Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Plumbing Saga Continued

Last Saturday I finally finished installing all new plumbing throughout the main house. However, there was portion where an addition was built that I left the copper in place.
This was a terrible mistake.
Evidently, something has built up inside the copper line that is clogging the line. This happened each time I connected the line. Therefore, the moral of any story when it comes to remodeling is to cut it out and replace.
Aside from the water no longer working at the master bathroom sink; the master bathroom sink drain is clogged. I attempted to use a liquid drain cleaner but to no avail. The sink simply filled up and it sat there all night. It did not drain one bit. I attempted to use a plunger hoping! However, my hope was in vain. My next plan is to disconnect the drain line to where the sink and the toilet tie in together. Because the toilet has no problems but the sink does. So I assume the problem is in between the two. If the piping is old cast Iron, I will cut it out and replace with ABS.
My only goal right now is to establish a firm foundation where upon my beautiful wife can decorate without having to worry about me needing to open up a wall to replace something that is broken.

Over the weekend

So we were finally able to get back to working on the house this weekend. We had a ton of church things (Easter is always a busy time), plus our budget was kind of strapped.
So we've gotten a few things accomplished.

1. The appliances were installed and the bed was set up.
As you can see from the picture they are PRETTY!!! We still have to install the matching black dishwasher on the other side of the kitchen.

2. In addition to the installation of the appliances, we had to cut out some bad installation of vinyl on the floor of the kitchen, you can see a small bit of it in the bottom corner. We couldn't match the vinyl perfectly so we just bought some "stick and peel" wood looking tiles and installed it as a temporary fix. We will probably get to updating the floor before the end of the year, but for now, this works. There are also cut outs of the sub-floor around the fridge and stove that for some reason the previous owners did...we plan on using some plywood and more of the "stick and peel" solution until later.

3. You can also see in the background our beginning of the deconstruction of the breakfast nook faux wood wall paneling. Not only were they UGLY, but they also were glued on the walls, and they were now causing the walls to crumble behind them. After we finish tearing them out we plan on using bead board and wall paper to finish it off nicely.

4. Phillip stayed up past 2:00 a.m. on Saturday finishing the clean up and tear out of the main bathroom. The toilet is currently on our front porch :). But it's now a clean slate, ready for cement board, sub-floor and tile.

- On a side note: Went on Saturday to Lowe's and had a 30 minute tile- installation training class. We were on the only one's that showed up for the class so we got one-on-one training. It was fun and we will probably be back for another class, especially when we get to the time of installing the tile.

5. Trash Diving!!!!! Look at our dumpster diving find:
It's originally a sewing machine table, but I think it'll be the perfect entry table. It has a lot of scratches, so I'm debating either sanding and refinishing for a traditional look or painting for a contemporary twist. As you see Phillip is already using it for keys and wallet.

-Note: I do need to be honest 5 minutes after getting it in the house a HUGE roach came out of it, so it went into the yard to "De-bug" itself before we find ourselves with an infestation before we even move in. This is one thing about dumpster diving that NO ONE EVER warns you about. So you are now properly warned. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Appliances Galore!

So yesterday was the last day for Nebraska Furniture Mart's 24 month interest-free financing. After debating it for a couple days we decided to charge it now and pay it off monthly versus buying used appliances and hoping that they last multiple years.
So in three hours we purchased an Amana Fridge (black) to match our current (and relatively new Amana black dishwasher), an electric smooth-top stove, an upgraded washer and dryer, a new queen mattress set and sleigh bed.
Here's the break down:

General Electric Smooth-top (black) stove: 434.99
Amana Refrigerator (black) top-mount with ice-maker: 488.88
LG front-load washer and LG front-load electric dryer, group price: 1,199.99
Ashley Furniture Queen Sleigh bed set: 219.99
Queen Celebrity Pillow Top Mattress set: 179.99
add in plugs and accessories for a grand total purchase of :2,341.71

If we only pay the minimum of 125.00 per month, we can have it all paid off before 24 months is up with no interest paid! Not to bad of a deal considering delivery was only 30.00!

