Sunday, July 26, 2015

Slippery Slope

I think at some point every homeowner falls into a trap- the one where you start what you *think* will be a small, simple, inexpensive remodeling project and suddenly it snowballs into a bunch of other projects and ends up taking longer and costing way more than you ever anticipated.  That's where we are at our house right now: in the middle of the bedroom re-do from hell.

It started out with a simple idea- because our house is so old, we have very little closet space and at the moment my clothes are in the bedroom closet and Lance has to walk down the hall to the guest room closet where we keep his clothes.  So he devised a plan to increase our space for clothes storage by building a separates piece outside of the closet, kind of like this one by Oilfield Slang:

Big Bertha Industrial Garment Rack

The problem, however, is that our current bedroom is configured in a way that something like this wouldn't really fit. So we decided to move into the guest bedroom, which isn't really any bigger but has a better layout.  When we bought the house, the room was painted a sage green color (walls AND ceiling) with brown painted baseboards- definitely not pretty, but since it was a guest room, we hadn't bothered to change it.  But the green ceiling has always really bothered Lance because it makes the room look really dreary and somehow makes the 8 foot ceiling seem low and oppressive.

So we decided to re-paint the room, which then led to tearing up the old carpet to expose the wood floors underneath.  And since we were tearing up the carpet in the bedroom, why not out into the hallway and landing as well? You see where this is going, right? :)

Unfortunately, there were two layers of linoleum underneath the carpet. Luckily neither one was glued down. Once it had all been removed, Lance spent a couple of days sanding off all of the old cracked varnish from the floors in the hallway.  The wood in the bedroom has been painted before, and since none of the wood is in good shape, it will all be painted eventually.

We found a few interesting things under the carpet, including a cast iron register cover and some old child's alphabet cards.

Prior to sanding, we tested to make sure that there was no lead paint on the floor or trim, and were happy to find there wasn't.  The only place it was an issue was in one of the two window wells, which was such a small area we were able to remove it ourselves using a product called Peel Away. Essentially this product involves a thick, gloppy chemical paint stripper, which is spread onto the area covered with a special laminated paper, and left to sit for 12-48 hours. You then peel off the paper and the paint is contained within the stripper, so there is no dust.  (Note this still requires you to wear respirators and gloves, just in case).

Unfortunately, we found that despite the instructions saying to let the stripper sit for at least 12-48 hours, we found that after just 10 hours it had dried completely (something you are NOT supposed to let happen!) and it was completely cemented to the window well. So, after cursing and yelling for a while, we had to peel off as much crud as possible, which then led to a crack in the window glass! Eventually we applied a new layer of chemical and let it dry only two hours- which re-activated the old gunk and everything came off perfectly. The good news is that after the second application, it worked really well.  The bad news is that we now have a cracked window and are faced with the decision of having it repaired, or since the window is old and in terrible shape anyway, just having the whole window replaced.

We tried contacting several companies but have found that for some reason, no window companies (both glaziers and window replacement people) based out of Madison are willing to come to Columbus. Most of them are even rude and scornful about it, as in "We don't go THAT far out!"  Apparently 20 minutes is "That far."  I suspect they'd be more than willing to come out if it were a bigger job, but for 1 window it's suddenly "too far."  Finally we found someone who is coming out on Tuesday to give us an estimate for replacement, but we still haven't found anyone who can just replace the pane instead.

Meanwhile, we are busy painting, which has been a whole other frustrating ordeal, which deserves its own separate blog post, so stay tuned!