Building a Bedroom Closet: Part 1

Building a Closet: Part 1

The last few weekends, Nate and I have been in full DIY mode. He’s been working on consolidating our office stuff while I’ve been working with my Dad on our closet build. Since I am pregnant I am not doing anything strenuous, but I am trying to assist as much as possible.

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The first thing we did was head to Home Depot and buy all our supplies for the first part of the build. This included all the 2x4s for framing, plywood and drywall. It was a little comical trying to help my Dad load everything on the cart. Luckily a crew member stepped in to help load it all in the minivan.

Building a closet: framing

The new closet is taking out about 3′ of the shed. Oddly enough, the barn doors of the shed do not go the full width, but end about 3′ from the right side where a regular door was placed. So we removed the old door to make way for our closet framing.

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We also removed the siding to reuse on the outside of the closet. Carefully removing materials take a lot more time than you would think. We ended up cutting the piece of siding out to avoid breaking it.

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The shed is about 3 1/2″ lower than the bedroom floor, so we build a frame using treated 2x4s to raise the height of the closet.

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We attached the frame to the concrete floor using anchor screws. This was the first time we got to use our new hammer drill (thanks Josh) and let me just say those screws went in like butter.

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With a secure base, the walls of the frame were built.

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And then my Dad added a sloped roof to avoid any water that may come through the old shed roof (we didn’t replace this with the rest of the roof).

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Then the siding was reattached to the outside of the frame.

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And the walls and ceiling were insulated. I have to say the siding on the outside looks so much better than the old door that used to be there. Once it’s painted, it’s going to look like it’s original.

The first part of the project went really well. Of course you never know what obstacles you will face during a DIY project. Our biggest setbacks were just scheduling the time. Dad’s been very awesome to come over on the weekends, but he did do a bit of the work on a weekday to catch up on time we missed due to illness.

Next up, we will cut the hole into the bedroom, finish the outside of the closet and deal with a pesky electrical line running through the wall.

Adding a Bedroom Closet

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This weekend our bedroom finally gets a new closet. It’s been about five years since Bath Crashers took our old one away to make room for our amazing new bathroom. It was an easy trade back then, but I am really excited to have one back in the room now with the baby coming.

My dad is helping me with this project since Nate will be working on the Prison Bath and Nursery. Last weekend, Dad emailed me our plan of attack and since he is so sweet for taking this on with me I wanted to share it today.

The Construction Plan

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The new closet will sit in our shed that is on the opposite side of the bedroom wall. Eventually we plan to take over the shed completely with a walk-in closet that can also be a place for extra storage and a little office nook. But that’s down the line – this weekend we are just building your standard size closet with sliding doors.

I have a three day weekend (thanks President’s Day!) to get started but we still have a lot to accomplish in that time period (and probably many more weekends to go until it’s finished).

  1. Frame back, side walls & bottom (both treated & untreated)
  2. Remove house siding from inside closet space (in shed) & install on back wall
  3. Insulate back wall
  4. Insulate floor & install floor board
  5. Insulate end wall & install end siding
  6. Remove bedroom wall sheetrock, 2×4’s & frame closet opening to sliding door specs
  7. Sheetrock back and sides of closet
  8. Install clothes rod & shelf
  9. Install sliding door
  10. Tape, plaster & paint closet

We will frame out the closet and insulate it before cutting into the bedroom wall. This let’s me keep my bedroom intact for as long as possible.

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Here’s the framing from the front (bedroom side).

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Framing from the back (shed side).

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The frame for the side and bottom of the closet.

Materials

Although ugly, we plan on installing these contractor grade steel sliding doors. For temporary doors, we wanted something well made, but inexpensive. These doors fit the bill.

Material List

  • Treated 2x4s – 1 -2×4 x10′ & 2 – 2×4 x8′
  • 14 – 2×4 x8′
  • 2 – 2”x6” x 6′
  • Sheetrock 2 – 4′ x 8′
  • Insulation 50′ + of 16” R19
  • Use existing back siding
  • Need End siding – 3′ x 8′ plywood
  • Floor – 3′ x 5′ plywood
  • Sliding door – metal
  • Clothes rod & shelf

Why we are adding a closet now

We need a closet so we can get our house appraised to refinance plus the nursery is taking over mine in the office.

Bedrooms are not necessarily defined as having a closet, but if you have ever researched (like me) the issue, it’s a little confusing. Here’s what I have come up with. Older homes that were built without closets (example: early 1900’s) don’t necessarily need them in their bedrooms, but bedrooms that were build with closets should have one. Since our bedroom was built with a closet it seems smart to add one back in before the appraisal.

I’ll report back on progress next week. Weather should be in the late 60s to early 70s – perfect for an outdoor project!

State of the (Concrete) House 2015

State of the House 2015

Today I am going through my 2015 State of the House. It’s my version of State of the Union (or a Governor’s State of the State, Mayor’s State of the City…). It’s a way for me to give a quick snapshot of where we are in our home projects and the actual state of our house right now.

