remodeling hell #0.5

Since I seem to have diarrhea of the mouth tonight, perhaps this would be a good time to start my idea of having a blog of sorts involving the house remodel upon which we’ve embarked, semi-willingly.

This post will be the back-story.

Years ago, we purchased the house. We only had it a couple of years when we were beset upon by an army of ninjas. (Wait, wrong back story.)

We only had it a couple of years when our first roommate moved out. We decided this would be a perfect opportunity to remodel the empty bedroom. We had picked out paint colors and a lovely bamboo flooring. We’d ripped out the carpet when we discovered that remodeling is never as simple as it appears on This Old House.

The ceiling was the nasty popcorn stuff, and we were trying to figure out what to do with it. I had a vague feeling that the stuff contained asbestos, and was sort of avoiding dealing with the issue. So it got put off a bit.

Then, someone told us that the floor tile (which covered about half the floor under the carpet, not all in one contiguous patch) might also contain asbestos. Since this would prevent us from immediately laying the new floor, we broke down and had it tested. (only about $20-$30, so not really a bad deal). Turns out the ceiling did have asbestos, though only about 3%; the floor, however, had 18% asbestos! Holy cancerous fibers, Batman!

So this got put off again. I eventually started shopping around for an abatement contractor, and found one that quoted me about $800 for the whole job. Much cheaper than I expected; I’d seen old This Old House shows where they talked about it being SUCH an EXPENSE. I suppose they’re better at it now.

But since it was hard to scrape up the cash for that all at once instead of for more pressing needs, it got put on hold once again.

Fast forward another couple of years to this January — the 2nd, in fact. We’d seen water come into the house a bit in the master bedroom after every rainstorm, but assumed it was just from the back patio since it was cleverly sloped towards the house, and water puddled after every rainstorm. We sopped it up and added jackhammering the back patio to our to-do list.

This January, however, water really came into the house. And as we found out, it was a bad roofing job on the second addition to the house that was the source of the leak — meaning that not only was water really coming into the house, but it was coming down inside the wall, as well, and puddling in both the master bedroom and the living room.

That wasn’t the worst of it, though. Since there was so much water, and presumably since this is where the water came from those other times it got wet inside, it got moldy! The bedroom became uninhabitable from the stench, and mold surfaced in one corner of the room. I tried sleeping there the first night, and couldn’t; we ended up having to close it off, run the bathroom fan in there continuously, and sleep in the living room.

So I went up to the roof and tried to do a repair job on it. As I found out, the valley thing where the leak occurred is called a cricket. The good way to build one of these is to build up an artificial slope using wood, to make it so that there isn’t a flat valley, that there’s always a slope for water to run off of the roof. Our roof, modified and extended to create this valley thing due to the additions, was not built this way. Neither was my repair job.

The same company that I asked about the asbestos abatement also did mold abatement — which unfortunately is much more expensive. They came out and, over the course of a week, removed the asbestos popcorn ceiling from both bedrooms (yay!), and removed the mold-infested drywall, carpet & padding, and insulation from the wall where the water ran down, sanded down all the framing, and applied some die-mold-die disinfectants to kill anything remaining. About $4,000 later, I’ve got an asbestos-free two rooms (we’ve had it certified), and a mostly mold-free master bedroom.

It’s not entirely mold free since, as I discovered at about the same time I discovered how the roof was supposed to work, my repair job wasn’t good enough. This is understandable since the place where the roofs join was done very poorly by the people who did the second addition; the slope on one section of the roof doesn’t match the others, making a lump in the roof.

So, we’re having the roof redone. Since it’s probably about that time anyway, and since I don’t trust the previous owner (who rented the house out and seemed to do the absolute, lowest bidder bare minimum amount of maintenance on the place) to not have hired someone who screwed up other parts of the roof as well, we figured it would be best to have the whole thing stripped and redone while we can afford it (yay for low rates and refinancing). The roofers are also going to replace the skylights (yellowing 70s plastic bubbles) with actual low-e glass skylights, too; so after a week or so, and $13,000 later, we’ll have a nice happy new roof.

Then, we have to have the mold folks come back out, re-disinfect the leak area, and then (we hope) we’ll have the bedroom area pronounced mold-free, and we can start in on that room too.

More stories to come on the inside part of the house.

One thought on “remodeling hell #0.5”

  1. Wow. Two points:

    1) The good news it that your house is worth WAYYYYYY more than when you bought it, so all the money you’re investing is well worth it from a monetary point of view (and obviously a peace of mind one as well), especially should you decide to sell it down the road.

    2) BLOG MORE OFTEN DAMNIT! I like reading your posts ;)

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