Tag Archives: glue

Finishing the kitchen countertop

Previously, here on Sailing the Earth, I was telling you about our adventures with epoxy. It is fascinating stuff, if a bit temperamental.

Well, things have progressed and I can now share with you how it all turned out.

After completing the third and final coat of epoxy, the counter was ready to be installed. It wasn’t super perfect, but it was quite a bit improved from the first coat. There are still two bugs embedded in it that I couldn’t dig out, so they will have to stay in there… forever. Maybe someone will clone bugs from their DNA in a 1000 years.

I let the third coat cure for several days and then while Kat was at work on Sunday (yesterday, July 23rd) I proceeded to install it. First I had to prep the surface. This meant clearing off all of the clutter that was on the base, cleaning it and then applying a generous amount of glue.

Looks a lot like a breakfast pastry, doesn’t it? With the base all prepped, all there was to do was put the newly finished counter into place. I clamped it and screwed it down from underneath. That counter is not going anywhere.

Sorry for that blurry picture, but you can probably see just how shiny the counter is. Here is a close up.

Unfortunately, I discovered the hard way that it scratches pretty easily, or at least the brand that we used for this project. You can see the scratches I put in it in the bottom-left corner of the above picture. I didn’t have a way to clamp the counter down at the back so I used a 20L (5 gallon) jug of water to weigh it down. In positioning it on the counter, I twisted it a bit and the bottom of the jug is knurled plastic, so it left those marks you see above.

Fortunately, this is the trailer and not the house, so learning these things ahead of time is a useful experience.

With the counter locked down, it was time to install the sink.

Unfortunately, I miscalculated just how many pieces I would need to finish the plumbing of the sink drain and I wasn’t able to get it completed in one day. Kat was in town this morning so she stopped at the hardware store and picked up the missing pieces.

Here is a picture of the plumbing for the drain, immediately connected to the bottom of the sink.

I bought a P-trap that included the clean-out, just to make our lives easier if anything needed some maintenance later on. Frankly, I don’t know why they call it a P-trap. A U-bend or an S-trap would be better. I like S-trap actually because you could make it stand for stink-trap, as the whole point of that is to keep some water in the pipe to prevent smells from the sewer or septic from entering your home.

Anyway, that pipe that you see traveling downwards at a 45 degree angle joins up with all of this stuff at the bottom.

I added a clean-out plug, for future maintenance, though it was a bit overkill. There is another one on just the other side of the wall on the right.

The part with the T and the pipe heading out the wall through the blue insulation is the new plumbing vent I put in. The old one had been in the wall inside the small room where the toilet had been, but we removed all of that, so I needed to put the vent back in somewhere. This was a pretty convenient spot, right next to the wall. I just put a 45 degree connector on the T-junction and ran the pipe out the wall, upwards at an angle. There is another 45 just outside the wall and the pipe then runs straight up the wall of the trailer.

After it was all glued together and all of the threaded bits had their sealing tape applied, it was time to try it out.

Yay! No leaks. Now we don’t need to go outside to dump our dish water. In fact, we might even be able to do the dishes in the sink. Woah! Not sure we’re ready for that kind of excitement. It’s been a good two years since we could do our own dishes in a sink.

On a side note, we discovered something interesting about ABS glue and rigid insulation: the former will melt and dissolve the latter. Here you can see the hole underneath the pipe where the glue squished out and dropped onto the insulation.

Something to be aware of if you’re ever gluing ABS pipe near rigid foam insulation.

Despite the small flaws (and scratches… grrr) in the counter-top, this project turned out pretty well. Now if only we can complete the next project in a more timely fashion.


Trailer rebuilding: gluing the tiles, part 2 (and so much more)

Today was a great day, for many reasons. First of all, it was warm. Really warm. We’re not talking 45C (113F), but for November up here, 18C (64F) and full sunshine is unseasonably warm.

Also today, we had a helper. Ian (yes, yet another Ian – I know too many now) and his wife and daughter had just moved into the area back in August and are interested in the whole Earthship/sustainable living movement. Ian has a fair amount of construction experience and volunteered his time today to come help us out. As a result, we were able to accomplish quite a bit.

First of all, I finished gluing all of the tiles. Here is the final result.


If everything goes as planned (which is often not the case, but we can always aim for that) I will grout the tiles tomorrow and we will be on our way to getting the wood stove back inside and up and running.

While I was working on the tiles, Ian was using some of the panel off-cuts to fill in the long strips above the slide-outs. Here you can see it filled in above the kitchen slide-out.


This next one shows the strip filled in above the dining table slide-out. We also used our last full panel to start covering the ceiling in the slide-out.


More panels are on order and should be arriving this Friday.

After that, Ian and I moved outside and worked on the permanent bracing for the roof that I hadn’t managed to get to yet. We were putting in the 45 degree angled supports.


This went so much faster with the two of us. Also, with Ian being very familiar with tools of all sorts, there isn’t any need to explain anything; we just went right at it. We had all but two of the supports in before Kat arrived with lunch.


Here you can see the 45s we put on the opposite side as well.


After lunch we pulled off some more of the temporary bracing, as it was no longer needed and then wrapped the back with a big-ass tarp. I have my friend Gerry to thank for the the BA tarp. It was more than adequate to wrap the entire 40′ (12.2m) from one end of the roof to the other.


You can also see all of the remains of the kitchen parts we pulled out sitting back there.

As you may be aware, after the time changes, it gets dark really early now. After we wrapped the back wall, we did some clean up and took Ian back home. He and his wife are renting this little house right on the Madawaska river. It’s surrounded by white pines so there is this awesome carpet of pine needles around the property.

They also have their own private beach to watch the sunsets.


