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RE: DIY copper countertop (Follow-Up #103)

posted by: circuspeanut on 07.19.2008 at 03:57 pm in Metalworking Forum

Well, we did it. It's a lot of work, but I can say that these countertops are gorgeous and well worth the time invested. And they cost me about $21/sf total, which is almost as pleasing as the knowledge that they are fairly green and can be repurposed by whomever comes after me.

1. Create the substrate out of mdf. We used fairly nice stuff made ostensibly from recycled fiber. We glued two 3/4" sheets together with construction cement, then screwed them tightly from the bottom (we wanted the top absolutely smooth so as not to have to use levelling compound. Later this became vital since the adhesive we used was fabulous for gluing copper to mdf, but not to anything else).
Clamped overnight. Then cut with table saw and dry-fit them to the cabs:

2. Then I flipped the pieces over and applied RedGard waterproofing membrane on the bottom and back -- everywhere we weren't gluing copper. Just in case, since it is a kitchen. It's awful gloppy stuff that you roll on like liquid plastic and dries bright red:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

3. Next we took 1/4" by 1.5" copper barstock and mitered it just like wood to fit the edges. It cut just fine on an old compound miter saw with a high-tech metal-cutting blade by Tenryu. Glued it to the mdf using TC-50 adhesive by Better Bond, clamped it well:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

4. I was highly impressed by the TC-20 adhesive: no VOC and it set enough to handle lightly in about 15 minutes. We kept the edging clamped for a few hours just in case. All edged, a counter piece looked like this:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

5. Cut the top copper sheet with a metal blade on the jigsaw. Dry fit it with about 1/4" to 1/2" to spare. We used 20oz Revere copper sheet from a local building materials supplier. It comes in 3foot and 4foot widths up to 120" long.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

6. Glued that sucker on! Nerve-wracking, but in retrospect the easiest part of the entire job. We fit as many factory-cut edges to the countertop edges as was feasible, then J-rolled the whole schmear and clamped it but good on all sides, using extra mdf scraps as buffers so as not to dent the copper with clamps:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

7. Used a router to trim all the necessary edges to just barely overlapping the edging, if at all. No pics, sorry. As aliceinwonderland can attest, do this outside in the driveway or garage if at all possible!!

8. Then we sanded it up using 180 grit. The copper is almost shockingly workable -- you can put whatever pattern you'd like into it with the sander, a hammer, whatever. [I'd suggest waiting to do this until after you've glued the smooth sheets first, for optimal adhesion.] I worked my way up to about 600grit mesh on the orbital sander, just to make it nice and smooth.

9. I'm glad we decided to do the edging first, since this put the main seam on the side rather than top, and it's virtually invisible from just a little distance away:
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10. I was still concerned about durability and the seam opening up, so I went back and stuffed some Just For Copper epoxy onto/into it. Sanded it back down so the seam is very tiny and smooth, and I feel better knowing that it's probably bombproof. It's obvious that the seam will pretty much vanish as the copper oxidizes, too.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

11. Due to an L-shape, we did have one place where we absolutely had to join two sheets on top. We used the factory-cut edges for these, and then I epoxied atop the line with Just For Copper and sanded it well. Over time, the line will hopefully become less noticeable as well, though it doesn't look bad (honestly, the photos make it look much worse than it is):
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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Ta dah!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So that's that! Feel free to contact me with any questions, but better yet post them here for everyone to benefit -- this thread was my sole inspiration and guidance during the process.
Cheers and my heartfelt thanks to jenathegreat, aliceinwonderland, and all of you for the inspiration.


clipped on: 01.17.2010 at 09:11 am    last updated on: 01.17.2010 at 09:12 am

RE: DIY copper countertop (Follow-Up #50)

posted by: aliceinwonderland_id on 03.06.2007 at 09:55 am in Metalworking Forum

I've received a few requests, so here are step-by-step instructions for what I did. If you can fold the copper over the edges, I would suggest doing so. I didn't, but only because my countertop was too wide so I had to come up with another method.

1. After the cabinets were installed I built the countertop out of plywood. The first layer was floor-grade 3/4" plywood, screwed down every six inches on the edges and every 8 - 12 inches in the middle, along the cabinet edges. I used decking screws just barely countersunk.

2. Second layer was 1/2" AC plywood, screwed into the first layer every 4-6 inches on the edges and 8-10 inches in the middle. Decking screws, slightly countersunk.

3. Leveling compound (cement based) was used to cover all screw heads and fill in any bad areas on the plywood and along all edges to make them as smooth as possible.

4. After the leveling compound dried thoroughly (24 hours) I sanded is smooth with 100 grit sandpaper and and orbital sander.

5. I measured and marked the locations for the sink and the cooktop and cut them out with a jig saw, then dry-fit both items to make sure they would fit properly.

6. I had a 4' x 10' sheet of 18 oz copper because my countertop was 45" wide in most places and 48" wide at the cooktop. I used solvent-based contact cement (water-based doesn't work on copper). With a small roller, I painted a coat on the copper and two coats on the plywood (top only).

7. Once the contact cement was dry, I cut a whole bunch of thin slats and placed them every 2 - 4 inches on top of the plywood. I found out quickly that dowels would have worked better - round dowels have less surface area to stick than flat slats, but it was still okay. Make sure the dowels or slats are long enough to stick out 6 inches or more on each side of the countertop.

8. I laid the copper sheet on top of the slats and maneuvered it into position. I had to make sure it was exactly right because I had about 1/2 centimeter of overhang in one spot so it had to be perfect.

9. Starting in the middle, I pulled out a few slats and pressed the copper into place with a J-roller, working my way out to each end. Then I crawled up on the countertop and rolled over the whole thing with the J-roller to ensure it was stuck down completely with no bubbles.

10. I let it sit for 24 hours to allow the contact cement to cure.

11. Now I had all this copper overhang to deal with. I ended up using a router with an edging bit to cut off the copper. This worked really well - copper is so soft it's about like working with wood. One CAUTION: This was a huge mess. I had to cover every surface in the kitchen to do this because little copper curlyques flew everywhere. I still find some now and then and it's been 8 months since I did this.

12. For the edges, I bought 1.5" X 1/8" copper bar. I mitered the ends, just like you would with wood and dry fit all the pieces to make sure they would fit properly. I tried gluing them with contact cement, but just couldn't manage to get a good bond. I hadn't make my edges quite smooth enough. So, I ended up using tite-grip construction adhesive. It worked really well.

13. Now I had a few gaps here and there, particularly in the corners where the copper bar came together and some at the junction of the copper bar and the copper sheet. I used a product called "just for copper." This is a small tube of copper epoxy that has copper dust mixed with it. When it dries, it has the look of aged copper, and is strong enough to repair copper pipe. I smooshed (nice technical term there) the epoxy into all of the gaps and let it cure. This stuff is a little on the stiff side and not super easy to work with. You can't get it perfectly flat and smooth. I let it cure 24 hours.

14. I sanded the epoxy, starting with 80 grit sandpaper to flatten and smooth it. I also sanded my corners to round them out a bit. The sanding took forever. I went down to 300 grit sandpaper and then sanded the entire countertop surface with this grit. This took a little of the shine off the countertop and allowed it to age more quickly.

Of all the steps, ensuring the wood base is flat and SMOOTH, SMOOTH, SMOOTH is the most important. That will determine directly how much work will have to be done with the copper epoxy to make it all work and look nice.


clipped on: 11.29.2008 at 10:25 am    last updated on: 01.17.2010 at 04:07 am

RE: DIY copper countertop (Follow-Up #101)

posted by: jakes_dad on 07.01.2008 at 12:13 pm in Metalworking Forum

In response to circuspeanut, I found some stuff on-line called TC-20 from BetterBond. This stuff has 45 minute working time, non-flammable, has no VOC's, and cleans up with water.

Back to my project:
As mentioned above, I glued the copper to the plywood with TC-20, and let set for a couple of days. Last Sunday I trimmed the edges with a router. This was down-right scary! Hot copper particles were flying everywhere. I ended up destroying 2 carbide laminate trimming router bits, but am happy with the outcome. My next step is to route the Ogee edge trim from cherry.


clipped on: 11.29.2008 at 10:36 am    last updated on: 11.29.2008 at 10:36 am

RE: DIY copper countertop (Follow-Up #83)

posted by: aliceinwonderland_id on 01.06.2008 at 03:36 pm in Metalworking Forum

Gauge: Anywhere between 16 and 22 ounce copper will work. I don't know exactly how that corresponds to gauge, but I'm sure there are conversion tables available online. 16 oz is easier to work with, but 22 will possibly look more substantial. As long as you have a good, strong, flat base, I doubt it makes any difference.

Sink: Surface mount, unless you can find a way to treat the edges of the countertop around the sink cutout. I have a round sink, so I did top mount - I thought forming copper bar to a round cut would be too difficult. I purchased my sink on eBay from Mexicopper. It's perfect. If you decide to go that route, be aware that they seldom answer emails, but my sink arrived within the time specified (3 weeks) and was packed very well.

