Step 8 - Interior rough-in

   Interior rough-in is all the work that is needed before hanging the drywall.   It includes the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC trades.  To keep your project moving, you have to order certain items at this point:

      -- Schedule for a lumber yard sales person to come measure for all interior doors and trim.  Walk through the house with him so you both can be straight on which way all the doors are to open ( left-hand or right-hand ).

     -- Decide on and order all your sinks, showers, and tubs.

     -- Schedule a cabinet maker to come out to measure for the cabinets.  If you can find a little shop out in a small town, they will likely reward your patronage with excellent work and a reasonable price.  

     -- Install any fixtures (like a tub or shower, that butt up to the cabinets so the cabinet maker can get the measures he needs.  At least decide what you want and where it will be located and talk that over with the cabinet maker.   He will let you know if he needs to make another trip to measure again later when you have them in place.

   Now it is time to begin the actual rough-in work.

   Plumbing is fairly easy after you get the hang of sweating copper pipes.  The best way to learn plumbing is to go look at houses in various stages of completion.  When running all the copper, always keep the hot water side to the left as you face a wall where a sink will be.   From left to right, you'll have the hot water line, the drain (2" pvc), and then the cold water line.   The copper lines should have temporary caps protruding out from within the wall.  For sink drains, you may find it easier to configure the P-traps under the sinks if your rough-in drain pipe is off 2" to 4" to the side from the center of where the sink drain will be.  In my experience, there wasn't enough room for the P-traps to go straight back from the sink drain into the wall.   If I had an offset there, it would have been easier to angle the P off to the side and have more room to work with.  Finally, remember to have all your drain lines vented properly.  In some cases I used wet venting, and that has worked fine.

   Tubs and showers are typically installed during the rough-in phase because you may have to temporarily remove some wall studs just to get them in.  Remember that you have the freedom to add sprinkler heads, or route gray water to a garden or other landscaping.   If you and your family are tall, you might consider raising all your sinks and counter tops by a couple of inches ... just have a step stool handy for when short people come visit.  Account for any customizations when setting all the rough in plumbing lines.

   You should still have the hot and cold side bridged together so you can pressure up both sides and check for leaks.

   I hired an electrician, so I'm not going into the details of sizing all the circuits.   Typically, he would run 4 plugs and one light to a breaker circuit.   Of course a plug intended for a fridge or other appliance should have its own circuit.  It is good to have your appliances picked out so you have the specs for their electrical requirements.  For example, an electric oven will require a bigger circuit and wiring than a gas range that only needs electricity for the clock and lights.

   Make sure you or your electrician mounts the boxes for ceiling lights strong and secured to the ceiling joists.   Sometimes electricians will try to use a flimsy thing that is not suitable to support the weight of a ceiling fan.  You may want to add a fan someday and not have it held up solely on the strength of drywall.  Many people will tell you something is "strong enough", but if it looks kinda flimsy then it probably is.   Why go to all this trouble to put something up that is going to give you problems 10 years from now?

   If you are hiring contractors, HVAC will probably prefer to go last, after the plumbers and electricians are done.   HVAC is also one of those trades where a contractor might be able to get the materials for much less than you.  For a two story house, be sure to account for the effects of hot summers on the upper floors and cold winters on the lower floors.   The best solution is to have a separate unit for the second floor with its own thermostat, but a lower cost solution is to have louvers installed in the ducts as they exit the distribution box.   You'll have to go into the attic every spring to adjust the louvers to drive most of the airflow to the upper floor ducts.  Then every fall, you'll have to go back to the attic to switch most of the airflow to the lower floors.

   Insulation is ridiculously overpriced at retail home improvement stores.   I couldn't believe how inexpensively a crew bid the job to insulate my house.   The only tip I have here is to insulate all the way around the master bedroom for sound proofing.   The little ones don't need to know what will be happening in there someday.

   Drywall is another trade that you should be able to have done inexpensively compared to the amount of work involved.

Rounded corners may cost a little extra, but its worth it. They really aren't any harder to put on than regular cornering, and so you might be able to negotiate the price down on that.

I recommend that you also have your drywall contractor finish the drywall. It is just too time consuming to do a good job unless you are really, really good at it.

Congratulations, you should have something that looks a little bit like a place to live now!


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