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Infrared home heaters? (Page 2)
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Aug 22, 2012, 11:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Or else just spend $$$ on the perfectly sized 48x32 pan, and buy the membrane separately for the walls.
Well the tile-able pan is more than the whole kit, soooo....I guess I'll just have to figure out a solution to the offset tile problem. It'll be largish subway tiles, so it will definitely look weird if they're offset.
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Aug 22, 2012, 12:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Yeah. I love the walk-in showers where the tile floor just extends through without a threshold, but my understanding is that it would be difficult to implement that without "cutting down" into the existing floor joists?
That's the way my moms is, there's no threshold or door on the shower, just a partition on the shower head side. Though it is big enough you can probably get a wheel chair in there. (Not an accident) I doubt most showers are set up that large. Doing that as a reno? Ouch.
     
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Aug 22, 2012, 12:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
That link/pictures Eug had shows the "curb".......looks to me as though that could be shaved down to as low as necessary. I'd personally prefer a very low profile. Eug, any comment on that? What about not using a curb at all?
Well, I'm not a contractor, so truthfully I'm not the right person to ask about no curb.

However, AFAIK, yeah that curb can be shaved down, as it's also foam, if you like a low curb there. I didn't really look into it though because I personally prefer having a real step there. Tile goes up that step, and then it's finished off with a slab of marble or granite on top, sloped slightly toward the drain. I'm thinking with that height (and the sloping), less water splashes into the rest of the bathroom.

P.S. That pic seems to show regular drywall, but most would recommend the green drywall, which is a little more moisture resistant.
     
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Aug 22, 2012, 02:15 PM
 
You can probably get away with no threshold at all, but in order to have it match up to the bathroom floor you'd have to, like you said, build up the flooring as cutting into joists of any size is a big no-no. easy threshold would be a single 2x4 on the flat (1 1/2" high) and use a cement board material over it, then mud and tile on top of that. Probably end up with a 2" step, which isn't that bad.
     
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Aug 22, 2012, 02:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post

Well, I'm not a contractor, so truthfully I'm not the right person to ask about no curb.
However, AFAIK, yeah that curb can be shaved down, as it's also foam, if you like a low curb there. I didn't really look into it though because I personally prefer having a real step there. Tile goes up that step, and then it's finished off with a slab of marble or granite on top, sloped slightly toward the drain. I'm thinking with that height (and the sloping), less water splashes into the rest of the bathroom.
P.S. That pic seems to show regular drywall, but most would recommend the green drywall, which is a little more moisture resistant.
We've done the marble slab method before to, pitched at a couple degrees just to make sure water stays in.

I would stay away from any sheetrock, even the green stuff. Get a cement board material, we use a brand called Durock. Installs just like sheetrock, but accepts mud and tile well and won't ever mold or rot.
     
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Aug 31, 2012, 09:27 AM
 
Just out of curiosity: Eug, did you do the Schluter shower yourself, or have someone else handle it?

I was quoted 3 large by a well-respected tile contractor for the kit ($750 if I bought at Home Depot) installed and the shower tiled. That's $6000 simply for showers in the two bathrooms we're installing.
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Aug 31, 2012, 09:34 AM
 
I paid someone to do it, as part of a larger basement reno. Are they including good tiles? If so, $3000 may be in the right ballpark, depending on the work involved. What about the plumbing?

BTW, one contractor I talked to said they wouldn't even bother showing up to give a quote if they thought the project would be under $15000.
     
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Aug 31, 2012, 09:50 AM
 
Yeah, we're having other stuff done as well. That was for shower installation and tile only; plumbing will be done separately.
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Aug 31, 2012, 09:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
BTW, one contractor I talked to said they wouldn't even bother showing up to give a quote if they thought the project would be under $15000.
Man's gotta make a living. If someone calls me to dick around doing tiny odd jobs I'll just pass. A tile contractor most likely has a decent amount of overhead (workmans comp, insurance, vehicles, etc..) and a lot of people don't realize that he might not want to take a job if there isn't any profit to be made.

6 grand for two showers tiled is not by any means outrageous, especially if you've picked out a nice tile. I've been on 30+ grand bathroom renovations, and they aren't rap-star mansion type deals either.
     
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Aug 31, 2012, 10:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Yeah, we're having other stuff done as well. That was for shower installation and tile only; plumbing will be done separately.
Just note that doing it properly with the membrane means the tiling can't be done the first day. It takes a fair amount of time to apply that Kerdi membrane properly, and then time for it to set. Plus they're including the cost of that Schluter/Kerdi kit and the other materials. $3000 doesn't seem out of line, esp. since tiling is not an easy thing to do.

Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
We've done the marble slab method before to, pitched at a couple degrees just to make sure water stays in.

I would stay away from any sheetrock, even the green stuff.  Get a cement board material, we use a brand called Durock.  Installs just like sheetrock, but accepts mud and tile well and won't ever mold or rot.
How well does that Schluter stuff work with Durock? Schulter's recommended backing for Kerdi is drywall. BTW, I asked my contractor about Durock, and told him that I'd pay for any cost difference vs. sheetrock or greenboard. He said he doesn't like using Kerdi on Durock but people do it. What he would not do is use Durock without Kerdi.
     
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Aug 31, 2012, 10:15 AM
 
No idea about the pre-made kits, but I've been a part of about two dozen bathroom renovations and we always use Durock when directly applying tile is involved. Haven't had a problem once, our tile guy recommends Durock, but I suppose whatever someone is comfortable using is up to them,
     
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Dec 4, 2012, 01:43 AM
 
Alright sek - another question for ya. The lath-and-plaster walls are generally in good condition compared to other old houses around here, but there are a few cracks that have formed over the years (or were repaired poorly and are still easily visible). It's getting colder now, and since we've probably taken a couple thousand pounds worth of lath and plaster out of the top middle room of the house, we're probably shifting a little; a couple hairline cracks have definitely turned into more visible cracks lately.

So these seem to develop because the plaster that was squeeze in between the lath breaks off at the back, and they no longer "hold" the plaster to the lath......so you can push the wall in these areas and feel where the plaster is detached. Rather than replacing entire sections with drywall (which would be a disasterous mess that my wife refuses to undergo), I started drilling into the plaster with a 1/4" bit, squirting a little water through the hole, and then squeezing in a bunch of super glue (or a glue/water mixture) and then a generous squirt from a tube of of no-nails cement; then, I clamp the plaster back to the lath with some screws and washers. Wait a day or so, take the screws out, and then sand and plaster over the crack and the holes I made. So far, a couple weeks later, it seems to be working half-decent - the plaster's re-attached to the wall, anyway.

Do you have any better suggestions? It's definitely not quick and relatively tedious, but on the other hand it's pretty mess-free (other than dust from drilling) and I can spot-fix wall cracks anywhere. I guess I'll find out at some point down the road whether the glue slurry holds up.....
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Dec 4, 2012, 04:31 AM
 
Also, re: heat: the attic has a ton of blown-in insulation, and they seemed to do a good job. (Wall cavities are still bare of course!) Also, upon further inspection of the fireplaces we noticed that they were open directly up the chimney - a remarkable air suction when you put your hand up the chimney, too! So I stuffed insulation into those suckers and the floor seems a little less drafty.

Since we have the existing hydronic system - two separate pumps, one for massive cast-iron radiators in the main parts of the house, and another for baseboard heaters in the upstairs bedrooms, all along the upstairs perimeter - I've been trying to figure out if there's a better way to heat the place than with an oil furnace.

Mini-split heat pumps are probably the lowest-cost option in terms of monthly bills, but because of the old "boxy" design of the house we'd have to install a couple units downstairs and a couple upstairs, for each "box" - it just would not make sense from a financial or aesthetic standpoint. By all accounts, those make the most sense with new builds which are already designed to be heated efficently.

The other option was to convert to an electric furnace (boiler). It would save me a huge amount of space (take the oil tank out of the basement!) and would be quieter and much more efficient - but by all accounts, my monthly bills would not drop that much, as electricity is slightly more expensive than oil (the furnaces are just more efficient). That conversion would cost me about $4000 (incl. removal of the oil tank, which needs to be cut out), and at the end of the day I'd only save a few hundred dollars a year in heating costs.

So I just bought one of those infrared heaters for $450.....we're going to see what difference it makes to our oil bill this winter, and then decide whether to make the switch for next winter.
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Dec 4, 2012, 08:35 AM
 
Honestly your idea of spot fixing the plaster, however tedious, seems like a fine idea to me. Most of my experience with plaster and wood lathe involves a dust mask and a crowbar...hehe. Once all the banging and whatnot is finished you could even do another skim coat to even out the cracks, but in my experience cracks in plaster in really old houses have a nasty habit of returning time and time again....part of the charm! For ceilings the easiest fix is to screw 1/2" sheetrock right over the plaster and lathe and be done with it, of course walls provide issues for this method. Not trying to sound condescending with this, but most of my experience is with a "at all cost" mentality from the homeowner, so usually we suggest a full nuclear option with problems that can be bandaged with clever ways, I just haven't had much experience doing that.

