The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Hood: Part III

We finally patched the ceiling around the ducting for our range hood so that it would stop raining insulation into our pots and pans. We actually did this three weeks ago, but are just now posting about it.  Sorry for the delay.  Travel for Mr. KaZoo and dissertation writing for the Mrs. have taken precedence of late.

Materials:

  • tarp to protect kitchen things
  • plastic grocery bag to catch popcorn
  • metal putty knife
  • Fibatape wall/ceiling patches (one small, one large)
  • Fibatape
  • joint compound (mud)
  • plastic putty knifes of various sizes

Process:

  1. Scrape.  First, we scraped the ceiling around the holes so that our adhesive patches would stick.  We have a scraper specifically for this job, but it was too big to fit between the duct and the wall.  Instead, we just gently scraped the popcorn into a plastic grocery bag using a metal putty knife.
  2. Patch.  Then we attached these two patches, using the small patch for the smaller hole and the large patch for the larger hole.  You simply peel the patches from the waxy paper backing, position over your hole with the sticky-side towards the wall/ceiling, press, and seal the adhesive around the edges.  We cut the larger patch in half (approximately) to fit our irregularly shaped hole so that we could overlap the two rectangular pieces in a criss-cross to cover as much of the hole as possible.  Where the patches did not cover, we applied Fibatape.
  3. Putty.  Once the patches and tape were attached, we covered everything with joint compound, using the plastic putty knives to apply the mud.  Chris preferred using the small knife to apply the mud and the larger knife to smooth it.  The instructions on the patches said to cover them with a thin coat of mud (just enough to cover the texture), so we did a thinnish coat.  What counts as a thin coat? Who knows.
  4. Sand.  After it dried, we sanded it down per the patch instructions, but not so much that the patch and tape texture would be revealed.
  5. Rinse, repeat. Not really.  The instructions say to add another thin coat of mud and then sand it down again, so we did.

With the exposed duct + foil tape combo drawing the eye, we’re not really worried about people gaping at our one smooth patch of ceiling.  We probably won’t cover the duct until we’re ready for kitchen cabinets, but it’s not driving us as nuts as we thought it would.  We’ve got plans to redo the ceiling in our main living spaces completely (beam and plank is what we’re thinking right now), so we’re not planning to add texture to the smooth section to camouflage it. For our next phase of kitchen ceiling work, we’re thinking of something like this (images courtesy of Houzz):

Or this:

And for those following us on this journey on the range, a reminder of where we started:

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And where we are now:

 

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For now, we’re pronouncing the hood good.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Hood: Part II

Today’s post is a continuation of Wednesday’s post about our new range hood installation.

Daffy Duct
After the hood was attached to the wall, next on the list was installing the ducting to ventilate the hood.  This entailed having a hole cut in our new roof, a roof cap installed, a hole cut in our ceiling, and ducting installed from hood to cap.  This is where things went from bad to worse.

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Per the instructions from our roofing contact, my dad drew the location of the hole on our interior ceiling.  While my dad and Chris were both traveling for their respective jobs, the roofing team came out to do the cutting plus roof cap.  Unfortunately, when the team leader began cutting the ceiling hole, he ran into a roof truss in a place where there shouldn’t be one. If we had cut the hole ourselves earlier, we would have known about this issue and would have had more time to troubleshoot (that’s what we get for following instructions, I guess), and there I was, with the roofing crew, trying to figure out what to do.  Note: My declining Spanish proficiency was not a help here.

The truss was a few inches out from the wall, right in the middle of where our duct needed to go, rather than sitting along the top of the wall as it ideally should be. Because of the thickness (or lack thereof) of the interior wall, we couldn’t run into the wall and up through its middle without hitting the plates for the wall studs.  We couldn’t go to the left or right because of studs (and the same truss issue); plus the gas line was running up the right.  Thankfully the roofing team leader spoke decent English, so the two of us were able to brainstorm a solution.  The only viable option was to cut the hole in front of where our hood needs to connect to the duct.  Now, rather than getting to use our awesome stainless steel chimney, we were going to have a funky pyramid hood with awkward ducting coming out of its top and curving into the ceiling out in front of it like a trumpeting elephant.  Less good for ventilation because it required two elbows rather than a straight shot, and major ugly.

There was no turning back at this point, and not seeing any other options for venting through the roof, we implemented the trumpeting elephant plan.  The roofers cut the ceiling and roof holes and installed the roof cap.  What complicated our situation even more was that we don’t have an accessible attic space above the kitchen, so we can’t connect the duct to the roof cap inside the attic space.  To work around this, the roofing crew had to cut an even larger hole in our ceiling so that we would have just enough room to work inside the headspace to install the ducting.  The picture’s kind of dark, but if you look closely, you can see the truss on the inside left of the big hole.  The original circular pencil marks show where the desired hole location was, the small hole is where the roofer began cutting until he ran into the truss, and the large double-bubble hole is the final hole cut to work around the truss plus extra work space.image (8)

Now we had a gaping hole raining down insulation on our range until Chris or my dad could get home to help install the duct (I am way too short to reach anything remotely higher than the hood itself).  While waiting for this phase of the hood project, I painted what I could reach in the kitchen.  The color is Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.  