Expense: It's way less expensive to do it yourself. There are very few companies out that that do copper countertops and they charge more than the most expensive stone countertop you can find. My countertop (which is 48" x 96") cost me a about $460, including the base and the copper. If I had purchase it, it would have cost me over $5000. No way that was in the budget.

Size: Your planned countertop is very wide. I could not find copper sheet wider than 48" when I was looking, which is why I ended up using copper bar for the edge instead of wrapping the copper over the edges. If you can't find sheet wide enough (and I honestly have no idea where to look) you would have to deal with a seam. I guess I would to some small mock-ups to see if you can get a seam that meets your expectation.

Best of luck!


clipped on: 11.29.2008 at 10:29 am    last updated on: 11.29.2008 at 10:29 am

RE: Dimmable Compact Fluorescent ... Best Place to Buy? (Follow-Up #27)

posted by: davidr on 07.15.2007 at 07:15 pm in Lighting Forum

TCP supplies (or at least used to) the "Commercial Electric" CFs sold at Home Depot. TCP's CFs are manufactured in China, like about 90% of the current CFs. A friend of mine had several Commercial Electric CFs fail within a few months. Of course it's possible that the ones with their own brand printed on them use higher quality components - but I wouldn't bet on it.

Panasonic and Philips are the CF brands that I recommend. Sylvania used to be quite good but the quality declined significantly when they moved manufacturing from Germany to Taiwan. They're now made in China, and I don't buy them any more.


clipped on: 05.11.2008 at 10:26 am    last updated on: 05.11.2008 at 10:26 am

RE: Dimmable Compact Fluorescent ... Best Place to Buy? (Follow-Up #26)

posted by: granite_man on 07.14.2007 at 08:51 am in Lighting Forum

I have had no luck with Greenlite products.

I have been very happy with the Sylvania CFLs we use in our family room. The Satco dimmable twists have also been very good. I hear that Sylvania makes a dimmable R30, but I haven't tried it yet.

One manufacturer that doesn't receive much attention is TCP. We use 5 or 6 of their Spring Lamps throughout our house and I love them. They all run at 2700K and have proven to be exceedingly reliable.


clipped on: 05.11.2008 at 10:24 am    last updated on: 05.11.2008 at 10:24 am

RE: Help me choose a trim style that is DIY friendly (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: macybaby on 02.16.2008 at 03:16 pm in Old House Forum

This is real "DYI" friendly. Our old farmhouse had been remodeled and had pretty ugly cheap trim in most places, so we came up with something on our own.

We used 1x pine boards and some MDF trim to make the caps for the doors and windows.

Here are some assembled and painted

We bought MDF for the uprights, and used pine for the ledges

(removed the ones the window came with to make the bottom one piece). We used 1x6 pine for the baseboard, with the same MDF for the cap. The corners are pine blocks cut for 2x4 scraps (they are wider than 1") caped with a mitered corner of the same trim.

We just installed the trim on the windows this morning - I'll post pictures of that later. I really like the look and it's not that hard to do if you have a decent miter saw.

The best part is no mitered corners above the window/doors to deal with!

In our living/dining area, we went with a more formal look, stained oak. We framed out the three windows in the bay to make it look like one unit.

This shows the detail a bit more

This is my favorite part of the room (never mind the mess, we are still living in a construction zone!)

It does not bother me to have different trim in different rooms.



clipped on: 05.02.2008 at 09:38 am    last updated on: 05.02.2008 at 09:39 am

mock up of interior trim

posted by: ajpl on 02.05.2008 at 10:57 am in Building a Home Forum

We are on to interior trim this week and have mocked up one window and working on another with slight variations. In this photo the header and bottom (footer?) board are stick out over the sides. The one DH is working on now has shorter header etc to line up with the vertical boards. Any opinions?


clipped on: 05.02.2008 at 09:00 am    last updated on: 05.02.2008 at 09:00 am

RE: Window/door trim thickness---not width (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: pinktoes on 10.28.2007 at 02:29 pm in Building a Home Forum

moissy: I got tons of info, pics, and a guy actually used Sketchup to draw an example for me. All that on one of the pro boards elsewhere. What I decided on, in collaboration with that group who has a lot of experience with period style trim, is for door and window side casings to use 1 x 4 stock (actual dimension 3/4 inch thick x 3 1/2" wide. Then top casings of 5/4 x 6" stock (actual dimensions 1" thick x 5 1/2" wide. Top casing extending 1/2" out to the sides beyond where the side casing ends. The latter detail DH and I decided only after actually placing boards in various configurations to see what we liked.

The use of 5/4 stock for the top casings results in a slight reveal where the side casings join. That 1/4" difference in thickness is just enough.

The window casings also will have a stool under the windows. It is 5/4 stock and each end projects 1/2 " beyond the side casings. Stool is 1" high. Below the stool is an apron of 1 x 4 stock (actual sidth 3 1/2").

All are butt joints. We're doing a more contemporary look in the house. If we were replicating a period style we'd probably make everything wider. No headbands. Our ceilings are only 9 feet (8 in kitchen) and we don't want to stop the eye below that. It's all to be natural wood, probably maple, no stain, just lacquered. Very, very simple.

Finally, we've figured it out. That was a night and a day!


clipped on: 05.02.2008 at 08:58 am    last updated on: 05.02.2008 at 08:58 am

RE: ?about window in shower.. (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: codnuggets on 03.02.2008 at 12:35 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Generally apeaking, I agree that a window in a shower, especially an operable one, is not the best idea. Sometimes it's your best or only option and properly constructed it can be done successfully. If you decide to leave the window, do everything you can to prevent water intrusion. Bottom line - waterproof, waterproof, waterproof!

There is a window in the shower I am currently constructing. I chose a vinyl framed acrylic block anwning window. I installed it flush with the concrete backer board, ran the Kerdi waterproofing membrane onto the edge of the vinyl frame, and sealed it with Kerdi-fix, a waterproof sealant. I will run the tile right up to the sealed edge and finish it off with quarter round. Here's the lastest pic I have, still under construction.



clipped on: 04.21.2008 at 08:40 am    last updated on: 04.21.2008 at 08:40 am

RE: Anyone use temp probe in Dacor oven? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: sshrivastava on 12.20.2007 at 12:52 pm in Appliances Forum

Dacor had, or still has, a problem in how its distributors stored the ovens. The ovens themselves hip on a heavy palate, but some of the distributors are stacking these ovens on top of one another causing the body to flex and the enamel to chip. I went through four ovens from the local distributor before Dacor put one on a truck and drove it to my house from their HQ in California.

When the good oven was finally put in, we had the same temp probe issue as mcmann. Dacor sent out a new control board as soon as they could and the problem is solved. The temp probe is more accurate as well.

While I had some issues with the oven, Dacor truly stepped up to solve my problems. They also gave me, free of charge, a pizza stone w/ paddle, roasting rack, two additional glide racks, and a 3 year extended warranty for my trouble. I would call that outstanding customer service.

My oven has been performing flawlessly, reliably, and has exceeded my expectations. All of my recipes have come out perfectly, so I haven't found the need to check the oven temp with a thermometer -- judging by the finished baked products, I'm assuming it works.

Let us know how you like your oven!


clipped on: 01.09.2008 at 03:23 pm    last updated on: 01.09.2008 at 03:23 pm

RE: Dacor software updates (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: mcmann on 12.14.2007 at 08:18 pm in Appliances Forum

Hello sshrivastava,

How are your wall ovens working? I hope you haven't had any more problems.

The Customer service representative that I spoke with told me that the homeowner can adjust the temperature up to 35 degrees. I asked her how and she claimed that it is in the Use and Care Manual. However I can't find it in mine, unless it's in newer ovens or perhaps she thought I had the range. But I have no intention of messing with my control panel anyway.

Both techs did it through the control panel. The first tech who came out had to call Dacor help support because he hadn't a clue how to proceed. The second tech had a printed manual that he referred to.

The first tech wrote down the info he received from Dacor in case I wanted to do it myself. This is what he left me back in September.

To Enter Tech panel

press Cancel Secure and # at the same time

Release Cancel Secure but keep pressing #

Press 7 seven times

the readout will change to an S

then enter service code 5638

After that he just kept pressing buttons according to the instructions that Dacor gave him over the phone. As I mentioned I'm not brave enought to go into the control panel - I might erase everything that's in there. Are you going to try doing it yourself?


clipped on: 01.09.2008 at 03:13 pm    last updated on: 01.09.2008 at 03:13 pm

RE: Our Thanksgiving week total kitchen remodel (Follow-Up #64)

posted by: weedyacres on 11.25.2007 at 06:21 pm in Kitchens Forum

pcjs: Love the Paslode, definitely get the angled nailer, not the straight one. Ebay has the best deals...reconditioned ones for around $200 (vs. $350 new). This one's a finish nailer, but if we end up doing framing we'll definitely get a framing nailer as well. It's lightweight and uncorded, two big plusses.

Here's our final shot of cabinets: our penninsula at the end of the room that will have a counter extending 10" beyond, for bar seating. This kitchen is feeling HUGE...can't wait to throw a big party.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 10:32 am    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 10:32 am

RE: Our Thanksgiving week total kitchen remodel (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: weedyacres on 11.20.2007 at 11:23 pm in Kitchens Forum

First of all, thanks for all your encouragement. It motivates me to drive hard on this, since you're all watching.

