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mtn
mtn UltimaDork
8/22/14 7:02 p.m.

Height of the toilet seat doesn't matter much to me... But length of the thing does. I hate the toilet we have, my junk always hits the front of the bowl and I'm still barely forward enough to make sure the E36 M3 all hits water.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/22/14 7:23 p.m.

I'm 6'-6". Sadly, those comfort height toilets are about the only thing discussed on this site that fit me.

skierd
skierd SuperDork
8/23/14 12:22 a.m.

Still in the process of building our first house. We have a roof, and did the final layout of the upstairs today, interior walls start going in soon!

We went with radiant heat in the floors, and given our climate (Interior Alaska) went all-out on the insulation. Heating and cooling costs are only going to go up as time goes on, so go efficient now and save over the long run. Look up the guidelines on superinsulated houses and see if there are any government rebates for building efficient and/or green. For example we're getting 0.5% off our interest rate and $10k back from the state for building to their top energy rating (6 star).

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
8/23/14 11:29 a.m.

Most of the ideas have been taken.

Receptacles - you can never have enough. The NEC requirements are better than they used to be, but I still like having more. When I rewired most of the ex's house, I put receptacles under every window as she likes those little electric candle lights during the holidays, and since she is staunchly anti-LED/CFL, she uses 120V versions.

I agree about the dual feed to the ceiling fan. I did the same thing, although the lighting circuit won't be used by her (doesn't like lights on the fan). The wiring is there, just not connected at the fan or in the switch box.

We also installed a remote bathroom fan. It's awesome. It is actually ducted to both upstairs bathrooms and is controlled by either switch. It's dead silent compared to a typical bathroom fan/light unit. Of course, the downside is it's easy to forget it's on. IIRC, I used "illuminated when on" switches for that reason.

She didn't want any switched receptacles, which I thought was a mistake... but it's her house...

I roughed in wiring and gas piping to the basement for a future natural gas generator. The eventual plan was going to be a dedicated sub-panel with a separate transfer switch. I really dislike the all-in-one add on systems you typically see for residential use. I don't understand that at all. A 3-pole (H-H-N) transfer switch and a sub-panel is not that expensive and gives a ton more flexibility. Of course, with me now out of the picture, who knows if it will ever get installed unless her next b/f is also an electrical designer with no fear of rewiring a hot panel (eventually, I'll probably go back there to document and clean up a few things I left unfinished when we broke up).

In lieu of a switch for the decoration receptacles, I wired them through a timer in the basement.

I'll probably edit/add some more as I remember...

When you think about it, the "no tall toilet" thing makes sense. Our bodies were really meant to squat low when doing that business.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy SuperDork
8/23/14 12:25 p.m.

If you are going to do a bathroom in the basement and can swing it I'd recommend having the builder rough in the room and install the toilet, tub, and a big wash tub instead of a sink/vanity. Every time I've seen someone go back and try to finish the bathroom later, my house included, the drains and such that were run under the concrete turned out to be all wrong and the concrete had to be ripped up. Better they do that before you get the house, or if there was a plan for the locations of everything better it get built, no matter how weird, and you finish the basement around it.

On plumbing, if you have a wash tub in the garage you're covered, but otherwise you may want to consider an outside faucet for both hot and cold water. Mixer ones are available, and for things like washing the pets it's a lot easier with warm water.

My bathroom vent is on a push button timer, and it's worth every penny. Hit one of 6 buttons for how long you want the fan to run and walk away. They are so inexpensive these days you can't go wrong. Along the same line, we've recently replaced the dimmers throughout the house with the type that has a regular on/off switch and a little slider next to it for the dim level. They are excellent as well.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/23/14 1:16 p.m.
Ian F wrote: We also installed a remote bathroom fan. It's awesome. It is actually ducted to both upstairs bathrooms and is controlled by either switch. It's dead silent compared to a typical bathroom fan/light unit. Of course, the downside is it's easy to forget it's on. IIRC, I used "illuminated when on" switches for that reason.

I've never heard of these before, but I'm going to find out more about them.

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte SuperDork
8/23/14 1:39 p.m.

Whole house fan. Properly done they work wonders.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy PowerDork
8/23/14 4:14 p.m.
mtn wrote: I hate the toilet we have, my junk always hits the front of the bowl and I'm still barely forward enough to make sure the E36 M3 all hits water.

Ha ha ha - I have a great "McDonald's toilet + desperate moment + toilet cleaner + my junk" story I'll spare you.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
8/23/14 5:11 p.m.
Woody wrote:
Ian F wrote: We also installed a remote bathroom fan. It's awesome. It is actually ducted to both upstairs bathrooms and is controlled by either switch. It's dead silent compared to a typical bathroom fan/light unit. Of course, the downside is it's easy to forget it's on. IIRC, I used "illuminated when on" switches for that reason.
I've never heard of these before, but I'm going to find out more about them.

