Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rotten Kitchen Subfloor

 When I see measurements in pencil on existing surfaces, I get a little excited.  Because 3 years into this live-in renovation, I still struggle with feeling like we should have more done than we do.  I thought I'd have a new kitchen by now, a new bathroom by now.  Maybe even a second bathroom.  But you know what? When you have 2 kids in 3 years and your husband works really, REALLY hard, long hours at his day job, the renovation simply isn't going to be overnight.  Or even over a year.  Plus, this has been the year of unexpected repairs.  I can't even list all the things that have come up since January 1st, but you probably wouldn't believe it anyway.

I will, however, list the majors:
1)Water heater busted (there is still a gaping hole to the dirt under the house and the attic above, covered only by a sliding door nailed into place. I used painter's tape in a fit of desperation to block all the holes so critters wouldn't come in the house)
2)We went 2 months without a renter in our NC house (that we pay a full-on mortgage on)
3)Gutted the mother-in-law suite's bathroom to repair water damage
4)Storm knocked a huge limb down on our power lines, cutting power to our house and the mother-in-law suite.  The power company came in the middle of the night with chainsaws, but would only re-connect the power to our house because the mother-in-law suite's connection wasn't to code. Our amazing electrician friend came and reconnected power to the mother-in-law suite so the next tenants/friends could move in.
6)Oven broke. But with all the unexpected expenses we put on credit after blowing through savings this year, we got some kickbacks and the cost was covered between that and my dear mother (see it in the photo below?!)
7)Kitchen disposal broke. More on this below...
8)Turns out when that big limb knocked down our power lines, our neutral was fried.  All the electrical here was not to code, and we only got 100amp service (you're supposed to get 200-250).  We got a quote on having electrical upgraded and corrected to code, but it was several thousand dollars that we didn't have. That amazing electrician friend of ours helped my husband do all the work to (initially get power back on, then) upgrade our electrical over the last couple of months.  We have an upgraded, to-code system that cost us less than $1k and a lot of that friend's time.  We are so blessed.

So back to that broken disposal.
 We knew the subfloor under the cabinets was rotten in at least one place along this kitchen wall.  So when the disposal broke, we decided it was time to go ahead and deal with that subfloor.  The rest of the kitchen would have to wait until we've paid off the debt we've incurred this year, but it made sense to fix a rotten subfloor problem as soon as possible.

We knew we needed new cabinets eventually (there were holes through the drywall and floor inside them that allowed critters to come in through the doors that wouldn't shut, and I had to wash almost everything before using it because there would be insect droppings in it. yuck), so we didn't try to remove these cabinets gently.  We knew we needed new countertops (there was about a 1/2"-3/4" gap between the fake wood linoleum and wall where critters could get in, and we wanted to extend the countertops), so that was ripped out with a satisfying quickness.  I knew I wanted a white sink - new or used - because the stainless didn't exactly jive with the oiled bronze fixtures, and the faucet would wobble because the stainless wasn't sturdy enough for it.  So that came out too, and is now in storage in case someone needs one.
 And this is what we found.  This is post-critter-poop-cleanup.  There must have been 1/2" of it under the left side, along with a nest from some kind of rodent that we had heard chewing on the cabinets. When we were sweeping, there was one place where Jason literally accidentally swept THROUGH the subfloor.  Swept it into the dirt under the house in the crawlspace.  Basically, he had to get through 5 layers of linoleum, cut out the rotten subfloor, then lay new subfloor.  Fortunately, he was able to verify there was no damage on any joists.  He did an amazing job.
Then he had to remove all the drywall that had been behind the cabinets to make sure there were no water-damaged studs needing to be replaced.  You can see water drip stains down the right bottom corner of the window, but fortunately whatever had caused that (someone leaving the window open during a few storms??) had not affected any studs or structural items in general.  Really, cutting into any floor or wall in a home is terrifying because you don't know what you're going to find.  Your repair job could easily triple because there's something there that has to be fixed that you simply couldn't see before.

I really cannot say enough about this man.  My husband works a day job well over 40 hours a week, and comes home and uses time off to work on this house for me and the kids.  That's just amazing.  He did this work over a holiday weekend, and if I remember correctly my water was back on when the work week started.

What's that?  You're wondering what went in next?  Then come on back tomorrow for a little "reveal."

1 comment:

  1. I'm soooo proud of you! You guys are so brave and definitely an inspiration for me. Thank you for being YOU!