Horrible remodeling ventures

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coius's picture
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Well, we went to remodel the "only complete" bathroom that we have. It has turned out to be a quite sour venture in a series of steps that makes it harder and harder to do.

Step 1: remove Toilet, vanity/sink and floor
Step 2: learn that floor is rotted, and mold is on the underneath of the floor as moist gas comes up from the sewer pipe and wets the underneath of the boards
Step 3: stand back, plug nose, and say Ewww.... as it stinks horribly
Step 4: head to the local homestore and speak with incompetant teenage lackies who know nothing of what a sub-floor is.
Step 5: learn that house pipes have corroded to the point that you can no longer see light through the pipes when held up to the lightbulb.
Step 6: replace pipes, and find that during soldering the copper, that you started a small fire in the walls, only to be put out carelessly by a person that thinks a bucket o' water will do the trick.
Step 7: replace strip of wall that water went through as it destroyed the drywall as it went down
Step 8: put in floor
Step 9: put in linoleum

Soon to be:

Put in toilet, sink/vanity (new one) and put tiles on the back wall.

We have been needing the remodel in a long time, now that we got to it.. we have pulled the whole in-city family in to help as each one knows something the other doesn't

This has turned into a royal nightmare

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coius's picture
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Forgot to say...

can anyone else top that?
We are having to use a toilet in the basement that has a problem... It won't shut off. At least, not without opening the tank top and pushing down the clapper manually.

Our kitchen sink is now where we brush our teeth. We have to shutoff the alarm (which someone always fails to do *points at myself*) at night when we have to use the restroom in the middle of the night. In fact, the basement toilet is nothing more than that. It is a toilet on a concrete box, surrounded by 3 partially open wood boards, and no door at all. Luckily it is in the corner of the basement, where the open view is face the wall in the corner
We had to walk on floor joists to get to the tub (which we did not need to take out) and all of us have almost stepped on the ceiling below. We did this for 3 days, while figuring out how to get our new floor in as we have not done this ourselver before

Right now as i am typing this, we are laying the linoleum

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Re: Forgot to say...

coius wrote:

can anyone else top that?
We are having to use a toilet in the basement that has a problem... It won't shut off. At least, not without opening the tank top and pushing down the clapper manually.

A $10 kit will fix that quite easily.

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coius's picture
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finally!

We have the "Golden Throne of the King" installed. Finally. Now we don't have to use the basement one. And we got that done 25 min ago, at 10:05 PM . We can finally have the alarm without it going off in the middle of the night because one of us forgot it was on...

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davintosh's picture
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Can't top that...

... but I've got my own nightmare story. We dove into remodeling our basement bathroom in mid-2002. The old bathroom wasn't much of one -- a 4 x 8 foot walled in area with a stool and a floor drain surrounded by a concrete curb. Just outside the shower wall was a vanity (made of glorified cardboard), which had its drain pipe go through the wall and dump into the shower from about 2 feet up.

Anyway, we tore most of that out, re-plumbed the shower, built decent walls around it (now 8 x 10 feet), sheetrocked the walls, and put ceramic tile on the floor. I got the tiles laid on the Saturday before Labor Day (early September), then broke my ankle the very next day. Spent the next 3 days in the hospital, and the next 6 weeks on crutches. Just some friendly advice from someone who's been there; broken bones are Very Bad Things for adults over 40. Avoid using things like Razor Scooters at all costs, as accidents with them happen very quickly and have very nasty outcomes.

During my convalescence I coached my wife and then-13-year-old son in the finer points of grouting tile. While I was laid up I was able to arrange to get a few things done to make the bathroom somewhat useable (for my teenage daughter), but really lost interest in the whole project. It was a while before I got back to tiling the shower walls & floor.

Right now (almost 3 years later) the bathroom is useable but not quite finished. I still need to trim out the window, install baseboard trim, paint the door and trim & repaint the walls (yes, repainting is already needed even though the job is not yet finished.) Granted, the interim has been filled with lots of other things, but just the memory from breaking the ankle and all that followed makes me want to put off finishing that project.

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eeun's picture
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not quite topping...

..but a darn funny remodelling story.

When we were renovating the kitchen and back room in my last house, there was an old chimney that went up the middle of the wall between the two rooms. It was in the way of where I wanted move the doorway to, so it had to come down.

When I removed the wall in the back room to get at the covered part of the chimney, I was amazed to find the mortar had all crumbled and the bricks were falling out. The wooden framing all around it was scorched. It's amazing the house didn't burn down back when it was being used.