There's nothing magical about them. It's basically a inline 8" fan (I don't remember the CFM - she designed/ordered it - being a licensed HVAC engineer) that we put an 8" to (2)6" Y fitting on, then ran 6" ductwork to each bathroom. I then ran power to a junction box near the fan above the ceiling and a switch each the bathroom was wired in parallel to the j-box so that either switch would send power to the fan.

patgizz
patgizz PowerDork
8/23/14 6:01 p.m.

bath fans are there not to eliminate steam or odors, but to mask all the noises coming from your backside, so a silent remote fan is a bad idea.

the best advice i'd ever give about new construction is walk the hell away and buy something 80 years old.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
8/23/14 7:25 p.m.

When I redid the master bath in my house I installed a combination recessed fixture and fan. Nice; it saves the extra vent in the ceiling. I had my brother doing the contracting and unfortunately I let him talk me into running the fan and light on the same switch, won't make THAT mistake again.

patgizz
patgizz PowerDork
8/24/14 8:11 a.m.
Curmudgeon wrote: When I redid the master bath in my house I installed a combination recessed fixture and fan. Nice; it saves the extra vent in the ceiling. I had my brother doing the contracting and unfortunately I let him talk me into running the fan and light on the same switch, won't make THAT mistake again.

yeah that's bad. the only time i do that is in rental properties, to guarantee when tenant is taking a shower the fan is on.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
8/24/14 11:26 a.m.

Amusingly, when we first remodeled the ex's original upstairs bath, the fan didn't have a light so it was kinda dark in the shower. So when I installed a combination unit, I wired the the light and fan together. Granted, there is another light that isn't related to the fan. Personally, I prefer it that way. It's just wiring and is relatively easy to change (which I had to do when said fan was later replaced with the aforementioned remote unit).

Since designing building wiring is what I do for a living (and have access to plumbing and HVAC engineers if needed), the wiring in the ex's house is a bit like a Swiss watch and arguably overkill. All of the MEP systems are. Easy to do when you aren't paying for labor. I have a hard time paying anyone to do any kind of MEP work now.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
8/24/14 12:48 p.m.

My house originally had a HUGE walk in shower but no tub. Since I occasionally like to soak, I put in a cultured marble tub and shower. Note to self: cultured marble is a bitch to take care of, don't do that again. Anyway, I hate taking a shower in the dark and sometimes will read while soaking so I added a recessed lighting fixture over the tub, it has a glass cover to keep water from splashing on the bulb. (This does require a specialized lamp, bulbs and careful assembly on the back side.) This again was over my brother's screaming objections, it had nothing to do with codes etc it was just something which freaked him out. I am really glad I stuck to my guns on that one, on a cold day I can park my ass in the tub and soak to my heart's content.

Hal
Hal SuperDork
8/24/14 2:56 p.m.
Curmudgeon wrote: When I redid the master bath in my house I installed a combination recessed fixture and fan. Nice; it saves the extra vent in the ceiling. I had my brother doing the contracting and unfortunately I let him talk me into running the fan and light on the same switch, won't make THAT mistake again.

Don't stop with just the light and fan. Get one that also has a heater in it. We put the 3-way combinations in both bathrooms and the wife loves having the heater available in the winter. Just make sure you wire it to switch each part separately.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
8/24/14 3:30 p.m.

That is a possibility for next house, but in this one there is already an HVAC duct in the bath. I've had to trim its airflow back for the bath to not get overheated/overcooled.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/24/14 7:21 p.m.

if you have big dogs, think about putting a bathtub in the garage, set up on a 2' tall base. much nicer to wash a big dog in a tub without having to bend over the doggone thing.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
8/24/14 9:22 p.m.
Hal wrote: Don't stop with just the light and fan. Get one that also has a heater in it. We put the 3-way combinations in both bathrooms and the wife loves having the heater available in the winter. Just make sure you wire it to switch each part separately.

The ex's father built an A-Frame house at their weekend farm property. The first floor bathroom has a dizzying array of switches. A 3-way for the ceiling light (just in case someone can't reach the 4' length of the room between the hall door and the laundry room door), one for the vanity light, one for the light in the shower, and a switch next to the toilet for a heat lamp over it (I was never there when it was cold enough to need it, but did accidentally turn in one a few times - it works well). I forget if there is a switch for the fan or if it's interlocked with one of the lights, but it's probably switched.

That's just the bathroom... there is also a complex, old tech low voltage relay system in the basement that controls about 75% of the lights in the house and elsewhere on the property. He once demonstrated a neat "test" function where the system slowly turns on/off every light in the system sequentially. There are also few "panic" switches throughout the house - hitting that switch turns on every light.

Plus the deck that lifts up to cover the main windows when they are away.

This sort of thing can happen when you build a house over 22 years of weekends (started in 1970 - finally finished in 1992).

Klayfish
Klayfish SuperDork
8/25/14 6:51 a.m.
Basil Exposition wrote: What lift are you considering? I think it was a 2 post? If so, there are a couple of shorter two post options out there including the MaxJax and the Triumph 7000. A taller one doesn't do you any good with that ceiling height, anyway.

