Area51 Mike's Backyard & House Repairs 2019:


Owning a house is a full time job of constantly making repairs or improvements to keep ahead of maintenance, wear and tear. However today my project was tidying up the nightmare of low voltage wiring (phone, data & cable TV) that has been getting on my nerves since moving in 5 years ago.




I terminated all the unused Telephone wires (right hand side) into a Telco hub, moved all of the RG6 Cable TV wiring into a Paradox Alarm Cabinet (centre) and punched down all the Cat 5 Data wiring into keystones mounted in 6 port plates so I can power them up with a short jumper as needed.




Next up in March was our main floor bathroom refresh.












This remodel didn't require any major renovations as everything worked and was in great shape, even the flooring was brand new when we bought the house 5 years ago. This was a simple paint, new toilet, new counter top and backsplash job.




The color we chose is a very light grey proper kitchen and bath paint to really brighten the space.








The old countertop came out without much fuss after removing a few screws holding it to the cabinet.




Two of the cabinet doors had old wall paint dripped on them. I gently scraped and hand sanded the affected sections and applied a fresh coat of satin polyurethane to perfectly match the rest of the cupboard doors.









Sandra wanted a dark countertop to contrast the light walls and I'm happy with the result. Provincial Wood Products custom cut the counter out of square on the right hand side and the top fit absolutely perfect!





I picked out a beautiful wavy textured glass subway tile and Bassan and I installed it right to the ceiling for an impressive modern look.








Light fixture cleaned and reinstalled, and anew faucet.




Last was the installation of our new mirror. I drilled the tile with a special diamond embedded core bit using slow speed and lots of water as not to crack the glass tile.











Finished for now!







In May it was Lime and Fertilizer time. When we bought the house the front and back lawns were severely neglected and in hard shape. 5 years of lime, fertilizer and constant mowing has really made a huge difference. It's far from perfect but it comes in nice and green now.





Nice and Green now a couple months later!





In July Sandra wanted a Catio built for the cats, an outdoor enclosed mini patio for the cats to go safely outside. I said we didn't need one so we compromised and built a nice Catio.  Having my trailer home again was convenient as it made a great mobile workbench.



The entire unit was made from 1x3" strapping to keep it lightweight and cost effective. The first layer of framing sits tight to the window J-molding.



The top and bottom were enclosed with slats of 1x3" strapping, length equal to the depth of the unit, about 16". In the end I ended up closing the gaps on the bottom slats so it was easier for the cats to walk on, esp when jumping down from the upper shelves.





Diagonal bracing for strength, and one centre divider on the outside to catch the ends of the 3' wide steel mesh.



The mesh I used came from home depot and is 1/2" square, galvanized, welded wire mesh. It looks great and is much stronger than regular chicken wire.



The mesh was temporarily stapled in place but permanently held by the screws attaching the outside trim.





The unit hangs on the window J-molding, but also rests on the patio rail and is held to the house with 4 screws.







L-R: Boomer, Shadow & Oscar.


Most important is that the cats love it and continue to use it all the time, even occasionally in winter!



We found (not surprising) that bugs were getting in the house during the evening so I reinstalled the window screen but cutout a cat door in the screen which cuts down on the bug problem about 95%.





In August I tackled some minor patio repairs by replacing a bad deck board out front before beginning the arduous task of staining the front and back decks. The Behr Deckover paint held up well out front but not so well on the rear deck which was a lot more weathered.






This time I chose Behr Deck and floor paint which apparently has better bite than the other products.






I put a lot more time into the rear deck staining this time. Since the wood is very weathered (a layer of silver wood fuzz came off with the old paint) I fully scraped then sanded the entire surface to remove this loose silver fuzz and give the paint the best possible chance of not peeling off. These 3M sanding discs are absolutely fantastic and last much longer than the cheaper Mastercraft brand ones.



I hand painted the deck with a brush so I could really work the paint into the wood. Two coats were completed for a great finished product. I also avoided painting in direct sunlight and on damp wood to give the paint its best chance to bond.









Lastly the lighter accent color was applied to the pailings. This paint sees a lot less wear and was generally in better shape.



Last bit of dark paint cleaned up the front flower bed nicely.



In December I made a Rec. Room upgrade mostly for my benefit. I spend a lot of time watching TV & YouTube in the Rec. Room and the small 42" LG (which came with the house) wasn't really cutting it anymore.



I hooked an awesome deal from Kelly's Custom Home Entertainment at their annual Black Friday pop up sale, a new LG 65" Nano Cell LED TV. It is absolutely awesome and it gets lots of good use everyday!

Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith