Sunday, July 17, 2005

The house is winning

This weekend has been a combination of good...and bad. I didn't even know what to title this post other than the obvious.

Our remodeling weekend started out great. We started yesterday by going to the flooring store that we selected and chose our kitchen/utility sheet vinyl. It's a very thick European style titled "Sacramento Pavers-Quartz". It has the look of stone ceramic tile, but of course, it's not. The store gave us a special 50% discount (since I know them through work) and they are going to order it tomorrow.

We then came home and started getting the house ready for painting. This weekend was earmarked to paint the main areas. The first things we did were to start pulling off the light fixtures, framed pieces from the walls, etcetera, and P started pulling off the baseboards and shoe since we had decided weeks ago to replace it. And I'm SO glad that we are, because that old baseboard was just NASTY.

I have Pergo laminate wood flooring in my dining room, entry and hall that my father-in-law installed three years ago. When we had our foundation repaired and our ceramic tile cracked all over the place, we decided to refloor our home and did most of the labor ourselves. We removed all 500 square feet of ceramic tile BY OURSELVES. We did the bathroom vinyl tile BY OURSELVES. My father-in-law got us the carpet and laid it for us. And for the Pergo? Well, since we read on the Pergo website how EASY it is to install, our father-in-law offered to install it for us if we would just buy the materials. I love my father-in-law, and he was just trying to help us.

The website should have said, "Easy to install if your house is a normal house with straight walls." Which ours is not. We also were under the impression that my father-in-law had installed laminate wood flooring before, which, while it is not as hard as installing pure hardwoods, is a little tricky if you have to make special cuts and things. He informed us that he had never installed Pergo before the morning that he came over to install it.

So, the result was that while the floors looked somewhat decent, they were not the floors that I had envisioned in my dreams. They were not cut properly to go under the walls and they were not cut properly to go under our door casings. After we scratched them a few times, we basically just decided about two years ago that they were going to be replaced at some point.

We never thought that now would be the time this would happen.

On with my story. So, yesterday after we yank off all the baseboards, we take the Howe casing that we bought last weekend and put it against all the walls where it will go to see if it will cover the gaps. It does in every place...but one. The wall outside our nursery. There is a slight gap because the planks was cut too narrow, and you can see the neon green of the moisture barrier underneath poking out of it. Since we have an extra box of Pergo out in the garage, P decides to be the ultimate weekend warrior and try to repair it, thinking that if we just pop out one or two pieces and replace it with new ones, the problem will be solved until we have a flood from our hot water heater or washing machine and then we'll get new floors at that point in time.

My poor husband. I felt really bad for him. He gave it the old Texas try, but it just didn't work. Not only did he break surrounding pieces trying to get the old pieces out, he also broke every one of the last remaining pieces of Pergo that we had in the garage. Pergo, if you are not aware, is basically nothing more than particle board, and we had the cheapest Pergo available at the time since that's all we could afford.

So after some tears (me) and some cussing (P), we decide to go down to Home Depot with one of our old planks in hand and see what they have, and maybe buy an extra box of whatever is closest, make the repair, and hope for the best. Granted, it won't match, but it'd be better than just having open slab exposed right now which is exactly the situation in our hall at the moment.

We realize when we get to Home Depot that not only do they not sell the Pergo Express that our floors are, but that NONE OF THE TONGUE AND GROOVE SYSTEMS on any of the other styles are the same and there will be NO way that we can make this repair.

More tears (me) and LOTS of hyperventilating...I've never actually hyperventilated before, but I'm pretty sure that is what that was.

We get home, look on the Pergo website and realize that the Pergo Express has been discontinued. More hyperventilating and tears.

I went to bed early in tears, tossed and turned for a while thinking about this dilemma, and we both woke up with the realization that we are buying new floors now. There is no way around it. We have no choice. We can't install carpet without redoing the whole house since our sunken living room and all bedrooms are the same color, not to mention that carpet is not what we want. We wanted laminate. That's what we had. And there is absolutely NO way to repair these floors since we can't get anything that has the locking system that our old Pergo has.

