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Old 05-24-2010, 08:53 PM   #202
Ran D. St. Clair
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 212

Milestone Managed

I finally have a clean empty room. It doesn’t sound like much, but the inside of every outer surface, walls, ceiling, floor, doors, are all done.

After laying the plywood floor I caulked the gaps and edges just like the walls. At first I tried to use standard floor leveling compound, to fill the screw holes, but that stuff has heavy grit sand in it. I really didn’t like the way it was working, so I ended up using standard wallboard joint compound. It took two coats to fill the screw holes due to shrinkage, and a little light sanding, but the floor was perfect.

This weekend I put down the vinyl flooring, nothing fancy, just a simple wooden floor board pattern. I was looking at vinyl at up to $4.00 per square foot, but in the end I decided to go with the $1.00 per square foot stuff. I brought a sample home and stomped on it, threw dirt on it, ground my heel into it, threw more dirt on it. I even tried sanding it with my silicon carbide sanding block. All I managed to do was dull it a bit. I put a coat of that floor sealer on it that I mentioned earlier and it was good as new, so I figured, why spend more?

The process of laying the vinyl was made simple by the fact that I was installing it in an empty room. It was almost a simple rectangle. I made a paper template, but it was almost unnecessary. I laid out the flooring in my current living room. It’s a sobering fact to note that my entire future living space fits in my current living room without removing much more than the coffee table. That’s 13’11” by 7’4” to be exact.

Gluing it down was more exciting than it should have been. I calculated that I needed 3 quarts of glue, so I bought a gallon. About 3/4 of the way through the job, you guessed it, I ran out. That was followed by a mad dash to the hardware store for more glue and rushing back to try and finish the job before the first of the glue had a chance to set. I got it done but it was a little silly. I suggest you buy twice what you need and then keep the receipt. You can always give it back if it is unopened.

Putting the glue down with a notched trowel, I wanted to get it all the way to the edges by the walls. Naturally the trowel would rub up against the walls and leave sticky glue all over them. In most installations this would be covered by the base board so it wouldn’t mater, but in my case there is no base board, just a bead of caulk at the bottom corner.

My plan was to scrape it off, or possibly take it off with lacquer thinner the next day, after the floor had a chance to set up a bit. Either one would have damaged the paint and forced some touch up, but I found a better way. It turns out the dried glue sticks to itself just slightly better than it sticks to the wall, your fingers, etc. I just started grabbing the glue and pulling it off the walls. At first it would not come loose, and would stretch out like incredibly sticky taffy, but gradually I had a wad of it well and truly stuck to my fingers. I could then “dab” or “poke and pull” that wad into the glue on the wall. Every time I would pull back a bit more of the glue was in the wad, and in the process ever more firmly stuck to my hand.

After about 5 minutes I would have to transfer the glue from one hand to the other, and then use the poke and pull technique to clean the glue off my first hand. That would allow me to clean another few feet of wall until I had to swap hands again. The perimeter of my small room probably took an hour and a half to clean, but it left the walls spotless with no damage to the paint. By that time I felt like Brer Rabbit with a Tar-Baby the size of a large egg.

The next day I opened up all the holes in the floor with an X-acto knife. It wasn’t hard to feel the soft spots in the flooring and make the first cut inside of the opening by about 1/4”. Once I could see the holes better it was easy to use the knife to follow the opening walls and finish the cut.

The lid over the floor safe was a bit more challenging. It’s a plywood rectangle with rounded corners, about 2 1/2” in diameter. I cut it at an angle, like the top of a jack-o-lantern and it just sits in place, flush with the floor. I glued the flooring right over it for a perfect match. There is just one little hole, about 1/4” where I started the jig saw cut and that was a little hard to find by feel. Once I got the knife blade in the slot a single pass around the lid freed it. Now the lid drops back in and the cut almost disappears. The only thing you can really see is that little 1/4” hole, which is also a place to get a finger tip in to lift the lid. The whole thing will be under the bed so you will have to lift the mattress and the mattress base to get at it. It’s not meant to be convenient so much as well hidden.

Some 1” aluminum L channel by 1/16” thick finished off the threshold at the rear door. A little caulk around the edges and it’s done. I even put down a layer of that floor sealer I mentioned earlier to help protect it from the abuse I will no doubt give it while finishing out the build.

The next step is to mount all the gas appliances, meaning the toilet, range, and heater. I will put them in, fully test everything, and then take them out again before installing the cabinet walls. I figure it will be a lot easier to finish out the plumbing now that everything is wide open. I can also hard mount everything to the walls or floor. Mostly that is just a matter of lag bolts into the floor for the toilet and smaller screws into the wall for the heater, which is small and light. The range will have to have brackets built into the floor so it can be slid straight back into its pocket between the cabinets and have the feet catch and hold. I have a rough plan, but these things tend to change at the point of implementation.

The one thing that worries me is the toilet flue. I hope to gosh I measured everything correctly because the roof opening, flue cap, and everything is already in place. It will either drop in perfectly, or I will be swearing.

You can find several new pictures under keyword "Stealth".

To be continued…..
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