Monday, October 4, 2010

Can we build it?

September 8--I discover a leak coming from the toilet in our main bathroom

September 9--The plumbers I called tell me that the flange is completely rusted/broken and cannot be replaced until the subfloor beneath the toilet (also broken and rotten) is replaced. You can read more about that here, but the basic lesson learned is PO (Previous Owner) failed to brace the plywood subfloor correctly, and put the toilet right at the edge of a piece of plywood, so every time someone sat on the toilet, the entire floor flexed.

September 13-15--I searched high and low for ceramic tile that matches the floor. I failed. It seems that tile, like everything else for the home, comes in and out of style. Currently, our style is out. So, like the latest designer to be cut on Project Runway, our ceramic tile has been "auffed".

September 22 (ish)--J mentions that going downstairs to use the bathroom and shower is getting old, and asks how long it's going to take to fix the bathroom. I start looking for a bargain on marble tile.

September 30--I meet Tracey at our local Tile Shop, who negotiates a good deal on marble tile with me, and promises to teach me how to lay it at their free Saturday morning class.

October 2--J and I take "tile class" and purchase 40 square feet of carrera marble (we really only need 30 square feet, but this gives us the chance to pull our favorite tiles and return the rest...or make LOTS of mistakes cutting!), backerboard, thinset, grout, tape, screws, etc.

October 3--I make up a list of everything that will have to be done, and then I prepare a timeline laying out exactly where each step falls along the timeline. J makes me promise not to be so committed to the schedule that I get upset if we get off schedule. I agree, confident in my schedule and certain we won't get off pace. So, confident in myself and my schedule, I get started: box up everything in the vanity and medicine cabinet, establish a staging area in the living room, prep for the next day. Things are going so well, I ask J to give me a hand with a couple tasks on Monday's list. We move the toilet out of the room, take down a towel bar and remove the medicine cabinet.

Cue the foreboding music on our happy little timeline...

As you can see, PO left us an insanely large, evidently unnecesary hole in the wall, hidden behind the medicine cabinet (which, by the way, he'd attached to the wall with 8 screws--3 different types of screw heads). The wiring he conveniently cut around is also apparently unnecessary--the piece on the left isn't attached to anything, and I'm hoping it doesn't go to anything on the right, either. I've learned not to get my hopes up, though, and have just avoided looking.

October 4--All that is left on today's list is to remove the vanity and tile, then call a furniture refinisher in Midway to discuss my antique dresser (first mentioned here, well over a year ago). Well, the sink and vanity top came off fairly easily, and the use of "the Melton principle" got the vanity base out. I muscled the dresser out of the basement and into my car, then convinced J to join me on a rather chilly drive out to Midway to deliver the dresser. The owner made a great case for doing the complete job of turning our dresser into a vanity, and we may give him a chance.

On my way back home after dropping J back at the office, I decided to run by Home Depot's Tool Rental shop, because last week an employee told me they had several options for removing ceramic tile. Unfortunately for me, that employee wasn't on the clock today, and I got stuck with Jimmy, who assured me that the General Stripper FCS16 (or something like that...), a.k.a. RIP-R-STRIPPER, was the ONLY tool they had that could do the job. He showed me how to use the machine, gave me an attachement for ceramic tile, assured me I didn't need an operators manual, loaded RIP in my car, and sent me on my way. I got RIP out of my car and up one step before my back protested lifting it again. I called J in tears, and he assured me that the 24 hour rental cost was cheaper than a back injury. He promised to move RIP inside for me when he got home.

RIP failed to get the tile up. You want to dig a hole in the floor? RIP's your tool. You want to pop ceramic tile up? Not the tool for the job. After finding the operator's manual online, J found that the attachment the company recommends is not the one Jimmy sent home with me. After trial, error, and Google, we found that the chisel method is far more effective than RIP, and manged to take up 6 or 7 tiles before calling it a night.

We are now behind schedule. J has avoided saying "I told you so", but I'm already wracked with guilt. Luckily, I built in several cushion days, and have one scheduled for Wednesday. Maybe we can get back on track before I leave Friday for 10 days...

Almost 30 days since the Melton Point became a "one hole-er", here are the stats:
Number of times Sandy has served as the family pick-up truck: 3 (transporting backerboard, our vanity-to-be, and the tile "removal" machine
Number of injuries: 2 requiring bandaids, a stubbed toe, a few bruises and a pulled back muscle

Title: Using Bob the Builder's theme song...expect to see more of this one, but I can't promise how long it will take before you get the next line...

1 comment:

Becky said...

Sorry I couldn't loan you my husband, but glad yours was able to get the thing into the house. But, seriously, it didn't work??!!!! I really think you should write a hate letter to PO...