We have the items to be delivered by Saturday.

In other news: (mainly what have we been doing on the house)
Honestly- not much. We hit our budget for home repairs within the first week of April. We still have a few low cost items we need to finish, mainly plumbing and clean up, but right now we're saving as much money as possible to worry about the roof repairs first things first next month.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 20 of Home Ownership continued

Today I determined that the cold water bath in the master bathroom was clogged and that the pipes themselves were fine. That just saved us $100. Also replaced the flapper on the master bathroom toilet. So we can finally have a place to use the restroom.... I just have to do something about the weak floor surrounding the toilet.

Day 20 of Home Ownership

For the past 5 days or so I have been working on repairing the plumbing at the house. Here is a brief recap and the lessons I learned.
The day Gloria had the water turned on she heard the sound of water GUSHING into the basement. She attempted to operate the main shutoff valve to no avail. She calls me while I'm at work telling me whats going on.   I followed up by asking my boss if I could take the rest of the afternoon off. This was by far my biggest fear of having the water turned on while I was not able to be there. I formulated a plan to fix the leak. I stopped at Lowe's and purchased two ball valves that looked like the following:
At Lowe's (this is where I shop at almost exclusively) these are by far the most expensive valves. However they have the advantage of how fast and easy you can install them. You simply push it on to the pipe with a 1/4 turn and voila you are done. They are made for copper or plastic pipe. Meaning it needs to be a relatively soft material so it can seal against leaks. Needless to say even though I was able to fix one leak it turned out that we had many more. I repaired them all only to find out that some sections were made of galvanized pipe which had too much corrosion to allow the water to flow easily. The following picture is an example I found on the internet that is similar to what I had.

Currently on the market you have about 4 choices to replace your plumbing. There is CPVC, Galvanized, Copper, and PEX. Galvanized should not be a choice ever. So you really only have three
Ease of Install average most difficult easiest
Speed of install medium slow fastest
Special tools needed none propane torch crimper,  special pex cutter
Potential for leaks high medium low
Cost $ $$$$$ $$$$

CPVC is the cheapest and is easy to install. You simply cut it with a saw, remove the burrs and glue it together. One of the problems is over time the plastic has the potential to crack open, and if you don't glue well there is a chance for leaks.

PEX is the newest material on the market. It can handle being frozen (not recommended) and it comes in lengths of 100' and easily bends around obstructions. However you need expensive specialize tools. Also the special fittings are expensive.

Copper is great, has proven track history however the price of copper is at an all time high.

I originally chose CPVC because its the cheapest, and I installed it before and haven't had any problems out of it. As I was getting ready to install it my brother-in-law said I could borrow the specialize tools needed to install PEX!!! This alone shaved over $100 off the cost to install PEX.I originally spent $250 for all the materials needed. When I purchased the PEX it came out to be over $400 ... and I still need some more parts :(.

I went with Blue and Red 3/4" PEX to color code the water lines (sadly lowes was sold out and I had to head over to Home Depot to get the items). I also laid out the cold water supply in a different way than normal.

Traditionally, plumbers use a trunk in branch method to install water lines. However with PEX it is recommended to use the Home run method where each line has its own supply line. I choose to lay it out how  I design water mains at my job.

Once I draw the floor plan I will upload a photo showing how I laid it out. The PEX went in easy and allowed me to easily thread the pipe through areas where I would have had to tear down walls to put in anything else. I did have one problem because sometimes It was not easy to use the crimps in tight quarters.

So far all the cold water lines have been installed and I am preparing to install the red hot water lines.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears part 2

Ok, so I'm going to have to learn how NOT to hurt myself in at the house. I obviously not meant to work in construction in any form or fashion.
So here's my "after" picture.

I have a busted lip, a bruised nose and a scratch over my lip.

....So you want to know what happened this time?

Well long story short, I was patching up some holes on a ladder, baby cries, I go try to get baby, ladder wobbles, bucket spills and slams into my face. And just like a few days ago, I once again bleed all over the floor of our new house. (P.S. I'm glad we are finishing the hard wood floors).
I didn't have to use a baby's diaper this time though!