Day 2 is over, and on the surface it doesn't look a whole lot different.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
DH had to move 4 outlets by 6-12 inches each to accommodate the different sink placement and a tambour. Sounds simple, but it took him all morning. He said he'll never hire out as an electrician unless he's paid by the hour. Then he ran some plumbing for our pot filler, moved an HVAC vent out from under our future penninsula and got the floor by the sink buttoned up. In the meantime, I cut up the old countertop and took a load of kitchen detritus that no one on freecycle even wanted to the dump, selected a paint color and painted the edges of the room (I hate cutting in, so am a big advocate of paint first and then attach things to the wall).

I laid out the outlines of the cabinets and we started the radiant floor heat wire (the red lines on the RH side), but had to quit at 5 for an evening obligation. I had hoped to get all the wire laid by the end of today, but thanks to the electrical taking so long we didn't quite make it. Alas, no time for a bath tonight.

Oh, and the cabinets got delivered today. They completely fill up our 10x14 foyer and spill into the adjoining rooms. We've got our work cut out for us!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Answers to some of your questions:
-yes, we have an invite to Thanksgiving, from a kind friend. Unfortunately we couldn't volunteer to bring much of anything because our appliances aren't being delivered until Friday.
-The granite is (hopefully) Terra Brazilas, but one of the 2 slabs we picked out a few weeks ago got reserved by someone else, and they've been trying to get ahold of the person to see if they still want them. Plan B is to see if they can get some additional slabs in, but don't know timing on that.
-We're 98% DIY, as only the counters will be installed by someone else.
-The kitchen is 13'x13', but we're expanding the footprint out another 6' and adding a penninsula (old breakfast nook). We're then going to bump the exterior wall out and put the nook there. Here's a view looking towards the nook/future penninsula:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 10:12 am    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 10:12 am

Customer support on Internet purchases

posted by: blindstar on 08.19.2007 at 07:35 pm in Appliances Forum

I purchased a Bluestar cooktop and a Prestige hood liner from Eurostoves a couple of months ago. We are now framing the new kitchen and a couple of questions came up regarding the hood liner. I emailed "general info" at Prestige and did not an answer. After a few days I set a copy of the questions to Eurostove and asked if they could help get me a response from Prestige. Trevor at Eurostoves forwarded my note to the correct person at Prestige who responded quickly. Not only did I get my questions answered, the Prestige person returned emails twice on a Sunday.


clipped on: 12.28.2007 at 10:09 am    last updated on: 12.28.2007 at 10:09 am

RE: hood insert/liner question (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: blindstar on 08.20.2007 at 10:10 am in Appliances Forum

I have been talking to Prestige about this issue. If I understand correctly, the recommended approach is to mount the hood liner in an inverted pan. This pan is fabricated from stainless steel and is part of the structure that houses the liner. Think of a rectangular cake pan turned upside down with the liner mounted on the bottom of the pan. Prestige recommends that the bottom of the liner be mounted 8" above the bottom lip of the pan (i.e. an 8" deep pan). Assuming that you have adequate airflow you can easily extend the capture are to cover your burners.


clipped on: 12.28.2007 at 10:05 am    last updated on: 12.28.2007 at 10:06 am

RE: range hood noise levels for 900-1200cfm (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: solarpowered on 11.11.2007 at 12:13 pm in Appliances Forum

Fantech (linked below) has a table on page 5 of the "Kitchen Ventilation Solutions" brochure (accessed from the link) listing the sound levels of various hood configuratione.

By far the quietest is a remote blower with a duct silencer between the hood and the blower.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fantech


clipped on: 12.27.2007 at 12:18 am    last updated on: 12.27.2007 at 12:18 am

RE: Were my pocket doors installed correctly? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: brickeyee on 10.09.2007 at 08:09 pm in Remodeling Forum

The biggest mistake I have seen is attaching the track to a weight bearing header.
Other than that the Johnson instructions are pretty good, but the little plastic guides are still a mess.
They scratch the face of the door eventually.


clipped on: 11.02.2007 at 12:59 pm    last updated on: 11.02.2007 at 01:03 pm

RE: Were my pocket doors installed correctly? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: brickeyee on 10.08.2007 at 07:46 pm in Remodeling Forum

For painted pocket doors I always add a 2 inch wide strip to the pocket edge.
This strip blocks the edge of the pocket and also allows the door to stay engaged on a piece of aluminum angle I place on the floor of the pocket.
A groove in the bottom of the door runs almost to the 'show' edge.
The aluminum stops the swinging cold, and unlike the plastic guides that come with the doors does not scratch the paint.
For stained doors with any decoration (panels, etc.) you can attach a strip and paint it black, or order wider doors and rip some of the 'show' edge off. This keeps the decoration centered when the door is closed.
The pocket is of course sized slightly larger to account for the extra door width.
I saw some kits for doubles to make them close together somewhere, but I have been making them using steel sliding door pulleys and 1/16 inch steel cable for a long time.
A couple simple brackets attach the top of the door to the cable to make everything move together.
Stops (single or double) can be added opposite the pocket to block light on that edge.

Van Dykes Restorers has a number of pulls available for the face of the door.
They also have brass edge pulls.
Renovators Supply used to have edge pulls and a few face pulls.
I have built the locks the last few times I needed them, since outside of salvage there is just not much available that is anything but clunky modern looking.


clipped on: 11.02.2007 at 12:56 pm    last updated on: 11.02.2007 at 12:56 pm

RE: 36' pocket door in 32' opening for sound reasons? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: mongoct on 05.06.2006 at 06:33 pm in Remodeling Forum

Be wary of a door with a "pattern" on it.

Example, if you did that with a six panel door, with the door closed you'd have an uneven exposure with regards to the left and right stiles on the door.

If this were the route you choose, a better bet may be to use a standard 32" door in a 32" pocket, but biscuit and glue a 3 or 4" wide extension to the stile on the pocket side.

When closed, onnly the original 32" door would be exposed. The 4" attachment would remain buried in the pocket.


clipped on: 11.02.2007 at 12:29 pm    last updated on: 11.02.2007 at 12:29 pm

RE: Contemplating Pocket Door in masterbath (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: jimandanne_mi on 07.18.2007 at 10:44 pm in Building a Home Forum

mcbird has made a VERY important point about installation. Our framer did not read the enclosed directions on installing the Johnson hardware for our pocket doors. (He also didn't look at the plans sometimes when he was building the interior walls, but that's another story.) I happened to walk through the house as 2 of his crew were installing 2 different pocket doors. One guy was doing it backwards!

He also didn't read how high the headers over the doors were supposed to be and made them too low. The pocket door pieces bowed. We have 9 pocket doors, and had to have them all redone--by someone else since we didn't trust him to do them right.

I had 4 pocket doors for 25 years that were the cheap builder's grade. 2 to the kitchen, 1 to the master bath, and 1 to the hall to the bedrooms. This last one was 36" wide and heavier. It got slammed by my kids a lot and didn't hold up. The others were fine.



clipped on: 11.02.2007 at 12:03 pm    last updated on: 11.02.2007 at 12:03 pm

RE: We won the Pocket Door battle - and no we have a problem with (Follow-Up #29)

posted by: brickeyee on 03.18.2007 at 09:32 am in Remodeling Forum

The Johnson kits are pretty decent, but I never use the 'pre-framed' ones.
I build out a thicker wall (about the same as a wet wall). This allows electrical boxes to be installed.

Johnson has a number of different ratings on the hardware.
The 111PD line is more than adequate for most interior doors and keeps the track under 1.25 inches wide.

One of the 'tricks' is to never mount the track directly to a weight bearing header.
The header should be moved up a few inches, then a section of 2x mounted with clearance from the header, and the track attached to the 2x.
This is not required in non-weight bearing walls, but avoiding any sag in a weight bearing header will ensure the pocket hardware functions for a long time.
The only other problem I encounter is the plastic tabs used to prevent the door from swinging. They tend to scratch the portions of the door that rub against them.
I put aluminum angle in the bottom of the pocket and cut a matching groove on the bottom of the door. If the groove is stopped before the 'show' edge of the door it cannot be seen.
Another trick for panel doors is to add a strip of wood to the pocket edge the same thickness as the door and about 1-2 inches wide.
This allows the full width of the door to be used while leaving some in the pocket for noise and swing control.
Adding a stop on the non-pocket jamb also helps with sound and blocks sight (if you really want to reduce sound 'brush seals' or even felt seals around the door can help).
The split trim jamb on the top of the door should be mounted with screws (on at least one side). You will need to remove it to get the door off the bogies. Trim head square drive screws provide a good option here.

Pocket door hardware is definitely finish carpentry, not framing.
Make sure you have the correct kind of carpenter.


clipped on: 11.02.2007 at 11:58 am    last updated on: 11.02.2007 at 11:58 am

RE: We won the Pocket Door battle - and no we have a problem with (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: homemasons on 03.16.2007 at 09:41 am in Remodeling Forum

Johnson makes different sizes of tracks and frame kits. Perhaps the one you got / he installed is shorter than required for this 30" door. Check that.

