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Discussion Starter #1
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:


[continued...]
 

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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!

[continued...]
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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...

[continued...]
 

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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...
 

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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?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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?
Thanks for the well-wishes!! Considering my wife has regularly held scrapbooking workshops in our home, we're VERY motivated to get the work done ASAP. I'm estimating a 4-month job though (considering the fact that we're only working on it at night and still have a few answers to get as far as how to proceed...
 

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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!

Knucklez
 

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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.

Knucklez
 

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ps. your tools look brand new, glad you got a picture of them before the work really begun!
LOL!! Yeah, we got a new wrecking bar twice as long as my old one to start the job!! Thanks for all your supporting words too!!

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.
Yeah, I have plans to upgrade, replace, and re-route pretty much ALL the utilities in this place!! I'm slowly abandoning all the wiring by setting up a new sub panel in the central hallway and running new circuits to each room with each renovation, routing the gas lines through the house (instead of underground where they have already started failing), AND a new water main from the street since it's been failing over the years and I've had to "band-aid" the steel pipe underground in my front yard so I'm going to be running PVC to the house and PEX inside. I HAD planned on doing all of this MUCH later but it looks like my had is forced to do it now. It's fine though. It's turning out to be less hassle than I had originally thought. So, to answer your comments, I'm actually planning on replacing all that plumbing before I close up this wall. I'll be using the existing plumbing while I wall-up the bathroom but before I close out the kitchen, I'll be running all new water, gas, and electrical. Fun fun fun!!

I assume it was your cat ?
No, it was a stray from the neighborhood. There's quite a few around here actually. I'd really be heartbroken if it was one of our own! I only have one cat that can still go outside though...
 

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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?
 

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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?
Well here's where I found this embedded sole plate...


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...
 

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Great photos, report and drawings.

I'm going to subscribe to this post. Keep us updated.

Cheers.
 

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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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I know you mention some bad wiring there however once you open up the walls you have to bring the wiring up to the modern codes.

Good thing you caught it in time and I am not suprised with some of the prevous owner done to the place and myself I ran into more than I really can count { resdential and commercal side both are not much diffrent when someone have nutty idea }


As far for bathroom you may know this or not but you do need GFCI receptale and it must be on 20 amp circuit there is two way you can do this.

One way .,, you can have both bathroom receptales on one circuit however you can not have light tapped off from that { that including exhaust fan }
Other way is have two circuits one circuit for all in that bathroom and second circuit for second bathroom.

now for Kitchen area I know you are allready expect to the can of worms allready open and you will need minuim of two countertop recepatle circuits { it must be on 20 amp and GFCI as well }

If you have more queston you can holler in here or in Electrical section which I will be there from time to time to answer your question.

Merci,Marc
 

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Hey perpetualjon, just wanted to add another "Good Luck" to your pile.. :thumbup:

I love remodeling work (but would hate to find mold -- that's just a PITA and makes the fun stuff go slower), and you look like you've got a good size project going.

More pics of the project please, when you get a chance!

--Scott
 

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Well I've got more pics but yesterday the water feed from the street finally collapsed (under the slab no less) and I'm going to be working on that for probably the next 2 weeks! I was planning on replacing the line anyways --just not now! I was hoping for a couple more months before the 50 year old galvanized pipe would finally die! Wish me luck you guys!!
 

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Ok, I finally got a moment to put some pics together of the progress on this massive project. Mind you, I've got some other projects that have some priority over this one like repairing the roof leaks, fixing the busted water line, and some electrical rehab planning, but once I've made sure the roof no longer leaks on this area and the water lines are approved by the county, it will be full-speed ahead!! In the mean time, here's the latest:

Me and my sexy beer belly tearin' down the remaining sheetrock in the moldy bathroom...


This was a nice touch: mold AND mouse poop found on some of the cieling panels...


A couple of shots of the now-exposed roof beams and plywood showing all the water leakage that's been going on for probably 30 years...




My over-engineered temporary electrical splice to be replaced once the new subpanel is installed...


Here's a good view of the area that used to hold the tub surround. You can see the gap under the back bathroom tub where the ill-fated cat came through and into the front tub to pass on! Of note is all the bent over nails coming from the sole plate. I believe this area was once a doorway and has since been modified (poorly) to be the dividing wall between two showers...


Here I've capped off the original water lines to this bathroom. You can see some of the foam sealing I've done around this area (also just temporary)...


Here's an overall shot of the wall again after I added a piece of insulation using expanding foam as an adhesive...

I have plans to completely re-frame this wall but I'm going to keep these studs in place during most of the work so I won't lose the support of the cement board that's holding the tile on the back bathroom in the process. More on that to come in the weeks ahead!

And finally here's an overall shot of the entire area. You can see how much we have lost in our kitchen in the process!! My wife sure can't wait for this project to be OVER!!


So, wish us all luck!!
 

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That's definitely a big project. It's good that you're keeping your sense of humor through it all.

Thanks for the update.
 
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