Anyway, we had a hole in the kitchen floor. It led to an old cistern that we were using for storing fruit and vegetables, and had a 2-foot square hatch. We decided to cover it up, and thought it would be a perfect place to put all those bricks from the chimney (in the end, we filled it with the rest of our debris, stuff we didn't want to move, including a couple old PCs).

Once I removed some of the top bricks, it looked like I'd be able to just push the chimney over, and the majority of it would go right into the hole. The rest would fall short, and would be an easy job pushing them in.

Well, there's something to be said for doing better measuring than eyeballing, because as I stood in the back room pushing the chimney, and it reached the point of no return, it tipped forward with the top slamming into out kitchen table, launching the contents up into the air like a catapult. My wife caught it on video, and you can hear her shriek as placemats and various tabletop items fly towards her.

Once the dust cleared, most of the chimney was found to have gone into the hole as planned, inluding most of what hit the table. The ceiling had a dark, wet stain from where the teapot hit it and broke.

The table was repaired, and the only other casualties were the teapot, and a couple jars of jam.

It was quite funny, even at the time, and is still our best-remembered renovation. Oh...and I tend to measure more often now.

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What?

Quote:

We have the "Golden Throne of the King" installed. Finally. Now we don't have to use the basement one. And we got that done 25 min ago, at 10:05 PM . We can finally have the alarm without it going off in the middle of the night because one of us forgot it was on...

Could you please explain this whole alarm thing to me? I'm terribly confused.

Let me see if I have this right...

You're remodelling your main bathroom and you're temporarily using the toilet in the basement. You have to remember the alarm because if you use the toilet in the basement the alarm will go off and wake everybody up.

Hmmm, why do you have an alarm on your basement toilet? Is there a problem with unauthorized defecating in your household? Smile

I'm terribly perplexed and genuinely intrigued...

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I think it's a household secu

I think it's a household security alarm thing for break-in detection or something.

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
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most likely...

Most likely, his security system has a trigger/sensor on the door to the basement (meaning access to the basement from the outside is possible). This is not too different than having an attached garage on your house and a sensor on the door betwixt the living space and the garage space.

This makes sense in most cases when it is either too costly to include it in the protected field of your home security system or not possible to entirely secure the space, or the space needs to be accessible by others (i.e. I may have given a key to a neighbor so that he can put packages in my garage while I am out of town, but I do not want him to get access to my living space...)

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coius's picture
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A little update

When you go down the basement steps, there is a motion detector that if you cross it, the alarm goes off immediatly

2nd, we found out that lowes lied to us about how to put the floor down and the materials needed, and now we have to take the WHOLE floor up again, including the toilet and sink/vanity. The linolieum is not sticking to the floor at all. We were told to use masonite for the underlying of the linoleum. So, up comes all that, and we are almost back where we started from

And yes, we have a whole house wireless security alarm

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Re: A little update

coius wrote:

When you go down the basement steps, there is a motion detector that if you cross it, the alarm goes off immediatly

Yikes! Boy do I like living in the good-old Midwest, where it's still possible to live without fancy-shmancy alarm systems & whatnot. Where you can leave the car doors unlocked while it's parked on the street overnight. My kid forgot to put his bike away last night (fairly decent mountain bike) and it was still there this morning. He got chewed out for that, mostly because it was supposed to rain overnight, but that's as bad as it got. Does everybody live with security fears, or are there more people like me out there?

coius wrote:

2nd, we found out that lowes lied to us about how to put the floor down and the materials needed, and now we have to take the WHOLE floor up again, including the toilet and sink/vanity. The linolieum is not sticking to the floor at all. We were told to use masonite for the underlying of the linoleum. So, up comes all that, and we are almost back where we started from

And yes, we have a whole house wireless security alarm

That'll teach you to trust the teenagers working at a hardware/grocery store. Wink Anybody who's spent any time at all around construction would know that you don't use masonite for underlayment -- way too expensive and no porosity for the adhesive. Next time do a little Googling for your answers. There are plenty of how-to forums & websites online that would give better advice; I like http://www.thisoldhouse.com for stuff like this. (And no, it's not just for old houses.)

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I'd be marching right back...

Quote:

2nd, we found out that lowes lied to us about how to put the floor down and the materials needed, and now we have to take the WHOLE floor up again, including the toilet and sink/vanity. The linolieum is not sticking to the floor at all. We were told to use masonite for the underlying of the linoleum. So, up comes all that, and we are almost back where we started from

I'd be marching right back to Lowes', receipt in hand, and asking them how they're going to remedy this situation. A company like Lowes, prides itself on having knowledgeable staff. I'd definitely be wanting to speak to a manager at the local Lowes store.

coius's picture
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Talked to Lowe's

They will be paying for the materials now, but sadly, not the time we have invested in this project.
The guy there told us he was in flooring and had done this several times. Turns out, he was just a person in charge of stocking the shelves. This really ticks me off. I am pretty sure he got fired over this, as we wasted (or should I say, Lowe's waisted) about $300 worth of materials. Luckily, Lowe's will be honering the fact that there was a mistake. All we have to do is bring back the used stuff, and they will replace it with the same stuff (luckily, we got all of this stuff from there)
I'm glad that even the Big Companies (not just the mom & pop stores, Recognize when a mistake that has been made.

