Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Feel Like We Are Building A House

We have been exiled from our house now for about a month. Our apartment is feeling more like our home than our actual home. We still have a few weeks more of apartment living before we can move back in. The longer we stay, however, the more stuff we seem to bring over to our apartment.

I thought it would be fun and relatively easy to blog about the progress on the house restoration. I was wrong. The number of decisions makes the process feel like we are building a house vs. restoring a house.

Lets see...what has gone wrong since the last update.

The lazy susan and sink base needed to be removed again and fixed. The cabinet makers did not rebuild them right.

I found some additional flaws inside the cupboards yesterday that will likely require some base cabinets to be removed yet again and rebuild. The project manager for the restoration company was not happy but he agreed with me that the work was not done well.

The door to the back patio does not open very well. The door sticks far worse than before. It seems that water swelled the door sill and perhaps the jam. So a door repair guy will come to the house to assess the damage and find a way to fix it. Who knows, we may need a new door. The garage back door also will not close now. Not sure how that happened but it seems to have happened after the drywall work was completed today. Another problem that needs to be fixed.

The bank (BofA)will not release the balance of the insurance funds until they send an inspector to size up estimate to complete. The process takes about two weeks to get a check cut. Scheduling the inspector takes between 3-5 days. We had no idea how convoluted the funding process would be. It may hold up getting back into our house. Update...we got the inspector to come today. He will released 80% of the funds. This is very good news.

What seems to be going right...

The drying delay brought on by the second water damage claim gave me time to do a little wiring in the office ceiling and in the garage. I installed recessed lighting in the office and strung another outlet on the cabinet wall.

We have selected our counter top. We chose two granite slabs from Finland. 115 square feet to be exact. The name of the pattern is called Baltic Brown. It is a popular, dark granite. However, we found slabs with distinct green, brown, and black overtones. It is quite unique from the standard pattern.

These slabs are quite massive are moved about by monster clamps and a conveyor system on the ceiling. The floor workers "steer" the slabs onto the display racks using a remote control.

We are still working on floor tile choices (20" porcelain tile instead of the original 16" in size) and considering a high end laminate or engineered wood flooring for the office. Will likely tile the dining room but we are also considering laminate or engineered wood flooring.

We are presently leaning to the darker tile to the right. A sample tile made from the Baltic Brown granite is seen in contrast. The next two picture are the two floor tiles grouped together.

The original style and grade carpet in the downstairs family room, upstairs family room, upstairs hallway, and the guest bedroom will be replaced with the same style and grade carpet and pad. This same type and grade carpet will be put in the other 2 bedrooms by the hall bathroom and on the stairs. The space between the laundry room and the downstairs bathroom will be tiled to match the bath and laundry room instead of replacing the carpet.

The fireplace tile, at some point, will be replaced with a new design combining the floor tile and granite accents from tile made from Baltic Brown tile. If there is enough granite slab left, we will make a hearth slab.

The back splash in the kitchen will be made using pieces of floor tile and granite accents. The same materials will the tile listelles in the foyer.

The garage wall and ceiling drywall has been restored, taped, and first coat mud applied.

While the ceiling in the garage was exposed, I decided to install a soft water plumbing loop and drain line. The water softener appliance will be installed near the large garage door opening along the south wall. The plumbing loop is started outside the house and then brought through the outside wall and into the garage. The drain goes into the garage ceiling and runs over to the washbasin drain near the hot water heater. When I decide to buy a soft water unit, I can tap into the loop on the inside of the garage.

It is a pretty cool set up. There are now three water bibs outside. One for the irrigation. One for a hard water hose and one for a soft water hose. So we can water plants with the hard water, wash the car spot-free with the soft water. The line to the pool is now soft water which will help on chemical use and less calcium and mineral buildup.

More updates to come. The work will start to progress quite quickly from now until the end of the month. The plan is to move back in on the first weekend on May.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beginning the Restoration

The home restoration is well under way. Drywall has been repaired and textured. All downstairs rooms were effected. Notice that all flooring was removed including the tile in the foyer and the kitchen. At this point the house still smelled a little musty. The concrete slab was still damp and will take some time to dry completely.

Painting has started. All the faux finishes that I did a few years ago have been whited coated. The painters have started to experiment with the color mix to restore the painting to as close to the original as possible.

Then disaster struck again. I turned the upstairs hallway bath toilet on again. I noticed that the bowl was empty and the tank was dry. It had been turned off by a neighbor the day that the water leak was discovered. Someone had probably used it and got one flush. I watched the tank fill up and then flushed it once. Everything seem to work fine. I put the lid on the tank and then closed the house up and went back to our temporary apartment.

The next morning, the restoration manager called to tell me that the toilet had leaked all night and that parts of the upstairs and downstairs had been water damaged. Within 30 minutes of arriving at the scene, the ceiling in the office caved in.

The drying crew was back on the property within the hour. Carpets in the upstairs hallway and adjacent bedrooms were removed. Baseboards were stripped from the walls. This time, the drywall did not need to be removed. The water was clean and the sub floor was wood. Water did not wick up the studs but soaked into the wood sub flooring and drained into the rooms below.

The verdict on the office was to remove most of the ceiling drywall and all the drywall on the north wall and the wall between the office the garage.

The water leaked in to the garage through the floor to ceiling cupboards and the ceiling.

The cupboards were removed and will be replaced. The better part of the ceiling in the garage will need to be repaired. This encouraged me to put in a water softener loop since a drain would need to be run through the ceiling over to the drain by the water heater.

So, the house is drying out at this time. the house is again filled with dryers and de-humidifiers. Work was suspended for 4 days to allow the drying process to proceed with doors shut and the furnaces cranking at 90 degrees.

It looks like all rooms upstairs will also be re-carpeted including the upstairs family room. We plan to order the same carpet we had in the downstairs and upstairs family rooms and use this for the all rooms where carpet needs to be replaced. My tile work in the hall bathroom does not need to be torn out but the walls will need to be re-painted. The only rooms in the house that have not been effected are the master bedroom and the master bathroom. Given that every room will get love, we decided to give some to the master bedroom too and have the carpets replaced and the walls painted.

Look for my next post where I will show you the new counter top from Finland.