Archive for March, 2009
Â Here is the tile we bought for the downstairs bathroom. The large 16″ square tiles in a natural stone color will be layed down in a staggered pattern on the floor, and continue up the walls to about 36″.Â Â On the wall, the 16″ tiles will be topped with a decorative border of smaller tiles which complement the huesÂ of the bigger tile.Â The decorativeÂ border tiles can thenÂ act as a backsplash for the new vanity.
Before we lay the tile, we’ll put down a layer of tile backing board.Â This will eliminate the need to double up on the subfloor, and provide extra support for the increased weight of the tiles. Now, we just need to decide on a paint color to go above the tiles…..
I was away from Thursday – Saturday this past weekendÂ for a meeting at Harvard (which actually is in Cambridge, not Boston, but I didn’t think the alternative alliterative titleÂ ”Cambridge and the Crapper” would be as sophisticated somehow). I came back with a sh*t load (no pun intended) of work to do, so my involvement in the renovation over the next few weeks will probably be just taking pictures and blogging our progress.
Rick kept busy while I was away by demo-ing the downstairs bathroom.Â We haven’t been able to use it since we moved in – Rick noticed that the floor beneath the toilet bowed quite concerningly when a small amount of pressure was applied to the floor.Â He was therefore worried that if either of us sat on the toilet to, er, use the facilities, that we would endÂ up going through the floor into the crawl space below.Â I could just imagine the embarrasment of having to call the emergency services, trapped in the crawl space with my arse in the air.Â Â
Given the state of the back door flooring, we assumed that the bowing was due to water damage and rot to the subfloor and joists.Â The only solution was to remove the toilet and rip up the hardwood floor and subfloor to take a peak below.
This is what I saw when I got back from my trip on Saturday evening. Part of the black discoloration is due to the lining that was under the hardwood floor.Â But beneath that you can clearly see that the subflooringÂ had stared to rot.
On Sunday, Rick continued to to remove the hardwoods from the rest of the bathroom, and remove the subfloor section where the toilet was. What we found was not exactly expected.
The good news is that the water damage on the subfloor has not spread to the joists below (the subfloor damage was mostÂ likely caused by a leak in the wax seal). The bowingÂ in the floor is because the floor joist directly below the toilet has been removed!Â So, there is absolutely no support for the toilet (and a person sitting on it).Â Â A 3/4″ piece of plywood was the only barrier between the toilet and the crawl space below!
This is aÂ nice, simple fix.Â Rick will build a 2×12 frame around the pipe andÂ double up onÂ the sub flooringÂ to provide extra support for the toilet. He’ll need to cut off the existing flange toÂ replace the subflooring, but it should be relatively easy to get aÂ new 3″ flange and attach it to the existing pipe. Once that is done, we can think about putting down new flooring.Â We’ve decided not to put hardwoods back in the bathroom, opting forÂ tile instead.
Rick finished up the back door today by adding a screen door. When the weather gets warmer, it will be nice to open the door and let fresh air in without the bugs getting in.Â
Isn’t it funny how when you complete one project, 20 more are waiting for you to do?Â This picture of the screen door reminds me we need to change out that light (it is already bought, just needs to be put up).Â Plus, we really need to start getting some quotes for replacing the siding at the back of the house.Â We knew it was pretty bad when we bought the house, but this picture shows how bad it is.Â I guess we’re just going to have to sell Rick’s body on Ebay to get the money for all this renovating…Â Any bidders?
Â He’s piled all the carpet and underlay in neat little stacks in the bonus room (can you say OCD? ) He unearthed a few dodgy (blood like???) stains on the subfloor beneath the carpet – makes you wonder exactly what went on in the house before we bought it.
he’s buried in our front yard and is guarding the house!
We installed the new outside lighting today. Very easy to do – plug it in, run the wire, clip the lights onto wire and hey presto! lights are working.Â Now we have to wait and see what the lights look like at night – we might have to reposition them slightly depending on how they hit the house.
2am. Wednesday night. Well, technically Thursday morning.Â I had to be up for work in about 4 hours; Rick in about 5 hours. Most “normal” people would be in bed long before now.Â But no, not us – we were filled with the verve all new homeownersÂ have two weeks into living in their new house.Â Sleep is for the weak, we laugh!
RickÂ spent most of the evening removing the last of the framing downstairs. He wanted to push on through and put the header up before we stopped working for the evening. Ok fine, I said. The one major obstacle is that putting the header up (on our 10 foot ceilings) involved going up a ladder.Â I don’t do ladders. It’s a vertigo thing – big heights I’m fine with, but smaller you-can-easily-fall-off-this-and-hurt-yourself heights, not so much.Â So putting up this header was actually a very protracted and lengthy task (did I mention it was 2am?) in which Rick went up the ladder one end, heaving the huge 12in x 16ft header onto the supports, then I supported the beam while he ascended the ladder at the other end, heaving the beam into place.Â Or not. It took about 8 tries before we could get the beam to sit nicely in the supports both ends. So by 3 am, we were both thoroughly exhausted but satisfied that a) the headerÂ was Â finally in place, and more importantly b) the house didn’t come crashing down with the wall removed.Â All that new homeowner vim and vigor? Gone baby, gone )
We started off the day with the simple aim of changing out the back door.Â It was an old wooden one that had become warped from excess moisture, and was not a very good barrier to the outside weather. We purchased a framed metal door from Lowes, so it should have been a relatively quick and simple task.Â Should, being the operative word.Â When we took the existing door frame off, we discovered a whole bunch of water damage and rot.Â Rick removed the hard wood flooring and the sub flooring to see the state of the joists.Â As you can see, there was a significant amount of water damage to the joists that would need repairing before we even thought about changing the door.
After a quick trip to the DIY store to get 2×12′s and 2×4′s, Rick got to work replacing the joists. It took a little while longer than anticipated, but that might be down toÂ having to keep retrieving our new chihuahua puppy from the crawl space. All of our dogs, including Beegee (a 60 pound bassett hound) refused to jump over the 12 inch gap in the floor between the house and the yard and had to be carried over everytime they wanted to go out.Â But notÂ our feisty 3 pound chihuahua puppy, Arriba. She thought she could take on what her larger counterparts were afraid of, tried to jump across the gap, and fell approx. 4 feet into the crawl space below.Â She was absolutely fine, and was willing and ready to give jumping the gap another go! So, after a few trips to the crawl space and back, Rick finally got the structure sound and could begin actually replacing the door.
The door itself went in without any trouble. We found out though that the rough opening of the door frame was larger than the original (and new) door.Â So, a few shims, a few nails and a few curses later, we finally have a new back door.