Monday's Neighborhood Watch

Instead of working on the house yesterday, I forced my husband and son to attend a neighborhood watch meeting. It's the first time I ever lived in a neighborhood that actually had a neighborhood watch and I wanted to see how it worked and be able to meet some of our neighbors. It was interesting, they meet at the old mall and had about 20 people in attendance. They talked about issues related to our small mile block neighborhood watch. Everything from police reports, suspicious activity, planing a new flower bed, neighborhood trash clean up and even a neighborhood garage sale. There was even a visitor from the local utilities company, who spoke about stimulus money for home improvements!
That sounds like just what we need!!! (Big Smiles)
Phillip agreed after all was said and done that it was worth the time we spent. We paid our annual dues of $12.00 (cheapest dues for a club ever!) and received a sever weather radio and a rain poncho. Not too bad for one day's work I would say so myself.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

So this week our focus has been plumbing and roofing. Sadly with a new baby I haven't been able to do much with the house, until today. Today I finally got junior to relax and take a nap and I called myself helping Phillip with the plumbing. Everything was going smooth until I stepped on a long, rusty nail. Right in the meaty part of my foot. Ouch! Phillip had to carry me upstairs where I promptly began bleeding throughout the house until he got me to the only chair. Since I didn't think to have one of those nifty safety kits on me I continued to bleed until I realized that I could use one of my baby's diapers as a big bandage. :D Cheers and success!
Phillip felt bad though, so he told me I needed to go home and take the baby. Which I find funny that when he feels bad, he immediately starts dictating to me...but oh well, your not reading this for marital drama so I'll get back to my original point. So I leave Phillip at the new place and return back to the old house. Thank God, that it's only about 5 minutes between the old and new house, because after I get all situated with a proper bandage, I've got to pack junior back up in the car and go rescue my husband before he realizes he needs to "improvise" and completely screws up the hard work we just accomplished and have to spend more money to fix his "learning experience".
Note: after purchasing the patchwork plumbing stuff that didn't work and the new stuff and over a week worth of afternoons, evenings and weekends....maybe it'll equal out to if we had just spent money on a plumber to do it all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

House Day Number 15

I wanted to give you a status concerning how much this house has cost to date.

The asking price for the house was $23,000. After paying all the other associated fees and minus estimated property taxes to date, I think we came out around $23,329. (I need to double check but my son has other plans)

Currently we have spent about $1,183 on supplies and tools. Here is a more in depth breakdown on some of the supplies.

$186 for a cordless drill/driver
$56 for a ladder
$200 on door knobs
$50 on new light fixtures
$20 on 2" hole drill bits
$140 on tile
$200 on plumbing repairs (and sadly all that work was for naught)
The rest was for miscellaneous tools and other items we wanted/needed.

So far we have spent a total of $24,512.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No luck with Craiglist today

So it's been my job, in this home renovation project, to be the penny pincher. I have done this by limiting Phillip's desire to over spend at the big box home improvement stores. Namely Lowe's.
Thus Craiglist has been my saving grace. Last week I picked
up some nice ceramic tile for around 60 cents per square foot. Yesterday I picked up a nice small vanity with sink for $15! But alas today has been dead in the whole Craiglist world of unbelieveably cheap home supplies market. I do have hope though. Spring may have finally crawled out of hibernation for Kansas City. ( loud exaggerated sigh) FINALLY!!!!!!Last weekend was a pretty good weekend for estate sales and with this week's forecast looking bright and cheery for the most part, I'm expecting a plenty of yard, garage, "hey take this off my hands" and other like wise sales.

