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Old 06-02-2009, 11:32 AM   #1
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Hi all! My name is Leanne & I've been working on houses since I was 18. My mother was a wonderful craftsman as she would buy antique furniture in a heap & restore it in to a beautiful heirloom. She would carve missing pieces to match the original perfectly. I went on from watching her to getting married & building our first house with my husband & six other couples. After the foundations were poured, houses framed with windows in, we did the everything else that was left to do under the guidance of our supervisor & neighbor, Tony. What a fun way to learn! The guys had there projects & the women had there's. We had so much fun laughing & remembering old show tunes & singing while we worked. The guys had fun telling dirty jokes & cussing. We'd make hotdog & beer runs when the heat got to us in the afternoon. It was a lot of hard work but it was a way that we could afford our first house as a married couple. We went on from there to upgrade to a new neighborhood & a bigger house with us doing a good portion on the work ourselves. From there, we moved away from our hometown & bought a fixer upper in an upscale neighborhood. We couldn't have afforded the home had it been in pristine condition. We put in all new oak trim & painted the dark six panel doors to a off white color. We had the worn oak floor reconditioned & put tile in the laundry room. That was our first experience with tile & it went rather well as it was a pretty small laundry area. We finished the basement doing everything except the tape & texturing. We sold that & put the money we earned in savings & moved back to our home state & downsized to a house that didn't need anything done except the basement. We moved out of that house within a year (wrong location, not close enough to church) & bought the house we're in now. We have gutted the master bathroom & put in a new tub & vanity & have tiled. We nearly had the basement finished but had to stop to help our son out. He was looking at home in our area & could only afford a home in a not so nice part of town. We found a bank repo for a steal but it wouldn't meet codes so that he could get a bank loan. We bought it & we're fixing it up so that he can get a loan & pay us back. It's a 1948 brick bungalo in a pretty decent neighborhood. The previous owners rented it out & let the renters renovate the bathroom. Well, what appeared to be a lovely tiled bathroom was a very poorly done water trap. They glued the tile around the tub on styrofoam using flooring glue. Much to our horror, they wired the vanity light without a junction box & stuck the wiring right down into the grout. The floor had heating but we decided to take up the floor to see if they had done the same with the heat. They had so everything came out & now we have the new bath 90% done. The home is plastered & that has been a real pain. When the kitchen cabinets were torn out the plaster came with it. I noticed that the mortar that was behind the plaster had a crack running from the ceiling all the way to the floor. It was crumbly so I started to take it out. My husband & son had a fit as they are trying to concentrate on one thing at a time. The next day we got a pretty heavy rain & when we came to work on the house, I noticed that the mortar was darker in the area of the crack. My husband & son said that I was imagining things but I felt it & it was indeed wet & crumbled even worse than before. We knew that there were cracks on the outside in between the brick where the mortar had fallen out but my husband said that could wait until we were done on the inside. I thought that we should fix the outside issues first like, clogged gutters overflowing with tree branches & the cracked mortar but he wanted to get the inside done so our son could move in faster. I decided to at least take out the crumbling mortar in the kitchen & repair it with a mortar suitable to block wall use. After I got that done, my husband used Dura Bond 90 to cover & I will be plastering over that. Luckily hardly an of it will show because the new cabinets are a little longer & my son wants to do a tile back splash. A few weeks ago our sons cleaned out the gutters & we haven't noticed any moisture on the wall since.
We are now in the middle of refinishing our hardwood floors & I've posted a potential problem on the site. I sure hope some of you hardwood floor people will help me with that. My son & husband think that I'm inventing problems but I just want to do it right from the start. My son plans to make this his home for many years & I don't want him to move in & then have to tear out walls & floors.
It is fun to work on this house. I have to get reminded that we're on a time limit when I clean hidden areas out looking for lost treasure. I've only found a child's school Valentine invitation, an old cordless phone and a handful of coins. But you never know, the next thing we tear out might hold that lost diamond ring!
If you've made it this far, thanks for being patient & thanks for reading!
Have an awesome project & good luck with yours.

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Old 06-02-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
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A warm welcome to the forum Leanne. I think this is the longest introduction I've ever read! LOL.

How interesting it must have been to grow up watching your mom work with furniture like that.

Building your first house with six other couples reminds me of an Amish barn raising. Pretty cool. It must have been a great experience.

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