Sunday, January 20, 2019

Remodel of Our New Home - The Leak

So, the saga began....

First, a little background.  In my last post I spoke of whitewashing the fireplace and painting our living room upon moving into our new home.  When we bought this place, we were thinking we could live with it like it was for the most part. 

Immediate changes would involve some painting and redoing the ceilings in the bathrooms...then maybe in a few years we could remodel the kitchen a little.  We plan, God laughs.
Old Ceiling in bathes
So this is what the ceilings of the bathrooms (and only the bathrooms) looked like.  Yeah, ugh...that yellowish color here and there was slime-mold growing on and in the nooks and crannies.  After testing the ceiling fan in the main bathroom we found it wasn't exhausting at all, and the master bathroom didn't even HAVE an exhaust fan.

Since the rest of the ceilings in this place were "popcorned", we suspected the previous folks messed up the original texture while trying to wash off mildew and mold.  They then re-plastered it like this....OH SOOO much ugly going on up there.  Fixable, though, and I had plans to scrape that plaster off after we finished painting and unpacking.

But after about a month it was becoming more and more difficult to eliminate a growing funky smell that kept coming back, and I was developing a persistent headache.  (I'm sensitive to mold, so of course I blamed those nasty bathroom ceilings thinking there was lingering mold) 

In the meantime, we hired an exterminator to address a cockroach problem.  He emerged from the crawlspace and said to us, "Hey! Do you guys know you have a large puddle under your house?"

After crawling under the house, Hubby and the exterminator concluded the source of the leak was from the tub in the main bath.  Time to call in a plumber.

The plumber suspected it was at the shower diverter, but we needed to cut an access panel in the wall for him to fix it. Luckily, the linen closet abutted the shower's wall and we have a reciprocating saw.  Hubby got busy and....voila.
New plumbing access panel in plywood walls
During the repair work, the plumber discovered the subflooring under the tub was sopping wet and warping.  He said "The damage looks pretty extensive".  Well that wasn't good, so we then had to go in search of a handyman to help us come up with a plan.  Turned out that all the bathroom floor was soaked and flaking apart.  The subflooring was made of chip-board which held the water and the previous owners hid it by just putting ceramic floors in the bathroom instead of repairing it.  Now we started looking at ALL the ceramic floors with increasing suspicion....hmmm.

Kitchen with ceramic floor

Master Bath with ceramic tile
Luckily, the floor trusses were still okay, but if it were left alone those would rot, too. No disputing it, we HAD to rip up the ceramic tile and tear out the bathtub replacing the subfloor in the main bath (and maybe the master bath as well).  We started tearing out the main bath first to see if we could salvage any of the original stuff....Nope. Wall to wall wet.  The damage appeared to go into the adjoining master bath as well as the adjoining kitchen and laundry room. So next we started ripping out the master bath, to see if that subfloor needed to be replaced too....Yep. It would need to be demolished too.

Nothing was salvageable.  The tub needed to be cut up to remove it.  So did the shower in the master.  The cabinets rested on the subfloors and were warping as well.  Out they went.  We couldn't salvage anything except the 40-year old toilets, and we decided to just go hog wild and replace those too.

The handyman and his son started to demolish the master bath back to the walls and took down those bad ceilings as well. We decided to leave the main bath to use while we worked on the master.  While they were doing this, I started working on the closets.....but that's for another post.

Here are pictures of the finished bathrooms with new cabinets, toilets, tile floors and tiled backsplashes, new hardware, and I upgraded to new in-wall medicine cabinets for more storage.  The master now has an exhaust fan, too. WOOT!  One upgrade we decided on was to install 2.5" crown molding.  Many of the rooms (not all) had 1" molding as crown molding which looked pretty puny.  Come to find out, it's purpose was to hold up wall paper that was starting to peal off....yeah....another story for another post.

Main Bath - old vanity

Main Bath - new vanity
Main Bath - new tub and tile
Master Bath - new shower

Master Bath - new vanity
So until the next Saga installment....ciao for now ...

                                                                  ~~ Karen ~~


  1. Wow!! Reading this was like watching one of those HGTV shows where everything goes wrong. I'm so sorry you had to tear things up like that but thank goodness you got it done. It looks great! I love that vanity in the main bathroom! Good to see you here! Been missing you. How 'ya doing?

  2. Hi Terri :) Been doing pretty well. Still feeling a bit doing the bunny hop with energy levels, but pharmacists say this is to be expected and should get better with time and tweaking the meds. Spending most of my time going through these digital pix and getting them organized. Once I found all these, thought I could share a little something. Babysitting this week, so really laughing alot :) Hope to see you sometime, soon.

    1. btw, got that vanity as a closeout at Home Depot online....about $100.

  3. As Terri D said, reading this post was like an episode on HGTV. You have done beautiful work. It's just really nice. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    1. thanks, Barbara. It does, doesn't it. HA! Wish I could get paid though like those folks on HGTV.


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