Looking for the Best Rainfall Showerhead

When vacationing in Florida, my daughters family and mine rented a high-end beach home. Rarely do we do that- usually my choice is a simple no-frills condo close to the beach. But this time was different and I was introduced to the luxury of a rainfall shower head.

I decided I wanted one, and now is the time to fulfill that desire.

There are plenty of them available, but my experience with poorly working shower heads that get clogged or deliver a poor excuse of a stream has me “gun shy”.

Looking over reviews has me considering this one:

Moen Premium Shower Head

In comes in beautiful color choices, seen here.

What I like about the Moen S6320 Velocity rainshower:

  • Has both a high pressure and a gentle rainfall mode
  • Several color choices, and very highly rated by many sources
  • A lifetime guarantee

The drawback for me are that I might want a larger shower head surface, 8 inches is moderate for this type of design.

Also, since the one I experienced in Florida was mounted from the ceiling and this one is mounted on the wall ( which I am restricted to due to plumbing considerations), the other brands which feature an adjustable arm might be the better choice.

But the bottom line for a plumbing fixture like this is water delivery. I wouldn’t trade looks, adjustable arms or any other asset with good water delivery.

Other Contenders

Top contender right now ( I am seriously considering this one), is a new  company product by Artbath.

Reasons to like it:

  • Great raters by buyers
  • Very stylish and comes with the arm
  • Good water delivery stream reported by users
  • Large 12″ head

Next in Line

I find that a handheld is necessary: reaching to clean and rinse the bath and filling mop buckets. some of the rain-style shower heads are sold with a partner handheld device.

After that, I’m considering  the report on another brand, Hansgrohe Raindance; it claims to have the feel of a much more powerful flow due to air technology.

That is a feature that moves this choice to the forefront.

Now…. I just have to make my final choice and Handyman can install it for me.

 

Do you have preferences/ experience with this type of fixture?

D-I-Y Mushroom Factor, F-Y-I

The Little Project That Grew

Every home remodeler and renovator runs into it at some time, the dreaded mushrooming of a simple project into the monster money pit.

It is what you come to expect when working on an old house project.

This is not about fungus- at least not in that way. It is about DIY projects and how they magically grow, but not in a good way.

One of the most common complications of a do it yourself project, especially when remodeling an old house, is the Mushroom Factor. If you own an old house, or if you are considering buying one, even one that you think will only take a few simple projects. —Welcome to the Mushroom Factor Zone—

Even simple remodeling jobs on newer construction can find the job mushrooming right before their very eyes. Now of course, we are not talking about the cute as a button fungus that we see growing at the bottom of the garden, instead we are talking about something that grows like that: that mushrooms, the verb….

Old Houses Sprout the Mushroom Factor Most Readily

My husband and I have chosen to live in old houses. We bought a fixer upper more than twenty years ago and it never ceased from demanding that we “fix it”. That is OK, because I like the character and history of an old house, but my husband, resident handyman here, is a bit frustrated with the mushroom factor of it.

It is time to paint the house again, and that is normal maintenance for any homeowner, but what he found was that moisture has been doing damage to the wood siding of the house. It is most problematic under a couple windows. So in order to paint the house, should there be a temporary fix to the siding? Or should we just “bite the bullet” and replace the siding? And since it is an old house, that type of siding is no longer sold. So the whole side of the house might need replacement.

That, my friends, is how the mushroom factor works… no longer is there one simple job… it is multiple jobs springing from multiple sources….

What would you choose to do in this case? ( And saying “Move” is not an acceptable answer…. for now).

lurking in old houses

It Crops Up Unexpectedly

usually found in older homes

Now that you have some idea of what is entailed in the mushroom factor, it is time to delve into the nuts and bolts of the occurrence of it, the part and parcel, the name of the game, the meat and potatoes of this stew we might find ourselves in. When one starts a new construction, theoretically at least, the building can go along logically and in an orderly way…. following standard procedures with standard measurements. In other words, one knows what to expect of the work and estimates the outcome fairly accurately. Theoretically. However, the older the house is, or the more people have decided to “do things” to it, the more complicated a job can become. enter… the Mushroom Factor.

The variables are countless, in each case unique situations and needs for materials arises. There are possibilities that something has been done poorly, or has gotten rotten, and then several new jobs spring up before the intended job can be begun. It is that proliferation of new little jobs, or some rather large ones, that defines whether you are looking at the mushroom factor in action. It can involve new consultations, plans, experts, materials, any number of things…. and it extends the time and the efforts, not to mention the costs of what the job was originally figured to entail.

It seems to crop up in old houses and anything that was purchased with the moniker “Fixer-upper”. Just so you know. I am not trying to discourage anyone from getting the home of their dreams for a song and then fixing it up. I am just saying “forewarned is forearmed”, and telling you what the mysterious mushroom factor is in the meantime.