Top Home Projects of 2014

2014 was really about getting a new roof over our heads and updating our infrastructure. Even though we contracted the jobs out, we did a lot of little projects to help along the way. I also undertook a few smaller projects I am pretty proud including putting in a mulch side yard all by myself.

  1. Our new roof, updated electrical and plumbing
  2. Installing a ceiling in great room
  3. Mulching the back side yard
  4. Installing a drip system in the front beds
  5. Replacing all our screens in windows and skylights

What We are Looking at for 2015

Our main goal in 2015 to get our house in order so we can refinance and then prepare for our first child in June. Many of the projects we are undertaking will be focused on the first part of the year before baby comes. We have no idea what time we will have for home project after we are new parents, so we’ll take the second part of the year slowly to feel that out.

  1. Finish prison bath
  2. Add closet to master bedroom
  3. Paint fascia and trim on roof
  4. Converting my office into the nursery
  5. Refinish dining chairs

So you could say we have a few things on our plate! I’m excited though. We have a great plan for the bathroom which I will go over in the coming weeks. Plus, I’m going to tackle the closet install with my Dad (who I love doing projects with). And of course, I have a few more goals that are on my “if I have time” list like finish the drip system install in the backyard. Hopefully I’ll feel good enough to accomplish them, but we will see. I imagine crawling around installing drip lines 7 or 8 months pregnant may not be the easiest or wisest move.

Video Walk-through

I love the video format for this post because it gives a real definitive record of how our house looks at this moment. In fact I took this video today to be as authentic as possible. Nothing else captures those little details like a video walk-through.

For a comparison, you can watch the last State of the House I did in 2012.

Drywall, Mud, Paint and Moulding

Project Roof: Drywall, Mud and Moulding

With the roof finished, our focus moved to the inside of the house. We still had most of the furniture in the front room and I for one, was ready to put back our house. But before we could do that, we had to finish the ceiling in the great room.

We decided it would be cost-effective to hire out the drywall installation and mudding. With us both working, we just didn’t want to spend weeks installing it when we could hire a team to take care of it in a matter of days. Plus, we wanted the expansive ceiling to look nice so hiring a professional saved us the headache of trying to accomplish that ourselves.

But before the drywall crew arrived, Nate pulled out any old drywall, insulation or moulding lurking in the crevices and above the laundry closet and cabinets.

Project Roof: drywall, Mud and Moulding

He also installed new R-18 insulation throughout the space. Each piece was cut to fit between the joists.

Project Roof: drywall, Mud and Moulding

The old air conditioning unit in the back wall has never been used so we took this opportunity to get rid of it and have the guys patch the wall for us.

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The crew installed the drywall and taped on the first day. We had them do the whole great room, patch the back bathroom and wall, the hallway and prison bath.

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We used 5/8″ Type X (fire resistant) drywall throughout the space. The thicker sheets lay flatter which makes them idea for ceilings. It also provides greater sound insulation.

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Here’s a look at the prison bath ceiling. You may recall both the prison bath ceiling and hallway were stepped through during the deck removal.

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On day two, they mudded over the drywall with a light texture. We wanted just enough texture to hide imperfections, but nothing too crazy. Then we let the mud dry over the weekend and the crew finished up by sanding any rough spots Monday morning.

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Over Thanksgiving Break, my mom and I took the opportunity to prime and paint with ceiling. I was glad to have her help since she got a lot of experience with a paint roller.

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The final piece of the project was getting new moulding installed. Nate took this on and did a bit in the evenings after work and over our Winter Break. I have to apologize (especially to him) that I didn’t take photos through the project, but I will do my best to describe it to you. After measuring all the walls, we purchased pretty basic 3″ moulding from Home Depot.

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Nate cut them to size and nailed them into place. Instead of mitering each piece. He only cut the interior pieces that sandwiches on top of the longer lengths that remained flat. Once all the pieces were secure, he caulked the edges and nail heads then painted the strips to match the ceiling.

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The hardest wall was the piece above our double french door. Instead of moulding, Nate cut a custom piece of MDF to fit above the doors to mimic the design inlaid in the doors themselves. I am most proud of the work Nate did on this piece. It was difficult to install, but with it painted it really makes the doors look great. (Nate also installed moulding in the hallway and bathroom, but I will wait to show you those photos when I next update you on the bathroom.)

Project Roof: Week Five+

Finished deck

1) Preparation – two three weeks

  • Remove pergola on back patio
  • Removing the 3′ addition on the front of carport
  • Add additional support in carport
  • Repair porch overhangs
  • Prune bushes and trees away from the roof
  • Remove remaining ceiling in our Great Room
  • Replace all our fascia
  • Fix our skylights
  • Prep plumbing
  • Put up plastic sheeting in the house to prevent debris from filtering down
  • Get the cats anxiety drugs

2) Tear off the existing roof – two days

3) Interior work – one week

  • Update our electrical lines to code
  • Replace decking & some soffits
  • Insulate the rafters
  • Rework our water and gas pipes so they run more efficiently
  • Installing a tank-less water heater
  • Prep the ceiling for our kitchen remodel by installing new range exhaust system and new electrical plugs
  • Install new exterior plugs for holiday lights, etc.