Do you have natural gas near you? Natural Gas is dirt cheap in the states these days and the high-efficiency units are getting pretty crazy good. My father bit the bullet and had a gas line run about 300' from the road into a brand new Viessman high efficiency unit. All the original zone valves and most of the piping were able to be re-used after the oil furnace was disconnected, but then again my pops built his house in '97, so your existing piping might be a bit more....rustic.

Whatever big changes you decide on hinge on how long you plan on keeping this house. If you don't plan on being there at least 15 years I wouldn't consider any radical options like a completely new heating system, spending that money on more insulation options might end up being a better choice. What kind of siding do you have? Earlier in the thread a foam blown-in product was mentioned that supposedly eliminates my gripe of settling and air pockets in the walls. Of course heat loss through the roof is the big ticket, on a cold snowy day if your roof is clear then you know you are heating the planet Earth as well as your house.


Just a little anecdote: Years back I was on a very large renovation/addition project. This involved tearing the whole back half of the house off, but the wealthy client needed it to be fully done by the warmer months so we did it in the dead of winter. To keep the pipes from freezing we had to run the heating system (oil) at 50 degrees for the entirety of the build. In the end we were there for 4 months and the homeowner bought 4 full tanks of home heating oil.....yowza.
     
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Dec 4, 2012, 08:46 AM
 
Yeah, it's the pink blow-in style insulation in the attic and they put it on pretty thick - probably 14-15 inches or so - with no gaps. Lots of cool ventilation coming from the eaves once we drilled up through the insulation, and the roof itself looks in damn fine shape - no signs of water or rot. I was admittedly scared what we would find in a house where there was no attic hatch, but it's been the only time things actually turned out to be better than expected. And hey, at least there's a hatch now.

Siding is wood - classic clapboard. No natural gas/propane in my city, unfortunately.
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Dec 4, 2012, 10:08 AM
 
Clapboards are pretty easy to sneak out of the way to get the at sheathing. So the foam "blown-in" product for the walls should be very doable.
     
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Jul 11, 2013, 02:16 PM
 
Just as an update sek, we're now completing the final baseboard mouldings this week, and are awaiting only a final paint of the mouldings. We did try to re-use most of the mouldings and some of it was in rougher shape after tear-out, so next week will be devoted to sheetrocking obvious dents and paint chips before the re-coat (they were originally dark wood of course, and painted various colours over the past several decades, and the old paint is fairly easy to chip off so very annoying to re-paint).

It's been a huge project, and definitely not one we'll do again while living in a house! Brutal.

First floor:
  1. added a main-floor half-bath in what was formerly a too-large entrance closet
  2. added an entrance clothes closet in what was formerly a load-bearing wall and a living room nook with built-in shelf
  3. travertine tile over damaged hardwood in entrance
  4. paint entire interior of house
  5. have original inlay hardwood sanded and re-finished (3/4 of main floor, 1/4 of second floor)
Second Floor:
  1. Remove sole existing bathroom, move new replacement bathroom to adjacent room
  2. Expand existing den into adjacent hallway to make new 2nd bedroom
  3. Split existing 2nd bedroom in half to form a new master ensuite bathroom on one side and a large walk-in closet on the other
  4. re-floor all bedrooms except the 3rd bedroom
  5. repair significant plaster cracks in the 3rd bedroom (essentially, painful scraping, gluing and re-plaster of every wall....probably should have torn everything out and drywalled in retrospect)
  6. replace all but two light fixtures in the house
  7. move some hot-water cast-iron radiators from the top floor to main floor kitchen
Basement:
  1. Move existing washer/dryer in unfinished basement to other side of basement and create finished laundry room.


Essentially, while we only re-painted the kitchen (which was nicely re-done in 2009), everything else in the house has seen a pretty significant retrofit.

The worst part was definitely marble tile; we picked a basketweave for the bathrooms and our hired help (a retired gentlemen flying solo!) still has nightmares about installation. Looks incredible; he would rather kill himself than lay again.

Sprucing up the unfinished basement will likely be my project for this winter - being an old house it's quite a low ceiling (anywhere from 6'2 on one side to about 6'10 on the other, but there are various black iron heating pipes inconveniently run at prime forehead-destroying height), but it's still a nice enough space that we're turning half of it into a bright laundry room/pantry, and the other half into a bright workroom/storage space. (Yes, we did consider lowering the foundation...yes, we then rejected that idea as completely insane.) We won't have enough height to put down a subfloor (it's just concrete) and possibly not enough to consider finishing the ceiling (open), but we can finish the concrete walls and are trying to determine if that may provide a bit of a heating benefit as well - I've just got to repair a slow leak from a foundation crack first. From the inside, as it's not accessible from the outside. God help us all.
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Jul 11, 2013, 04:41 PM
 
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