Thwart the Mushroom Factor – Be Prepared -for anything!

Get some good remodeling advice and keep your books handy. Get good quality tools, too, while you are at it.

Pink Tool Kit- High Quality, Essential Pink Tools for the Self-sufficient, Independent Woman, Handywoman and Wannabe Empowered DIYers. With a Balanced Fit for Women's Hands, Do House and Home Repairs and Remodeling with Confidence.
Pink Tool Kit- High Quality, Essential Pink Tools for the Self-sufficient, Independent Woman, Handywoman and Wannabe Empowered DIYers. With a Balanced Fit for Women’s Hands, Do House and Home Repairs and Remodeling with Confidence.

Rule of Thumb

Have you estimated the time and money that this project is going to cost? Add half again, or no…make that double just to be safe if you are new at this.

Do not underestimate how nuts the previous owner of the house may have been.

You are about to enter…. – The Mushroom Factor

mood music for the home remodeling Twilight Zone

Mushroom factor

A correlation of Murphy’s Law

The Mushroom Files – You Will Believe,Believe Me

  • my old house
    My remodeling blog- I know whereof I speak
  • The Old House Journal
    The old house renovation magazine where the term was made famous.
  • Day 181: The Mushroom Factor
    Someone is coming to view the house on Saturday. (Don’t hold your breath – I’m not, haha.) Himself i…
  • Keeping Up With the Mushroom Factor
    Volunteering has been a wonderful experience and I won’t ever stop, I’d miss the people too much. My gardens and home would like to have a robot come take up residence. The weeds think they’ve found heaven and the dust bunnies are multiplying almost

Expert Advice is Your Best Defense – a home remodeling book will help

The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition

The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition

For All the Handymen

Remember: If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. -Red Green

The Mushroom Factor: Advice from The Experts

My Own Stories

Coming up next…. I have a lot of them ( most are borrowed from my husband – the Handyman). I publish them in this old house blog.

You should always put your writing on the wall right before you seal it up forever (or until the next remodeler comes along).

Anyway, I’d love to hear your stories of encountering the Mushroom Factor in your own remodeling ventures.

Tell me about it.

Rebuilding A Bedroom: The Walls

And now for the walls:

Now that the old ceiling has been totally removed and the old oak joists exposed, it was time to remove the old plaster & lath walls.  In 2 previous rooms I had done, I left all 4 plastered walls intact and faced them with 1/4″ drywall.  In this room I decided to remove the plaster and lath on the 2 exterior walls so I could remove the old blown-in insulation (to be replaced with R11 fiberglass insulation).  With the 2 interior walls I left the old plaster in place and faced them with the 1/4″ drywall.  This is a fairly simple way to obtain a new smooth surface.  To make certain the 1/4″ drywall stayed in place I used heavy duty Liquid Nails adhesive and drywall screws.

I also removed the window and door casings and the baseboards.  Next, on the exterior walls I adjusted the electrical outlets, and since I had those walls open, I decided to add another 2 outlets.  Per NEC you are supposed to have an outlet within 6 feet (Thus, you could have them 12′ apart and be in the middle and therefore within 6 feet of an outlet).  Being an old house, it is “grandfathered in”.  But, given the opportunity to easily add an additional couple outlets, I did.

Since the old floor was still in place, we were able to sweep up and dispose of the plaster just as we had for the ceiling.  We also used the same fan set-up to exhaust the dust.

Old Construction Issues:

Now that I had the ceiling and 2 walls exposed down to the joists and studs, it was time to prepare to install the drywall.  However, there was a problem that needed to be addressed first.

1.  As I previously mentioned, the ceiling sagged (saucer like) to about a 4″ dip in the center of the room.  A previous post explains why.  In order to rectify this, I purchased 2x8x16′ boards to sister on to the old oak joists.  The actual span was a little under 16′.  Once I cut them to the proper length and mitered the top edges to follow the rafter line, I had my son lift them up to me through the 2nd floor bedroom window.  We installed them one at a time lifting into place.  We applied heavy duty Liquid Nails adhesive to the old oak joist, then manuevered the new joist onto the 2 end plates.  Once in place, I used 3″ deck screws to sister the new joist onto the old.

2.  Once we had all the new boards “sistered” to the old joists it was time to trim off the sagged part of the old oak joists that sagged below the new ones.  The easiest way to do this was to just carefully run my circular saw along the bottom sagged edge of the old oak joist to make it level (even) with the new joists. Where I couldn’t quite get to the edges (by the wall) with the circular saw, I trimmed off the remaining 2-3″ with my reciprocating saw. By doing this, I now basically had double joisted the span.  This had accomplished 2 things.  First, I greatly strengthened/reinforced the span.  Second, I now not only had a level ceiling, I had a level base for laying down subfloor T&G plywood in the attic above for storage space.

