The "Unscheduled Kitchen/Bath Remodel" <--dead cat, mold, & shoddy work (MANY PICS)
So I own a 1950's home here in Southern California that was remodeled back in the 1970's by what I can only imagine was a collection of drug addicts! Still, I like the layout, the neighborhood, and the fact that I can pretty much do all the work myself...
We had started with a simple change to the hallway that encroached into the kitchen and generally wasted space...
So, we made the hallway wider by knocking out the linen closet and pocket where the old furnace was placed and was planning to convert the remaining kitchen wall into an island...
Our basic plan is to build a completely new house out of the old --all while still living in it. We will pull no loans and run no purchases on credit. It will take years but will cost much less in the long run --and we'll get the house we truly want....
So, anyways, we have put a hold on most of the interior remodeling now as we're working towards the new slab for a room addition and a new roof frame that will go over top of the existing one --we have had NO plans to continue the major inside work for at least a year or two!! Then we started smelling something coming from the kitchen area --and it wasn't smelling like rotten food; this smelled more like death!! So we were forced to tear into our kitchen and we found a dead cat in the wet wall between the front bathroom and the kitchen!!
There was a small amount of exposed plumbing in the back bathroom that this cat managed to find and crawled all the way to the inside of the house (inside the bath tub spaces) before dying. Mind you, there was plenty of room to turn around inside there. We just figure he got sick and wanted to find a hole to go in and die. The smell was horrible!! But I'm glad we were forced to deal with it because we found a massive amount of mold inside the wet wall...
So, this means getting the bunny suits on...
Sealing out the area...
...and going to town!!
Here's all the areas we eventually had to tear out:
Now, with all the work exposed, we can see just how bad they built this room addition...
Vent pipes are so large that most of the 2x6 studs were only holding small amounts of material after they cut channels for the pipe. The cross vent pipe is too low (must be 6" above the tallest fixture). Also, there is NO venting for the back bathroom that this bath tub shares a wall with...
No green board used anywhere in the bathroom. We found mold all over the tub surround where the wall met the fiberglass...
Looks like I'll be replacing the toilet mounting ring!!
The sole plate where the mold was the worst looks to have been rotted away through decades of leaking pipes and what appear to be termites!!
A view from the other side of that corner shows the fact that the sole plate is actually a 2x4 while the studs are 2x6! Nice!!
Here's some real special wiring work found behind the kitchen cabinets!!
The real surprise was finding the mold in TWO parts of this wet wall...
God only knows how much our health has been affected by this stuff festering in the walls for the 8 years we've lived here so far!
Here's the corner where the roof has been leaking in...
You can see the rusty gas pipe and the holes in the original stucco where they pounded nails in to hold up cheap exterior wall board...
Now here's that same corner from the outside...
I'm considering my options for a repair at this point considering this will not be the permanent roof for long... Maybe I'll just dump a barrel of tar here and let it do it's magic!
I found more interesting "craftsmanship" at the sole plate running to the outside wall...
Looks like there is a sole plate BELOW the slab!! At least I will be tearing into this from the other side in the future to do some re-working. I'm just amazed it's not completely rotted away by now!
Ok, here's the wet wall all exposed and ready for demo...
Our cat's are enjoying the additional drinking bowl created by the leaky toilet valve...
I got a slew of regular fiber-reinforced drywall and some mildew/mold resistant drywall to start the repairs...
...and some studs and pipe for the framing and plumbing work...
Here's what the bottom of that 2x4 sole plate looked like after it was removed...
BTW, the sole plate wasn't fastened to the slab in any way --just being held down by gravity and some drywall...
Here you can see the drainage work that was probably done in the 1970's to add sewer lines to the back bathroom. Not a very good patch job but oh well...
...and here's the wet wall mostly almost completely demo'd. I have yet to remove the framing around the tub as I have to seal up the "tunnel" under the tub at the very same time since my own cat's have discovered this new "feature"!!
My latest find, is what appears to be a form of moisture "wicking" inside the drywall in the front bathroom...
I saw this when I opened a few holes for the wiring work from the hallway and now I'm thinking that I'm going to need to re-wall the entire bathroom...
Then again, after looking at that same wall from the bottom...
I can see that there's mold there too (along with rusty fasteners) so why not?!
So, here's the drywall replacing I'm looking at doing now...
Plenty more to come!! Wish me luck. I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments everyone...
Curiosity killed the cat.
It looks like a lot of work. Good luck with it and thanks for posting all the pictures.
How long do you think you'll be working on it?
hey, i'm in the same boat. old house reno means you can remodel exactly to your specifications, so that's great. no loans and take your time, yes this is a great idea!
here's some advice.. look for the stuff you need for when the reno is done (lighting, vanity sink etc.) while you are working and wait for a good sale. if you don't find anything by chance, then buy at full price when the reno is done. but i think you'll find that the longer it takes to remodel a room the more stuff you find on sale. ha. this was a hidden benifit we never considered when we were drafting our plans for the renovation. we have saved hundreds of dollars. just store the stuff we find on sale in the basement until we need it :)
ps. your tools look brand new, glad you got a picture of them before the work really begun!
i didn't see any new copper plumbing in your stack of material. although the cast iron water supply will last for another 100 years (its wall are so thick!) they do have heavy internal rusting. you don't want to drink that if you can help it. might as well replace with copper while you got it opened up.
I assume it was your cat ? :(
I really liked that you decided to get aggresive with changing the floor plan, it looks like it should really open up your house. The work ahead of you doesn't look too terrible. I'm suspecting that that sole plate had been worked on once before, and why you found a chunk of 2x4 there vs 2x6 (even looked like the 2x6 plate next to it had been cut with a sawzall.) As for the one embedded in the concrete, think this was an addition?
It's actually below the exterior load bearing wall that most likely was within the original 1950's frame. I'm at a loss for this one!! At least I'm going to be getting rid of it eventually since I'm planning on building a new slab within the gray area between the house and the garage so I'll be able to fix this problem in the future...
Great photos, report and drawings.
I'm going to subscribe to this post. Keep us updated.
Great discussion and pictures. I was curious what software program you are using to create the floor layout diagrams? Thanks!
Thanks for the comments!! I've actually got some new pics to post but I've just been too busy to process them. I'd guess I'll have them uploaded by the end of the weekend. As far as the floorplans, it kinda' helps that I'm a CAD draftsman by trade! I do plenty of technical illustration via email with clients so I'm fairly used to making diagrams to explain concepts to clients and engineers. I use AutoCAD for all the plans. I'll use MS Paint for simple diagrams on this forum so I can point stuff out. I occasionally will use Adobe Acrobat for markups too (much easier for shading areas and things like that).
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