As a reference for security. There has has been a rash of burglaries in the area recently (we got the alarm 5 yrs ago) and most of them have been invloving injury/death to the victims, when they find someone is in there home. Usually by a blunt blow to the head. So i am glad we have the alarm. I would rather have an alarm go off in the middle of the night, than having injury/death in the household.
And yes, We have been broken into several times (6 to be in fact). All but one time, the crook has been scared off. The last time, we got our iMac stolen (in fact, the same one downstairs), but they got the guy walking down the hill with an indigo imac in his arms. We got lucky because of the alarm.
So it has paid off by having the thing...

Forgot to add:
Davintosh: the alarm is set to go off immediatly if the motions are tripped. That is the alarm default, whether it is on delayed set-off, or immediate set-off. The delayed only applies to the door and window sensors.
2nd, I live in Nebraska. The is the midwest. So, no place is safe from crime. Even small communities in secluded areas have serial killers

EDIT (again...):
There is a basement door that leads outside at the landing in the steps to the basement. This keeps someone from entering (but while avoiding the main living) and stealing stuff in the basement. We have a lot of valuable stuff down there (including my work office and computer repair station (I'm very proud of it as I built the area myself, to customize on how I work on computers and proper safety [note: I also keep a fire extinguisher down there for the odd times when i have to go into a computer that has a CRT built-in to it] That includes many valuable tools needed to do my job. If that stuff were stolen, our insurance doesn't even cover half of the amount of value that is stolen.

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Re: not quite topping...

eeun wrote:

When I removed the wall in the back room to get at the covered part of the chimney, I was amazed to find the mortar had all crumbled and the bricks were falling out. The wooden framing all around it was scorched. It's amazing the house didn't burn down back when it was being used.

That's not suprizing to me (I work on chimneys in my day job) and I see it all the time. I'm going ot guess that the chimney used to have a furnace and/or hot water heater vent through it? That would explain alot about the crumbling mortar.

NOTE: For those who replace an old furnace with a new high-efficiency one, make sure that they install proper vent flues on everything! The new furnace might vent using PVC pipe out the side of the house (perfectly fine for a modern furnace) but they migfht leave the hot water heater venting to the old flue on it's own. That is gonna need a flue liner (slinky like metal tube) or it won't draw/vent properly and can/will cause damage through water condensation inside the old flue or CO or CO2 buildup inside the house.

One of the major mistakes people make is not doing something right (ie the flues) and paying much more to fix it later than doing it right the first time through. NEVER trust someone who says "ah, just ignore it, it'll work" if they are doing something wrong. Yeah, it might work, but for how long and what are the consequences? Interior damage (condensation leaking from the flue to damage drywall?) or health/death (CO or CO2 buildup) are hard to quantify, but they sure are worth paying the full price to get something done right.

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I'm glad...

Quote:

They will be paying for the materials now, but sadly, not the time we have invested in this project.
The guy there told us he was in flooring and had done this several times. Turns out, he was just a person in charge of stocking the shelves. This really ticks me off. I am pretty sure he got fired over this, as we wasted (or should I say, Lowe's waisted) about $300 worth of materials. Luckily, Lowe's will be honering the fact that there was a mistake. All we have to do is bring back the used stuff, and they will replace it with the same stuff (luckily, we got all of this stuff from there)
I'm glad that even the Big Companies (not just the mom & pop stores, Recognize when a mistake that has been made.

I'm glad that Lowes' will be replacing your materials for you. Large companies like Lowes and Home Depot are usually pretty good that way; they want you to do all of your home improvement shopping there. As for the $300 worth of lost materials, that's a drop in the bucket for them. They'll probably end up seeing that $300 as a savings somewhere i.e. taxes or something.

coius's picture
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done.. well... mostly

We got around to doing the floor again (we were working some things out) and got the new one in. To make a long story short, we are now doing the tile and putting in the vanity cabinet and sink. We also cleaned up some other 'rough edges' before we put the new floor down. We have my brother's friend coming over to do the tile on monday (he works with tiles, so we know he does a better job at it than us)
Hopefully this will all be done soon

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