Saturday, January 25, 2014

Holy Crapitola ~ A Five Day Project Turns into Five Weeks ~ Dec 9, 2013 to Jan 17, 2014

Our bathroom's been on the to do list for the 27 years we've owned the house. What started out as a pretty straight forward project to replace the old tub with a walk in shower and update a few things turned into the Remodel from Hell. 

Surprise #1 - Two of the walls in the bathroom are inch thick, exterior stucco, painted the same color as the exterior of the house when we bought it in 1988. We always thought the place might have been a cabin at one time, wish the walls could talk! Removing these sections created quite the grit cloud, which, no matter the precautions, escaped the confines of the project. A deep cleaning of the house was a no brainer once the project was completed. 

Surprise #2 ~ Though recycle and re-purpose were not yet words in the common man's dictionary when the house was built in 1953, it appears the concept was alive and well judging from the construction of the shower. Can you spell jigsaw puzzle?
Surprise #3 ~ The plumbing inspector showed up Wednesday the 11th and had our crew remove a 4' x 4' section of floor to expose the tangle of plumbing he suspected was there. We discovered that when the new sewer line was put in (before we purchased the house) they simply put wood flooring over the old, open sewer pipe which was still connected to septic. Yikes!

Plumbers had to be called (installers aren't plumbers which seems ironic since ReBath specializes in bathroom remodels) and they would be there Tuesday (12/17) to get plumbing up to code. Next Week?  We've been without a shower since the 9th and a toilet since the 11th. Fortunately we have our little trailer (the outhouse on wheels) parked out front and we've been able to stay at a cottage owned by the parents of one of our neighbors.

The plumbers pondered a solution and came up with a winner. The inspector signed off on the 18th and the washer, dishwasher, sink, shower and vanity were connected to the new sewer line. Our Medusa has been tamed and the crew finished the project on Saturday the 21st, our 27th Anniversary. Whoopee we can sleep at home. 

Surprise #4 ~ The entire plumbing system backs up Sunday morning after two showers and two flushes. WTF! Monday morning we call the a honey wagon and get the septic pumped (it was time anyway) but that doesn't solve the problem. Razzafratz! Rod spent over an hour on his belly in the ice plant with a hose and hand cranked snake before a large chunk of something indescribable dropped into the septic tank with a splash. Houston we're up and running again. The painters came on January 13th. 

Though the project went over budget and was total pain the ass, now that it's over, it was worth it. No matter how much homework and planning you do you're going to find something else that needs to be dealt with. 

"Before you do any remodeling, you should check out the existing market for another home. If you don't do it before you remodel, there's going to be at least one moment during the remodel when you do...and you're going to find that you can't afford to move anyway. So part of the process becomes coming clear about liking where you live." Paul Winans