Measure Twice. Cut Once.

Over the years I am sure many have heard this adage. I know it has been mentioned to many time and time again. Regardless of how many times it’s heard, it seems to bite me in the ass. This time it was the interior doors I was replacing. I had already removed all the prehung interior doors for the upgraded 6 panel doors, available at any big box store.

I spent the time to mean the ‘rough opening’ and note the direction I needed the door to open. I went to Lowe’s and picked up a few doors, installed 3 doors for the remodel. This last week I spoke to the guys doing all my wall and door trim work and they said they would install the remaining doors after being painted. Unfortunately I screwed up and when I bought the remaining 4 doors and did not take into account the ACTUAL door size, three of which were 32″ and one was 30″. So at Lowe’s I pick up just that.

I get home, and to my surprise I cannot get the doors in the rough opening, then I realized my mistake. I measured the rough opening correctly, but did not subtract 2″ for the door frame. So now I spent an additional $200 on doors and am stuck with 3 doors that do not fit in our house.

So chalk it up to yet another lesson when it comes to a remodel. If you measure the rough opening, then look on the new, prehung door for the ‘R.O’ dimensions, not the actual door dimensions. Sounds simple, yet I screwed it up.

Thankfully the last door was installed yesterday, but it set back the contractors about half a day. Instead of being able to wrap things up today, it will probably be Monday before the remaining moulding and door trim will be finished. To date, it looks beautiful! It really adds to the overall remodel. I am very pleased with the decisions that were made on the moulding.

The Remodel Goes On

I am off to a very slow start to 2011 because of all the problems that continue to swirl around our remodel. Once we resolve one problem another seemingly pops up, as it did today! Not to mention we have bumble bees living in our kitchen ceiling.  The house has taken most all of my time and probably will through February.

We had hoped to have our kitchen, dining nook and entry way re-grouted today, but my wife found some marks made by the guy who removed all the old grout. So with that, she contacted the company who installed the tile. Unfortunately, he had it out with the contractor he hired, and he won’t be returning to do the grout the second time. Too bad really because this guy was very good.

I was able to install one door last week and hopefully 2 more doors this week. I know our painter said he would including hanging these doors in his price to do the molding, but I am not really wanting to wait on it. So with any luck it will be warm enough to paint tomorrow and I can hang doors in my son’s room and the master bedroom.

As mentioned our end of February target is still on track, that is if we have no more unforeseen problems arise. The kitchen counter top will be installed tomorrow, so hopefully I can start getting the kitchen under control and the items back in their respective area. I am dying to cook, something that doesn’t require a microwave or come frozen. I am a bit tired of the fast food scene too and I am sure it’s not what my doctor ordered.

Now the last dilemma I face, what to do with the “old” kitchen cabinets that still look new. I am hoping to make room in the garage to use them in my radio area. Unfortunately that means I need to make some accommodations for the 6 foot set of heavy duty metal shelves I have. I figure I can relocate those to my shed, along with much of the stuff on them. This would allow me the necessary room to add about 2 feet on to my radio area, which is about a 4′ by 4′ area. Unfortunately the sink basin cabinet won’t be used, but I might be able to use the two 21′ wide base cabinets and 72′ of upper wall cabinets.

WTF! More Leaks!

From bad to worse to WTF? Can we not buy a break on our remodel? Actually, another break or leak is what I am referring to. Yup, not one but TWO leaks that were found because of additional work we decided to undertake as prep work and painting continue on the second story.

I was detaching the vanities in the master bathroom and then pulled the baseboard off to reveal…more black mold on the back corner of my vanity! I knew my wife had a plumbing leak under her sink, which I fixed. We also saw my sink basin drain very slow, as if the P-trap were clogged or there was something impeding the draining of the water.

Not only was the wall wet, but the floor tiles as well as a substantial colony of black (and what looked like orange) mold that had been festering. So I did what I didn’t want to do, pulled off the drywall and plywood to reveal another crack in the recalled (Phoenix) ABS pipe. I was horrified by what I saw, but not surprised. This was just one more example of the work done by KB Home by in 1989. I sure wish there was some further recourse for the continued plumbing issues we are having. I guess I will go after Lowe’s instead on their recalled drywall, for no less then $5000! I could always use more “free” money to continue fixing this “money pit” we call a home.

After about 45 minutes and $265 later the leak was fixed by John from American Plumbing. Now we were left with more patch work to do in the master bathroom, which wasn’t initially on the list of remodeling, since this was the first bathroom I redid when we first moved in. Needless to say, I had to rip up all the tile and re-patch the wall, which then got a skim coat of mud yesterday, textured and primed for painting on Monday.

Thankfully the end is now in sight. The new kitchen cabinets arrived yesterday and will be installed on Monday. The new recessed lights in the kitchen are now done as well. I also paid the painter to hang 5 doors and do all the trim/crown molding work since I have had enough of this remodel. With any luck we could be done with the house come early February.

Round 2: Remodel

It has started. Again! The contractor and adjuster have completed their reports and submitted them to Ameriprise Insurance. This “remodel” (read disaster) has been ongoing since April, 2010. It was no more then 2 days after we got the final piece of carpet installed that the hot/cold water pipes under the slab broke, pooled in the kitchen, entered the walls and soaked the cabinets.

