MAY 2011                                     Click on (most) images for a larger view.

Political excitement.... followed by lot's of mudding and a bit more drawing...

We took a little time out to be part of history and help elect Elizabeth May, the first Green MP in Canada!!. 
This is what we wrote in an email out to our family and friends:
"We finally got to bed last night at 2am after calming down after such an exciting day here in Sidney part of the Saanich/Gulf Islands riding! We scrutineered at the polls from 7am until 8pm, then joined at least 1000 supporters for Elizabeth May at an airplane hangar at the Victoria airport! Elizabeth was able to win the seat by a substantial margin over the incumbent Conservative. So Canada has its first Green MP in the House!! Now we are hoping that if "one voice can change a room, it can change a city..."

Check out this CBC link.
Quoting from Elizabeth’s victory speech: "... the work is just beginning ... we have to prove to all of Canada that one MP for the Green Party, one MP with a different approach, one MP not squashed by partisanship and entangled in cynicism can actually make a big difference... we've got to prove that democracy can work in the face of a false majority, which is what we have tonight across Canada, the minority of the voters have elected the majority of seats. My commitment [is to] change our voting system to proportional representation..."

time to mud the shower stalls... thinset to the cracks... Mixing thinset to the right consistency. See Youtube Video
crack filling shampoo cubby dry fitting and marking kerdi seal    

Because we are on a slab we wanted to insure that our bottom plates are protected as much as possible. So we applied some tuck tape to the transition gap from slab to bottom plate before applying the green-e board to walls. After setting the kerdi seal and applying thinset to the curb and seams we are ready for mudding the pan.


Our first layer was just to bring the level inside the pan up a few inches to match the floating bathroom floor. We used a concrete mix for this.


We protected the kerdi drain as long as we could but removed the plastic bag for the last bit of concrete. At this stage the cement is just allowed to float into place holding the drain firmly in place.

A little more prep and sanding   Lots of measuring to estimate the volume of mud we need to mix

We decided to do the two showers one at a time. It was nerve racking enough as it is without overloading ourselves. Our calculations showed that we needed more mud than we first anticipated.

We washed and sifted our own sand and mixed it 4:1 with portland cement to make our deck mud. The best description of deck mud we found on line was here: We used this information as a guide. You can see some of our prep work on our YouTube channel.


We mixed our deck mud outside and filled 5 gallon pails. Of course they turned out to be too heavy so we split them into half pails for transport to the shower.


It was hard to take videos and do the work at the same time so the pictures here complement the videos on our YouTube channel. The screed curb was a great way to get a clear visual on the perimeter height of the mud. Thinning the mud to let it flow around the displacement wafers worked well although next time we would cut the collar on the wafers a little oversized. Tapping the mud is nerve wracking. After working with concrete dry mud does not feel right but it does work. It sets up rock hard.


To soothe our frayed nerves we took some time off mudding and returned to the simple task of installing our last window and dry walling the kitchen. It has been a while since we mounted windows, so we had to wrap our minds around that process again.


Once again it was a joy to install a window that is actually tight. Because of our external envelope the vapor barrier and insulation are in line with the window which results in a warm window frame. This eliminates any condensation around the windows and the associated need for drainage channels to facilitate the removal of that condensation. The result is a perfectly airtight window and a warm and inviting window sill.

Using a straight edge to fit the panels between the glulam beams recording nailing blocks for future reference Lot's of staging work with 14' ceilings.
careful planning of cuts minimizes scrap reaching for that last screw... not bad for someone with a fear of heights.
      Little trim pieces are easily cut on old table saws outside.

Where framing is not perfect, sometimes the drywall is stressed. This can lead to cracks later on so its best to shave the studs and plates to facilitate a snug and stress-free fit.


ok, we are ready to tackle the second shower. it has a different challenge since it is elongated and requires a compound slope to insure proper drainage. We used the 1/4" per foot rule around the immediate shower drain and then sloped the long stretch to about half that. It drains well but to facilitate quick drying we could have made the slope a little steeper. We made wooden offset blocks to rough align the kerdi drain and then used a level to make it flat. This shower is upstairs so we could attach the plumbing to the drain after it si set. We prepared the sub floor by adding a second layer of 3/4" plywood and a layer of 1/4" rockboard before placing the hardware cloth.

  tools for the job. we elevated our mixing box to save our backs. adding cement
dry mixing with a small rake - wet mixing with a garden hoe. screet curb around the perimeter dry mud under the drain
using the stand off blocks as a guide we tapped drain until level in all directions.

filling the back of the stall with mud and working towards the door we carefully monitored the slope as we tamped the mud into place. The 1:4 mud was too stiff to screed with a 2x4 so a 1:5 ratio would have been better. Using the straight edge to find low spots we were able to achieve an even slope nonetheless. We did underestimate the quantity so Laura hustled up some more mud while I tamped and packed.

what a refreshing diversion the garden provided as we breathed a sigh of relief when the job was done.

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