Agree, you should only have to access one side to fix it... unless the header over it is too short; that would be a problem. Contractor should definately checked to assure that the pocket kit was the right size for the door. That info, and how to adjust sizes, would have been in the instructions.

By the way, good pocket door operation is wholly dependent on the right hardware and correct installation. If you have a standard Johnson track and rollers (which standard kit is NOT that great), consider ordering their upgrade roller kit, which is ball-bearing rollers, and rated for more weight (good to oversize); costs about $50 from your supplier, and may be retrofitted to the door / track after installation. Glides like a dream; should last and operate great forever!

Also, make sure your contractor installs the little floor-mounted guides...they are two little plastic pieces that come with the kit and keep the door aligned as it glides in and out. Often left off until after trim, and thereby are forgotten and never installed, which compromises correct operation.


clipped on: 11.02.2007 at 11:53 am    last updated on: 11.02.2007 at 11:53 am

Acid Stain sealer question - please help!

posted by: li999 on 10.18.2007 at 04:06 pm in Flooring Forum

I'm in the midst of having my basement floors acid stained by a concrete contractor. (The house was built in 89 and the floors were originally covered by carpet.) I think I've made a mistake in choice of sealer and wondered if anyone can advise. (The floor won't be sealed until Monday so I think I can maybe reverse the decision if necessary). The basic package included a basic sealer. Epoxy or polyutherane was offered as an upgrade to create a glossier finish. I chose the upgrade and for some reason chose the polyutherane over the epoxy. I was in a rush to get this done and should have done more research:( I'm now thinking this is a mistake. I've read on other forums that when using polyutherane, any moisture in the slab will cause bubbles??? I don't believe there is moisture in the cement but it seems risky to bet on it given this is a basement. Also, I notice on the polyutherane can it says not recommended for "on-grade slab." Finally, after reading more about sealant on various sites it seems I could get a nice shine with just a regular sealant plus wax (the contractor never mentioned wax). I've put in a call to him but haven't heard back so.. in the meantime I thought I'd see if anyone has any thoughts. Many thanks!


see if anyone answers this.
clipped on: 10.21.2007 at 06:49 pm    last updated on: 10.21.2007 at 06:49 pm

RE: wood counter top in Bath? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mongoct on 05.10.2007 at 11:31 am in Bathrooms Forum

I've done quite a few bath countertops in walnut and teak, only one in white oak.

I say "naysay" to the naysayers.

Here's one in teak:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The sink countertop is 8/4, the countertop between the sink and the toilet is 5/4, and the small strip atop the sink backsplash is 4/4. The base for the round make-up mirror (sitting on top of the toilet cabinet) is 8/4 as well.

Me? I'm 304/4. Thankfully, 304/4 tall and not 304/4 thick.



clipped on: 08.29.2007 at 11:01 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2007 at 11:01 pm

RE: Concrete counter and copper vessel sinks (Follow-Up #24)

posted by: cornweer on 03.02.2006 at 02:57 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We cut out pieces of wood with a hole saw and wrapped them in bubble wrap for the drain holes. we used pieces of PVC Wrapped in bubble wrap for the smaller holes for the faucet. The bubble wrap made them easier to remove when we tapped them out with a hammer. We attached them to the form with screws.


Holes for drain and faucet
clipped on: 08.29.2007 at 06:44 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2007 at 06:44 pm

Concrete counter and copper vessel sinks (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: cornweer on 07.07.2005 at 03:57 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We used a portable cement mixer. We let the slab cure for about 4 weeks, but it was ready before that. We didnt add anything to the mix except for dye. We didnt keep the slab covered, but we misted it with water every day for the first week. We used a small hand sander (something like the mouse) and ran it along the bottom of the form. THis is the most important step. Take your time and get all of the bubbles out. We did have some small pinholes in our slab and had to do a slurry. The hardest part about the slurry is matching the color. Luckily we went down to the aggregates so it isnt very noticable. I spent about 1-2 hrs a day for a week grinding. It really just depends on what type of finish you are going for. I spent a lot of time grinding on the lower grits to get the aggregates to show. If you wanted a solid color you could skip straight to a higher grit and spend less time grinding. Good luck with your slab! I think you will find this project a lot of work, but a lot of fun and satisfaction when you see the finished project.


clipped on: 08.29.2007 at 06:43 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2007 at 06:43 pm

RE: Concrete counter and copper vessel sinks (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: cornweer on 07.01.2005 at 07:14 am in Bathrooms Forum

My biggest tip for the grinding/polishing is dont spend a lot on a grinder because you are going to mess it up:) I bought a cheap grinder and got my diamond grinding pads from Harbour Freight online. Important: Buy a GFI extension cord and wear heavy rubber gloves. I got shocked a couple of times at first because it is a wet grind. I bought those rubber plumbing gloves that go all the way up your arm. I would also suggest a heavy rubber apron and rubber soled shoes. I just took my time and started at a low grit - 60 and worked my way up to 3000. I kept a slow trickle of water going while I was grinding. Between each grit I rinsed the slab really well and used a squeegee to clean off the sediment.


clipped on: 08.29.2007 at 06:43 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2007 at 06:43 pm

RE: Concrete counter and copper vessel sinks (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: cornweer on 11.09.2004 at 02:08 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We grinded it down so you can see the aggregates in the concrete. The flecks you see are the stones that come in the bag of concrete. I was amazed at all of the variations in color I found.


2" thick by 8' long
clipped on: 08.29.2007 at 06:41 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2007 at 06:41 pm

RE: Concrete counter and copper vessel sinks (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: cornweer on 10.07.2004 at 02:28 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Thank You! We poured the concrete in a form outside and did all of the polishing outside to keep the mess down. When using the diamond grinding pads you need water running constantly. We figured it would be a lot simpler to setup outside and use the water hose so we wouldnt have to worry about getting water everywhere. It nearly killed two very strong men to carry it in the house though. I think if we did it again we would have 3 people help with the carrying:) By the way, I forgot to add to the materials list: 1 sheet of melamine for the form, rebar, and weld wire for reinforcement.


clipped on: 08.29.2007 at 06:40 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2007 at 06:40 pm

Concrete counter and copper vessel sinks

posted by: cornweer on 10.02.2004 at 12:47 pm in Bathrooms Forum

This project was a DIY that my husband and I both worked on. We arent finished yet, we still need to reface the cabinets, but I am so proud of how well our counters turned out I had to share it with someone! We poured the countertop ourselves. It took a lot of time, and a lot of grinding, but I think it was worth it. For the counter we bought the following:

4 - bags of Quickrette 5000 (approx $5/bag at Lowes)
2 - bottles of Quickrette Concrete Dye - Color Buff (approx $5 per bottle at Lowes)
1 - 4 inch electric grinder (Cheapest one Lowes had at around $40)
1 GFI extension cord (pretty important when you are wet grinding with electric)$25 at Lowes

Grinding Pads - I used diamond grinding pads from Harbour Freight, they were the cheapest. I got 2 of each grit: 100, 200, 300, 500, 800, 1000, 3000, and 10,000. For all of the grinding pads and shipping it was about $65.
I also had to buy a rubber backing pad and hook and loop backer at Lowes for about $15 so they would attach to my grinder.

Penetrating Sealer for Concrete - I bought a gallon can of it and even after putting 3 coats on I still have most of the can left. Approx $10 at Ace Hardware

Carnuba Wax - I had some in my garage for waxing my car, so it didnt cost us anything.

"Concrete Counters" book by Fu-Tung Cheng. This is a must have item for creating concrete counters. $20.00

The sinks I got on ebay for $175 each.

The faucets are by Fontaine Faucets. I bought them online for around $75 each.

Antique Bronze Tailpieces for the drains. $50 each special order at plumbing supply store. Little did I realize when selecting my sinks and faucets that you have to have a special drain that works with vessel sinks. After numerous special orders, and 6 weeks of waiting we finally go ones that worked.


clipped on: 08.29.2007 at 06:39 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2007 at 06:39 pm

The List - May 13, 2007

posted by: skybird on 05.14.2007 at 12:41 am in Rocky Mountain Gardening Forum

Hi all,

Heres the second posting of the list! Were up to 86 people! And, yes, Steve/Digit, Im on the list this time too! ;-) Ive done my best to keep it up to date, and I hope I have everyone in the right place. I probably wont be reposting this for a long time, if ever, so if youre interested in whos where, you might want to copy it onto a Word document and add newcomers when they show up. Ill probably keep adding people to my list when I notice somebody new. I really do find it helpful to know where somebody is when Im replying to a postespecially since were spread all over the Rocky Mountain West!

With our early spring in the Denver area, my perennials (now 3 years old) are doing incredibly well this year, and, thanks to MUCH help from Stevation, I can even post pictures now! So heres a Rocky Mountain picture for you!