I'd like to do a 2 post, so I can easily pull wheels off while the car is in the air. But I'm starting to wonder about fitment. In looking at the dimensions of this one, I'm concerned how well it's going to fit. http://www.bendpak.com/car-lifts/two-post-lifts/xpr-9.aspx It appears wide enough that the posts would be outside the tracks for the garage door, but is it so wide that it'll interfere with the second bay next to it? 4 post lifts seem to be more compact, but then I can't pull wheels easily.

re: the comment about buying an 80 year old house. I admire those older homes that have "character", but they're just not my style at all. My wife and I very much prefer new construction.

Our master bath is likely not to have a tub. We're still waiting for the builder to get back to us, but the only tub that will fit in the master is not as big as we'd want. So we're eliminating it and making a monster shower, as well as a linen closet. We'll put a hot tub on our patio outside for a place to soak. I'm having a wash basin put in the garage and a hot/cold hose bib outside. We've got a large dog, so it'll help with washing him. Agree on the slider switches and bathroom fans.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
8/25/14 7:30 a.m.
Klayfish wrote: I'd like to do a 2 post, so I can easily pull wheels off while the car is in the air. But I'm starting to wonder about fitment. In looking at the dimensions of this one, I'm concerned how well it's going to fit. http://www.bendpak.com/car-lifts/two-post-lifts/xpr-9.aspx It appears wide enough that the posts would be outside the tracks for the garage door, but is it so wide that it'll interfere with the second bay next to it? 4 post lifts seem to be more compact, but then I can't pull wheels easily.

Yes, even at the narrow 132" position, the inside post will likely interfere with the other bay - and have the outer post slammed against a wall so you can't get around it with a car on it.

These are the main reasons I bought a scissor lift. When not in use, it's under a car: out of sight, out of the way. A 2-post is great for a shop, but in a residential garage mostly used for parking, the lift could be very annoying during the 95% of the time you're not using it. More so since you don't have enough ceiling height to get full use of the lift anyway.

If full undercarraige access is mandatory, go with a MaxJax. It'll still interfere with the other bay, but at least you can move the post when not in use.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
8/25/14 7:55 a.m.

In a commercial setting, the exhaust rate is a minimum of 75 cfm per toilet fixture. If you're going to do a whole house exhaust get the heat/energy recovery ventilator, too.

The problem is when you exhaust, air from the outside infiltrates into the house to make up the air you've just drawn out of the house. It will be hot and humid or cool and dry and it'll almost always not be helpful for keeping you comfortable. Now if your house is made more tightly constructed you could have pressurization issues, too.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/25/14 8:00 a.m.

You should get some of those German poop shelf toilets, so that any visitors will be too terrified to take a E36 M3 in your house.

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition Dork
8/25/14 9:10 a.m.
Ian F wrote:
Klayfish wrote: I'd like to do a 2 post, so I can easily pull wheels off while the car is in the air. But I'm starting to wonder about fitment. In looking at the dimensions of this one, I'm concerned how well it's going to fit. http://www.bendpak.com/car-lifts/two-post-lifts/xpr-9.aspx It appears wide enough that the posts would be outside the tracks for the garage door, but is it so wide that it'll interfere with the second bay next to it? 4 post lifts seem to be more compact, but then I can't pull wheels easily.
Yes, even at the narrow 132" position, the inside post will likely interfere with the other bay - and have the outer post slammed against a wall so you can't get around it with a car on it. These are the main reasons I bought a scissor lift. When not in use, it's under a car: out of sight, out of the way. A 2-post is great for a shop, but in a residential garage mostly used for parking, the lift could be very annoying during the 95% of the time you're not using it. More so since you don't have enough ceiling height to get full use of the lift anyway. If full undercarraige access is mandatory, go with a MaxJax. It'll still interfere with the other bay, but at least you can move the post when not in use.

This is good advice. That Bendpak is just not the right lift for your situation. A scissor lift or MaxJax sound more suitable. In a two car garage, depending on dimensions, you might find a 4 poster gets in the way too much, but could work if you get some bridge jacks.

You might also check out the Triumph C 7000. This is a MaxJax style lift that is relatively new on the market.

madmallard
madmallard HalfDork
8/25/14 11:19 a.m.

sprayfoam insulation. anywhere you can't use that, use recycled denim insulation "bonded logic"

look into geo thermal heat/cooling

the sound deadening drywall, main one is called "quietrock."

I'd suggest a seperate breakout box for all circuits in the garage, but thats just me...

don't cheap out on basics that can make a huge difference. quality carpet under-pad, stonework, high quality shingles (some have hurricane warranties now), windows....

if your front door isn't ground level, make yourself some WIDE porch steps and a double front door, or moving in will be a pain....

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltraDork
8/25/14 12:25 p.m.
madmallard wrote: quality carpet under-pad

No berkeleying carpet. Anywhere. Not durable and expensive to replace.

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