In other news: mainly how the house is progressing.
  1. The main box has received it's first bit of mail. WoHoo...junk mail and bills have a place to live now!
  2. We couldn't get insurance on the house until the ugly chimney flutes were removed from the basement windows. Boo... :( ....I was kind of hoping to make some kind of nifty smoker in the basement....but alas. :(
  3. The bathroom has been completely gutted now and we are beginning the clean up.
  4. We are in the process of getting quotes from roofing contractors to fix the roof on the addition and the guest house.
  • which if I was to be completely truthful Phillip is really upset about because he wanted to do the roof all himself. I'm really upset about as well because it's more expensive and takes a bit away from our D.I.Y. mentality.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 11 of Home Ownership

Today, Sunday April 3 2011, was supposed to be a day of rest. However, after working yesterday on the bathroom my father-in-law and I smelled natural gas. I determined it was coming from the water heater. Today we went back to check to make sure there was no more gas leaking. Upon arriving at the house, I noticed that the tarp on the guesthouse that was protecting the roof had been partially blown off by the high winds. Because we are expecting a severe thunderstorm tonight, we sprung into action to secure the tarp.

However, after walking to the backdoor we noticed the backdoor was wide open. My wife went to the car while I walked through the house to check for intruders. Nevertheless, the house was clear and safe. Upon further testing, I realized the French doors installation was not complete. So I managed to get the tarp reattached to the roof, and finished the installation of the French doors.

However, I do not think attaching the tarp is going to matter. There are reports that the storm coming has blown a semi-tractor trailer off the road. Oh well here we go Dorothy and Toto.

Day 10 of home ownership

Yesterday, April 2 2011, Day 10, my father in law helped me remove the plaster from the walls of the main bathroom. Only thing left to do is:
>Remove the toilet
>Install plug for toilet drain
>Remove Bathtub
>Remove flooring
>Install new plumbing throughout house
>Upgrade electrical system in bathroom (move bathroom from fuse box to circuit breaker)
>Install new subfloor
>Install new backer board around lower half of wall
>Install Medicine cabinet
>Install moisture resistant sheetrock around upper half of room
>Paint sheetrock
>Install bathtub
>Install tile
>Install toilet
>Install bathroom sink
>Install bathroom door
I know it seems like a lot but it actually is not

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Wife's Viewpoint

I decided not to wait until all the construction is done to begin posting. Yeah it's fine to do decorating, but I think I need to bring to the table the other viewpoint of this house renovation.

For example while my husband writes: "Successfully ripped out the old plumbing..."

I will write: "My husband smells like sewer and it would have been cheaper to call Rotor Rooter, but the job is done and he is happily beating his chest like a caveman."

House date 4-1-2011

Today was a beautiful day. As the sunlight warmed my skin, I set the post for what will eventually become our mailbox. There was not any heavy work done on the house today. My beautiful wife and I sat on our front porch and ate some ribs while watching the neighborhood. At one point in time, my wife simply closed her eyes and said the following:

If I just close my eyes, it is easy to imagine that we are living in the country on multiple acres. I can hear the wind blowing through the trees, squirrels playing tag, birds singing there song. 
 Because it was such a beautiful day, I took the opportunity to do some more demolition of the house. I removed the old drapery hardware, and started to remove the dishwasher, that was installed 4-23-1980. I might just wait until 4-23-2011 to finish removing it just so it can celebrate its birthday. 

The Roof:
I also took advantage of the day by climbing on the roof of the addition to the main house. I do not know if you remember this part or not but the addition has a terrible leak. I originally had assumed that I would have to do a complete tear off and rebuild the roof starting with the sheathing. Well today, my hopes were dashed asunder like a wave against a cliff. As I climbed on the roof, I realized it was a flat roof. I have a sever dislike for flat roofs. In fact, when Gloria and I were looking for houses if I saw a flat roof I immediately said "NO". While it is possible to have a capable flat roof that can handle water, I personally not found one that does not eventually have problems within a decade. I am also a bit sad about this discovery because that means I am going to hire a contractor. Yes, I could do the work but with flat roofs, I want it done right the first time. I am assuming it will cost us about $5k we do not have right now. For the time being I might attempt to patch the roof so, we can stop the water from coming in.

Maybe tomorrow I will write about the plumbing fiasco.

Love & Peace
          P. Brown