Have a GREAT summer everyone,

Denver Metro
amester--------------Highlands Ranch
cnetter---------------West of Arvada
comary---------------Henderson (just east of Thornton)
conace55-------------Centennial/Southeast Aurora
dafygardennut-------Aurora at Hampden & Buckley
gardengal co---------SE Aurora
inmca-----------------South Denver - University Park (DU area)
jnfr-------------------Westminster - just east of Standley Lake
lilacs of may---------Aurora
mearshaum-----------SW Denver/Lakewood
oakiris----------------Westminster (across Sheridan from Arvada)
peace rose------------DEN
sabotabby------------Five Points-ish
shadygarden co------Aurora
shaunab---------------NW Denver - Berkeley area

Denver - North & Boulder
diamonic--------------Ft. Collins
doug z5 co------------Lyons
ion source guy--------Ft. Collins
jah742 foco co-------Ft. Collins
luckybottom----------Kersey (just east of Greeley)
mountainhiker--------Estes Park
robinco---------------Northern Colorado
stephinco-------------"North of Denver"
wishcrr---------------West of Ft. Collins (near Masonville)

Denver - East
jalirancher-----------Eastern plains near Limon
milehi-----------------80 miles SE of Jali! (? near Lamar ?)

Denver - West (foothills)
primeribs------------West side of Kenosha Pass in Jefferson
redrockgarden-------West of hogback near Morrison

Denver - South
singcharlene---------Castle Rock

Colorado Springs
billie ladybug--------30 miles east of COS - South of Yoder
binnesman------------North side of COS
emagineer------------Southwest COS
goatgal---------------COS - Moving from AK
lindy loo--------------South COS
nancy in co-----------COS
nicole-----------------Manitou Springs
nrynes----------------Black Forest area by Monument
plantladyco-----------Downtown COS (Patty Jewett)

South of COS
shudavies-------------Canon City
susanka---------------Greenhorn Valley (Rye, Colorado City)

Western Slope
belight 11-------------Glenwood Springs
david 52--------------Halfway between Dolores and Cortez
debitinco-------------Western slope somewhere!
funky dutch----------Ignacio (near Durango)
helene111-------------Glenwood Springs
highalttransplant----Silt - between Glenwood & Rifle
mission impossible----Buena Vista (I know BV isnt on the Western Slope!)
Sandy s---------------Rifle

digit------------------Hauser - west of Coeur d'Alene
oddidahoian----------Idaho Falls (Southeast ID)

missoula s------------Missoula

New Mexico
bombus---------------Half hour from Santa Fe
catherine nm---------Near Santa Fe

naninhi----------------Sisters - 20 miles NW of Bend

barb422-------------Salt Lake County
bpgreen--------------Farmington - halfway between Ogden and SLC
linda utah
spyfferoni-----------Springville just south of Provo
stevation-------------Cedar Hills - 35 miles S. of SLC, just east of American Fork

cathycdk-------------Moving from Phoenix to Cheyenne
jlynn-----------------Near Casper
shazone--------------Evanston, WY


clipped on: 05.25.2007 at 11:31 am    last updated on: 05.25.2007 at 11:31 am

RE: All in all, it's just another block in the wall... (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: debzone8 on 05.31.2006 at 10:20 pm in Hypertufa Forum

Serene, thank you.

For you, girlfriend, I'm going to try to do a rough guestimate: Each block uses approximately one quart of portland, two quarts of playsand and one+ quart of peatmoss with just a little liquid colorant(buff). I think I get about 50 blocks per 90lb bag of portland. If the same pint = pound rule works for sand, then 50 blocks use 100 qts. which would be 200 lbs. and 4 bags. I think that's a little low but as close as I can figure.

If a bag of portland cement costs @ $9.00 and a bag of sand costs $3.50 then 50 blocks would cost around $23.00. So, unless my math is really off, the cost of each 7" x 7" x 3.5" block is approximately $0.50 each. I rounded up a little to include tax, peat moss (I buy broken bags for $1) and the negligible amount of colorant. There would also be the initial outlay for 2 x 4's and screws to make the forms (I stole boards from DH's stash).

You would have to measure the area that you want to cover and divide by the size of the block to figure how many would be needed. If I had it to do over I'd use 2 x 6 boards and make the blocks at least 10 x 10 x 6. Harder to lift but it would go way faster.

Hope this helps--my head hurts!



clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 06:21 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 06:21 pm

RE: All in all, it's just another block in the wall... (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: debzone8 on 05.31.2006 at 10:13 am in Hypertufa Forum

Thank you! This is one of those projects that I wouldn't have started if I'd known how much work it would be. I have this awful fear that I will just keep making blocks and walls forever and create one of those folk art monstrosities...err, tourist attractions that people drive by and point at.

It is a good place to hang out. It's a pleasant spot for conversation or to sit and read a book. Large rhodies, a maple and some burning bush euonomys separate it from the rest of the front yard. We've been working on growing a privacy screen to separate it from the neighbors'. We just recently planted some golden bamboo (eek!) in the corner behind the column.

Paws, the blocks are hypertufa cast in 2 x 4 forms. I take them out when they're still pretty wet and leave them for a day or two before smoothing the lumps and rounding the edges and corners. They look similar to a stone I've seen called tumbled granite. Some I cast with styro wedges in the mold to make a wedge shape to go around curves. When they're cured, I fit them together like puzzle pieces and mortar them together. I've been working on this for two years now and stubbornness and having to look at an unfinished project are the only things that have kept me going ahead (oh, and a little taunting from CDNDavid :) )

Cindy, thanks! The column is hollow with the plumbing inside. There was a standpipe on a wood post in that spot that looked terrible with the wall, hence the column. I made the column and then DH drilled a hole and did the plumbing. I gave it a thick mortar base (underground) when I was putting in the blocks and filled the spot below it with drainrock.

Lazydaisy, I'M going to be the batty old woman who stands and waves at people who drive by to look at my folk art monument! Seriously, it would be hard to sell and move...I've put so much of myself into it. BTW, that green coily thing is the latest in hypertufa but I'm not telling anybody's going to make me a fortune!



see jpg saved
clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 06:19 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 06:20 pm

RE: My mosaic fountain (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: loveapplefarm on 09.03.2004 at 02:13 pm in Garden Accoutrements Forum

Mosaic fountain details.

Wow! Just checked my email and found all of your much-appreciate comments. I've been busy in my tomato patch and with getting my property ready for a garden tour that I haven't had time to dally on the computer. So, now that all of your questions are out here for me to address, let's start at the beginning. Oh, and due to popular local demand (I'm in the Santa Cruz/Monterey area of Northern California), I'm giving a mosaic class on October 16. Anyone interested, just email me.

The plastic pipe was bought at an irrigation/sprinkler store. It's white and 15 inches in diameter, however, they had all kinds of diameters, bigger as well as much smaller. They called it PIP (meaning plastic irrigation pipe). I don't know the wall thickness, however, I figured if it was strong enough to withstand sustained water pressure underground, then it would do for a fountain. I bought a 12 foot length of it. That cost about $100.

I cut the pipe into three sections: 4 and a half feet, 3 and a half, and 2 and a half. The idea was that the bottom 6 inches would be sunk into the ground. I used a jigsaw for this. I then drew a free form slanted line around the top of each tube (which are now standing on end). I didn't want the top to be straight across. This curvy line was also cut with a jigsaw.

I then measured a six inch space around the bottom of each tube, as a demarcation line. I would leave this bottom part un-mosaiced in order to sink it into the ground. I also decided that one and a half inch copper pipe would be the best size (aesthetically) for getting each tube to flow into the other. I then cut out a one and a half-inch hole several inches below the lowest point of the top of each tube. (Remember the top of each tube has a slanted, irregular top). I also knew that my water line must be above each of the copper pipes, so several inches of space to accommodate this was needed. No copper pipe hole was needed in the bottom tube, because no water would flow out of the bottom tube - this is the "basin." The bottom tube is where the pump is located.

After the pipe holes were cut, I measured and drew a line on the inside of the tube several inches below the anticipated water level (below the copper pipe hole). I would mosaic the inside surface of the tube first, from the top of the tube down to this line below water level. Under this line, would be the reservoir for water. This stayed plain white plastic for now.

I roughed up the surface of the white tube with sandpaper, to give some "tooth" to the mortar. I then drew a free form "riverlet" shape on the tube. I used single-flex thin-set mortar mix (gray in color). I would mix up a very small amount at a time (about a cup or so). The affixing of the tiles is slow-going, so I didn't want the mortar to dry out too fast while I was working. While the mortar was setting up (15 minute time frame), I would cut my glass pieces. I have a supply of stained glass that I was able to get from a manufacturer at a good price. Manufacturers of stained glass often sell end pieces and broken pieces for a song. Trick is to find them. My source dried up (no pun intended) in my area. Fortunately, I had a good stash of it already. The pieces of glass are cut with a tile nippers (available at any good hardware store). None of the pieces are cut to shape, any odd pieces are used. I left a space between tiles, from an eighth to a half inch. I shot for a quarter inch spacing. I worked in sections, and probably spent a total of 40 hours affixing the tiles in total. The only tricky part was around the top of each tube. Remember, this top line is slanted and curving. When placing tiles around this top edge, I bumped them above the rim about a quarter of inch. I did this on both the inside rim and the outside rim, so that I eventually got a groove around the top edge in which to place grout to hide the white plastic beneath.

