It took me about two full weeks to complete the demolition and repair the water damaged floor joists and wall studs. Before I could start putting the flooring back in, and replacing the drywall, I chose to replace the galvanized plumbing to the bathroom with Pex. Since there were already a few holes in the floor, getting access to the plumbing under the house was a simple task.
Simple, but not glamorous… I have a terrible fear of spiders, so I may or may not have suited up to go down under.
With the water to the house turned off, once in the crawlspace in my hooded outfit with duct-taped wrists and ankles, I was able to unhook the old galvanized piping to the bathroom and run new hot and cold Pex lines under the floor boards and through the walls.
Pex is truly a godsend. Rather than having to use Teflon tape at every joint, and screwing everything together, only hoping it will hold water, you simply cut the tubing to length, slide the fittings together, crimp, and voila. I borrowed my brother-in-law’s Zurn Multi-head Pex Crimp Tool. If you have a lot of plumbing to do, I’d say it’s worth the $95.
With the plumbing complete, I was able to disrobe and start re-assembling the floorboards. The focus now was getting the walls sealed up. Since our home was built in the early sixties, we have zero insulation in the exterior walls, just a strip of aluminum foil, stapled to the studs (I’m dead serious). The walls are also only 2×4” so they won’t hold the amount of insulation required to bring the house up to code.
To rectify that, I needed to “fur-out” the studs. To do this, I trimmed dimensional lumber (you can use whatever is cheapest – in this case, it was 2x10s”) into 1 7/8” strips using my circular saw and a guide. A table saw would also do the trick (or furring strips if you’re not on a budget).
I then attached the strips to the front of each 2×4”, including the floor and ceiling plates, using 3” wood screws. Once all of the studs were furred out, I could add R21 insulation to the walls, bringing this portion of the house up to current recommendations (check out this cool tool to determine how much insulation to use in your walls) and also making me eligible to apply for a tax credit under the ARRA for the cost of the insulation!
After the insulation was installed, I began replacing the drywall. To ensure I wouldn’t run into a mold problem again, I used greenboard liberally, on the walls adjacent to the shower, behind where the sink will go, and in the ceiling above the shower. For the walls behind the shower, I used hardie-backer, and for remaining uncovered space, I just used typical drywall.
With the walls and floor sealed off, I could begin the rest of the job…