So today, we went back to the flooring store and picked out a Wilsonart laminate that is on sale...and I'm waiting for the sales manager to call me back tomorrow with the estimate that will be discounted at the special rate since I'm a "special customer". It's going to be MUCH more affordable than it could be, but this is definitely a crimp in our plans.

What else can we do? We're just going to have to go with the flow, I suppose.

So, the house is staying true to form, and every room that we work on has another undiscovered problem that we weren't aware existed. Fortunately, that was the only one we found in the main area that we are aware of so far. It just so happens to be the priciest one. Thank GOD that store is giving me an insurance discount.

The good news is that the main areas are about two-thirds painted. We started today around 2 pm after we got back from the floor store, and the hall, linen closet, entry, hall off the dining room, dining room and one wall of the living room are done. P's working on the ceiling now. It's going pretty well, although painting the great room is a LOT harder than painting the other rooms with 8' ceilings since it's a continual alternation between standing on the floor with the roller and standing on the stepladder with a roller on the extender pole. Plus, since the color is basically a variation of white, it's not AS easy to see as some of the other rooms have been. But the color looks wonderful, that's for sure. We went through our two gallons easily this afternoon and tonight went back to Lowe's to buy two more and a quart of semi-gloss in Lighthouse Shadows (a very light gray-blue) to paint our mantle, ceiling beam, support posts and our front exterior door. It'll just be a nice touch, and I think the two colors will go very well with our kitchen colors and also our brand-new Cherry Rose laminate flooring. *sigh*

Anyway, that's been my weekend. I don't anticipate that I'll have any more finished pictures to share for quite a while since the main areas won't be finished until the flooring is in nor will the kitchen be finished until the flooring is in. I'm trying VERY hard to be patient. I also switched my vacation around a little bit so I'm off this entire Friday and then Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. My hope is that the contractors come and work while I'm off so it'll all get done in a timely manner, but we'll see.

Pregnancy is still going fine, and my daughter is still moving on a regular basis. Other than my little outie realization Friday night, I've had nothing else happen this weekend. Pretty uneventful.

Our main areas right now are a total disaster since all the furniture and everything is right in the middle of the room. And we have stuff being stored in our bedrooms at the moment...all of my framed cross stitch is in our bedroom, our linen closet is in the nursery, and our office just has random miscellaneous things in it that need to be put away. Right now our focus is just on getting the main area painted, which I am hoping is done either tomorrow night or Tuesday night. Then, we'll put all our stuff up on the walls, install the outlet plates, and just put all the things in our dining room in our nursery so the main areas are empty for the new floor installation. P's going to take out the old Pergo sometime this week so that we can save money on the total price by doing our own demo.

Then, we wait. Wait for cabinets, wait for contractors, wait for our new floors to cure in our home for 48 hours before installation, wait, wait, wait.

I can't wait to have my house back. Although, of course, with all these changes, it won't BE our house anymore. It'll be like a new house. The one comfort I have in this whole process is knowing that if we tried to sell our house and buy a new one, something that we have discussed often in the last two years, we'd probably be spending a great deal more money than we are now on closing costs, etcetera, so this is definitely more affordable. And we both have heard of people that have had much worse nightmare stories with their houses than us.

But I have to be honest, I feel like I'm fighting a battle with the house and right now the house is winning. How many other homeowners buy a home as first-time homeowners and have to repair a slab leak, make significant repairs to two bathrooms due to mold and rot, make massive foundation repairs, replace the roof due to hail damage, and replace the entire air conditioning system with the first five years? And I'm terrified that when these contractors get into our kitchen and start ripping stuff out that they are going to find some other problem that we aren't aware of. Like that we have a pipe in the wall that has been leaking for twenty years. Or that the wiring for our range hood is not up to code. Or that our stud walls won't support the cabinets we ordered. There are so many scenarios that could happen, and every one of them is running through my mind.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.


Blogger Sharon said...

Ok spooky. Your how many other home owners question? Yeah, us. Well, except the slab leak and we did it all within the first 6 years. But we had to do everything else you mentioned. Only we haven't taken care of one of the bathrooms. We just don't have the cabbage to take care of replacing the shower pan in the master bath.

In other words my friend, I feel your pain. I really, really, really feel your pain. But the great part is, think how fabulous the house is going to look when it's done! I can't wait to see it.

6:57 AM  

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