I wouldn't smear mortar on the tube and then affix tiles to it (like some professional tilers would do). I would place a blob of mortar on the back of each tile, then place it. Remove any mortar that blubs up between the tiles above the surface of the tiles. If you don't, it will harden and then when you grout it, the mortar will show.

I then grouted the tube pieces. I used a good quality grout (only buy from a tile store, not the Home Depot or someplace like that. After all your hard work, you want only the best grout and mortar). I used sanded grout in a dark gray color. This served two purposes: Since I used a rainbow of colors for the glass, I needed a neutral grout color to tie it all together. The gray color also almost matched the mortar color, so that if I made a mistake and had some mortar show, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. I mixed the grout to a consistency of peanut butter, then just grabbed a handful and shmooshed it into the tiles, smoothing it as I went along, making sure each space was filled. Once everything was smeared with grout (messy!), I let it sit for about 15, 20 minutes, then came back with damp sponges and rags to wipe away the grout from the surface of the tiles. Keep wiping and smoothing, and all the tiles will eventually show beautifully.

After the grout cured for 72 hours, I sealed it. Make sure you use a grout sealer that is okay to get onto the tile surface, otherwise, this process is too onerous. I sealed the grout twice. Now it was time to place the tubes in their final location.

This fountain is immovable the way I made it, so plan accordingly. I placed the tubes so that they are not in perfect alignment. I wanted a curving effect. Once I was satisfied with their arrangement (and also holding the copper pipes in place temporarily to ensure their final placement was going to be ok), I sunk two foot long rebar (three in each tube) into the ground inside each hollow tube. I left about six to eight inches above ground. I then mixed up some concrete mix (available in 50 or 80 pound sacks at your local home store) and poured it into the bottom of each tube, ensuring that the rebar was completely covered (otherwise I thought the rebar would rust and discolor the water). I put about 18 inches of concrete in the tallest tube (the 4 and a half foot one), and less in each shorter tube. I let the concrete dry for a week. I used about four sacks of concrete, maybe 5.

The bottom basin tube was a bit different. Since this tube had to hold the pump, I had to insert a pvc tube in it to accommodate the electrical cord and the water line for the pump. I used a half inch pvc pipe with an elbow. I drilled a hole through the edge of the bottom tube below the mosaic line. Remember, I've got this six inch non-mosaiced bottom area. The pvc pipe is open at both ends. One end comes out of the hole, now below grade (soil level), elbows up through the concrete base, yet still remains below water level (so it's not showing). The pump electrical cord and water line will go through this pvc pipe, and out the bottom in order to recirculate the water into the highest tube. Yes, yes, this is not water-tight yet, read on).

Now came the water-tight test! I had been told by various on-line bulletin-board home improvement guys that the concrete would not be water-tight, so I was prepared to deal with this, if the tubes failed to hold water properly. I filled the tubes with water, up to the yet-to-be-filled copper pipe holes, and waited 24 hours. Yeah! No leakage, no bubbles, nada. That meant I didn't have to drain and seal the concrete.

I could then affix the copper pipes. I waited all this time to put in the copper pipes because I needed to get around the tubes easily while working with the concrete, and also wanted to make sure that the copper pipes were level. And since I thought my tubes could slightly shift while drying, I wanted to wait. I had to open up the holes a bit because the 1-1/2" holes were exactly the size of the copper pipe. This was done quickly with some sand paper. I wanted as snug a fit as possible, since this was a possible leakage point. The copper pipe is easily cut with a hack saw and some elbow grease. Each pipe is 13 inches long. I inserted the pipe so that about 3/4" shows inside the tube (in other words, not flush with the inside). I used clear 100% silicone caulk only on the interior circumference of the copper pipe. I was prepared to also put the silicone on the outside as well, but I wanted to wait and see if I had no leakage (which I didn't!).

At this point, I didn't want the interior surface of the tubes (below water level) to be white, as people would be able to see inside the bottom two tubes (the top tube is too high to see inside from the lower ground level). I taped off the mosaic on the inside of each of the shorter tubes, and spray painted the interior (including the now-dried concrete) with this new Krylon for plastics spray paint. I used a dark blue color.
I then went to a fountain/garden accoutrement store and bought a pond pump. I knew I had a rise from the bottom tube to above the top tube of about five feet, so I looked at the little chart on the pumps and found one I thought would work. It was a PondWorks 400 gallon pump. Paid $90 for it (probably could get this cheaper on-line, but I didn't want to wait, and I also want to be able to return this pump if it fails on me too soon).

I placed the pump in the bottom basin tube, had to cut off the plug in order to get it through the half-inch pvc pipe, then snake it and the hose line through the pvc pipe and out into the yard. I bought the hose line at the local hardware store. The pump doesn't come with the hose line, since people need all different lengths of it. I bought a 10 foot length of clear vinyl hose line, can't remember the diameter, but whatever fit onto the attachment of the pump. I then used that 100% silicone caulk to fill up the space inside the pvc pipe and around the cord and hose line. I worried that this would leak, and again did a water tight test overnight. No leaks so far! I guess that at some future point, with the vibration from the pump, that this could start leaking. If so, I'll drain the fountain and recaulk it bottom and top (where it comes out underground).

I affixed another copper pipe from the ground level straight up the tree next to the upper tube, then used a copper elbow and another short length of copper pipe straight out from the tree and directly above the middle of the upper tube. The water line was then inserted into this copper pipe. The electrical cord was then attached by my trusty handyman to my underground electrical line I had installed previously when I knew I was going to have a fountain in this location (otherwise the cord would show). The water line was put underground a bit from the lower tube to the tree-attached copper pipe and then mulched to hide it. People cannot see the electrical cord or the water line, and some cannot figure out how the water recirculates.

My handyman also installed a switch, so that the fountain can be turned off, which I do at night. I always check the water level in the lowest tube in the morning before I turn it on. You don't want the pump to run dry, or else you'll ruin it.

The first time we turned it on, and it worked was glorious. There were issues of whether I had the correct water levels from lowest to high, and whether the pump would circulate too much/not enough water. I think I got lucky in that regard, because I ain't no rocket scientist.

Although the project looks daunting, I did think about it and plan it about a year. Looking at a good fountain book helped me. Key for me was taking it one step at a time, and trouble shooting as I went along. Someone once said, "How do you eat an elephant?" Answer: "One bite at a time."

Everyone who isn't a crazy ax-wielding murderer or child molester is invited to come and see my fountain. Directions on my website:

Any other questions? I'll be happy to answer them.

Cynthia Geske
Love Apple Farm
"Preserving rare heirloom tomato varieties for future generations"


clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 05:10 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 05:11 pm

RE: Indoor tufa fountain (Follow-Up #42)

posted by: rustinj on 09.02.2004 at 02:13 pm in Hypertufa Forum

Hi Curt,

How big is the pond you're thinking of? If it's as big as the impression I got (3-5' diameter) then I wouldn't recommend the styrofoam approach. I'd be worried that the thing would snap in half when you went to move it. If you're planning on something big like that you want to have some internal reinforcement, like steel lath. I'd make the frame from steel lath around a plastic pond shell and fill in the empty space with foam or paper to keep the weight down. More than likely you'll notice all the flaws in your first fountain and not want to reapeat the same strategy twice (that's also why it's a good idea to start small).

As for sealing, check back up in the beginning of the thread (my second post). I've tried the fiberglass resin and won't do it again. Despite the nasty fumes and the fact that it dissolved the paintbrush I tried to mix it with, it ended up looking like a thick clear plastic shell. If the fountain is sitting in the reservoir and the reservoir is lined with plastic, shouldn't have to worry about it leaking.

That said, I've only tried to make two fountains, so don't mistake me for an expert :)

I am interested to see how other people have approached these issues. Please take a bunch of pics!


clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 05:04 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 05:04 pm

RE: Indoor tufa fountain (Follow-Up #41)

posted by: curtstl on 09.02.2004 at 01:20 pm in Hypertufa Forum

Nice fountain.....I've been leaning towards trying the same thing but more of a natural looking waterfall and pond. I'm hoping it is light enough to put on a deck. What formula did you use? What did you seal it with? Everyone has advised not to do this since Tufa won't hold up. My thought is with the right sealer and maybe sealing it again each year prior to use that it will work. I have other ideas on this subject as well. One is forming the pool and fountain on top of eps (styrofoam). Making the pond and fountain two separate pieces. One suggestion was to form the pond and pool with the eps foam. Placing wet newspaper (or plastic bags, etc) on top of the foam (explained in a sec)then mixing the ingredients and adding on top. Maybe add color to make the end product look like natural stone. After it is finished cover with plastic to cure.

The two piece concept is my idea. Of course the fountain would sit on top of the pond. That way you could interchange a different fountain with the same pond if you wish.

Here is the part that I like. Since you've built this on foam you created a lightweight stucture that could possibly work on a deck without it coming down from the weight. Size of course is a consideration. In otherwords, a 5ft pool 12 inches deep with and 4 ft waterfall full of water might push the limits.

