Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation... from hell

Please forgive me as it's been (aside from those Kiva posts) 5 1/2 months since my last confession. The worst part is... it was entirely purposeful. Why? Because my summer sucked. Not just a little bit. It sucked big. Epic sucking. Yup, it was a bad few months. If you've made the questionable decision to also be my friend on the FB you most likely saw, or at least actively ignored, my periodic posting and updating on the home improvement hell that we were living so you've already got an idea of what went on.

Well, even if you lived through all of that, I'm going to take some time to recreate the whole project in one spot here for me to relive. Someone please explain to me why I would want to do that to myself.

Here we go. Starting with the investigation into why there was water damage to our wood floor in the dining room. It seemed so innocuous at the time... who would have known?

June 9, 2010 - noticing the mold.

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June 10, 2010 - Yes, dealing with this on my birthday was a blast! The first plumber we called comes in, rips some holes in our wall, tells us it'll be $500 to replace the 4 foot section of pipe that is actively leaking. We then got an estimate from his company on a whole-house pipe replacement - $5,000. Um, there's the door - have a nice day.
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Took Wifey and the kids up to Connecticut to visit with her parents on June 18th. I stayed up there for a few days then came home to deal with the broken pipes and the rest of the mess while she remained with the kids up there.

It took a few (anxiety producing) days to get in touch with a plumber/cousin of a friend who came recommended. Although I was angry at his initial lack of responsiveness (later found out he was out of town) I stuck with him. Got an estimate on the project from him - got the family discount even - and fell in love. Just to be sure, and following the directions of all the shows I love on DIY - I got a third estimate at over $6,000. Yeah, plumber/cousin - you're in.

On the 21st I stopped by two different Lowes' on the way home to pick up tile for the floor replacement phase of the project. I tried my best to estimate how much tile I'd need but all those estimates flew out the window when I got to the store and started second guessing myself. So, I just bought everything I could get my hands on knowing I could return anything I didn't use. My poor van wasn't happy with me.

Loaded with tile -


Back to normal -


This is what 1,232 lbs of tile and a thousand dollars looks like. Yup, my poor van held 1,232 lbs of tile plus accessories. And I carried it all in by hand in 90 degree heat.


June 23, the destruction began. Had to move everything off of the DR floor into the LR and some stuff even lived on the stairs for a while.
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The Pergo comes up and the mold underneath is visible.
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The whole wall, opened up.


The mold in the wall, and on the studs and sill, was absolutely disgusting/heartbreaking.
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The floor coming up in the hallway. No wonder the previous owners put down the Pergo - just look at that linoleum underneath!
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Looking back into the DR from the hallway. Looked like someone previously had done the unbelievably hard work of ripping up the linoleum. I wonder what this place used to look like.



June 26, the stove gets moved down off of the hearth even though there is nothing wrong with it or the tile under it. Had to do it so the new tile would match.


Locked and loaded, trying not to get sick as I rip out the moldy studs and sill.
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Drew came over and helped me move the heavy stove and computer cabinet down into the LR. I love my friend Drew!!!!
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Studs are out, temp wall is in.


Close ups of the sill. This is literally feet from where my family ate dinner! I was sick thinking about that.
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With the wall out, the destruction continued with the floor in the kitchen coming up. Notice the mold where the dishwasher is? The seal under the washer failed a while back, causing some leaking. I never thought that there would be this kind of damage under the floor as a result.
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More unseen/unknown mold coming out of the laundry area.
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With the wall down and floor finally out throughout the first floor the piles were large and spread out.
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The tile from the hearth wasn't exactly easy to remove. I didn't want to have to replace the cement board so it all had to be chipped up by hammer and wrecking bar.


Oh yeah... I did all of this without the A/C on (remember the mold? I didn't want to close the windows) in 100 degree heat. I wasn't feeling very good when these days were over. Sleeping was next to impossible.



June 27, the prep work for the plumbing begins. Holes in the walls to get to the tub pipes, the floor in the bedroom comes back up (had to take it up a few months ago when a different pipe leaked), crap gets piled in our bedroom.
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Somehow talked another friend into coming over to help. Thanks Chad! He was a wiz with the hammer and bar in getting the tile taken up.


New wall is in! I went through three bottles of Clorox Clean-up scrubbing the wall clean.


The tile is out, after a lot of blood, sweat, and yes, a few tears.


This is what has become of JAM and Red's bedroom. With no room untouched downstairs, and Pudge's floor literally missing, their room has taken the brunt of the storage duties.



