Sunday, March 23, 2014

What "Ph.D" Means - At Least This Week!

Sorry about the delay in any updates about the renovation project. Last week was the week midterm grades were due at the university, meaning I was so tied up with grading (and search committee duties) there wasn't a spare minute to blog. But this is SPRING BREAK!!!!! So maybe I can put together several posts this week about the fascinating fun that is renovating an old house.

We are at the halfway point (more or less) in tearing out the inside walls of the "town house," as I call it. My husband is very methodical about the process - we started in the southwest corner of the house and have moved from that room to the next room just north of it, then to the one just north of that one. Well, that's what he's done. I have much more of a hop-around style. (In my defense, I hop around from room to room because I don't want to be in the room where something might fall on my head as he pulls it down.) The daughter and I have taken down drywall in various sections in the room that will become the living room, as well as tearing out part of two closets (since that room was a bedroom). Here are a couple of shots of that room:

Ah, the sledgehammer! My daughter's favorite tool!
She has a pretty mean swing for a 5' 2" girl.....

That room has 10-foot ceilings, so the daughter and I have only tackled the part we can reach. We'll leave the heavy-duty, overhead stuff for my husband. He's the one who's really done the bulk of the work, including tearing out the built-in cabinets in the old kitchen (which will become a bedroom). He said that job was pretty hard, since everything was made of solid boards and nailed to the wall. He finished tearing them all out about a week ago, just making a huge pile in the floor since the dumpster was full. We then had to leave it all there for several days, since neither of us could get away to work on the project. But a new dumpster was delivered and all the trash was cleared out in about a half-hour, giving us a clean slate for tearing out the old vinyl flooring.

We are taking the walls down to studs, to make it easier to do new wiring (a necessity!). I always like the "stud" stage of a house, when it's possible to see how the rooms are laid out but there is a sense of freedom from being able to see and walk through the walls.

My husband estimates we should be able to finish the demolition with a couple of good, long days this week. He would even like to have the new walls he plans to add (for closets in the new bedrooms and for an extension to the hallway leading from the laundry room) by the end of the week. But....there may be a mighty big kink in his plan.

We are also involved in a renovation project in the house we live in. A couple of months ago, my husband had to go under the house for something, and he noticed some mold on the joists under our bathroom. I had been suspicious for a while that there was a leak around the edge of the tub, so we decided this would be an opportune time to take out the tub/shower and convert the bathroom to a walk-in shower. Today we started that project (since it's spring break and we don't have to take showers every day, ha ha!). (Actually, we can use the shower in the kids' bathroom.) I started scraping off the popcorn ceiling, we carefully removed the tile (which we may use in the "town house" - I couldn't stand putting perfectly good tile in a landfill), and my husband and son carried the fiberglass tub outside.

It was at that point we discovered the extent of the damage. It's not terrible, I suppose, but it's a good thing we decided to redo the shower now, because there was significant water damage behind the tub. Apparently there were two leaks, one where the silicone sealant between the wall and the tub wasn't thick enough, and another where a gasket of some kind on the tub drain had simply rotted out from age (our house is about 17 years old). There are a couple of wall studs that are a bit spongy, and the plywood subfloor has a couple of soft spots. To fix it right (which I insist on) will mean cutting the wall of the closet on the other side of the shower, replacing the lower half of some studs, replacing at least one section of subfloor - in other words, a LOT more work than my husband had intended to do for this project. He's not happy. I can understand why; it probably will mean we won't get as much done at the town house as he wanted to this week. But as I keep reminding him, this is the house where we live; we want it to be in the best shape possible.

So that's where things stand as of 10:00 p.m. Sunday night. Let's hope by 10 p.m. next Sunday that at least the shower project is complete!

Oh, and the Ph.D. reference? I've been joking that for this week, that "Ph.D." after my name stands for "Professional House Demolisher."


Ephemera said...

It looks like you're making good progress all the way around! Glad to see a new post. I was just telling Lil Red Hen yesterday that I check every day for something new! But sorry about the leaking tub.

lil red hen said...

It's fun seeing the work as it progresses. Glad it isn't me doing it though. lol Did you have to get special permits to do new plumbing and wiring at the town house? Can you recycle the kitchen sink?

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

we need to do the same thing with our bathroom!