Friday, April 17, 2015

Progress and preparation

More tile work done, we are getting a feel for how it will look when finished.

I really like the super thin grout lines 1/16" and that is only possible because the tiles are all exactly the same size.  I had considered these tiles but once I lined them up on the floor, unbelievably, the tiles were all slightly different dimensions which would make such a thin grout line impossible. You really need to check your tiles before purchasing them.

It's going to be very pretty when finished.

The details have slowed us down... like undercutting trim.

The avocado bullnose is gone , maybe if I'm very good the bathroom will be finished sooner rather than later.

This little house has been a labor of love.
the doors should be installed soon and there's plenty going on at the big house...

There's been a lot of sweeping which calms me.

More updates next week...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Look away if you are squeamish about bugs...

By far this is the worst job I've had to do so far.  The house has gone unmaintained for so long, the critters have taken over.  This was layer upon layer of sticky spider webs, mud dauber mounds and wasp nests.  Needless to say, I had the wasp spray at the ready, and I would need it after knocking down a large nest.  An irrate wasp and buddy wouldn't let me near the house. I was unnerved but preservered.

the back of the house has two screened in patios.  Last visit I tackled the long patio, and forgot to take photos.  This is the smaller patio but by far the worst.  In preparation for a new screen enclosure we opened it up, removing the rotten wood and torn screens, but it was still daunting.

Every neighborhood  has a haunted house, perfect for Halloween. still requires a bit of elbow  grease but it is improved.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tile installation the Raimondi tile leveling system

The tiles are going down, progress at last.  We are using the Raimondi tile system. It is guranteed to help level your tile installation (within reason). This is the bomb people. The substrate had some imperfections, and this has corrected them, so that the tiles are all the same level, and we're left with a 1/16" grout line.  I'LL never install tiles any other way.

The downside of the Ditra is that we can only install 20 tiles per each 50 lb. bag of mortar, so it's been time consuming.  We estimate it will take 18 days to finish the job.  At least we are working towards the bathroom and kitchen.  After the fourth Day we can start building cabinets to break the monotony.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Dumpster.. too big, too small, just right

The driver drove past the property, from the house I could see the dumpster and I said to the contractor, "OH,  it's not that big".  Then the entered the property, almost taking out a branch on the oak tree, lowered it and opened the door in the back.  This dumpster is a 30 yarder, 19' x 8' x 7'  1,064 cubic feet.  It's too big.

Day 1

Day 2

                                                                         Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

We estimate 2,000 sq ft of carpet, 1,000 sq ft of padding, 2,400 sq ft of drywall, 8 cabinets, 300 ft of baseboards, assorted doors and frames.

We have the ceiling and about 25% of the walls left. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Trying to economize in the bathroom....

At this point if I suggest tearing down the shower surround, I will have a mutiny on my hands.  Truth be told, the tiles in the surround don't bother me.  The bullnose needs to go, the avocado green accent will clash with everything else planned for the bathroom.  The tile in the surround has a green gold vein running through it, in an almost random pattern.  I can work with this.

The plan is to remove the avocado bullnose, and replace it with the impossibly thin bamboo tile mosaic, and finish with a bullnose to match the tile floor.  That is the plan anyway, since I did not have a tile from the surround I am relying on my memory to match color.  We shall see how that works out in the end.  In any event, I still have my receipts and can return them if it doesn't work out.  Once the tiles are installed, we can resume an almost normal existence on the site.  I really miss having the toilet and have to drive down the street to the gasoline station to use the facilities.

I pulled a white tile from the shelves to give me an idea of what a white sheen would look like next to the tiles.  I'm excited to see it in the actual space.

Next week there will be a lot of activity, more contractors coming out to the site, a long awaited dumpster will be delivered, so we can clear out what we have demoed in the big house.  Tradesmen will be coming out to give estimates, and landscapers to hopefully cut down trees.  I can test a color I have selected for the kitchen cabinets and if we are very lucky, in the next 10 days we will start the very large job of tiling. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Some progress and some distraction.... Ditra completed little house

Finally, we have the tile underlayment completed in the bathroom and living area.  

We have decided to do the prep work for the tiles, so we have the mid points marked. We've been playing with the tile layout but my contractor has convinced me that staggered will look better, than the super complicated pattern I picked.  I have to agree but I enjoyed the expression on his face when I presented him with the complicated one, then I suggested chevron (because I'm evil)  There was some sweating and head shaking going on, and even stuttering.

 There will be a lot of thin set mixing involved from this point on, because the Ditra (orange stuff) has little cavities that have to be filled, then more thin set on top for the tile.  Also we will be using self leveling spacers from Raimondi, it's a cool little system that is supposed to help level out the tile installation if there are any imperfections in the foundation, so that should be fun.  They won't be in until mid next week, so there was some landscaping and pressure cleaning going on.  We have officially migrated to the big house.  

Everywhere you look there is something to do, so we spent hours cleaning out debris, and pressure cleaning the underside of the long porch.  It was full of spider webs, wasp nests, mud dauber nests and all manner of other insects.    When the little porch is finished we'll have before and after pics.  I forgot to take the "before" shots this time and just jumped in.  This is just a sample of what we were dealing with.  When I show you the before pics of the little porch, you will see what an undertaking it truly was.  There is some urgency to get this done so we can put up new screens and frames because these critters have a season up there and it's just starting.  We are also doing our best to seal the buildings to prevent any insects or "others" invading the property.  I'm sure we'll find some intruders but we would like to minimize it since I will be doing all of the attic work.

This week though, cable will be installed in the little house, as well as the AC, which we are beginning to need.  We've had wildly variable temperatures, from freezing cold to summer 80's.  The AC/Heat will be a welcomed, addition.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

spring is in the air and things are sprouting

Things are moving slowly, so this post is about spring  where I live it's so hot most of the year we forget there are seasons.  Just a few hours north though there are definite signs of spring




This cypress tree that we thought was a goner

Then I found this leaf in the concrete foundation.
This is what it looked like before, yup the one on the left, is the one above.

A contribution from a tree on the property.

Driving 6 hours in rain has me drained so more on the house later ....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Bathroom..... tiles and the fun stuff...

Not eager to jump into another demolition, I'm going to ignore the tiles on the floor and the bath surround. OK I lied, I can't ignore them  the tiles on the floor will clash with the new tiles  since we had to rent the hammer to scrape up the thin set I took advantage and demoed the floor in the bathroom.  My contractor was not pleased. too late all done. ;)

You can't really see the tile floor but trust me ugly  

This was it, ugly right? On its own, not ugly but in combination with the shower enclosure tile, they didn't coordinate.  The floor tiles were grey and pink matte, the shower enclosure has a high gloss textured green and white, with avocado bull nose trim.

This is prettier.... because it's gone.

 Onto planning, the bathroom is huge compared to what I'm used to.  My current bathrooms are 6' x 6.5'.  Just enough space for everything.  I've never even thought of them as small.

The new bathroom is 6' x 10'.  It seems large but once you place the vanity there isn't much space for anything else, weird.  Since the door opens into the room it gobbles up that additional space.  Ah well, at least it will feel larger with the door closed, and now for the first time ever, I have drawers in the vanity, with soft close hardware, and a recessed medicine cabinet, I'm living for the small delights people.

Here's the plan.....

Almost Downton Abbey worthy

On sale!! $329 vs $379

Ballantyne Mocha with Ebony Glaze Traditional Bathroom Vanity (Common: 36-in x 22-in; Actual: 36-in x 21-in)
  • Crafted from all wood with an open back
  • Slow-close doors and full extension drawers with dovetail construction
  • Fits with 37-in x 22-in vanity top (sold separately)
  • Fully assembled and ready to install

I knew I wanted a square sink, but once I priced them out and thought about the budget I went with this.  Here it paid to do a little shopping, there was one at Lowes for twice the price of HD.  To be clear, they were different materials, vitreous china vs cultured marble but this won't get a lot of use, and the look is the same ($397 vs $139 = $258).

$139 bargain!!

The Faucet from

By the way, I've bought a number of plumbing fixtures on Amazon, and they have the best quality for a much better price than the box stores.  This will coordinate with the sink faucet $158 vs $184 from any other source (-$26).

Last but not least, the medicine cabinet.  The wall over the sink already had an opening for the cabinet, it was just a matter of finding a size that would fit without too much alteration to the wall.  After much hunting, I went with this which is functional, and has plenty of space to move the contents of my current three medicine cabinets combined.  I'll have to think about a wood trim of some kind to tie everything together, but that will be later, for now, the mirror will reflect the light coming in from the window, and there will be a place to put everything.

I've come to think of Lowes as being pricier than Home Depot but in this case, the exact same cabinet was $179 vs $218, $39 cheaper at Lowes.

Mercifully, the toilet and bathtub are in great shape, so no changes there, I will be using the towel bars and hooks from my current home.

Bathroom Reno so far $805, savings $379.
Tile TBD. ...

The majority of the savings were in the sink purchase, which is not an apples to apples comparison since the same look was achieved, so I'm counting it.... I hope my budget is as successful with the future projects.

Friday, March 13, 2015

One step forward two steps back.....

Now we are cooking with gas.

After a day with the demolition hammer and chisel, this is what we were left with.

The thin set didn't stick to the underlayment but it did stick to the concrete.
I didn't take a pic, but at this point both of us were covered in sweat and dust after wrestling with the hammer and neither of us wanted to continue.  Just like sewing, that's the time to step away from the project, and do something else.

So I tackled the bathroom.

That was gratifying because they had tiled over vinyl, so no thin set stuck, it came up in chunks.

After a good night's sleep, I decide we need to listen to Roger, (FloorElf), and rent a concrete grinder.
Off we go to Home Depot, and have a conversation with the nice lady behind the counter, and I ask her for a 7" concrete grinder with a a scarifying wheel.  They don't have one, they suggest a demo hammer.


Finally we look at what they have available for rental.
They had a grinder that required a hose to function.


Finally we settled on a 10" concrete grinder with a vacuum attachment. 
We couldn't get it in my suv, we needed a truck.
They gave me a short demonstration and off we go.
Here's the bad boy.

We stared at it for a little while.

It was a miracle, all of the thin set is gone, as well as the patches of backing from the vinyl floor and it took 45 minutes, and hardly any physical abuse.

We are triumphant. 
The following day was about cleaning up all of the dust... very satisfying.

We are closer to actually getting tile down...

To be continued....