Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kitchen Rehab

So it has been, well, awhile since I posted anything. Not because there is nothing going on, but mostly because I usually forget to take before pictures and the after is less awe inspiring when you do that... this time, Jenn grabbed the camera before we attacked the kitchen..

Jenn has been wanting to redo the kitchen for awhile, and I have been looking at it thinking omg this i going to cost a fortune and be a giant pain in my ass... What you can't see is the base board heaters down there... they were disconnected as part of our renovations but I never got around to removing them for fear of busting holes in the wall, or worse the tile floor.

Jenn had an idea right from the beginning to buy something ready made that would fit. We stumbled across two items in kirkland, on sale for 260$ each. Custom cabinets that would have fit in the space would have run 800 a piece. I have to say, after 2 hours of messing around, the results are spectacular... I only wish we had taken the time to paint behind them, because there is NO way we can get them out again...:)

So, gents, the sooner you come to realize your wife is basically always right, the better. The added bonus is that when you listen to her and she isn't right... you get to win without even trying...;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things we had to finish for our contractor

So you've heard me lament about the contractor we hired for the project, now that the bank has FINALLY sent us the last check and the project is closed, I'll post here what he failed to complete for us. Before you ask, why didn't you make him finish it, go through a renovation of this scale and then we'll talk. Eventually you lose the will to live, nevermind about fight with your contractor who only shows up 1 our of every 5 days he says he will be there, and you are incidentally stuck with.

It's worse than a bad marriage (from my vantage point of being in a perfect marriage) because he already has all your money, its not like you stand to lose half...

1.       Kitchen cabinets, you installed them and the one that you installed had a stain on it that had to be removed. I had to finish the unfinished cabinets you bought, and buy an end panel so that it was truly finished.
2.       You never finished installing the dishwasher, and Max had to undo the electrical you did on the dishwasher as in his words “If you had put your hand on the dishwasher and the sink you would have been electrocuted. I could lose my license if an inspector saw this” So I’d not recommend doing your own electrical work.
3.       I had to redo the installation of the sinks plumbing in the kitchen as your install was not up to code and leaked all over the place. Also you cracked the granite in several places and left large blobs of silicone everywhere.
4.       You never removed the baseboards in the kitchen, despite me paying you extra to do so. And the bypass you put in leaked as soon as we turned the heating on because you didn’t clean the pipe before you soldered it, despite my asking you to test the system before you left. You really should stop doing plumbing and get a plumber, you don’t know what you are doing… it’s too bad for you, I paid some other guy 800$ to fix it all.
5.       You didn’t finish the trim around the top of the kitchen before the electrical inspection, I had to do that to ensure we would pass.
6.       The painting that your team did was really cut rate. We have several patches around the house where they didn’t complete more than one coat, doors downstairs in the master bedroom etc. The rooms they did finish they splattered paint everywhere requiring me to refinish the floors upstairs, and to spend a large amount of time cleaning the brickwork downstairs.
7.       You didn’t install the bathroom or master bedroom doors correctly, they wouldn’t close until I had to fix them.
8.       You didn’t complete the flooring downstairs, I ended up doing the trim around the outsides of the rooms and around doors because you left it for two weeks.
9.       You didn’t complete the dry wall in the laundry room, despite my reminding you a half dozen times while the team was still there, you never finished it.
10.   The bathroom downstairs was never painted at all despite our contract stating you would paint every room in the house
11.   You never replaced the molding in the basement sun room around the ceiling, so there is a gap all around the room from the wood paneling to the ceiling.
12.   You didn’t install the new doors I paid extra for correctly, there is no molding around the outside or the inside and the bottom of the door is not sitting on anything, whenever you step on it, it bends down till it reaches the foundation and you can see daylight under it. You didn't finish the trim aroud the inside of the doors.
13.   When you installed the windows you didn’t trim up to repair the damage you caused. This was apparently “extra” you might want to let people know that when quoting them a price, then they won’t be so irritated with you for nickel and diming them after the fact.
14.   The siding took 6 weeks, and the first time there was a wind pieces fell off the house. Turns out that you never even nailed down the top layer of the siding around the house, counting on the soffit to hold It up… You also claimed that re-installing the shutters after replacing the siding was extra, again a customer service note (since I manage a department that is customer oriented) in your quote just write down that the shutters are not included, you’d be amazed how different peoples reaction will be…
15.   The roofing on the back of the house was decoupled from the side of the house when you did the siding, and never nailed back down. So when the wind blew, the roof would float up and water could get underneath ruining the newly installed ceiling. 10 roofing nails, and we could have saved hundreds in damages.
16.   You broke the back window in April, and didn’t fix it for the duration of the project.
17.   You never tested the heating system, when I turned it on, it leaked in the garage and ruined the drywall in there that I had put up for the fire inspection.
18.   Your team constantly took supplies that I had bought, or used my tools to work on their stuff leaving them everywhere. While all the money is coming from me in the end, you should consider that anything you didn’t bring to the work site, really isn’t yours to use however you wish… I had to rent a truck to get stuff to the house, and again to replace the stuff your team used.

