Monday, October 22, 2018

Street Numbers for the House

Back in July, we replaced the front door.  Collateral damage of that was that we are now missing street numbers.  Originally they were over the door.

But when the trim was replaced, along with the door, the numbers are no longer there.

We could put the same numbers back, but they don't really show up that well as brass numbers against a dark brown trim.  So what do we have for an alternative?

Looking at Home Depot, they have almost nothing in the store, but they have a variety on their website.  We picked a simple rectangular plaque for the street numbers "10601" : Whitehall Products Hartford Rectangular Black/Silver Petite Wall 1-Line Address Plaque $43.00, delivered to the nearest store.  Ordering it was very strange, and then it was sent off to the manufacturer, and took over 2 weeks to get.

Once we got it, we decided it would look best on one of the stone pillars in the front, and installed it there.

We mixed up a bunch of mortar and slapped it on the stone, and then pushed the plaque onto that.  We held it in place with a strap around the pillar until the mortar was dry.

The problem was that while it was all very nice, it was also much too small to be seen from the street.


So we went back thru the process again, and found the same product, in a larger size: "Whitehall Hartford 1-Line Wall Plaque" (notice how it is missing the word "petite".)  The smaller (petite) plaque is 8.5 x 3.25 inches.  The larger plaque is 16 x 7.25 inches, so almost twice the size in both directions.  And of course, more expensive.  But the best cost was from Bed Bath & Beyond, for $77.93 mailed to my door, in 10 days.

We noticed, that even if the smaller one was bigger, at night there was no light on it, and so it was hard to see.  So we decided to put the bigger one on the wall under one of the front door lights.

And again, we slapped a bunch of mortar on the wall, but also drilled two holes, for the mounting screws, and put anchors in the wall for them.  Partly that was because we couldn't strap it to the wall, like we did with the pillar.  We needed the screws to hold it in place while the mortar dried.

Hopefully that will solve the problem of people finding the house.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Changing the Shower Head in the Central Bathroom

The central bathroom is mainly used for Linda's Mother.  As she has aged it seems less useful as a fixed overhead shower.  So we decided to change it to a hand-held shower head.

We bought the "New Tempesta 100 2-Spray Wall Bar Shower Kit in Brushed Nickel Infinity Finish" by Grohe from Home Dept ($57.73).   This has a relatively simple shower head, on a flexible water line, that sits on a vertical bar that allows it to move up and down.  The water line should attach where the current shower head is.  The box was delivered to Home Depot in about 2 weeks, and we went over to pick it up.

Opening the box, we find a bunch of pieces

There is the spray head,

the water line, the mounting bar,

 and what must be hardware for mounting it  on the wall.

But there is little in the way of assembly instructions.   There is one sheet, but has no words (German construction for a global market place), and even that seems to be for several different similar models.

Of course part of the problem might be that it is not clear exactly what model we have.  A search on the web for the "New Tempesta 100" finds that there are "Tempesta 100" models and "New Tempesta" models.  Looking at the box, we can see that the end label used to be for a "Tempesta 100", but they put a new label over it making it a "New Tempesta"

What instructions there are are almost useless:

This is a better version than was included in the box, since it at least says that the "08" is a "5/16 inch", which I'm guessing means that an 8mm drill bit is closest to a 5/16 drill bit.

The two ends of the water line are slightly different.

but it looks like the larger one fits on the water head better.

The mounting hardware appears to be a plastic piece that slips into the mounting bar, is to be held in place with a long screw and is then covered by a stainless steel sleeve.

The mounting bar slides onto the plastic piece until a small plastic dot pops into a hole in the metal bar.  There are two holes and two plastic dots, on opposite sides of the plastic piece, but it will only go on one way.  So the next step is to put the two plastic pieces on either end of the mounting bar.

Now the question is how to mount it on the shower wall.  The idea is to drill into the shower wall and put the plastic screw anchor into the drilled hole and then screw thru the plastic piece into the screw anchor to hold it in place.  Of course the shower wall is tiled.  Drilling into tile is possible, but difficult -- the tile can crack from the stress of the drill.

We need two holes, one at the top and one at the bottom, about 24 inches apart.  From the better instruction page, 620 mm or 24 7/16 inches apart.  There are apparently other models with bars that are 920 mm and 1020 mm long, but we have the shorter one, only 620 mm.

It would be easiest to drill into the grout between the tiles, rather than the tiles themselves.  Unfortunately, the tiles are 7.75 inches square, which with the grout puts them exactly 8 inches per tile, so the 24 7/16 inch for the bar is just a bit (7/16 inch) too long to hit two grout lines.  But if we put it on a vertical grout line, we can easily drill into the grout, and put it at any height.  Unfortunately, again, the horizontal spacing has a grout line right under the current shower head, and then one 8 inches to the left and another 8 inches to the right. 

Figuring we don't want to put it in the middle, since the copper water pipe is probably right behind that grout line, and we don't want to drill or screw into the copper water pipe, and we don't want the shower head close to the outside of the shower, we decided to put it on the inside grout line, to the right of the center.

Using a 5/16 inch masonry drill bit, we drill the first hole, the top hole.  Unfortunately, we only get about 3/4 of an inch in, and then hit wood.  We have a stud right behind the grout line.  So we switch to a smaller drill bit to put a pilot hole in the stud, and cut the plastic screw anchor to only about an inch long, fill the hole with silicone sealant to prevent water leaks (either way), hammer the screw anchor into the hole and then screw the top of the mounting bar into the wall, thru the tile/grout and into the stud.

This secures the top of the mounting bar.  We position it correctly, and then mark thru the hole on the bottom mounting hardware to mark where we need to drill for the bottom hole.

We pivot the bar out of the way, drill the hole (same as for the top, masonry bit to get thru the grout/tile, and then a pilot hole into the wood stud).  Pivot the mounting bar back into position, and screw it into the wall.

At this point, we slide the metal covers over the plastic mounting hardware, and the mounting bar is on the wall.

To finish the installation, we remove the old shower head, and then screw the end of the water line onto the pipe for the shower head.

And that is it.  It is all installed and working.

To adjust the height of the shower head, we can twist the left side of the shower head holder (to loosen it), slide it to the desired height, and then tighten it up again.  The shower head can be lifted out to be used by hand, or left in place and used as a wall mounted shower.