Friday, July 08, 2011

Work Weekend - Basement Edition

First off, the title is wrong, it should be Work Weekend - Cellar Edition. Even though our lower level is concrete block we technically have a cellar because it cannot be accessed from the house. But the cellar will eventually have stairs to the dining room and will be a finished basement. For now our only access is through the back yard. The stairs are Lilliputain and carrying supplies down and debris up is challenging.
The cellar door faces the boiler and water heater.
We are amazed that this dryer vent did not cause a fire
And the previous owner had some interesting methods for plugging drain pipes.
The stairs to the dining room will go where the projector screen sits. We will build a utility room for the water heater and boiler but have not decided which side of the basement they will be on.
The other side of the basement has the bathroom and a lot of pipes that will be removed.
The pipes froze last winter and burst. The water caused a lot of mold.
We ripped out all the sheetrock and quite a bit of insulation. We are used to finding junk from previous owners while doing demo, but finding dirty magazines and sex toys in the ceiling was a bit of a shock. We threw them in the junk piles and hauled everything to the dump.
With the sheetrock, wet insulation and pipes removed we can start to get a better idea of how the finished basement will look.
Still a lot of work to do. The rest of the drain pipes have to be removed and the bathroom will be rebuilt before we work on the rest of the basement.
Finishing the basement will add 450 sq ft to the home's usable space, bringing our house to 1600 sq ft.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Work Weekend - Bathroom Edition

Our primary goal for the 4th of July weekend was to get the plumbing working. Call me fussy but I really want to be able to pee and shower when we move in next month. But both the bathrooms have serious issues.
The cellar bathroom has only a shower and toilet.
The toilet bowl was cracked and the floor around it was dirty and moldy.
The shower did not have an actual surround or even waterproof panels. It was just painted white to look like a surround.
The shower must not have been used much. When I ripped out the sheetrock I found mold, but not as much as I expected.
We ended up gutting the bathroom along with the rest of the basement. We plan to rebuild it over the winter so we have a place to shower while we redo the upstairs bathroom.

The upstairs bathroom was closer to being functional, but there was plenty wrong with it.
The whole floor flexed and felt spongy. When I started tearing up the floor I discovered five layers of bathroom flooring with mold growing between each layer.
The old toilet could have been declared a superfund site. My dad poured water down it and used the plunger until the sludge was gone.
But even when the toilet was draining properly it could not be flushed because of a leaky tank. Butte only has three small hardware stores and we did not like the two toilets available to us. Fortunately my brother was in Helena and stopped at Home Depot to get us a new one. Luke and Dad installed it on Saturday and we were able to enjoy two full days of indoor plumbing. No more waiting for the next trip to the hardware store or using the back yard.

We ended up replacing the subfloor so we had a solid base for installing the new toilet. I'm not a fan of peel and stick tiles but they will keep our feet splinter-free until we can redo the bathroom. And they look so much better than the old floor.
By Sunday night we were also able to shower and wash up in the sink. In just a few days the upstairs bath went from this
to this
It's not fancy but it will work for now.



Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Work Weekend

I come from a family of crazy people. Don't believe me? How else do you explain my brother, parents and grandparents volunteering to help on the house over the 4th of July weekend?

Our goal for the weekend was to get the house fit for human habitation. My standards are pretty low but Luke and I really wanted to get the bathroom working and the house clean before we move in this August.

Out trip got off to a rough start when we left Wenatchee at 3 am on Thursday. Luke wanted to get through Spokane by six am because of the construction. We arrived at the house early that afternoon and got the keys from the realtor. I had forgotten just how disgusting the house was. Not just dirty, filthy. My mom and grandma spent many hours scrubbing the floors
and walls and ceilings
My grandpa weed whacked and mowed the overgrown lawn
My brother has lost most of his sense of smell from years of doing auto body work. This proved to be a huge advantage when he removed the green shag pee-soaked carpet from the back bedroom.
The carpet was the kanga-style with the padded backing glued to the floor. He spent a full day scraping the padding and glue off the floor. The room still smells faintly of pee so we plan to coat everything in Kilz.
But our biggest task this weekend was the basement and plumbing.
The house was not winterized in time and all the plumbing burst. Did I mention that our heat comes in the form of hot water baseboards so there are plumbing lines everywhere? And all that water caused a lot of mold?
We removed all the sheetrock and hauled it to the dump.
And Luke and my Dad spent hours running new PEX lines to the bathroom and kitchen. Despite problems with our water service (more on that later) we were able to get warm showers on Sunday evening. By the time we left on Monday the house was nearly fit for human habitation. We are missing a few important things like heat and appliances but at least it will be nice and clean when we move in next month.

Dad, Mom, Will, Sunshine and Papa, we can't thank you enough for your help.