March 21, 2014

House Projects: Surprise! Dining Room Part 1

All was well on Wednesday afternoon. I had worked late on Monday, so I was home instead of being at the church. I sitting on the couch in the living room, thinking through my to-do list for the rest of the week as we have 4 people coming to stay with us Saturday night for a Sunday wedding. But then, I thought I heard a drip... and another... and then a hissing sound. I got up and looked in the dining room and found a giant bubble in the latex-paint-covered-plaster above the door connecting the living and dining rooms! I grabbed a couple towels and a bucket and luckily got them under the slight stream of water before the bubble burst, sending a waterfall to the now towel covered floor below. I called Mike, found out where the water shutoffs for the upstairs are (we have like 4 sets of valves instead of one shutoff for the whole house) and got them all shut off as he hustled home from work. The area of yellow that's missing is how big the water bubble was.

When we started busting into the wall and ceiling to remove the wet/moldy parts and get to the leak, we discovered that we actually have TWO ceilings in the dining room. Apparently the plaster had cracked in enough places that the old homeowners had wanted a new drywall ceiling, but instead of tearing down the plaster and lath, they just nailed up 1x2's and hung the drywall from the plaster. So we have drywall, an inch gap and then plaster and lath.

I have to say, it's kind of nice that in projects like this all the frustration that the project exists can get directed straight into the hammer swinging at the ceiling. Pretty cathartic :) By the time we had to stop for dinner plans with friends (a well deserved Pint Night at Old Main throughout which I may have seriously coveted Mike's beer) we had found the joint where Mike thought the leak would be and had made a dent in the wet drywall/plaster.

When we turned the water back on shortly on Thursday night to confirm the location of the leak, we discovered it was actually a different joint further down in the pipe. Not as easy a fix, but still a clean water line, so that was exciting and MUCH less gross than it could have been! Mike got started working on the pipe, cutting it to get the rest of the water out to be able to get it hot enough to work with on Friday night. Notice how wet the couple of remaining pieces of lath close to the pipes are. The leak is in that elbow. It had soaked the lath/plaster below it until it was wet enough to run down the 1x2 holding up the drywall (which ran along the joist above Mike's head) and into the wall above the door about 5 feet away, puddling in the plaster on the wall behind our pretty yellow paint. 

This is about half an hour before we reached the point of ceiling removal needed to get all the wet and/or moldy parts removed. We decided that it would be easier and possibly cheaper to take down the whole room worth of ceilings, and only replace the drywall instead of patching the plaster/lath and then the drywall. While we're in there, we're also going to install some can lights that were on our "maybe someday" list of to-do's for the house to make the room much brighter.

So we went to town tearing down the drywall, plaster and lath. However, we ran out of trash can space on Thursday night, so we had to pause demo and work on the massive amount of clean up needed to have 6 people staying in the house Saturday night.

Friday night the pipe got fixed, so both bathrooms are fully functioning to get ready for the wedding and to have the dining room back in working order (minus being pretty)! Next week we'll continue demo and start running the new electrical next week after garbage pickup on Monday. Here's the current dining room minus cleaning:

And to remind myself - I present the silver linings on the leaky pipe situation

  1. I worked late Monday so I was home to catch most of the water before it got to the floor/electronics despite usually working Wed afternoons. And even if it had, we don't have any carpet to be ruin! 
  2. It happened long enough before our company is coming that we should still have time to get both bathrooms up and running in time - the dining room just won't be as pretty. Not to mention it happened after our respite placement last week and before Baby Girl comes in June! No kiddos makes this much less stressful. 
  3. We have separate shut offs for the two bathrooms, so one still fully functions, meaning we can do all this work without worrying about where to shower when we finish late and crazy dirty.
  4. Adding more lights in the dark dining room will come much sooner!
  5. I've had a very tame pregnancy, so I can be just as helpful now as I would have been "pre-pregnant" AND we have friends already offering to help when we reach the stage where I can't really help anymore - I'm just not burly enough to help drywall a ceiling ;)
  6. I have a handy husband and a dad on call for questions about what to do when this kind of stuff happens! Plus this means we had all of the tools on hand that we needed for the first few days of demo including respirator masks, etc for when we found the mold. 


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