We have been busy with electricity this week. Monday evening, Jim ventured into our attic so he could get a look at the wires currently in place in the bathroom. The thing about our attic is that it is not an area meant for people to be moving around in. There is no floor, so you have to walk from joist to joist so you don’t step through the 2nd floor ceiling. Also, when I say “walk” I really mean hunch over or crawl because the attic is not big enough for someone to stand in the space. The space gets smaller the closer to get to the front or the back of the house because the roof is slanted downwards to form a triangle. There are also nails coming out of the roof from the shingles being nailed on to it. If that wasn’t bad enough, it is full of insulation that gets everywhere. Insulation is dangerous to breathe in, so Jim has to wear a face mask and goggles when going into the attic. Oh and there are no lights up there, so it is pitch dark except where you shine the flashlight.
Knowing that we (that is a loose “we,” I have never been in the attic other than sticking my head up there to get a look and take a picture) needed to venture in the attic, Jim had the idea to bring some pieces of plywood up there to lay between joists. These sort of acted as a subfloor and allowed Jim a path to get from one side of the house to the other. Of course the master bathroom is all the way at the front of the house. So as Jim got closer to where he needed to be in the attic, the less space he had and he could no longer use the plywood to help him.
Our first course of action was to find the electrical box above the shower. We planned to remove it and had two recessed lights above the shower instead. Since the electrical box was covered in insulation, I stood in the bathroom while Jim was in the attic and we were knocking on the ceiling to indicate where each other were. After a little confusion and redirection, Jim found the electrical box. At one point while he was moving around up there, I heard a noise and insulation began to fall down on me. I moved out of the way as part of the ceiling came hanging down. At this point, I started to fear Jim was going to fall through the ceiling and come crashing to the floor in front of me. We both came to the conclusion that maybe we should just cut out that part of the ceiling and then put new drywall up after the electrical was complete.
We still did not want to remove all of the ceiling though, so there were a few more things we had to do. Since we plan on installing an exhaust fan, we needed a spot to cut a hole in the ceiling for the fan. We needed to make sure there was a joist nearby so there’s somewhere to attach the exhaust fan. We had measured out about where we wanted the exhaust fan to go and put a nail into the ceiling. Jim had to try to find the nail below the insulation. This actually went by faster than the electrical box search. The nail happened to be pretty close to a joist, so we just moved it over slightly so it was up against the joist. Now we had the location of the fan planned out. Our last step was to check out the wires near the light switch and electrical box above the sink. Since we are pushing the sink area back slightly, we also need to push back the ceiling in that area. There was a two by 4 that was originally at the top of the previous wall that now would be in the way of the new ceiling and it had to be removed. Jim moved all the insulation out of the way so when we took it down, we wouldn’t be covered in insulation (he also tried to do this over the shower where we planned on removing the ceiling). I also needed to drill two holes up into the ceiling so that new wires could be put into place. After this, we were thankfully done with the attic.
After Jim changed out of his covered-in-insulation clothing, he continued to do a few more things in the bathroom. It was getting late, so I went to go make dinner. He took off the two by four we no longer needed, hooked up an outlet, and then decided to remove the part of the ceiling over the shower. As I was about to get started on dinner, I hear Jim calling my name and saying he needed my help. When I came upstairs, this is what I saw:
We both started to clean up all the insulation we could. It took longer than you may think. First we used our hands, then the broom, and finally the shop vac. After all the cleaning, we called it a night.
Tuesday, we continued to work on electricity. We attached the last outlet box we will need (for the thermostat for the heated floors) and Jim put the housings for the recessed lights in place. I also cut out a spot for the exhaust fan to go. I didn’t draw the exact square, just in estimate, so don’t judge my cutting job – it isn’t pretty. Of course, when that part of the ceiling came down, so did a lot more insulation. We only worked until about 7 because Jim had a volleyball game later that night.
Wednesday night called for another trip to the attic. Jim realized later on that there were some wires we still needed to run and/or move around. There are a lot of wires that need to connect in a certain order. I think I have a pretty good grasp on it, but it isn’t worth trying to explain to you lovely readers (especially when I may explain something wrong). Jim went back up into the attic while I feed him specific wires from the bathroom. It luckily did not take very long and Jim could come out of the attic quickly. Jim got to work wiring the recessed lights housing while I did a few things to get the other wires ready for him. I stapled the wires already in place to the wall, pushed the wires through the electrical box, and striped the wires so they could be easily hooked up. Once everything was in place for Jim, I stepped out of the way and let him do his thing. About an hour and a half later, told me to turn on one of the circuits and come upstairs. He had the recessed lights in place and working and all the electricity running to the right places. He did it perfectly. I was very impressed. We called it a night at this point.
Thursday night, we did the last of the electrical work before Jim went to the station for the night. Jim hooked up the exhaust fan and put it in to place (we have not set up the ducts for the fan yet, so we can’t turn it on to “vent” it, but electricity wise, it works great). While Jim worked on the fan, I did a few small things, such as attaching the wires for the heated floor to the thermostat and securing wires into place with nails.
We got to work almost immediately on Friday. We were headed to NJ Saturday morning so we could go to a Jim Gaffigan show and we wanted to get the last of the plumbing done. Jim scheduled the inspector to come on Monday to give us the ok on all our work, so all the work had to be done. The last thing we had to do with plumbing had to do with the shower. We bought a shower pane for our future shower. It has a rain shower head, a hand washer, and 6 body sprayers on it. It attaches differently than a traditional shower head, so we had to set up the supply pipes to be able to attach to the new shower head. We bought a washer box for the supply lines to poke out of. The box ensures water proofing (an important factor in the shower). We needed to move the supply lines closer together so they fit in the box. This job should have taken us about 2 or 2 1/2 hours. We started working at 6pm and thought it would be an easy job. Of course, it did not work out that way. The solder was acting funny when Jim was attaching the new pipes to the supply lines. It was not staying on the pipes and instead falling to the ground. The solder was at the end of its roll so that may be why it was acting strange. Jim applied the flux paste with his fingers because we were out of brushes and the flux was burning making the pipes look black. After a frustrating amount of time, the pipes appeared to be hooked up. I went to go turn on the water supply and heard Jim screaming to turn it off. Our first unsuccessful pipe soldering…I guess it was bound to happen. We started all over. We rethought a few things and changed our plan a little bit. We ended up working until 10:40 pm, not even taking a break for dinner. Luckily, the second time was the charm and the pipes worked perfectly.