So if there is ever a question of would you recommend this contractor to anyone, I would have to reply with a resounding no. There is no one on this planet that I dislike enough to send this tool their way. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'd had enough...

After banging my toes a third time this morning I had had enough of the stupid door in the master bedroom that opens the wrong way... Ideally it should open into the bathroom, but instead it opens into the room and into the walk in closet too... It also has a habit of automatically opening which is irritating..

I was giving it some thought this morning and realized that by switching the hinges to the other side of the door I could have it at least open the other way up against the door. Enter the zero clearance cutter that my mom gave me last time she was here. The only other way to do this is with a router and a template, both of which I don't have easy access to..

I decided to do this at the last minute, so Jenn challenged me with the usual flip comment that I had 45 minutes until supper....:)

Well, its ugly, and has a tendency to pop open, but it beats buying another 125$ door.... Now, I probably will do that one day, but for now at least we can use this one...:)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More on the pool

So during all the plumbing snafu I dropped Jenns camera, breaking the lcd screen on the back and basically making it useless (since there is no view finder). Anyways I went through the camera's memory card and found some photos of the pool while it was in progress...

The entire bottom of the pool had to be reworked,  as you can see from the picture below the previous owner had neglected the pool for so long that there was a tree growing out of it... The bottom of a pool is a special type of concrete that "breathes" so that any water that comes from below, can go back down when the water table goes down. If you didn't do this, when the water table rose the pool would basically float up out of the ground

The entire process took a couple of weeks, and we had to use extra thick foam on the walls to protect the liner from the slightly rusted side walls.

In the end though, it was totally worth it, we were able to move the pump from the back of the house to the back of the lot, and Gavyn lost 12 lbs in a week and a half of swimming...:)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

my little helper

None of my kids have really shown an interest in helping with the renovations. Kyle has been grudgingly helping me whenever I need it, but when he has the option he would rather not assist... my only keener helper is this guy..

He is always interested in what I am doing, even if it is watching hulu... but when it has something to do with tools (so long as they are not too noisy) he's right there checking things out.

He does have a short attention span however....:) And needs constant encouragement or he loses interest and bails on my just like everyone else...:)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

So yeah, plumbing...

Plumbing is not all that complicated when you know the steps... first you buy the parts you need. When you are patching a pipe thats a coupling like the ones shown below. Note that one of them has a little dimple? That is to allow it to stop halfway through on the pipe, the other one is what we want for this particular plumbing project so that we can cut the pipe exactly the same length as the old pipe.

Next you have to clean off the remainder of the gunk from the old pipe, and add what is called flux which helps both clean the pipe and acts as sort of a lubricant for the solder you will have to add next.

Now, you're ready for some fire. There are two types of torches that can be used for this purpose, one is a propane type one (blue bottle) and then theres the right one, which is some magical stuff that burns hotter and comes in a yellow bottle. Its more expensive, but worth it... I'm using the blue crap..

Now you are all set, ready to roll as it were. All we have to do is heat it up, add the solder and if everything works as it should we should have a patch...

Now those of you that know what you are doing, know that this doesn't look right... What I should have done is cut a smaller segment out, like say one smaller than the couplings you see in the photo. Problem I had was the zero clearance pipe cutter I was using kept threading the pipe instead of cutting it... As you would predict, I couldn't get a clean seal on the pipes because all of the flux basically melted all at the same time...

As with almost everything, doing it on the cheap, and as fast as you can is not the right way to do plumbing.... After i patched this one, leaks and all, I checked for more and found two other leaks... So after it took me 3 attempts to get a seal that would sort of hold water, I gave up and called a plumber...Took him 3 hours, but it was worth it as there are no more leaks now...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hrm winter is coming

There can be no doubt that winter is coming. I had my colleagues over from Coach for a BBQ on Saturday and they all gamely froze to death outside. You see, we were supposed to have the BBQ when the project was finished, and we did... it was just finished 3 months behind schedule...

Anyways with the oncoming of winter I figured it was a good time to fix the leaking pipe in the heating system in the garage. Last time i posted we had identified the leak, but not yet fixed it... nows the weekend, carpe dium and all that crap.

The water is leaking from the bulkhead that I built, so down that comes

My fear of course is that I put a screw through the damn pipe when I was putting the bulkhead up. Luckily I am without blame on this one, but its still interesting... The leak is coming from somewhere up there....

Kyle climbed up into the attic and poked a hole in the ceiling to let the water that was pooling up there out, lo and behold, the water is coming from about 9 inches away from the bulkhead! Vindicated! I didn't cause it...

Apparently not having heat caused the issue... There is the burst pipe that I am going to have to fix later... note that the hole is about 5 inches across... there is an electrical wire running through there, and I have to solder a new pipe up there... this should be good times. How many times have I mentioned how much I abhor plumbing?