Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tutorial: DIY Upcycling old Shelves into Boxes to Cover Irrigation Valves (DIY Valve Cover Box)

We have been talking about making/ buying boxes for a long time for the front and back of the house where the irrigation valves are.  We wanted boxes to protect the valves from the sun in the summer breaking down the plastic, and from the cold in the winter, making them burst.

Granted, this winter we are coming out of was colder than most, but it did cause us to wrap the pipes after repairing the front valves, then replacing one of them for suspected minor freeze damage which was revealed when we recently turned them back on.  I also thought it would look nicer/ tidier to hide the valves.

Rear Irrigation Valves - BEFORE
Front Irrigation valves- BEFORE
Rear Irrigation Valves - AFTER
Front Irrigation Valves - AFTER

So-- the boys and I got to work.  We measured the areas, and found some old boards in the scrap pile.  These particular boards came from the garage cabinets we recently pulled out (and gave away on craigslist- did I mention how much I love craigslist?).  We kept them, thinking they would come in handy.

We started with the rear irrigation area.  Here are the measurements and my crude drawing and building plan.  I did it in pencil on one of the boards.  This cut list is missing my posts- I wanted 4 which were 24" tall (I used new 2x4s leftover from the greenhouse project).
The next step was to measure and label the boards.

 Then I cut them with the circular saw and gave them to my elder assistant to assemble.  We used 2" screws.

We did the spacing between the boards using a board as a spacer, then removing it.

We measured it against the valves before adding the back two posts (carried it there and back).

The littler helper had to make his own box out of scraps.

 Then we moved on to the front irrigation area.  We measured, I drew the box and made a cut list, then got to measuring and cutting from our scrap pile.

I did the cuts, and we assembled the box.  

You will notice both boxes have the top piece that isn't as wide as the entire box.  The scraps fell this way, and I opted not to make a thin strip on either box.  They are easier to carry this way, and having it not all the way flush with the wall doesn't interfere with the sun-blocking capabilities.  If you run into the same issue, it's your call (obviously).  I thought it was insignificant.  

Another thing you will notice is that the 2x4 posts take up room on the inside of the box.  This only mattered to us on the front box, where there is a pressure reducing valve poking out slightly to the right below the spigot.  I opted not to put in the fourth post for this reason-- I wanted more clearance for that valve.  To check for this, I measured each box against the actual space with only the front posts attached.  After it fit and I had a feel for the space, I attached the back posts (or not).  The advantage of the back posts is that they help keep the side panels flush-- especially when using upcycled wood, as we were.

 Then we primed the boxes.

Then we painted them.

Then we painted them again.

Then we turned them over and primed them and painted them again.  I wanted to make sure the wood that would be on the mulch would be protected from rotting, especially since the area is fairly moist.


 I MAY put a little plant or something on the shelf.  Stay tuned.  The color looks slightly off-- our exterior paint color is slightly off because our house is made of shingles and they were stained, not painted.  I need a few days to get used to them.  The front box also looks slightly askew- I may need to put a brick or something under that right side.

Rear Irrigation Valves - AFTER
Front Irrigation Valves - AFTER

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