The Wet Paper and Plastic Concept.........
Here is my thought. With the wet paper or plastic you should be able once the pool and fountain are cured to lift them off the foam. Not that foam is expensive and I get mine for free from department store dumpsters (ask first). But remember there is a time factor in building your concept out of foam and glueing it together. My idea is if the end product is nice and performs well. The next BBQ you have allyour friends are going to want to have one of your creations......... You mix and you make another. The foam is ready to go.......... Plus, you can change the foam form if it's not the way you like....flow not right, etc.

I've seen so much on sealing and some have mentioned that Tufa is not the be product to use for ponds and fountains so I think the sealer is critical to the process. One suggestion was to use Fiberglas Resin Coat (from Auto Parts Store. Add hardener (Auto Parts Store) and mix about a quart at a time. Brush on the inside face of the container and allow to cure for 12 hours. Add second coat and dry for 3 days.

Enough for now.......... I will be building one over the Labor Day Weekend and taking pics of the process to share with everyone. Since this is my first attempt at a fountain and pond wish me luck.


direct e-mail for your comments:


clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 05:04 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 05:04 pm

RE: Indoor tufa fountain (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: rustinj on 01.06.2004 at 11:35 am in Hypertufa Forum

Leigh, It holds about 2.5 gal so I only need to add water about once a week. I'm only running it while I'm home and awake right now. I'm worried one of my plants will clog something or divert the water to the floor. If nothing happens in a month or two I'm planning on running it with a timer.

I added a little cartoon diagram of my design...not sure if it will help much, but it might. Based on my other/leaky fountain experience, these are the key features:
1. Make a separate top and base/resevoir
2. The two pieces need to join in a funnel shape to direct any rogue water back to the resevoir.
3. Fill in any gaps or empty spaces with some sort of stuffing or your fountain will weigh a ton.
4. The water resevoir should be a plastic container surrounded by tufa. A tufa-shaped bowl without a liner will most likely leak.
5. Start at the bottom and work your way up...don't try to cover it all with a thin layer at the start. Apply a thin layer at the bottom then cover this layer and work upwards slowly. You need a solid base to support the carving and sanding going on at the top.
6. If it's going to be an indoor fountain you should avoid pours and stick with flows. Water that pours will splatter, but water that flows along something does not.

I didn't use any rebar because the wire lathe is very rigid. It is also very sharp, so plan on bleeding a little with gloves, or a lot without gloves. Your design sounds pretty good, as long as you have a plastic-lined resevoir. Also, try and make sure the water going into the resevoir will be flowing in along something and not just dripping in...that's not a very soothing sound!

Eva, thanks for the comps!!! What you don't see is the the junkers that lead up to it. I posted a pic of the earlier junker just after a few applications of tufa. There are still a few patches of lathe peeking out. There is also a picture of what it looks like "finished."

Good luck, and don't forget to give it a few test runs before painting it...the water rarely behaves!


clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 05:01 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 05:01 pm

RE: Indoor tufa fountain (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: rustinj on 12.31.2003 at 10:55 am in Hypertufa Forum


I sealed the whole thing. I just separated the planted areas from the water with a tufa barrier. In the sections I want to get lots of water I have some moss or soil touching the water. This acts as a wick to draw the water into that part of the fountain. I stuff peat moss in old panty hose to form a soil bag that can be molded to the shape I want. Moss grows well on this because it draws up lots of water and doesn't get washed away by the water currents. Other plants can be inserted by poking small holes in the hose. I just planted five types of moss all over it. I'm trying to maintain moss growth by circulating water that has lots of carbs added to it (in the form of boiled rice water). I like the look, but I'm not sure if all these moss types will survive indoors. I'll post some more pics this weekend. Happy New Year!


clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 04:58 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 05:00 pm

RE: Indoor tufa fountain (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: rustinj on 12.29.2003 at 05:08 pm in Hypertufa Forum

MartyJ and Flowrpowr, glad you liked it. Most of the planted sections are separated from the water by a thin tufa wall so it only gets water if I add it. Other sections (where I want moss to grow) are in contact with the water flow and are therefore pretty saturated.


clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 04:57 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 05:00 pm

RE: Indoor tufa fountain (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: rustinj on 12.23.2003 at 01:07 pm in Hypertufa Forum


I'm on my way out of town so I can't give you the exact specs at this time. I don't know what type of pump it is, I've had it around for years. I'm using flexible tubing from home depot, but can't remember the diameter. It didn't fit the pump so I had to rig it together with a smaller piece of tubing. I'm guessing it circulates 20-30 gal/hr. It's just over 4' tall and the base diameter is about 2.5' at the widest. I'll see if I can find more info on the pump when I get back home.

Happy Holidays!


clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 04:57 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 04:59 pm

RE: Indoor tufa fountain (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: rustinj on 12.22.2003 at 07:06 pm in Hypertufa Forum

Leigh, thanks for fixing my glitch! Glad you both liked it...I've been working on getting something to work since early summer. I think I'll retire for the winter and scrape the tufa off my apartment walls :P Here's an attempt to describe what I did:

The basic shape was made with galvanized steel hardware cloth (about $4 for a 3'x5' piece at Home Depot). The cloth was assempled by wiring pieces together. Plastic tubing was then run through the middle, and hollow sections were stuffed with scrap paper. As I mentioned above, the bowl at the bottom is a separate piece formed around an orange Home Depot bucket ($4). Since tufa doesn't stick to the bucket, I drilled small holes along the top rim of the bucket and used these to anchor and surround it with hardware cloth. I then wired crumpled pieces of paper or cardboard to the cloth on the outside of the bucket. Flattened hanfulls of tufa were clapped onto these paper wads to give the appearance of a rocky surface. The top of the bowl should be slanted inward to get a funnel shape. This traps all leaks/seapage and directs it into the bucket.

The tufa mix gets a little rough because I'm not so experienced with what everything does. It was a 1:1:1:1 mix of cement, perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss. I also added a dash of nylon fibers, white melamine superplasticizer (from Butler's), and some Quickcrete acrylic fortifier to each batch (not 100% sure of the quantity, or if it's even necessary). A wire brush was used to give it the strattified appearance.

One major thing I'd like to point out is some advice I got from a professional fountain maker (not sure if it's appropriate to give his name out). He suggested waterproofing the fountain by painting it with 2-3 layers of a cement+water paste. Now, you might be thinking that this sounds crazy, but it works...not by itself, but I found it acts to fill in the tiny pores and cracks and provides a solid layer to absorb the sealing agent. I sealed the first few coats with the Trojan stuff, but it looked like water was still getting in so I topped it off with a few layers of Quickcrete's Acrylic Sealer (no more leaks). It was tan colored after this, but that added to the final piece after painting. It was painted with normal acrylic artists paint (rubbed on mars black by hand and used a rag to wipe off excess). Some thin greens and oranges flicked on with a wire brush gives the appearance of moss and lichen. After painting the entire thing was sealed with another layer of Acrylic sealer.

I hope you're still with me after all that, if not, let me know what I left out.

Good luck,


clipped on: 04.10.2007 at 04:56 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2007 at 04:59 pm

more info (Follow-Up #31)

posted by: mongoct on 07.14.2006 at 11:09 am in Bathrooms Forum

I hurried the previous reply, I'll try to clarify and be a bit more thorough with the few things I might have glossed over:

"inevitable repairs"? Do tell!... Penetrating finishes are not as durable as film finishes. See previous post.

And a question: you mean the teak for the bathroom surround, not the kitchen teak, right? The kitchen teak you just oiled? Correct. Kitchen countertops are mineral oiled, bath got the spar urethane.

Maybe I could use fewer coats of spar varnish? By the time I'd done the whole set you mentioned, I definitely had measurable height and coverage, like a bar. You could have a higher build than I had. Depends on what you use to apply, I use a bristle brush instead of foam applicators. You can thin the first one or two coats slightly for better flow out. Many novices (not putting you in that category) tend to try to get too thick of a coat, too much coverage, on each coat. I apply the first coat not expecting it to look beautiful after one coat in terms of filling all pores or variations on the wood's grain. Let dry. Scuff sand to smooth, repeat. Repeat again. Final is 0000 steel wool rubdown.

It gives a satin finish with no apparent build. It doesn;t mask the grain of the wood. Thicker coatings would, as you wrote, give a saran wrap look to the wood.

Now, that may be doing it exactly as do I, but you or your hubby may simply not like the look that is acceptable to me. That's a definite possibility. You;re certainly strong-willed enough to not do something that you don't like. There is nothing wrong with having differing opinions.

And re the porcelain tile--thank you. Do you mean that the weather during *application* can be a determining factor? So if it's dry during application it could end up being o.k.? And I've got it soaking in water now, both sides (the sealed and unsealed), to see if exposure to water afterwards is what made the sealer turn white in Bill's case...I'm not going to do anything I haven't thoroughly tested (as thoroughly as I can think to do) beforehand!