If I was going to rent a place, that would be the kind of place I would love.

Trailer rebuilding: gluing the tiles, part 1

Today, I finally got to gluing the tiles. There was a bit of prep work, though. First, I sanded down the patch areas where I had put the joint compound yesterday. Then you have to sweep it clean. I did this three times, I think.

I also added some pieces of scrap materials to the walls. You can see it here.


I did that for two reasons. First, so you don’t end up getting tile glue all over your walls and secondly, the wall is not straight. It has a varying gap between it and the cement board that I filled earlier with spray foam. Well, I wanted to make sure the tiles would be set relative to the cement board, not the spray foamed gap, so I added the scrap pieces to cover that gap.

Then, after doing some quick math, I discovered I wasn’t going to have enough tile spacers to do the whole job, so I had to go into town to get some more. I also bought some lunch while I was there.

After returning and eating lunch with Kat, I finally got started on gluing the tiles down. Here is me, spreading the glue for the first row.


Voila! The first tile is set.


I did all of the tiles along the back wall and then started filling in the rows starting on the left working towards the right. Unfortunately, as I was going along, I noticed I was using the tile adhesive a lot faster than I had anticipated.


I ended up running out of tile glue before I was finished, so I had to quit before it was done. I made it this far.


I had bought premixed tile adhesive because it was such a small space and it didn’t seem like it would take a whole lot. It doesn’t, really, but it will take two tubs instead of one. Lesson learned there.

Also, you may have noticed I have put the tile spacers in vertically instead of lying them on the floor. I did that after watching some tile installation videos and they recommended doing it this way. The advantage is, you can easily remove the spacers when you’re done. If you put them on the floor, they are pretty much stuck there and will remain as they will be embedded in the tile glue. There was also mention that with plastic spacers in there permanently, plastic has different thermal expansion/contraction properties than tile and grout. This can sometimes lead to your grout cracking because of the spacers. To be safe, I did it this way like they did in the video.

While I was laying tiles, Kat was busy working on the panels in the kitchen slide-out. The first one she worked on took quite a while, as there were a lot of extra cuts involved. By the end of the day, she had finished off all of the wall panels and it is now looking pretty snazzy.


Unfortunately, we only have one full panel left. We have ordered some more, but they won’t be in until Friday.

Also, after I finished with the tiles, I put the chainsaw in the truck and headed up our hill to process a tree we had cut down last week. It had been hung up in another tree and no amount of fussing on our part could untangle it. Fortunately, it fell of its own accord yesterday (I heard the crash) so all I had to do was cut it up into pieces.

Said pieces are now sitting beside the trailer, waiting to be split and stacked.

Trailer insulating, day 5

So we left off yesterday having finished the trimming and extra spray foaming and we had put up two of the panels on the ceiling. Today, we started with putting 6mil plastic vapour barrier on the floor. You would think this would be easy, but that would be failing to take into account the arguing you have with your partner about the proper way to go about said task 😛

We used two faced tape to stick the vapour barrier to the floor, which didn’t work as well as you might think. I think part of the reason for its sub optimal performance is the temperature. A lot of things don’t stick very well when they are cold and it was only around 6C (43F) when we got to the trailer this morning. We futzed with that for quite a while and then it was 13:30 all of a sudden so we decided to go for lunch.

Here is a picture of what the floor looked like before going for lunch.


After we returned, Kat worked on taping the edges of the vapour barrier to the wall. Here you can see her with a weird look on her face. That’s because she just taped her behind to the wall.


While she was working on that, I started to work on the paneling for the back wall. I cut two nice pieces to fit at the bottom of the wall and loosely put them into position for this shot.


Unfortunately, the best place to do the cutting is outside on top of the picnic table. Using that long metal strip we removed from the floor, I can clamp it down to the table and make really nice straight cuts. The paneling is so thin that I can cut it with a utility knife which is also a nice feature as it means I don’t lose any of the panel due to the width of a saw blade. However, it being outside means you’re subject to the conditions of the weather, and, of course, it decided to rain this afternoon.

Fortunately, for some of the shorter cuts, I could do those inside. I put a spare piece of OSB on the floor and used that as my cutting surface. This worked fairly well, but I missed being able to use the clamps to hold down my cutting guide.

In any event, I cut out the two holes for the electrical receptacles and glued the panels on. This was a bit challenging because we only have one rib going across the top and one going down the outer side for each of the two pieces. There is nothing on the bottom to attach the panel to. On the left side I was able to clamp the piece to the horizontal rib, but there was too much foam on the right side for this, so I had to resort to leaning heavy objects onto the panel to give it enough pressure for the glue to bind.

Fortunately, on all of the other walls we put up the wood strapping, so I can use short staples to hold the panel on the wall while the glue sets. Originally we were just going to glue the panels, but after going through the difficulties with the strapping, we decided a few staples would make our lives easier.


As you may, or may not, know, wooden strapping is pretty rough stuff and it is rarely straight. There are often jagged pieces and they are bent or twisted. Trying to take a long section of that and glue it on straight to a metal stud is nigh impossible as the warp in the wood pulls it off the stud. I solved this by cutting it into much shorter pieces; nothing longer than 24 inches. This got around the warps and bends, but it does mean a lot more cutting. I am not going to do that with the paneling, I’m sorry.

Anyway, by the time we got all that done, it was around 17:00 and we decided to pack it up. Kat did bring in all of the rigid insulation that will be going on the floor though.


I should mention we got all of that insulation by pulling it out of the dumpster. It’s a bit difficult to fathom, but around large housing developments where they are building cookie cutter houses, you can find this and all sorts of other useful materials in the garbage. All the better for us; it didn’t cost us a thing 🙂