June 28, more holes for the plumbing work. It was a really good thing we did this project. We found more leaks all over the place, including in this hole, right behind the kitchen sink. The pipe leading to the sink looks like it sealed itself up after doing minor damage but there's no guarantee it would have stayed sealed.
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Pipes getting removed - including the ones that started this mess. This is the new wall sans pipes.


Pipes removed from the closet under the stairs where the water heater lives.


Had to rip out much more of the floor upstairs to get to the pipes leading back down to the kitchen. Better this than ripping into sheetrock downstairs. I was standing pretty much above the sink where the new holes had to be cut.
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All the crap that we store under the stairs in the utility closet had to come out. No where to go with it except into the kitchen.


I pretty much cried when we had to open a hole in the dining room ceiling. After not having had a ceiling in there for more than 2 years we finally got it finished not long ago... and now to rip it open again... just killed me.


Taking the washer/dryer out. Just happy to get to clean in there!


The kitchen gets more crowded with the washer and dryer moved out of the closet.
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Empty W/D closet, waiting for me to cut the hole for the new dryer vent.


The bathroom demo begins.
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June 29 - Ripping apart, then putting back together, the W/D closet. And a good view of the best plumber in the world - Casey Biddex.
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More help from Drew let me get all the crap into the van and to the dump so I could start the week without piles o'crap strewn about my yard.
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July 1, I got "smart" and hired out the rocking work to a pro. There's a lot to be said for not having to spend days and days fixing your mistakes in the taping and mudding of sheetrock. Best $300 I ever spent.
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The first, and most critical (and interesting) of the tile goes down. I went with a little floor mat type design as something cool to see as you walk in the front door.
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Tile goes into the bathroom. But, at 11:30pm, with my ability to do basic geometry to make the cuts absolutely gone due to exhaustion, I decided to call it a night with only those few pieces left to cut.



July 2, downstairs bathroom tile done. Glad I stopped when I did the night before, those final few cuts took a long time, mostly because of the one tile that went around the toilet flange. It's hard to cut round patterns with a tile saw that only goes in straight lines.


Tile goes into the kitchen.
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Went up to Connecticut on the 4th to get the family. Brought them back into a whirlwind of mess and chaos. It was not a happy time in the kingdom. Spent the next couple of days finishing the floor upstairs, getting rooms put back together, and navigating the tricky waters of disappointed marriage.

July 6, the dining room is almost done.


July 9, tiling done. Yeah, I was exhausted at 1:30 in the morning. This is what you look like when you've stayed up past midnight tiling every night for a week.
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July 10, grouting in dining room and bathroom done.
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July 12 -Wifey and I were up until 2 am finishing the tile on the hearth. Only a few tiles left here and there then we're done. The hearth is by far the best part of the job. Intricate cuts made it look so much better than bland square tiles.



July 13 - tiling complete!!!!!
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July 21 - My Dad came up to stay and help for a few days. Other than his not being interested in sleeping in a chaotic living room (he bailed and went to a hotel) everything went really well. His major project was finishing (1st coat anyway) the oak trim that surrounds the raised platform where the fireplace sits and the fronting on the step don to the living room. We picked a nice dark color so it outlines the space really well.


The last part of the grouting started well into the evening. By 1:30 in the morning the grout was done. Wifey and I had a good set up... I grouted and she rinsed the sponges in a never ending process. We went through a LOT of water during this process but the look is fantastic!
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I loved the way the tile and grout look against the dark stained wood.
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July 22 - Wifey spent a ton of time sealing the grout and now the tile job is complete! The kids and I took a moment to do a celebratory dance on our temporary dance floor.
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July 24 - The painting process has begun.
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July 25 - the new wall is painted, the trim is ready for install.
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Trim is in and we're ready to move the heavy furniture and stove back into place.
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The LR is starting to look normal again. No, not really. But, it is nice having some space again.


September 15 - Life has returned to "normal." I realized I never took any "Done" pictures right after the project was over but that was probably not a terrible thing as odds and ends were wrapped up over a few days. But, the job (downstairs at least) is done and I think everyone in the family has enjoyed our new look - even the purple bathroom.
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2 comments:

morninglight mama said...

Dear lord, this was painful to re-experience, and some parts made me physically cringe. If we got through that, we can get through anything, right??

Hyon said...

Your friends are dumb.

And thanks for the recap. Someday you'll look back and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Too soon?