was pull the carpet, and then we found out that the master used to be two rooms, pretty much the way we were going to divide it.  In this photo, you can see the marks on the floor from the original walls, and the floor was apparently tiled.  I've got two walls built, and sheetrock torn out for the end of another wall (a walk-in closet will go there).  The open door leads to a hallway.  So basically, we extend the hallway to the walk-in closet, with a door to the left (foreground) and a door to the right (background).  The foreground room will have the new walk-in closet, as well as keeping the master bath.  The background room will keep the existing, smaller closet.  (The two leaning boards aren't supporting anything, they are just just leaned out of the way.  I think they are the ones I cut for the top and bottom plate of the doorway to the background room.)

This is a view of the corner and the ceiling where we have pulled off the sheetrock to run the top plate for the closet.  I haven't looked really well, but I think the lowered section is supported by a header made of a pair of 2x12's on each side.  I don't know if that is original, or if the original walls were load bearing and that had to be added when they were pulled out.

It contains the ductwork for the room, though, and two vents that both open into what will be the walk-in closet.  So I will have to relocate those somewhere, and I haven't decided where.  I was originally thinking I would just pull them to the side, but I just realized as I type this that that would mean cutting into the header if it is actually 2x12, and I won't do that.  So I may have to actually lower the ceiling in one section of the walk-in closet or put some other ductwork section in there and have the vents open below the level of that existing lower section, so something like six and a half feet up the wall.

Anyway, I've decided not to cut anymore sheetrock when doing this.  It's not necessary, from what I'm finding online, and it prevents me from being able to build a wall on the ground and stand it up, even if the ceiling and floor are parallel.  Without the sheetrock, I am building the wall a half inch taller than the sheetrock, and there's no way it would be able to stand up.  That leaves me with toe-nailing the studs in place.  That's fine for most of the wall, even though the nails stick out. (I'm using this Central Pneumatic 3-in-1 Framing Nailer from Harbor Freight, and I don't know if that's normal for nailguns, or just normal for this one).  But that lower section is too low for a header (not even 1-1/2" below the ductwork section) so if I toe-nail from inside the rough door opening, the heads will be in the way of the door jamb.  But because of the proximity to the other walls, I can't toenail from the opposite side; I can't physically fit the nail-gun into the gap.  So I had to toe-nail those studs from the the outside of the wall, into the edge of the 2x4 studs.  This split the studs.  As far as I can tell, they are still solid, but I can't say for sure.  On the bright side, though, since I did it from both sides, I can hammer those nails the rest of the way in by hand without the board shifting, because they balance out.  I couldn't do that with the other studs because the nails were on the same side and hammering them shifted the stud.

I bought this Ramset nailer to nail the bottom plates to the foundation.  It's powered by what is basically a .22 caliber blank.  You open the breach, insert a shell, close it, and then insert a nail in the end.  The nail has an attached washer, and a rubber piece that makes it sit square in the barrel.  You hold the handle with the point of the nail pushed in where you want it, and then hit the top of the handle with a hammer.  A firing pin fires the shell, and the exploding powder drives the nail through the 2x4 and into the concrete.

The rubber bit crushes, and looks like it even melts, and the washer keeps the nail from going all the way through the board, or the board from being pulled up.  Something fouled up the one on the left, though.  The one on the right is what it is supposed to look like after firing.  My son was doing it, so I'm not sure whether he maybe didn't push down hard enough (it looked good to me) or whether the shell was a slight dud (I think that's more likely).  That nail did go into the concrete some, it just didn't go all the way.  (I suppose it's also possible it hit something in the concrete, like an old bit of nail from the previous floor or something.)  And there are 4 or 5 others holding down that plate, so I'm not worried about it.

We also may have foundation problems, but I'll explain that in the next post.

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