3.  The walls presented another problem.  The old oak studs were not on center and they were not plumb.  They varied in thickness from 2″-2-1/4″.  The main problem was that not only were they not plumb, but they varied in width from about 3-3/4″ to 4-1/4″.  AND, there was sometimes that variation in the same stud from top to bottom..  How I handled that was to sister new studs onto the old ones plus add a few new ones.  This still resulted in some of the old studs being wider than the new ones.  What I did was use my DeWalt portable planer to plane/shave the old oak studs down to the same width as the new ones.  Since I was going to install my drywall horizontally, it wasn’t as critical to have the studs perfectly plumb.

4.  Now that the demolition and prep work was done, my next step was to install the ceiling drywall.  I will discuss this in my next post.

 

Getting started

First order of business in beginning this project is to:

Get room cleared out of all the stuff that had accumulated in it over the years.  Since the room was basically unusable as an occupied space, it became very useful as a dumping ground.  We called this room the “junk room” and it has fulfilled this use and now is finally being made livable after all these years.

Next:

Prepare for demolition work.  We decided to leave the floor in place until last.  This way, as we removed the old plaster and lath from the ceiling and walls the debris would collect on the floor for removal to the trash bin.  Also, the old floor served as a floor to work off of and it also didn’t matter that it got damaged by falling plaster and lath.  

 Before we started knocking down the old plaster, we first rolled up the old insulation in the attic above the ceiling.  

Let the demolition begin:

Demolition is usually easy.  You do need to take some safety precautions (goggles, dust masks, etc).  The basic tools needed are a wrecking bar, vise grips, and a hammer.  In order to minimize the amount of dust getting into the rest of the house, we closed the door and opened the 2 windows.  In one window we put a window fan (set on “high”) exhausting the dust to the outside.  The other window served as the intake to create cross ventilation. This greatly minimizes the amount of dust settling/floating in the house. Once these preliminaries were done, we began tearing down the old ceiling.  Once you have smashed a hole in the plaster you can begin using the wrecking/pry bar to begin  pulling down the old plaster and lath.  The vise grips are used to remove any remaining lath nails from the joists.  Once the old ceiling is totally removed it is time to begin cleanup.  I purchased an inexpensive 33 gallon trash can and a box of 50 heavy duty contractor trash bags.  We would scoop up about 50 lbs worth of debris in the bag, then haul it out to the trash bin.  The reason for about 50 lbs was only because that weight was manageable and still avoid causing the bag to break. This was mainly for the old plaster which adds up to a lot of weight.  With the old lath, we threw it out the window to be used as kindling for our wood stove during the winter.

I have posted some pictures (in a previous post) of the exposed ceiling and the old oak joists .  What you see here is the unfinished attic.  The BX armored cable you see was for the old ceiling light fixture.  This was the only wiring for the room.  There were no receptacles in any of the upstairs rooms when we moved here, only single ceiling light fixtures with a wall switch.

Reason for bowed ceiling

There are a couple reasons for the bowed ceiling.  As I previously mentioned, both the floor and the ceiling sagged like a saucer.  The sag was about 4″ in the center of the room.

Sag reason #1.  The old 2×8″ oak joists (roughly 16″ on center) spanned almost 16′.  This is undersized for this span (even considering they were oak).  Looking at the span tables, the joists should have been 2×10 – 2×12, depending on the species of lumber.  I would like to state that the 2×8 oak joists were rough sawn and were a full 2″x8″ (more or less, as things were not exactly “standard” back then).

Sag reason #2.  We were told that previous Amish residents from the past had brought the bathroom facilities inside.  In order to have “running water”, they had rigged up a gravity system where they stored the water upstairs and piped it down to the bathroom below (much like a water tower).  Now with water weighing 8 lbs/gallon it is very easy to see how even having a 500 gallon tank up there would easily weigh 4000 lbs.  And, if it leaked, that would cause even further warping

The floor of this room was obviously the ceiling of the 1st floor room below.  I had previously leveled that ceiling by removing the plaster and lath in that room.  Then, instead of doing anything with the existing undersized oak joists, I went to the low point of the ceiling and “sistered” 2×6″ boards onto the existing 2×8 oak joists.  The old joists, over nearly a 100 year time frame had sagged as far as they were going to.  By sistering the new 2×6 joists to these, I actually strengthened the span.  Once the ceiling was level, we installed full length 3/4″  T&G bead board (which I stained).  We had also redone the walls in this room and wallpapered.

A photo of the bead board ceiling (in the room below) is shown above.