2018 Progress Part 2

Welcome back to Hammond. This is the second part of a status report for 2018. You can find the first part here.

This post will cover stuff like the main floor bathroom, the back porch and steps, railings for the basement steps, rainwater collection, landscaping and shingles. Next time I’ll get into heating, energy efficiency, transportation and other stuff.

The Master Bathroom

In April of 2018, our amazing neighbour, Ron, helped me take the next steps in tiling the bath/shower walls. The shower area needed more water-proofing than just the Red Guard I painted on. Ron helped me with the orange Kerdi membrane which is the last step before we put white tiles on the walls. We had already done this with the shower basin because we had to prove to the city

Ron’s Kerdi and tile work Dec. 17th, 2016

inspector that the floor under the shower wouldn’t leak and the drain worked. The photo on the right is Ron’s tile work just before Christmas 2016. You can see the Red Guard, the Kerdi membrane and the tile. A few days later the inspector came and passed us which allowed us to have Christmas in the house that year for the first time in 2 years. Huge deal. Huge.

This year we got as far as tiling the top of the bench and stair (grey tiles matching the floor). Ron lent me his tile saw and we drew some lines on the wall but then I just ran out of time. Those walls are going to take at least a week of solid work. Ron says it will “test my abilities” which is putting it mildly. To this day, the bathing area looks like these photos (except there is a rabbit cage in there). Hopefully, in 2019, we’ll get that finished with beautiful white tile.

The Upstairs Bathroom Penny Floor

Penny floor Feb. 2018

I’ve already posted about the penny floor so I almost forgot to mention it here. That project sure took a while, but once I told everyone I was going to do it, I kind of had to, didn’t I? For the full story go here. All I have to report now is that the epoxy is holding up well and the floor feels even better now that the pipes I embedded in it have heated water running through them.

The Back Porch, etc.

In the summer we took some more strides on the exterior. The back porch needed more than a plywood surface. The rainwater cistern was snug in it’s concrete home but had no landing nor stairs above it as the plans said it should. The gutters were not connected to the cistern either, of course. The first step was the concrete walkway that would be at the bottom of the stairs coming off the porch.

One of the trades I talked to recommended some drainage so that the water coming down the slope of the back yard toward the house wouldn’t end up pooling on the concrete. I can’t resist more work, so I did some more digging and fussing with PVC pipe. It’s raining a lot these days and it all seems to be draining nicely.

I posted a little about the concrete and back landing and you can find that here.

Craig Pinsent Carpentry was a great help in getting the concrete poured and he built the landing and the stairs you see here:

BTW the three short posts you see on the porch itself are reclaimed pieces of the cedar posts that used to hold up the house. It feels good to incorporate elements of history like that. The posts will be covered with another layer of finishing boards and caps to match the front porch.

Craig referred someone else to us to put a vinyl surface on the porch itself. His name is Perry and he did a great job. The pattern looks like wood planks and doesn’t draw the eye, but should go nicely with the dark trim on the house. The porch serves as a roof for the basement, so we needed (and the building code requires) something weather proof. The whole family loved having a porch at last. I put up hammocks that had been bought years ago but never used.

As for the rainwater, with some trial and error I connected the back gutter to the cistern and it filled up quickly. We have some work to do before we can pump it out of the cistern for use in the garden, but at least we’re collecting water now.


It was our hope to finish the exterior before winter, but that ship has sailed. We have stacks of cedar shingles in our basement still waiting to be primed and put up. Leanne does most of the painting when she has time and the kids pitch in, too. We had a shingle-painting party on August 4th when some friends joined the team (thank you friends!). Most of the yard was covered in drying, primed shingles.

For months, whenever I had a few hours, some dry weather and some primed

Me, my Dad, and a stapler

shingles ready to go I was outside running the (borrowed) compressor¬† with a pneumatic stapler just putting up shingles. My dad bought me that stapler in 2016 along with a bunch of stainless steel staples for just this purpose. It’s nice to finally be putting it to use. I’ve made a few mistakes but hopefully none will be noticeable in the end.

Basement Step Railings

I called Craig back and asked him to build us a railing for the basement steps. We discussed it and here’s what we ended up with.

The final step will be caps for the posts to match the front porch railings and some paint!

The Landscaping

Getting the yard graded and seeded was something of an emotional need for the whole family. We had been living in a construction zone for years and it was really dragging us down. Leanne found a landscaper called Clearview Lawn and Landscape and they ended up doing a great job. We’re never sure if we can afford these big ticket items, but it was a good investment in our mental health, if nothing else!

Grade adjusted, topsoil added, plants removed (or moved) and potting soil added in some places
Hallowe’en with grass!

Another outdoor achievement was the new concrete front path. That was the first bit of concrete I didn’t get any help with (except for the concrete company and Ron, the neighbour who drops by every so often to inspect my work). The forms and mesh were mine and Leanne and I did the screeding, edging and “brush finish”. Not bad, eh?

There you have a very short telling of some of the stuff we got up to here at Hammond Forever House in 2018. I do have a lot more photos, details and video to share on each of these topics, but this will have to do for now.

Up next: heating, energy efficiency, how we ditched our hybrid car for a pure electric one, and other stuff, too. Thanks so much for reading!