27 July 2011

DIY: laundry closet redo: planning out the space

Welcome back to the laundry closet remodeling adventure, in which I show that YOU TOO can have zero experience and like three tools and still install shelving and a board and batten wall treatment!

So. How does one go about installing board and batten, anyway?

The tutorials I read in my last post were excellent, but they sort of started at the installation step. I needed to back up and figure out a few things first: specifically, what did I want it to look like, and what sort of wood could I use to do that?

To start with, I measured the closet – the length of the back wall, the depth of the closet, the height I might want the shelves, the distance between the back wall and the open washing machine lid – anything I could measure, I did. I decided a 10” deep shelf would work best.

Then I made some mockups using Adobe Illustrator. Basically I just drew a bunch of rectangles to scale, using 0.1”=1”. You could just as easily do this with other drawing software, even Powerpoint, or with pen and paper, and a ruler if you are feeling especially precise. This was just to help me visualize the final product.

Note that in all the sketches, I only included a schematic of the right wall, not the left – it’s just a mirror image of the right wall.

At first I thought I wanted a bunch of skinny boards, but then I realized that it’s a closet and doesn’t need to be busy-looking. Plus, it might be cheaper to go with fewer boards. It sealed the deal when I remembered that a laundry room has lots of intakes and outputs and whatnot, and I didn’t want to place vertical boards around those. So I went with the simplest design:

The back wall was the only one with things to plan around, and the hardest part was the water hookups. Although it’s not pictured in the schematic above, there was an electrical outlet about two inches above the water hookups, so I decided to stick the shelf there in between the water and the outlet, breaking up the horizontal board around it.

With that general idea of what I wanted, I went to Home Depot to see exactly what sort of boards they sell. Do you know what sort of boards they sell? Because I didn’t, nor did I know how much they cost. So I went on a little scouting mission to figure out what size boards they had and how I could economically get the boards I needed.

Lemme tell you, if you are female, armed with a pink notepad, and wandering around the lumber department, you’re gonna be asked no less than three times if you need help. And you’re gonna turn them down because you think you know what you’re doing even if you are a girl. SIR. And then the third time? You’re going to bite the bullet because you have wandered around each aisle five times and you're still not sure what you're doing so, yes, please. Help me. And you will be directed to the 1x4s and 1x10s.

After confirming that they sell 144” 1x4s and 1x10s, I went back home to draw a final sketchup, determine the number of horizontal boards I needed (I planned to do the vertical later), and how long they needed to be, so I could have them cut there at the store:

(Note the price I listed - $4.97 each - is wrong. They were $6.78 each. Everything in the lumber department is hard to decipher, including price.)

Then I headed back to the store, this time without the pink notebook and instead with a husband, because sometimes it’s just easier that way. I returned with my 1x4s all sliced up:

And if you’re interested, the horizontal 1x4 boards were this sort of wood:

I needed two 144” ones cut to size, and each was under $7. They also sold pre-primed 1x4s, which were $10 each, but I was being cheap, knowing I’d have to buy a can of primer to cover the 1x10s – and the UNDERWEAR MURAL – anyway. If you don’t otherwise have to prime, and don’t need many boards, they could be worth it, as a quart of primer is over $7 itself.

So then it was time to return to the plan and start putting it together:

Except... see that outlet on the diagram? And how it’s above the shelf? And just how do you think the washer receives power? And was I planning to wrap the washer cord over the outside edge of the shelf, or what?


So I had to alter the plan a bit and move the lower shelf up, over the outlet instead of the water hookups. Which required a bit of extra wood, so the horizontal boards could truly flank the outlet. Fortunately, I kept the scrap wood from when Home Depot cut it for me! And I had an antique vice grip! And an inherited old crappy saw!

Which came in handy, actually, as I realized I had mis-measured a board or two – forgetting to take into account the way the boards would fit together – and they needed to be a bit shorter. However, I wasn’t the only one mis-measuring, as the Home Depot guy cut one board a whole inch shorter than requested, so I had to stuff in wood scraps to fill it:

Yeah. Accuracy is not their strong suit, either.

After I installed the horizontal boards – the details of which I’ll cover in a later post – I planned out the vertical boards. The reason I waited was that I wasn’t entirely sure how far apart the shelves or horizontal boards would be. And it’s a good thing that I waited, too, since I didn’t realize that whole washer-needs-to-plug-into-the-outlet-because-ELECTRICAL-APPLIANCES-NEED-ELECTRICITY thing until I started trying to install the horizontal boards.

So here's the updated (and finalized) plan:

For the vertical boards, I used 1x2s, which were under $3 each for 96” long boards. This time, a little bitter from discovering how much sawing I had to do myself anyway on the horizontal boards, I decided to just buy enough length for the job and do the cutting myself. The magic number was five 96” boards, and I realized that I’d have enough leftover to do fun little ledges across the top on the sides if I pieced together one of the long vertical boards in a back corner – see the illustration above, if you’re not sure what I mean.

And finally, here’s how I diagrammed out the cuts – both when I had the HD man cut them and when I cut them myself. The top board is the length of the board as purchased, and I rearranged the pieces I needed around until I got the most out of each board:

Again, it’s just rectangles drawn to scale and pieced together. You don’t need fancy software, or even a computer.

Planning took a long time, for sure – but not nearly as long as making the vision come to life. That’s next, so stay tuned!


Tina said...

Ron said,"she could've moved the outlet box..." yeah.