Building stuff and perfection

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jena, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    In an attempt to regain my previous confidence level, I am attempting to install my bathroom vanity, which has been sitting in the bathroom, uninstalled, since last July.

    This project, along with most others, usually appear to be very straight-forward. They are simple and any moron could do it, IF everything works right. I have learned that skill in building things is not in following the directions or plans, but in dealing with the inevitable problems that crop up. Experience helps with that so much, but I don't have any.

    One of my continuing frustrations is in getting measurements right, getting things level and plumb. Level it this way, then level it that way and the first gets out of whack, do it again and again and again....same thing with measuring and cutting lumber, only that can get expensive in wasted wood.

    So I'm wondering if maybe I'm just being too much of a perfectionist with all this. It just seems downright impossible to get this vanity completely level, front to back and side to side. Of course, my floors are far from level and though I'm using shims, I keep going around and around and around.

    So is getting as close as you can good enough? Right now the darn thing is going slightly downhill towards the back. To frame the bubble, I have to raise the level maybe 1/8 (at the most). Is that ok?

    Jena
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    Messages:
    28,248
    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    SE Missouri
    Jena, try to make it slope towards the front. When they slope towards the back water will always pool against the wall, run down and make things rot. Ask me how I know this.

    Sometimes you just have to give it your best shot and say 'good enough' and go on.
     

  3. Bret

    Bret Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,560
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    IN
    Jena,

    Is vanity wrong? I think not. :)

    I think everything has to be perfect, but when it comes to my projects, they have my signature all over them...that is to say,"Nothing perfect". But I have learned that my eyes follow plumb and level every wherever I look.

    If you have a package of cheap shim stock from the hardware, or just something that you can split off of a piece of wood, that will help. Shim stock is neat because you can use two on top of each other in opposite directions to get just what you want.

    One vanity will be easy. If you were installing a row of things like cabinets, you would want to get a level line against the back wall as a guide, starting at the high end. When you are happy with the location, you can run in some cabinet screws to a stud, or something solid.

    You can do this.
     
  4. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    500
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    I would agree that to slope to the front is the better.

    I worked as a union stonemason installing polished marble and granite in mausoleums so the work is highly visible. One of the most commonly used expressions by the foreman on the job was "split the difference" (regarding any unresolved measurements) meaning spread the error around so you don't notice the error as much.

    In stonework as with vanities a nice caulk job at the joints will make most things look pretty good.

    You can do it.
     
  5. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    TX
    Oh the level....I call mine the Cursed Instrument.

    But it's great that you are trying to get it perfect, and it's probably important to come close on a water related item.

    Impressed with your abilities! Good luck on that last 1/8.

    hollym
     
  6. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,091
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2002
    Level & plumb? LEVEL & plumb?!? LEVEL & PLUMB?!?!? (Breaks into hysterical laughter.) Level & plumb is a myth - there is no such thing - at least in my house!

    General rule of thumb when planning projects at my house is to get a quote (I'm no handyman) and once the quote is received to multiply the quote by at least 1.5 or 2. Any repairman that has come to our house to work on it always says the same thing "Huh, never had that happen. Huh, never ran into that problem. Huh, due to the extra work required because this house was built by aliens . . . . . . . ."

    Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, ever goes as planned or as smooth as it's supposed to. (Even if it's a very, very simple project!!!!!!!!)

    My hat is off to you for trying!!!!
     
  7. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,305
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    :clap:
    ............Jena , in construction being "level" isn't always the best thing ! Get yourself a "Bullseye" level at HD or lowes and simply lay it on the vanity then have someone eyeball how it looks at level , Now it may look ok or it mayNOT look kosher . Sometimes it's better to make it look right vs level . It will probably be a tradeoff when all is said and done . A critical eye is Very hard to deceive so trusting your good judgement is also a valuable source of reference when making the final decision . fordy... :clap:
     
  8. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    When engaging in these kind of projects, I like to remind myself that the Greeks made it a point to build things IMperfectly. For example, the pillars of all those lovely ancient ruins? INTENTIONALLY at varying spaces.

    They had the right idea.

    So, as long as your vanity is functional and looks good enough, let it be.

    No such thing as "perfect" in this fallen world. No sense in making yourself crazy trying to attain it. :)

    Pony!
     
  9. chuckhole

    chuckhole Born city, love country

    Messages:
    435
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I you are not drying up water from the floor with a towel and water is not leaking out from under the wall them you are ahead of the game. Life is good.
     
