Journal of a Remodelee, Part 5 of 11
Originally appeared in Hills Publications, March 3, 2006 and ANG Newspapers, March 4, 2006
Our remodeling story continues, as my wife, Sonia, and I remain focused on the day this project will be completed.
Our range/oven and hood were delivered today. It took five men from our contracting crew, who showed extreme care, to get the 300 lb. range up the steps and into the house.
Today, our kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity came in 42 pieces, all well wrapped in padding. Our living room now looks like a storage warehouse.
The heating company’s foreman told us the venting pipes supplied by Vent-A-Hood could not be used and wanted to make a much smaller one. This meant we would not be able to safely use the full power of our new range hood. We were not happy to hear this and asked the heating company owner to come over and discuss the situation.
After consultation, we found a way for the manufacturer’s venting to work. We will have our contractor’s men complete that job because we do not have confidence in the heating foreman.
The tiling of the new shower stall was progressing nicely until I noticed a few problems. In some places, the grout lines for the matching mosaic tiles did not line up with the 12 x12’s; the miters of the bull nose tiles around the shower insert were slightly out of alignment; and, a few of the grout lines were wider than others.
Fortunately, we were still at a point where these problems could be rectified. I pointed them out to Sam, our contractor’s foreman, who corrected them immediately. Had the shower been totally tiled and grouted, it would have been too late and those misalignments would have turned into a permanent annoyance.
The kitchen cabinets have been installed and look incredible. This kitchen looks larger than it did on paper. Sonia is thrilled, but we just noticed a damaged door and some blemishes.
Suzanne, our kitchen designer, was wonderful, as always. She is ordering a new cabinet door and will have a local refinisher come to the house after the rest of the work is completed. As with my contractor, I will gladly recommend her in the future. Besides the fantastic job she did in helping us plan our kitchen, she has been great at following up every step of the way.
Tiling in the new bath continues. They just completed laying the river rock shower floor. It still needs to be grouted, but looks great.
Bad ending to a good day: Sam pointed out that the cabinet that has the damaged door also has a number of cracks in various places. We realized that ordering a replacement, custom-sized cabinet could delay the kitchen floor tile work. To avoid this, Sam said he will cut the tiles for that area and wait to grout them until after the new cabinet arrives.
Sonia called Suzanne. No problem. She will order a new cabinet. Estimated time is at least a month. When asked what to do with the damaged one, she told us to keep it and use it in the garage for storage.
Except for the shower pan, the new bathroom is completely tiled and is wonderful. The tile installers are being even more exacting in how they lay the tiles. I think our periodically looking in on the job helps.
The laundry closet is finished, painted and the washer and dryer are installed. They completed the job fast enough that we never had to go to a Laundromat.
The dryer venting goes under the floor, rather than up into the attic. I knew from other people’s problems that venting up is not as efficient as down. Similarly, we made sure the washer was placed in a metal pan with an overflow pipe leading under the house. In case of a broken hose or other type of leak, this will, hopefully, forestall damage to our hardwood floors. Most washers I see in people’s homes do not have a pan, an inexpensive precaution.
The kitchen floor is now being laid. We spent a lot of time with Sam and his tile man going over the diamond pattern with its border. The work is progressing nicely.
Sonia and I were out for awhile. When we returned, Sam showed us the master bath shower pan. We took one look and said, in unison, “Oh no, this is terrible.”
The river rock floor was nearly covered with grout, making the rocks hardly visible. Worse still, the grout was the wrong color – a murky brown instead of alpine white. Serendipitously, the grouting had not set, having been completed only two hours earlier. Sam and his men started removing it immediately.
Sonia and I were puzzled as to how this happened; then, we saw it. The bags of grout had been mislabeled at the store. The grouting for the kitchen tiles was marked “shower pan,” and some of the alpine white bags were marked “kitchen.” On top of this, the brown grout was not even the one we had ordered.
Had we not returned home when we did, we would have had a shower pan looking more like a mud flow than a crystal clear river bed. The hassle of ripping up the already set river rocks and grout would have been gruesome and much more expensive. Another disaster averted.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 1 – It begins; we know there will be the inevitable surprises, but optimistically hope previous experiences will help renovations go smoothly.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 2 – Holding our breaths that some irreversible glitch does not take place while we are out earning a living.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 3 – An eliminated window is mistakenly left in the plans while miscalculations in light fixture placement increases costs.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 4 – Even with a great construction crew, once again we learn you can’t count on them to think of everything.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 5 – Mislabeling of tile grout almost results disaster.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 6 – We are reminded how important it is for at least one of us to stay close at hand to answer questions as they arise.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 7 – Back from a holiday break, we experience more surprises and a frustrating accident.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 8 – Surprises and scheduling conflicts can’t detract from enjoying our new kitchen.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 9 – It is all coming together…almost.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 10 – City inspections and the finish line.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 11 – Eight months’ worth of do’s and don’ts.