4) Roof install and Finishing – 3 to 4 days

  • Install fireproof base layer
  • Install insulation layer
  • Install thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) single-ply roofing membrane
  • Install any vents that are needed
  • Install shingled roof on our addition
  • Install drainpipes
  • Finishing the plumbing on top of the roof
  • Install can lighting in the great room
  • Install sheetrock in great room, plaster and paint it

Alright – so breaking from the rest of these Project Roof posts – I am going to summarize how all the electrical and plumbing work finished and explain the whole roof install process. It lasted longer than a week, but after Week 5 the work slowed down considerably.

Project Roof: New electrical installed

Our electricians worked on connecting all wire work inside and outside the house on Monday and Tuesday. Inside, they replaced all our existing outlets, added new lines to the kitchen for the eventual remodel and installed new recessed lighting in the great room. Outside, they rewired our porch light, added new lines to the carport for our eventual garage conversion, and (my personal favorite) installed plugs in the soffits for holiday lighting and extension cords.

We had hoped to reuse all our ceiling lights, but the office and kitchen lights wiring was rusted and falling apart, so I bought found the least expensive and offensive lights at home depot for them to use instead. I expect we may replace some of these later on, but they are all fine for now.

Project Roof: Recessed Lighting

We installed four recessed led lights in each half of the great room on dimmer switches. We felt this made a lot a sense for TV watching and dining.

Moving pipes inside the roof

The plumber simplified our gas line on the roof to one pipe running from the gas hookup to the heater unit in the kitchen. The gas also runs along the exterior of our house to our washer/dryer and the new tankless water heater. I am going do a whole first impressions post on our tankless water heater since I think it’s a subject many people are interested in.

New plastic plumbing

He also converted all our copper water pipe than ran on the exterior of the roof to PEX plastic piping that ran through the rafters. As I have said before, we made this call last-minute after debating it since the project began. Our decision came down to the security of the pipes insulated in our roof.

Running the copper piping through the rafters would have cost us a lot of money and time for the plumber so when the idea of using this “new to me” material called PEX was very interesting to us. The main advantages of the PEX is it resistant to bursting because of its flexibility, it doesn’t sweat and you don’t need to solder joints. Instead you crimp metal rings over the piping.

Of course after the PEX was all installed, our roofer told me a horror story of one summer a client having rats eat through PEX to get water, but by that time it was too late – and we have seen no evidence of rats in our roof during the last 50 years so I think the chances of them getting in are slim.

Finishing the decking

I talked about the decking in the Week Four post. It was installed after the electricians and plumbers were done with their work on the roof. Then Jim installed a 2×2 along the perimeter of the decking. This board would be how the roofing would be connected. And once he was done – we were finally ready for the new roof!

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On Thursday, the roof install began. They started by adding the rigid insulation and base layer on top of the decking. The base layer is a fire-proof, moisture barrier between the decking and the roof.

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The thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) layer was laid on top. They welded all the seams together and made joints around all our pipes and other penetrations in the roof.

They also worked on installing new drainpipes. Besides all the original ones, we wanted to make sure we had adequate drainage in the areas that we knew were lacking.

We expected rain over the weekend, but the roofer assured us that we were water tight. I thought this rainstorm was a perfect opportunity to test out all the new drainpipes and give the roof a dress rehearsal before the project was completed.

Sunday morning, it rained consistently for a couple of hours. I went around with my iPhone and recorded all the runoff. We definitely needed to beef up the drainpipes in the carport and near the bedroom sloped roof. We saw little rain in our original drainpipes in the front beds. Later that day I found water dripping into my ceiling light in my office. It was a steady drip and the more I watched it the more it pissed me off. Water tight? Yeah right. I called the roofer.

Too his credit, our roofer came right over and said the even though the seams were technically done, they still hadn’t checked for areas that didn’t seal correctly. Plus on Monday, they would reinforce all the joints and penetrations to make absolutely sure the roof was watertight.

Therefore the rain came through an unchecked seam into my office. He squeegeed off the water and said that water should stop and dry out. He even offered to install a vent to make sure the area was completely dry, but I didn’t want to add another penetration for a temporary issue so I decided to just let the spot dry.

On Monday, I did a walk around with the roofer to decide where the additional drainpipes needed to be installed. We added one to the front of the carport, another to the side next to the sloped roof, and one on the other side near the gate. The roofers triple checked all the seals and did find a leak above my office that was fixed.

Project Roof: Roof completed

With those final parts done, we were very close to completion. About a week later we did a walk-through with the roofer to have him fix little issues we had. Once those were fixed, we wrote him a check and finally put an end to the exterior of this project.

Next week, I will walk through how we finished the inside of the great room, hallway and bathroom – remember it was still open!