  10. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,075
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin.. Zone 5
    Congrats on "just getten'er done!

    This is in the bathroom right? Well the only one that will notice the difference is you, other people using it should just do their "business" and get the heck out. Tilt away from the wall sounds right.

    Wife and I did wall paper in the bathroom, almost caused a divorce when she noticed that the little red and blue flowers on the border didn't match in one spot. Told her that if anybody noticed I would change it. Haven't changed it yet.
    Now there are three? people that know this.

    Thats why they invented "trim" and caulk.
     
  11. chuckhole

    chuckhole Born city, love country

    Messages:
    435
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Another thing to pass on:

    You only need two tools to repair most things - WD40 and duct tape. If it moves and is not supposed to, use duct tape. If it doesn't move and it is supposed to, use WD40.

    Good luck. You can do it.
     
  12. danb98577

    danb98577 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Jena,
    I do a lot of repair/remodel/build projects for folks where I live. 99% of the time things go along smoothly enough and come out fine. There is ONE house though....I swear it does not matter what it is, the project virtually always turns into a slugfest and I come out feeling dazed and drained. The "split the difference" philosophy, while not kind to a perfectionist, is at times the best way to keep one's sanity. I have to go over to that house in a couple of days.....I always look for the mother ship hovering overhead but they are too clever!!
    Hang in-creative shimming, caulking, and molding are the key!! Good luck-Dan
     
  13. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    The problem with my house was not that it was built by aliens, but remodeled by termites! They are long gone, but their efforts left a lasting lean.

    Now I can't find the faucet I bought back in July, so it's off to Lowe's. I also have to get the trap. I didn't get that before because I didn't know what to get, but now that I can take the old one with me, I can make sure I get the right one.

    Jena
     
  14. fernando

    fernando Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Forget "level". Remember, your bubble level device is an exact straight line. We live on a planet. All planets are spheres. Therefore, the surface of the globe, in ANY direction, is a curved line. Your level device, then, is an imposter. The best advice any true craftsman can give you is "eye-ball it; nobody will ever know the difference". The eyeball IS a sphere.
     
  15. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    10,153
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    Location:
    East Tenn.
    Jena
    I've been in the construction for over 45 years and still looking for perfection.

    That being said you can get very close. There are "ways" of doing things so that you can eliviate problems. Trust me, If you were in commercial work yo would absolutely pull out your hair.

    First you want to check your floor for level where the vanity will sit. this is the " high" spot.
    Second mark a level line on your wall the distance above the high spot equal to the height of the vanity (or what ever). if the vanity is in the corner then make two level lines

    Now you can put some shims on the floor at the corners of where the vanity is going to be to make them level with the high spot.

    Set your vanity on the shims and adjust your shims so the vanity lines up with the level line.

    or you can do what we do.
    after you get your level line on the wall. Screw the back of the cabinet to the level line and then shim till its level both directions.

    Personally assuming the vanity top has a backsplash. I always set them so the water runs to the back. Lot easier to clean up teh having it run all over the floor.

    Dave
     
  16. legacy

    legacy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    222
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    than sitting in there and looking at something you coulda tweaked just one more time.
     
  17. baddogbad

    baddogbad Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    every time i do a project around here i'm staring at it day after day or month after month. it gets to the point where all i can see are the defects, the errors, the mistakes...

    but when i'm done and can walk away for a day or so, this old cabin is so much better for the effort. more right than wrong.
     
  18. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Can I shim the vanity top (cultured marble with the sink molded in) on the cabinet? A little shim on the back end and it ought to put the top itself level, even if the cabinet is not.

    I'd put the glue on the cabinet, put the shim on the glue, glob a bit more on that and then put down the top. Is that ok?

    I set the top on it just to see and it's going to look so good that now I HAVE to do something about that nasty old floor in there! I think I see cheapo indoor/outdoor carpet in my future until I have enough for the new vinyl I want. I don't like carpet in a bathroom (especially with boys in the house), but it will work for now.

    Jena
     
  19. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,075
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin.. Zone 5
    Yeah, one thing leads to another, and another etc.
     
  20. Westwood

    Westwood Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,082
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Location:
    North Central Arkansas
    I feel for you Jena. I was raised by TWO perfectionists. Dad's been dead since '85 and he STILL perches on my shoulder during projects and makes comments! People say no one will know if it's not perfect, but I'LL know and grumble every time I walk past it. Hmmm, I think there's also a conspriracy amoung my friends that they run through their houses putting their pictures askew so see if I'll stop and straighten them. . . . . . :nana: