Journal of a Remodelee, Part 6 of 11
Originally appeared in Hills Publications, March 31, 2006 and ANG Newspapers, March 25, 2006
My wife, Sonia, and I are making good progress on our major home remodel despite numerous aggravations.
The tile shop admitted that the dark grout mistakenly used in the shower pan was not the one we ordered. Meanwhile, one of the men redid it with matching grout from the shower walls. In the end, we are quite pleased with the results.
Kitchen floor tiling is complete. The diamond pattern went down easily in the large, center section. In the narrower areas, however, it was necessary for Sonia and I to be constantly nearby, making decisions on where and how to cut and place the large tiles and the smaller border ones. We also pointed out a number of tiles that were not cut precisely, or had uneven grout lines. Angles around walls and cabinets forced us to compromise on the design, but we are happy with the outcome.
Sam, the crew foreman, and I consulted as to how to handle the kitchen transition into the family room where the bull nose tile and oak flooring meet. I asked Sam how he intended to fill in one section that had a large gap. He thought it would be handled by the floor refinishers, but agreed to take care of it. Using oak flooring strips, his men did a great job.
I asked Sam when he planned to seal the shower and master bath tile. He asked if I thought it was necessary. This surprised me because newly laid tile grout should be sealed, especially in an area where it will get wet. I replied that I would like it sealed with two coats, just as his man had done when our front room was retiled not that long ago.
In spite of Sam’s willingness to go out of his way to do the right thing for us, somehow, this important item almost fell through the cracks.
All our new windows came in today. Later, after the master bath window was in the process of being installed, I asked Sam if he thought it would be a good idea to hold off enclosing the new window frames until Mike, the alarm man, completed his work. I proposed calling Mike to have him come over and tell Sam what he was going to do with the wiring.
Sam looked up in surprise and quickly said “good idea.” I left a voice mail for Mike; he will come Monday to coordinate with Sam.
Mike came and discussed with Sam how to handle each window. He will return later in the week to complete the alarm installation.
After Mike left, Sam told me that two of the new windows would require extensive work and breaking of stucco to install. This was upsetting, because our contractor had assured us the replacement windows would fit into existing sashes. I quickly called the contractor, who explained to Sam how to install the windows without additional, expensive changes.
Wei, the granite guy, came to measure. We are particularly worried that they will not pay enough attention to the pattern and beauty of the three huge slabs we purchased. We want them to use the nicest pieces in the most prominent places.
To assuage our concerns, the contractor will take the unusual step of allowing us to go to his fabricating shop before the granite slabs are cut. Many contractors insist on making these decisions themselves. In this case, we will be able to give our preferences.
Sam realized that the moldings his men were nailing and gluing under the kitchen cabinets should not be done until after the granite is installed. Fortuitously, the moldings were up for only half an hour and the glue had not yet dried when they were removed.
Similarly, I had asked Sam a few days ago to make sure his men do not nail in the floor moldings in areas where the floor people will need to replace boards.
After three weeks of frustrating conversations with the glazier, we still do not know what glass he will be providing for the new shower enclosure, nor do we have a firm price.
We want to be understanding, but are out of patience. This is why we invited the rep from a neighborhood glass store to come and give us a bid. Courtney, our new glazier, brought a sample of the green glass we wanted and his price is better.
I quizzed Courtney to make sure he is experienced. Time will tell. At least we can communicate with him.
The floor, door/window and crown moldings are up in most of the house and are sensational. They give the house a totally different, appealing look and are worth the cost.
Another added expense: I had Sam replace the rotting arbor in the backyard with redwood. We changed the style slightly to a more open design. It came out terrific and I do not have to worry about maintaining it for a long time.
Today was the last day of work by the crew for awhile. We are taking a break for a month or so. Overall, despite the stress, we are extremely happy with the changes.
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.