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Later that evening, Chris and I finished the painting and the ductwork.  We used one 5 foot section of 6″ rigid metal duct cut into two straight sections for each end (our range hood called for 6″ sized duct), two 6″ elbows, a clamp for connecting to the hood, and foil tape to bind and seal all the seams.  We had to measure, mark, cut, assemble, and tape everything down below in the kitchen before putting it through the hole and attaching it. Tricky, tricky.

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It doesn’t look as bad as we thought it would because we were able to use part of the hood chimney to hide some of the duct, and the current plan is to create a soffit above our future upper cabinets that will hide the rest of the exposed duct.  We aren’t huge fans of soffits above cabinets and do like the industrial look, but the metal foil tape doesn’t really have aesthetic appeal for us.

Sugru to the Rescue
You may have noticed the dangling power cord in the picture above.  Before we could actually use our hood, we used sugru to patch the insulation on the wiring.

image A little goes a long way, so we also patched some other electronics like those wimpy iPhone power cords while we were at it.

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It worked fairly well, thought it leaves a funky residue where you use it (and on your hands) and doesn’t bond as seamlessly as I hoped (note the slight roughness on the right in the picture below).  Of course, this could be a user problem, rather than a product issue.  This was our first time trying it, so with successive uses maybe our technique will improve. Chris was more satisfied than I was.

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It did seal the hole in the insulation, and after waiting the requisite 24 hours for it to cure, we cooked dinner with our new hood running for the first time.

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The new hood works amazingly better than the previous hood. So quiet, yet so powerful.  The light is soothing yet sufficient.  We also had a huge thunderstorm that same evening, and nothing rained down our hood.  Except insulation, which is still dribbling from the part of the ceiling hole not filled by duct.  I guess we know what’s on the to-do list next….

If you have a precision eye like I do, you may have noticed that the hood looks slightly off-center to the range.  It is.  We plan to move the range ever so slightly to the right when we redo our kitchen cabinets, so it will end up right underneath the hood at that point. It is realllllly tight (scrapingly so) right now, so we want a little more room for our range.  Plus, that whole section to the left of the range  (one micro-sized base cabinet and the pantry) is going to be redone in a more useful way down the road.  Get excited!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Hood Part I

Once we removed the old recirculating range hood and upper kitchen cabinets, we began the installation of our new hood. Based on the title, you can probably surmise that things didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped.  Everyone loves a tragic comedy, right?

Eckeltricity (For all you Arthur Weasley fans out there)
You may recall from our post about the old hood that we discovered someone mutilated our wall with a drywall saw and covered it up it was hardwired, rather than having an outlet.  Our new hood required an outlet, so a new outlet was in order.  IMG_3109

Since our range itself did not have a dedicated outlet either (not sure who did the electrical work for this home originally, but wow), my dad graciously offered to help us install two new outlets.  We purchased the necessary materials from Lowe’s (2 old work boxes with wings and 2 white outlets–we already had some white face plates on hand) and set to work.

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First, my dad did the outlet for the range.  Because a stud was between the existing outlet we had been using and where we would want to put an outlet (hidden from view behind the range), we elected to just mount the new outlet just to the left of the range, which actually doesn’t look bad and allows for easy disconnection, something that came in handy when we were doing the rest of the hood installation (and will again once we reno the kitchen later).  You can see the new and improved outlet location in the picture of the range hood install further down (no spoiling the surprise yet!).  Plus by making it readily accessible, we can use the other socket for another kitchen appliance, and who doesn’t want more useable outlets in the kitchen?

The outlet for the hood was a bit more tricky.  We had planned to put an outlet above and to the right of the great white shark attack existing hole along a stud, but the wire they had originally used to hardwire the old hood wasn’t long enough.  Upon exploration of the wall interior, we discovered that what had appeared to be a wire running from the ceiling down to the right of a stud was actually pulled through a stud from the left bottom. So after adding another unnecessary hole in the wall, we pulled the wire back through to its origin on the left bottom and ran it up into a newly cut hole on the upper left of the hood.  It helps to have wire coat hangers and people with small arms (me) to pull the wire through outlet-sized holes in the wall.  To make sure the outlet would be hidden by the chimney, we drew its exterior sides on the wall to make sure we stayed within the chimney’s perimeter.

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Patchwork Wall
We then applied some serious joint compound and patching tape to the wall where all the cuts in the drywall were. Not the prettiest, but a lot better than the holes.  After waiting for this to dry and sanding it down, we were ready to install the hood itself. There may have been painting, too.  You know I can’t resist a sterile wall when there’s cans of beautiful paint waiting to be used.