That was October. Now here we are in December and we are still awaiting insurance money to deal with the second remodel that will require all new lower cabinets, Corian counter top, as well as work on all the kitchen walls and floor in order to get the kitchen back to where it was in late October.

The insurance company paid for a partial replumb of the kitchen water supply, but we paid an additional $1000 in order have all the lines redone, as well as a new water heater installed. I felt much better with this option then only a partial anything. I don’t suspect much work will get done until early January.

Why? Because of the red tape and hoops I must jump through in order to get the money. It was the same last time. With any insurance checks cut in excess of $10,000 they are 2-party checks, made out to me and the mortgage company. I expect the first payment next week, but then it’s a 10-14 process with Bank of America, as I must send the check down to Los Angeles to get signed and approved. B of A then cuts me a check, which I take to Wells Fargo. Ah, but it’s not over there. Wells Fargo then holds the check for 5 days because of the large amount *sigh*.

Thus, there will be no new kitchen before January. Oh yeah, it will also take 4-6 weeks for the cabinets to be built and shipped to the house. So if I am lucky it will be February by the time I see the new cabinets and we are ready for installation.

I have spoken to a few suppliers and contractors about the next round of repairs. Our intentions are to stretch the money to finish remodeling the upstairs, which won’t take much more then some new doors, paint, window shades and trim. We might remodel the, what was supposed to be “man cave” (aka movie room), which has suddenly turned into my wife and son’s computer room. This would entail new drywall, running some cable and wiring in the walls for the surround sound, as well as new texture and paint.

With any luck it will be April by the time we are done (for the second time). Now all we need to do is wait for the housing market to start up and we MIGHT be able to sell the house and break even (I doubt it). Our 5 year plan is looking more and more like 10 years, but at least it will be in a house that looks and feels new. Next year I will have to look at getting the exterior fixed and painted.

Remodel: The Sequel

Wow, what a hell of a year this has been since April. It’s bad enough we had waste water leak out a few toilets upstairs, as well as out a crack in  (Phoenix) ABS pipe that was recalled back in the early 1990s. Guess the previous owners decided not to correct the problems and we were just unfortunate enough to have that water make its way out of a light fixture and onto our wood floor.

Now don’t get me wrong, remodeling is great! Especially now since we aren’t pay for anything out of pocket. So it’s probably not the “right” way to go about it, but every cent is legit, minus the reimbursement on my Blackberry I threw against the wall when our first leak occurred.

At the end of October we finally finished the majority of the work. The only remaining work was wiring a few new outlets, hanging a new bathroom door and molding around the base of the walls. Carpet had been in for 2 days. 2 days! This was when the second leak hit, undetected or unannounced.

After a few weeks of phone calls to the insurance company, as well as to a leak detection specialist, a plumber, the restoration company and the insurance adjuster, things got moving rather quickly. I was surprised to see three checks in the mail within a week to cover the initial damages. They also provided us with hotel accommodations since we had no water.

Yesterday was the start of the repipe of the house. The insurance company covered a partial reroute of the hot and cold water to the kitchen sink. The plumbers recommendation, to repipe the entire house. So we decided to spend our money in order to make up the difference and do the entire house. Last thing we want is a third leak.

While fixing the leak was the primary issue, I was shocked when the insurance company said they would cover the repair. It is not often you get that response from them. The remaining issue at hand is what else, in terms of damages will be covered? We have three waterlogged cabinets, that were months old. They are visibly damaged. Our Corian counter top was destroyed when the clean up company removed the cabinets. Have you priced Corian recently?

The other sticking point, our floors. This is both the new tiles in the kitchen and the new carpet in the dining room. The clean up company took a 3’x’4′ piece, along with a 1′ strip about 3′ long from our dining room. It was wet with mold, along with the padding and tack strips.

The kitchen floor has yet to be torn up. The cabinets were removed, but the tile left in place. They mitigation company (clean up guys) recommended the carpet and tile flooring be removed. Of course not all of it needs to be taken out and replaced. But the insurance company has been very hesitant on making this call. I decided to talk to the guy who sold and installed all the flooring and he quoted $3000 to fix both. The only problem being the tint of the carpet and tile might not match what is currently on the floor. *sigh*

This did not make my wife happy at all. So I have put her in charge of talking to the insurance company, in order to sell them on the fact they need to pony up for the flooring as well as the cabinets. Both of which they are balking on.

In comes the insurance adjuster, who has been to the house once, when the mitigation company set up their equipment. Since then, he has not seen the damage to the cabinets or the fact they removed carpet and all the cabinets, along with about 2′ high strip of drywall around the perimeter walls of the kitchen. On the exterior, I had to remove the wood siding and insulation in order to give the plumbers access to bring the new pipes in.

In my estimate, there is probably close to $15,000 worth of money I feel we are owed. Will we get it? I don’t know but after going through this already this year, most of the remaining items are “damage” which should be covered by insurance. I must give props to Ameriprise (through Costco), they have been great since April! Hopefully we will see the remainder of the work covered and have our house back in order by Christmas, although with work and holidays I fear we will ride the remodel through the new year. “Oh what fun…”