Saturday, November 21, 2009

And so it begins...

Today was the first day of a very, very long journey. It was the first day of working on the new house.

We've made a prioritized to-do list, changed it at least 100 times, and will probably change it another 100 times in the next week. But we (that is, Fuzzypony and I, the husband is out of town today) started on it today with demoing the pink bathroom and ripping up the linoleum in the laundry room. The goal is to tile both rooms and the soon-to-be-created hallway between the two, so that we'll have an easy-clean area right off the garage/carport where people can leave their muddy boots, dump their icky clothes in the washer, all without traipsing all over the house.

First off, I learned that they don't put tile up like they used to, because tile put up in 1951 is UP THERE FOR GOOD.

The first piece comes off.

We started chipping it off with a hammer and chisel but quickly moved to a small sledgehammer when we figured out that it was backed with cement with a steel mesh behind it.

After an hour or so of bashing... we stopped because that electric heater in the middle is still connected and functional, and we hadn't yet figured out which breaker controlls the power to the bathroom. Ah, a job for tomorrow :)

See that black spot in the wall? That's tar paper. That's an outside wall, and THERE IS NO INSULATION. So our house is supremely energy un-efficient. As someone who's concerned about that sort of thing, it makes me twitch. A lot! Looks like we may be blowing insulation in the walls later.

Here you can see the other side of the bathroom and the top of the vanity. We learned that you just need to break up the tile enough to grab the wire mesh backing, then pull the nails that hold the backing to the studs. If you do that, you can rip down whole sections of the wall. Obviously all the wallboard will need to be replaced, but at least the pink tile is on its way out. Yay!

The room next to the bathroom is the utility room, which had some fantastic linoleum flooring. I managed to rip up about 2/3 of it today. Weird stuff... first the top layer would come off, then I had to chisel off the bottom squishy layer and the adhesive.

After several hours with the sledgehammer and chisel, Fuzzypony and I were done for. We snagged dinner and then went tile shopping with DA, whose day job is an interior designer. I got a lot of advice from her, and found a great floor model that I want to use as a concept:

This model is all travertine and marble... pricey, and hard to care for. But, I like the larger tiles below, the decorative border, and the smaller tiles above in a diagonal pattern.

To re-create the shower above, we managed to find a really nice travertine look-alike, much more user-friendly and easy care, for $1.69/sq foot. The decorative marble tile will end up being about $5 a foot, but because I only need it for the inside of the shower, we won't need much. Here's the final selection:

Travertine look-alike with marble accent. Hopefully the husband will go for it!

A few other things before I sign off - it's late and I'm tired! I took the dogs with me today and let them run off-leash. They LOVED it. They ran like mad, full-tilt - something they don't have the space to do at home. It was pure joy to watch them have so much fun. Elias tried to get at the next-door neighbor's mini donkeys, so getting the invisible fence installed is now higher up on the priority list. Reba merely tried to make friends with them, and shows little inclination to leave the property, so I'm less worried about her.

We looked at vanities at Lowe's today - I found a few that I like that might work for the bathrooms. There are some decent pre-fab ones out there, some even with sinks built-in, that would save a lot of time if we find something we like.

I have some concern about the dust we're kicking up with the tile demo. Homes built before 1980 often have asbestos in them. Without testing, there's no way of knowing what the concrete backer has in it, but we wore masks and safety glasses today to be safe. After doing some research and realizing that it's more likely than not that asbestos was used somewhere in the house's construction materials, I will be picking up high-quality respirators for both me and the husband. We will also be double-bagging everything we pull out, and I'll be calling a disposal place on Monday to ask what we should do with it.

And now, off to bed! More work awaits tomorrow.

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