Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Basement Flooding

Our sad clogged waste line.
The title says it all. A water seepage problem that I thought I figured out and had taken care of came back with a vengeance this morning. It wasn't because I didn't have the right thing fixed, or that something else was contributing to the problem. Nope. It was because I hired the wrong person to fix it.

So after a fun morning of wet vacuuming and cleaning, I went to knock some heads together, politely that is. (Seriously folks, this is the second time I've wiped poo off of the basement floor. Thank heavens C was there to help this time or I may have completely lost it. So that said, I was looking forward to my chat with folks at  $49.99 Sewer.

I walked down the block, seething quietly, towards the Rooter Co. to have my nice civil chat with them. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a "For Rent" sign, instead of the business that was here, with a little odd feeling, part nausea part ick, I knew in a moment it would not be fixed quick.


Thankfully the contractor arrived on the scene today. His crew started on their first day of work in the basement. Rather than track down the ghosted rooter company, I've decided to hire someone I know I can trust that will take care of the problem for good. I've been seriously pleased with Barry so far and as our friend Oliver puts it, "It doesn't hurt that they are all extremely handsome men". It is like a bloomin' reality show in our basement. I'll have to get a group shot. It being their first day of work, I am a little hesitant to ask them to pose for a photo, I don't want to come off as super creepy. Once they realize I'm only "special", and not *special*, I'll think about approaching them. Maybe.

On the positive side of things, the contractor's three man team made short work of the remaining concrete in the bathroom. Here's a happy view from down the hall.

Speaking of hall ways; after much agony and a bigger bill, we'll be removing the tile in the hall. That is, what tile there is in the hall, will be removed. I was going to patch it, but the patches have gotten bigger and bigger and with the whole entry section missing all together.  It is definitely the right time to fix it and make it right, even if it isn't the right price. That isn't saying the contractor's price isn't fair, only that free is in our budget right now and work isn't free. We knew we'd have to deal with it down the line, but while everything is being torn up down there it makes the most sense to keep tearing things up instead of putting an ugly band aid on it that we'd end up ripping off in several years anyways. So, soon this blech with be covered with swanky new 6 x 24 porcelain "wood" tile. Perfect for a basement. The tile itself is a steal at less than $2/sqft. That much I'm pleased about.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Some deliveries go more smoothly than others. For example, our tub delivery, wasn't the best experience, and the following several days it took to correct it, also was one of the more frustrating episodes of the renovation thus far.

Finding itty-bitty 4' bathtubs was a bit of a challenge in and of itself. We wanted to keep the cast iron ones in the first and second floor hall baths from the 50s, but the plumbing was done very poorly and embedded under concrete in the party wall. So rather than open that can of worms, we're disconnecting the plumbing and putting in new copper on an interior wall. This means the drain will be on the opposite wall and our current alcove tubs won't work. Thus, the hunt for the 4' tub began. I had several options in this scenario:

1) Buy a claw foot mini tub at $1000 minimum. As an unforeseen expense, $2,000 was too much.
2) Similarly, buy a 4' deep soaking tub. Even more expensive and even less likely.
3) Revert the bathroom layout to it's pre-1950s standard tub. Appealing but not practical as the tub ran the length of the bathroom relegating the toilet and sink into narrow little alcoves. While not unusual in NY, not my favorite option.
4) Buy the only 4' alcove tub currently on the market carried only by Home Depot, even thought the tub received horrible reviews for consistency of finish. So I guess you could say that I knew what I was getting into.

We bought the Bootz 4' tub from Home Depot. The original shipping information was lost somewhere between the delivery company and Home Depot's online crew. They then reordered the tubs to be delivered directly to the house. The two tubs arrived at the house, and I also received a notification that the tubs had finally reached Home Depot for pick up. From 0 to 4 tubs. I thought I'd at least have several to pick from in case one arrived damaged. Well, one did arrive damaged. Off to HD we went to exchange it. Turns out, customer service had no information on any tubs delivered for us. The information in the confirmation email I had, and the confirmation number when pulled up on their system, didn't match. We ordered two tubs, only one showed up as ordered on the in store HD system. Also, it was coming up under someone else's name. After an hour long ordeal, we finally got them to accept the tub for return and I bought a new one online. It was one hot hot mess. And we drove that hot mess all the way across Manhattan to Secaucus, New Jersey where the HD showed 14 of the Bootz tubs in stock. We attempted to pick up the online order upon store opening at 6am. The tub that was pulled for us, shockingly, was not the right tub. So more waiting for the one guy scheduled at 6am that could drive their cherry-picker-fork-lift-thing-a-ma-jig. Minute by minute I imagined the Lincoln Tunnel filling with cars until we were forever trapped in New Jersey. Did I mention the Pope is coming to Manhattan today? When it's your one day off, you've got to just drive in - balls to the walls people.

Eventually we pulled away from Secaucus with the right tub, undamaged, and relatively unscathed.

By 8am we were back in the neighborhood accepting delivery of our HVAC equipment, windows, and kitchen tile!

Almost smooth as buttuh. Windows arrived, all present and accounted for, ready to install next week. The HVAC has already hit a bit of a hiccup as we now have to find a 36" diameter space to run the air return from second floor to the basement. We were not originally informed of this and did not plan for it. Also, turns out we need two air returns, not the one quoted, and we weren't informed that the return vents are twice the size of the old vent.  The vent is nearly the size of our entire entry way where the old one sits snug against the wall.  From what I read and was told, a high velocity system has the bonus of being able to fit into old walls with minimal damage to the plaster, whelp, not so much. We were told we also had to open more walls than we were already planning on for other construction. Communication problems abound. Time for a run and a long think.