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Well, I'm so far behind on my blogs now that 56 has come and is quickly moving on by. Where does the time go? Thankful for the changes wrought in me by the Holy Spirit since April 14, 1990. Thankful for the gifts He has bestowed on me, a beautiful and loving wife of almost 37 years, three fine and very talented children, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and five adorable grand-children (2 girls and 3 boys), and finally a gift of art and appreciation of music, and as my daughter would attest to.... a comment about everything.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Utility Room - Where we started....

This is how the utility room looked when we purchased our 
old stone house.  It is a closed in porch on the east side of
the house.  It was covered on the outside with 3/4" thick
cedar lap siding, and then sheet rocked on the inside.  As
typical, the floor was covered with plywood and vinyl. 
The washer and dryer were located under the window.

Connections and drain line were run
up the wall.  Not very attractive, but

The exterior of the stone house is
exposed on the interior west wall.
A makeshift coat rack was hung on
the stone wall (a real spider trap)
and a long non-working baseboard
heater is along the floor.

To my knowledge, the baseboard heater did
everything but produce heat.  Collected a lot
of dust.

The sheetrock on the ceiling where it met the
wall had a major gap, and it was filled with 
insta-foam.  And it was not trimmed off.  Talk
about tacky looking.

One of the reasons for starting on the Utility
Room first was that when the washing machine
ran, on occasion it ran water into the basement
yet we could not find where it was leaking.  This
became evident when an access hole was cut in
the floor.  I found a new use for digital cameras.
You can hold it, put it down in a place that you 
can't get your head in and snap a picture to see
what is there.    It was evident from the picture 
below that water had been running down the 
stone wall.

The culprit removed.  The picture below shows
where the drain line going through the stone
wall obviously froze and busted at some point.

There was an access hole under the dryer that
was covered with a steel vent (hole on left) and
then I cut a hole on the right.  This was to allow
for removing the old copper water lines, and
to run the new drain line as well as re-route the
natural gas line.

Here I am laying out the pieces of PVC that
will make up the new drain line.  Had to put 
a jog around a concrete block pier under the
floor.  It would also have to be made up and
then put in place through the access hole.

Here is a view of the line installed under the
floor.  Again, a camera shot with it held under
the floor and guess the direction and snapping.
This works extremely well.

The mechanical room (installed in 1905) is
a web of old piping, some used, some abandoned.
It will be a process as I remodel the kitchen of
weeding out the old stuff.  Much of it is nearly
corroded through and will break with only minor
pressure applied with a pipe wrench.  The PVC
is where the drain line comes under the kitchen
from the utility room (through 22" of stone wall)
and then turns in to a trap on it's way to 3" line
that will tie into existing cast iron under the
downstairs restroom.

This is on the other side of the boiler (big red
box) for the hot water heating system.  The 
vertical PVC is a vent as well as a stub for the
new kitchen drain.  The 3" turns and runs six
more feet into the cast iron.

Back to the access hole in the Utility Room.
Now that the drain line has been run. (Not visible
in this picture).  Notice the corroded 1/2" copper
tubing.  Straight through the stone wall.  The
big trick now was to get the PEX tubing pulled
through the boxing under the floor joist and 
into the utility room.  The was no access to where
the copper runs for about 6' of that journey.  My
son Austin and I came up with a novel method.
We crimped 1/2" maple dowel inside the copper
tubing (along with some CA glue) and then slipped
the PEX over the dowel and glue as well.  The 
dowel pieces were about 2" long so that they would
navigate any minor bends along the way.  Then one
layer of duct tape was wrapped around the joint to
add some strength.  The PEX is slightly smaller in
outside diameter than the copper which in hope would
allow it to slip through clamps and the holes in the
stone.   The copper tubing was cut off about 6" from
the wall in the access hole and the PEX was hung in
a roll in the mechanical room.  As I folded and rolled
up the copper tubing and pulled it through the wall,
it pulled the PEX tubing with it.  Talk about a small
miracle.  Thanks Austin.  Brilliant idea!!

New brass valves and "shark bite" PEX fittings
were installed on the hot and cold water feed
lines in the utility room.

PEX tubing going into the boxed in channel
under the kitchen floor.

On the south wall of the U/R, I built a false
wall of with 2x4's so that the piping could be
routed internally, and be insulated as well.  This
also allowed for the installation of a valve/drain
box.  This one has a single lever to operate both
hot/cold valves.  

This picture shows the 1 1/2" drain line across
the top, and the 1/2" PEX going into a 4" PVC
carrier pipe which allowed for it to be insulated
an long radius 4" elbow was split in two to cover
the bend in the PEX and where it enters the wall.

View of the finished drain and water lines.
Marked on the PVC with permanent marker
to assist future owners with identifying what
is going where.

New outlets were installed on a separate ground
fault circuit.  High on the wall to account for the
height of the new machines.

The wiring was routed along the stone wall
under the floor and to an existing wiring box
that would need some rework as well.   Notice
the hole for the existing thermostat, and the 
individual light switches for the back porch
and U/R ceiling light.  The sheet rock on the
lower portion had to be removed in order to
pull in the new wire.  It will be covered with 
new sheet rock and then beaded board on top 
of that.

Well that is the end of Part 1.  Whew!  I
got tired all over again just going through the
pictures to find what to post to help tell the
story of all the work that went on under the
floor, in the mechanical room, and inside the
walls before anything started looking like the
room was being remodeled.  

I would have to say that 100 year old or more
houses will require much more patience when it
comes to remodeling or restoring.  The results 
however can be very rewarding as I hope you will
see when you get to Part 3.


  1. Dear Artist, This is something wonderful you have done.

  2. Dear Artist of this old stone house,
    Hope you'll post some pics of the finished utility room on this post as well...so we can see the bee uu tea full room now.
    You have completed a lot of work here to make a finished product and it's wonderful.


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  5. Hi De. Thanks for the nice comments. I need to find these pics again so I can share them with you. Will check my iMAC and see if that is where they are.

    Love you,