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The Importance of Having Very Good Friends

December 6, 2009

My friend Spencer came down from Seattle this weekend.  We had plans to go have a fun weekend in Vegas but that was before we bought a house!  He being the coolest guy ever decided to change his ticket and come help!  He is a pretty experienced DIYer and I really don’t think I would have made it through this weekend without him.

The sewer guys finished up a few things and were done on Saturday.  They hooked up the bathroom sink drain and the shower drain, they left a pipe and flange for the toilet, a pipe for the kitchen sink (we want to add a disposal), they moved all the water and sewer and gas in the laundry room (more on why later).  Unfortunately, they did not put flashing on the vents in the roof; this is something I really wish they had just done or at least supplied me with the parts for as it was a bit of an adventure making a last minute trip this afternoon to get all the stuff to do this as it is going to rain tomorrow.  Anyway, they did a good job overall and now we have a working sewer system!

The electrical contractor finished today around noon, and boy are he and his crew good!  They were very careful about putting minimal holes in walls; they did a great job running wire everywhere we wanted and really did an amazing job communicating when things had to be done different than planned.  Tomorrow the inspector will come and give the sign off on the rough-in work and I can start doing all the finish electrical.

Now onto what we actually did this weekend.  On Friday morning before Spence showed up I quickly scraped the tile off the sunroom floor.  Keeping my fingers crossed as lots and lots of nice red oak was exposed.  When it was all done I had a very nice looking floor with just a section missing in front of the door as we saw before.  Not bad!

After that was done I went to pick up Spence from the airport and give time for some really nice blisters to form.  When we got back to the house we took a look around and checked on the contractors progress then went to work in the laundry room which needed a new floor and a divider wall made of beadboard removed… or at least that’s what we thought we were going to do.

We pretty quickly had the small beadboard divider/wall down and realized we would also have to remove the plaster wall behind it as all the keys were gone and the plaster was falling right off.

So down came the plaster and lathe with a little help from a contractor who had a few minutes.  On the right side of the picture is the fabled “insecurity door” from the previous post.

After we got the wall pretty much down, we started to look at the floor more seriously.

Yup, definitely needed replacement.  We pulled up all the original yellow pine boards and uncoverd way more than we bargained for.

There was a lot of termite damage, and an incredibly badly done repair job.  When we had everything torn up it looked like the laundry room was actually hanging off the house from it’s roof!  All the posts and and floor joists were basically gone.  This had me slightly discouraged to say the least.

But Spencer was fearless, and after a quick consultation with one of the contractors we decided to do some serious emergency repairs.  We would first support the wall between the laundry room and closet (to my right and rear).  Then replace the ledger along the house wall, replace the beam along the outside of the laundry room and the posts.  Finally hang new floor joists perpendicular to the old joists and tie in closet joists to the new joists.  Hard to explain, but I will have a SketchUp of the work done in tomorrow’s post for all of you to critique.

We headed off to home depot and loaded up the car with new wood.

Back at the house and we were determined to get the structure together that night.

We got the beam and posts replaced.

Time flew by but we didn’t hit any major hiccups until five minutes after I mentioned how great sawz-all’s are because they cut through anything, but also really dangerous because they will cut through anything.  Spence went to cut away more wood and nicked a water line.  Fortunately all the lines had to be moved back against the wall anyway so it wasn’t really a loss.

Once we had the beam and ledger set we put hangers up and dropped in the new joists and called it a night.  The next morning I went over to make sure the contractor’s new what was going on.

We left the last joist out so that the contractors could put the utilities against the wall.  Then went on another trip to the store to get the plywood and drywall and all those little things you need to finish a job like this since it is the first.

It was a pretty late start and the electrical contractor was in and out all day so we somehow managed to only get the one main sheet of plywood on the floor.  We spent the time we weren’t working on the room cleaning up, organizing, and most importantly, getting the garage semi-secure.  I put new latches on while Spence put some reinforcing around the doors. Still, we had a heck of a lot of work to do on Sunday!

Sunday we got an early start and went full bore.  I started cutting out the finicky little board that would slide into the doorway into the kitchen and Spence got the space over the washer/dryer framed in to hide a bend in the vent stack.  Finally we finished the floor and started drywalling.  We knew we should have used green board rather than drywall, but this entire project was intended as a temporary fix until the entire structure can be removed and replaced in one way or another.  Drywall is much easier to work with and get looking decent.  We got most of the wall drywalled and then realized that the sewer contractor wasn’t coming back to put flashing on the roof.

I ran to the store and picked up supplies to do (the worst?) flashing job.  While I was on the roof making a fool of myself, Spencer was doing an excellent job finishing the drywall and mudding.  By 3pm we were pretty much done!  We cleaned up and went home for a few beers before he had to go to the airport.

A whirlwind weekend!  I have no clue how I am ever going to repay Spence.  Hopefully he will buy a house soon so I can come up and give him a hand.  All that remains is a few more layers of mud and a bunch of wood filler for the floor and it will all be ready for paint!

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