I didn't see Bill's I'm not sure of that reference. However, a penetrating sealer, in general, will not penetrate something as dense as ceramic or porcelain. It'll be a surface/film finish instead.

Some sealers of that type may cure differently since it can;t penetrate. Penetration of porous stone allows the finish to disperse through the stone. By not being able to penetrate through impervious porcelain tile, the sealer will essentially be a surface film finish, and that can throw off the chemistry of the cure.

If humid, it could blush. If put on too thickly (a high build) it could blush. What happens is the surface of the mil coating cures fusrt, preventing the lower part of the film from properly curing. It can leave a hazy and/or milky or sticky/gummy haze on the surface of the tile.

You may get away with it if the climactic conditions are just right or if you're applying it very thinly.

Overall it's a crapshoot.

Off again!



clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 03:56 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2007 at 03:56 pm

RE: teak finishing question to mongo (Follow-Up #28)

posted by: mongoct on 07.13.2006 at 08:44 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Waterlox is a great product. I'd give it an 8.5 out of 10.

If you can put up with the inevitable repairs it'll give you a nice finish.

I needed bulletproof on the teak, which is why I put the urethane on.

Careful sealing porcelain tile. It can sometimes blush depending on the climate/humidity during application.

Toodles, Mongo


clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 03:52 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2007 at 03:53 pm

RE: teak finishing question to mongo (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: mongoct on 06.25.2006 at 09:36 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Vern, lemme see...

The cabinet 'tween the toilet and the sink is 48" tall (a convenient half-sheet of birch plywood), about 15-1/2" wide (11-1/2" usable with a 2" face frame on either side), and about 33" or 34" deep.

It will eventually have a teak top as well.

The center sink cabinet is about 23-1/2" deep, the ones to either side 22" deep.

The teak countertop bows from about 23" deep at the ends to about 24-1/2" deep in the center.

Back to the toilet/sink cabinet. It is divided into two openings. The upper has an approximate opening of 11-1/2" wide by 11-12" tall. The lower is the same width but must be about 30" tall.

The upper is not as deep as the lower. There is a false back in the upper that cuts off about the last 10" or so of depth. Behind that false wall are the junction boxes for the electrical outlet that you see to the right of the sink. There is another outlet opposite that one, on the toilet side, that has a night light in it. there is a double outlet in the upper cabinet itself, so a hair dryer or what have you can be stored out of sight in the upper yet always be plugged in.

The upper will either have a door or more likely a slide out drawer, with the hairdryer, etc, in the drawer. The side of the drawer that faces the sink will only be a few inches high for easy access through the side of the drawer instead of having to reach over the side and into the drawer. The drawer side on the toilet side will be full height.

For the lower opening, the idea is that it will be a full depth, one-piece pull out, sort of like a slide out pantry.

Vertically it will be cut in half, maybe weighted more to one side than the other, sort of 60%/40%.

On the toilet side (the 60%?) of the lower pull-out, there will be a few large shelves; storage for toilet paper, toilet cleaning supplies, a metal clad storage box for the toilet plunger and brush. Things like that.

On the side of the pull-out acccessible from the sink side, it will be like a medicine cabinet. Several smaller shelves for pill/ointment bottles, bar soap storage, plus a few larger shelves for larger bottles, lotions, etc.

I have a couple more "teak projects" in that bath:

1) The top of the counter between the toilet and sink,
2) I think I might trim the top of the backsplash in a piece of teak, milled to match the cove face frames on the cabinets,
3) A teak window sill for the window behind the tub. It'll be 8' long and about 9-1/2" deep, and sit about 6" above the tub deck. It'll be a window sill and raised shelf when compared to the height of the tub deck. If you look at the tub deck photo, you can see the gap between the teak tub deck and the back wall. That space was left there for the raised shelf/window sill.
4) A teak half-door for the shower,

And when I'm all done with those, I'll use the leftover scraps of teak to make:
5) A teak bench/stool for the shower.

Time to go play cards with my lovely bride.

Best, Mongo


clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 03:51 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2007 at 03:51 pm

RE: teak finishing question to mongo (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: mongoct on 06.24.2006 at 02:18 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I thought I replied earlier today but it seems to have gotten lost in the ether...


I use one of two things to fill voids in slabs: epoxy or a portland cement slurry.

I often use eopxy on charcoal or black slabs. A 2-part epoxy works well, I add a bit of pigment to it for color and as a filler. Pack the void slightly proud of the surface, then after it has set a bit, shave it flush with a razor blade.

When doing custom colors, I'll often use a portland cement paste. A bit of portland cement, a bit of sand, and pigment for color.

You could also just use colored epoxy for any color, though.

Don't mix the portland paste too wet or it will shrink as it dries. I use those faux-credit cards that come in the mail in the credit card solicitations to work the paste into the voids.


I buy the teak from a local lumberyard.

For a teak stand in a steam shower, or even in a regular shower, I'd just occasionally oil the teak to maintain the brown color. "Occasional" means an easy wipe down once every several months or as required with a penetrating oil of some kind.

I only use epoxy to "glue" teak to itself, and for the joinery I use either mortise/tenon or biscuits.



clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 03:50 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2007 at 03:50 pm

pictures (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: mongoct on 06.23.2006 at 09:53 am in Bathrooms Forum

Okay, I'm a bit are progress pics. Obviously the bath isn;t finished...

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingNeat looking sconce from Justice design. Threw this in because I've gotten a lot of questions on it from another picture posted earlier. It's an oil-rubbed bronxe finish, the shade is porcelain. Design is "waterfall", they offer it in about six other patterns in the shade. Nicely constructed, has a halogen bulb. Looks fab. The shade is a bit white when not lit up, but gives a lovely glow when the bulb is illumninated.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingTeak closeup.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingTub deck.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Sink countertop. Countertop front is bowed (arched) a bit to cover the breakfront on the cabinets below. Backsplash is incomplete. Soffit over toilet is to cover a vent pipe that jobs out from under the main beam in the house, but I oversized it to create a bit of enclosure above the toilet.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Cabinetry has flat panels in these pics. They were evnetually finished with fabric inserts. Nice fabirc, delicate design. Softens the overall look, so to speak.


clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 03:48 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2007 at 03:48 pm

RE: teak finishing question to mongo (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: mongoct on 06.23.2006 at 12:26 am in Bathrooms Forum

I don't use foam, I use Purdy bristle brushes.

Air bubbles can and usually will occur, especially with the first coat. Due to the grain of the wood, open pores in the wood, etc.

Many finishers will "cut" the first coat a bit to thin it and get it to flow out better, but I don't do that with teak.

Technique may help a bit:

I dip the bristle brush in the can, then touch it to both sidewalls of the can. No "wiping" the brush on the edge or lip of the can, that can introduce bubbles. Just touching. Touching the inside wall of the can "pulls" the excess off the brush.

Once you apply it to the wood, don't excessively overbrush or backbrush after you first apply it. Again, that can introduce bubbles or drag marks.

Most bubbbles that I get during the first coat application go away on their own. Sometimes they may leave a dimple or bump, that'll go away after sanding. Second and subsequent coats are usually pretty clean, unless I'm finishing on site, then I might get a few dust bumps in there.

Those will eave with the final steel wool.

Do you have a paint brush spinner to clean your brushes?

I highly recommend you get one Cost maybe $15. Looks sort of like a small bike tire pump without the air hose. Brush gets inserted into a clip on the bottom, then you "pump" the handle and it spins the brush, sort of like a yankee screwdriver.

Cleans the brush faster and more thoroughly, and with less solvent, then any other method out there. If you use rollers, you can slide the roller over the clamp to spin it as well.

I'll be on the forum about every other day over the next few weeks, so my posting may be infrequent.

Toodles, Mongo


clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 03:47 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2007 at 03:47 pm

teak finishing question to mongo

posted by: flyleft on 06.21.2006 at 07:46 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Hey mongo,

First, glad to know I didn't say something that set you off on that other thread :)

Now: A question about your teak finishing instructions.We printed them out and went and got the clear gloss and the satin. Using some practice pieces from the cutouts, we sanded it down with a random-orbit sander (don't have a belt sander) with 80, tackcloth-ed it, acetoned it, and put the first coat on. The varnish kind of *dimpled*, would be the only word I could think of to describe it--it got roundish little areas where it was kind of cratered in. I've persisted through more coats, and the dimpling has gotten less each time (we're up to the 220 now) but I'm really wondering whether I was doing it right.

Does this sound at all familiar? What can I do to prevent it?

And another point I thought I'd run past you--do you get the same amount of bubbles (which then pretty much disappear) with a natural brush as compared to a foam applicator?

Thanks. I LOVE that I can come here and ask these kinds of questions...


clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 03:46 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2007 at 03:46 pm

Online source for Panasonic ventilation fan

posted by: frogboy2727 on 09.29.2006 at 07:09 am in Bathrooms Forum

I need to purchase 3 Panasonic Whisper Quiet ventilation fans, for bathrooms. Can anyone recommend some reliable/favorable online sources?? Thanks ..

Al ..


westside wholesale
clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 12:31 am    last updated on: 02.09.2007 at 12:31 am