Hardware Hiccups
You may also remember that when we bought our range hood off Craigslist, we had to buy a separate mounting installation set.  When you buy the hood brand new, a template for drilling holes at the right locations is included for easy install.  Not so when you buy the replacement installation set. We used kraft paper to make our own template by laying the range hood down on its back on top of the kraft paper and tracing the holes with pencil.  We then taped the template to the wall over the stove at the right height and marked where the traced holes were.  So far, so good.

The directions said to hit a stud with just one of the screws for stability, but none of the hole locations lined up with a stud.  What?! To remedy this, my dad measured and drilled two additional holes in the back of the hood so that we could hit two different studs.  If you already have to drill new holes, why hit just one stud when you can hit two?  This meant we needed more hardware than the mounting set provided, but this turned out to be the least of our troubles.  Chris rounded up a few sturdy wood screws left over from a different project, and we were back in business.

Until we weren’t.  The mounting set of screws and anchors that Bosch provides are incompatible with each other.  Seriously.  We now needed either new screws to fit the anchors Bosch gave us, or new anchors to fit the screws they gave us.  Basically, the screws weren’t the right length to pop the teeth of the anchors at the right place for them to grab into the wall correctly. And for you skeptics, my dad actually convinced us to “sacrifice” one of their anchors just to prove he was right.  Yup, it didn’t work.  The screws stuck a mile out of the wall and wouldn’t go any further in.

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Chris ran to Lowe’s (we live five minutes from a Lowe’s, so it is our usual go-to store for last minute home improvement needs) for the right sized screws and grabbed some washers to go with the wood screws for the new holes my dad drilled, but the screws he bought didn’t fit the Bosch anchors either.  In fact, he couldn’t find a compatible size of screw for these miserable anchors at all–everything was either too short or too long.  No just-right Goldilocks solutions to be found.  Chris and my dad ended up sawing off the end of the stupid Bosch screws to be the right size.

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Now we were back on track.  Once we had engineered a solution to the hardware hiccup, we were able to mount the range with as much ease as you can mount a ginormous range hood.  In the next post, we’ll give all the ugly details about the ductwork.  In the meanwhile, we’ll leave you hanging with the hood and the new outlets.  IMG_3094

Demolition Diaries: Cleaning up the ‘Hood

When we bought the ‘Zoo, we knew that most of the things in the kitchen needed to be replaced sooner or later, starting with appliances for functionality.   The ‘Zoo came with these gems of a hood and range, you may recall:

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Substituting the existing fridge with ours and installing a new gas range were major improvements, but after Chris began cooking on the gas range, he realized the ineptitude of our recirculating range hood meant another appliance purchase.  Best way to describe it? It performed at two settings: wimpy and wimpier, accompanied by a whining sound to mask its false industry.

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Meanwhile, I was still living in the city, so I began trolling Craigslist for possible options, where I spotted an ad for this Bosch chimney hood for $350 (retails for $899-$999).  The price was a little higher than what we would pay for a nice recirculating hood at a big box store, but it was also a much better hood than those we could normally afford.  Plus, it’s better to vent outside, especially with gas, so we thought it might be worth investigating.

 

(Picture courtesy of Houzz)

I called to ask some questions and found out it was being sold by a kitchen/bath design store because it was installed in a kitchen model but never used.  It had some scratches that didn’t seem too noticeable, so we decided if it was still available the following weekend, we would take a look.  Why wait, you ask? We wanted to give the purchase some thought since it was really more than we’d originally planned to pay but knew it was a great deal.

Sure enough, the hood was still available the following weekend, and it was way more functional than our existing hood.  After I pointed out a gouged out section in the insulation for the electric cord that had not been mentioned in the ad or when I called to inquire about it (they hadn’t noticed it because it was on the side of the cord you couldn’t see without really looking closely and feeling around), they agreed to knock the price down to $325.  We walked away with the hood for $358 (we did have to pay tax because we bought it from a home design store but thought it was worth it).

We also had to purchase a mounting kit ($11.97) and brackets (2 @ $7.99 each) plus $8.99 shipping because the person who uninstalled the hood from the model kitchen didn’t keep all the parts.  We also purchased some Sugru from Amazon for $22 to patch the insulation instead of buying a $27 plus shipping for a replacement cord, bringing our total purchase to $416.94.  Compared to buying it new at the lowest retail price we could find, we had a total savings of $482.06.

Time for Amy’s demo dance (yes, this is a thing)!

Last weekend, we uninstalled the old wimpy hood and discovered this awesomeness:

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Apparently the builder’s crew didn’t install an outlet for the hood and couldn’t find where to hardwire it, so they hired a woodpecker drilled holes in the drywall until they found electrical.  Then they didn’t bother to clean up their mess because it was hidden by the old hood. Classy, huh?

This means we will be installing a new outlet and doing some serious dry wall patching in addition to taking down the upper cabinets so the new range hood can be installed.  While we’re doing electrical work, we’ll go ahead and install the outlet for the range that was missing (you can read more about that here).  Keep your wires fingers crossed that all goes well!