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Old 03-12-2012, 08:26 AM   #31
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


First off, I had to remove one of my studs to make room for the new vent. I then sketched out it's rough position. I wasn't too sure what I was doing at this point...I don't actually have the microwave yet, so I'm not sure how wide or tall it will be. It seems the average height is somewhere between 16" and 17", and then widths vary but are no larger than 30". I also don't know for sure how or where the vent connects into the back, but from looking at a few sample models in HD, I assumed that, in terms of horizontal placement, it was always in the center of the unit. Since I want the vent of a microwave with a yet undetermined width to be centered above my 30" stove top, I firstly made certain (as much as I could) of my oven's position, and then set my 3 1/4 x 10" vent in the middle by leaving 10" on either side. Let's hope it all works out in the end!



With my vent laid out, I set about drilling some holes around the perimeter with my trusty 3/4" masonry bit. As luck would have it, the position of my planned vent aligned rather nicely with the existing brick and mortar, falling almost entirely within one brick and its surrounding mortar lines. So I drilled some more, and some more, paused here and there for some chiselling, and eventually I managed to remove all remaining bricks from inside the safety of my kitchen.







During all the crazyness, the two bricks sitting just below my new vent hole came loose. So I took them out as well and I cleared out the old mortar beneath them. My hole keeps getting bigger and bigger!



On the plus side, I can now grind the tops of these two bricks ever so slightly to make for a nicer fit. So yes, after a long pause, I decided to return to the grinder. Turns out it's much more pleasant to use when you're not standing on a ladder. I also needed it to cut some of my half bricks down to size.




Like butter.

And that's all the dirty work taken care of.

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Old 03-12-2012, 08:59 AM   #32
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


Yesterday was a beautiful, beautiful day. A wonderful 15 degrees. The flowers are beginning to bloom, people are walking around in t-shirts, and I'm about to get my mortar on. Sounds like spring time to me!

I do a quick dry fit of my bricks to make sure everything's in order and that the new vent will fit.



Then it was time for the mortar...My first mistake was mixing too little. I was so worried about having leftover waste that I mixed much too little. Ah well, I had enough to set the first brick from outside on the ladder, then mixed some more and set the rest in. At first I tried to calculate how much water to add based on the bag's mixing instructions. But either my estimate of how much mortar I had taken as a percentage of the bag was way off, or their instructions called for much too little water. At any rate, after learning to not worry so much, I decided to just wing it and slowly add more and more water until I thought the consistency was right. Not so difficult in the end it turns out. Another skill learned!

My second mistake was setting my first brick a little too close to the planned vent. Its position prevented me from sliding the vent in so I had to remove it and do it over again. Oops. After some trial and error I managed to get into the swing of things. I had to go over the joints a few times, and they still turned out a little sloppy, but it's pretty high up and no one's looking but me so I think I can rest easy...For those who are wondering, my mortar was mixed inside a bucket. I then attached a clip hook to its handle to it could hang freely from my ladder.

Here's how things look from the outside:





Not bad from far off. A little sloppier once you get in close.

The inside went by much faster now that I was standing on firm ground and knew what I was doing. Spacing got a little skewed, partly because I messed up, and partly because one of my bricks was pretty skimpy and damaged. But I managed to smooth everything out reasonably well:




Last step is to slide in the vent. Gee, I hope it still fits...

It did. But barely. It slid in fine for the first half of the way but then things got hairy. Clearly I should have grinded down the tops of those bricks a little more and then also paid more attention to the spacing when laying the bricks in. In desperation, I started hammering on the vent with my fist. It moved in a little more. So I hammered some more...Hmm..Maybe I should pull it out and try to chisel the hole a little bit bigger? Nope. It's definitely not budging, and I'm not about to start yanking as hard as possible while up on the ladder only to have it and me pop out suddenly. So in it goes and in it will stay. I'll be damned if anyone can ever pull it out again.

Turns out the screws I got were a little too big and I couldn't really get one of them to go in, but at this point I don't really care too much. I'm still riding my high of excitement from mortaring, and the vent is in real tight anyway so it's not moving.




A few beeds of silicone calking and some spray foam on the inside and I'm home free! Can't wait to fill it with tasy fumes and cooking exhaust.


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