Sunday, March 23, 2014

House 4, Week 5 - an inconvenient demolition

I know that many of the people who read this blog aren't professional contractors, but I'm hoping this pop quiz won't be too challenging.

In the photo below, something is not right. Can you spot the problem?

If your answer was "WTF is the bathroom doing in the hallway?" you have a good eye.

Yes, friends, as the Mr. went about tearing out all the rotted wood in the bathroom, well, it would appear that the rot went right through to the hallway. So now we've temporarily got a more open floor plan that is certainly not for the faint of heart.

This is a closeup of some of the timbers that were removed. Rotten through and through.

What's sad is that the bathrooms both had fairly new tile on the walls and whoever did the job didn't have any compunction about tiling over soft and pulpy wood. 

The last person to wield a hammer also apparently attempted to address the issue of disintegrating studs not by removing them, but by just putting a new stud next to the old one. Where this practice is known as "sistering" with healthy wood, in the event that some lazy sod affixes a good board to a bad one, it is called a "scab."

Happily, the studs in the small shower are now all pressure treated (never rot, bug proof) wood and the Mr. even put some ice and water shield around the base of the shower as stalls tend to be a bit splashy.

Those not familiar with New England construction of the mid-twentieth century might never have seen steel casement windows. What happens with them is that the steel kind of acts to pass through exterior temperatures which can cause ice to form along the interior window edges. That, in turn, melts, thanks to central heating and thus you gut icky moldy yuck stuff.

On a happier note, check out the smoking hot bow window for the dining room. Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

Plumbing nerds will notice that there is more plumbing here than last week. That's the kitchen, obviously.

Looks like Gerry No Crack was feeling a bit festive. He ran bright orange pipe to the boiler (OK, maybe that's some sort of code thing, but I like the carnival plumbing explanation better).

This is what remains of the blue bathtub. For some reason, it made me think of a Wise Guy movie where they chop up the body and put it in various containers for disposal.

I'm going to call this the patio from now on. So instead of saying "the house has a freakin' asphalt yard" I'll say "the house has a gracious patio area, perfect for entertaining."

All the windows are original and very sad.

Check it out! STUMP-ZILLA! That is one big honking stump. 

Another pink flamingo nest. 

And a garden gnome. He's coming home with me for sure.

Can I get an "ugh?" We'll need a back hoe to pop these babies out. Icky tree bush skeletons.

Locals, take a moment to write this number down. That's our furnace guy, Froggie. Does great work. Always on call.

And finally, the weekly dumpster check. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

House 4, Week 4 - tons of photos

Today I have 21 photos. That's a lot, I know, but I have a lot to show you, so let's begin.

With the melting snow, I was finally able to get to some outdoor pictures.

Standing on the far back corner of the lot. There's that useless porch sticking out. The good news is that the roof seems to be in fine repair.

But look closely at the ground in the photo above because it reveals a feature of this property that I didn't mention before. Let's zoom in a bit.

Yes, friends, half of the back yard is actually covered in blacktop. Why, why, why????

Our best guess is that the previous owners had a daycare of sorts at some point. What else would explain an area of pavement almost as large as the footprint of the house? Ugh, we'll deal with that later.

The property abuts the metro-west aqueduct, so nothing but woods behind.

Flamingos! I think some of those will be headed for our estate.

The unpaved portion of the back yard. A bit of cleanup. We'll see what grows in the spring (if that ever comes).

Last backyard shot, this one from the opposite corner. Nice seesaw.

For completeness, the side.

And the front...

Not feeling the love for the neighbor next door. Boats, RVs, what the heck? I'm hoping it's all in the water or on the road when it's time to sell our house. 

OK, time to go inside.

Nothing to do with all the rotted wood around the shower stall in the master bath, but rip it out. The door is actually the door to the linen closet. The closet used to be there, right next to the shower, but the walls were rotted, so out they came.

Hey, there's Helper Mike. The plumbing in the Master Bath is underway and Mike is peeking through the medicine cabinet slot from the main bath.

Helper David was on the job too and he ripped out all the door jambs, among other things.

See what I mean about the linen closet? Nothing there, but there will be.

And the usual demolition type stuff in the main bath.

The old boiler is still hooked up and still in the kitchen (where else). Nasty looking thing, isn't it?

Gerry No Crack has been hard at work getting the kitchen plumbing done. Looks like the kitchen floor is gone as well.

Hey, remember when I told you that the Mr. was building plumbing chases instead of running the pipes in the attic? Well, here's an example. Lots of open space for Gerry to run the pipes to the new boiler and then it just gets closed up when he's done.

Former closet in the family room. It will become a wall which will be a likely spot for a television.

Hmmm... I think this is supposed to show the plumbing chase to the new boiler, but I'm not seeing it.

Two brand new LiftMasters in the garage.

For the two new garage doors. All steel, all white, what else?

And that's a wrap.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

House 4, Week 3 - Demolition

Since it's been a couple of weeks since my last update, I'm going to indulge in some extra photos.


A quick check of the dumpster indicates that a lot has been going on.

As in the previous post, I'm going to start at the far end of the house and work my way down. 

The smaller bathroom has been gutted, with the tile and the appliances removed.

Not surprisingly, the wall behind the shower stall was damp and punky. Hey, leaks happen. Nothing the Mr. can't handle.

Since the linen closet shares a wall with the shower, well, it's kind of icky nasty too and showing signs of dampness (ok, rot).

In the dining area, you can see that Helper David completed his carpet removal and that there has been some messing about with the framing of the kitchen wall.

Not much to report in the living room other than the carpet is up and the saw is set up. 

I will note that with the carpet removed, the damp smell in the house has worsened. No doubt 50 years of spills and leaks soaked into the carpeting. Fear not, it will all smell like fresh paint before long.

The kitchen. Not quite as nice as before.

To the left you can see the framing for the stackable washer / dryer cupboard and a small pantry. The corner area will be boxed in and serve as a plumbing chase. Kitchen corner cabinets are such a waste. Seriously, there just isn't any way to configure them for easy access, so for this kitchen, there just won't be a corner.

Can you read the writing? Dishwasher, sink, it's all planned out. 

Evidence that Gerry No Crack the plumber has been by. Never know when you'll need an elbow joint.

The kitchen from a different angle. 
See the boxes along the ceiling? The Mr. got this idea on the last project. He runs the plumbing through those chases. It avoids having pipes in the attic where they could freeze and also where it is a total pain to work. Once the kitchen cabinets are installed, you won't even see them. Nifty!

Just a reminder that, as with all our project houses, the boiler is in the kitchen. Yup, it's in there, chugging away and inefficiently burning oil.

Soon to be replaced by this little number. Froggy the heat guy came in and setup the new boiler so it will be ready to connect when the time comes. It's so pretty and shiny. 

I happened to be there when John the Junk Man came by. He pretty much just cruises the hood looking for things he can sell for scrap. I'd much rather have him take the old appliances and get a few bucks than pay to have them removed.

Oh, and all you Crossfit junkies take note. You want to get in shape? Try being a junk man. John is 60 years old and looks to weigh about 160 and he was tossing ovens, dryers, and dishwashers up on that truck like nobody's business (OK, he did get a hand from the Mr. for the washing machine, but even so). 

Still too much snow to explore the outside, but who knows, maybe next week...