Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mr. Vincent van Gogh your canvas is ready.....

I have some wonderful news... The two monsters that have been haunting my house were finally removed by the tree busters. During the week of 14th of this month, the tree company came to the rescue. They certainly did an excellent job of removing both trees and cleaning up after themselves. The funny part was that my tenant had a day off when the tree company was on site. So to mess with me, she would send me text telling me that they were dropping branches onto the house. Needless to say, I decided to drive home at lunch time to see their progress…

However, when I got home, I ended up getting an ear full about the tree being removed. The tenant complained about the lack of shade and how the apartment will be much warmer. After about a half hour of seeing the progress and cleaning the blood from my ears, I decided to return to work. However, when I returned home later in the day, I heard some more about the missing tree and the lack of shade. I was however able to negotiate with the tenants that if I purchased some outdoor shades would she be suffice. So I did.

So you may wonder why I was so easy in getting the shades. Well I look at it like this. I’m in the business of having a home where everyone is happy. Thus, if everyone is happy, the house is not damaged for any reason. Also most importantly, rent is paid on time. But I should not fail to mention that the shades are considered an expense, thus a tax benefit. Everyone wins.

Now that they are happy, I guess I can show the reasons behind the complaints.

Here is picture of the tree in the process of getting cut down...

With the trees removed, there are a couple of added benefits. The pollen that came from the pine trees has subsided, sap no longer drips on the cars, and the risk of it falling on the house.


Let’s count the rings to see how old… I feel really bad cutting the tree because the tree has been around for such a long time. But the potential damage that it could cause will be no more...

However, this tree was a different matter. As you can see, the tree was completely eaten away from carpenter ants… I'm suprised it lasted this long...

The next thing will be to get the stumps grinded. But until then, this completes one more thing off the master list. But, now I can focus on the bathroom. I was finally able to complete the drywall sanding and mudding. The joint compound dust alone just sucks…

Once the joint compound dried and the sanding was completed, the room was ready to be painted. I had first prime the bathroom. The result of the primer made the walls take on the appearance of a blank canvas. The color that I decided to use to paint the walls was called “Raffia Cream”. The male definition of the color is actually called soft yellow. The trim color that I had used was "Cottage White" or rather just white... Not to bright or not too dark... Just White...

Here is picture showing the first coat of paint… After putting on the first coat of paint, I also decided to paint the ceiling with a white ceiling paint. The water stains on the ceiling are now gone. The picture is really not all that great... But soon you'll see...

The next thing on the list was the floor… Initially, looking at the floor I felt I could first remove the peal/ stick tiles, and then put down a new set of peal / stick tiles on top of the existing vinyl flooring... Of course that was the plan…

When I started to remove the peal/stick tiles, the vinyl floor started to peal up also. So I made the decision to remove the vinyl flooring. By the way, have I ever told you how I really hate removing wallpaper? Well multiply removing wallpaper like 5 times when removing vinyl flooring…Basically you’re on your hands and knees scrapping up the glue and vinyl flooring residue with a 3 inch scrapper trying to reuse the sub-floor. Don’t forget painting a glue removal solution onto the floor…

Here is a picture showing both the peal/stick floor on top of the vinyl floor. While I was working by the door, I instantly found leveling compound. It looked like the previous owner tried to build up the floor by using the compound… It’s a form of cement that helps in leveling floors. Here are the results from that… I have no explanation why it was built up… But I certainly know what is going to happen to it.


Of course I can never leave well enough alone… For some reason, I just love digging into things and finding problems… It’s going to be my downfall someday… Anyway, while I was working on the floor, over by the radiator, I discovered dry rot… The sub-floor was breaking apart as I was pealing the floor up. So I removed as much of the dry rot as possible until I found workable sub-floor. It also looks like the radiator may be sinking into the floor… Sounds familiar?

Although luckily, this radiator doesn’t weigh about 300 lbs..


I think the pressure vent that was previously used on the radiator didn’t help the floor. Basically the vent would allow water vapors to be sprayed onto the floor. Thus the floor would just absorb the water.

Most of the day consisted of scrapping and stretching… It became tedious. Once I felt comfortable that I removed enough vinyl and glue residue. I moved onto installing the mirror. I wanted to let the removal solution used on the floor dry before I put the new peal /stick floor down.

The next couple of pictures show the new mirror and electrical covers installed. The GFI and switch covers were painted with a dark spray paint that gives a hammered effect. Well enjoy…




The man in the mirror… Hey look, now I can shave without having to move my face. Anyway, the only thing left is the floor and window treatments… Also on a final note, the Vincent Willem van Gogh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh) reference is because of the blank canvas for the bathroom. But lately my left ear has been hurting. It actually feels like a bug has bitten me inside my ear… But no, I have not cut off my ear…. But it has crossed my mind… But, I’ve enclosed a link to read more about Mr. Vincent van Gogh, enjoy…

Anyway, I figure your going to ask, "Why did you put the reference about Vincent Van Gogh?" Well my answer is, I don’t know… It sounded interesting... Anyway, until next time... happy building...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Popcorn anyone?

I feel pretty bad, because I didn’t fulfill a promise that I’d made in my last entry. Previously, I stated that I would give an update to my current project, mid-week… But things certainly didn’t go according to plan. No shock there… From Tuesday to Wednesday, I was in Atlanta Georgia, for work. Then on Friday, I had to drive down to Newark, New Jersey for a family issue. When I returned on Saturday, I was so exhausted that I went to sleep in the afternoon (4 pm) and didn’t wake up until the following morning (Sunday). Honestly, this traveling stuff is for the birds… It’s really starting to catch up to me…

Anyway, let me explain what I’ve done thus far to the bathroom. Last week, I basically showed you the “blank canvas” of the bathroom. I started to update that bathroom by first removing the medicine cabinet. I never liked the medicine cabinet. The medicine cabinet mirrors were too small. I felt that I could not fit my big head within the mirrors to see myself shaving. Also, part of cabinet was being held by grimy duct tape.

After removing the medicine cabinet, I could see why that wall was cold in the winter. The cabinet was exposed to the outside wall with no insulation to protect it.

I remember the previous owners stating that they had updated the bathroom. But I felt it was not my style or rather my flavor. I always thought that statement was also funny because of the duct tape d├ęcor. Anyway, the previous owners had cut the studs to mount the cabinet into the wall. So I decided to place some sister studs, just in case I needed something to support what ever I decide to put in its place.

I also stuffed some new insulation between the studs. That is when I realized that I needed to put up some brace boards, partly, because the wall was built out from the studs. For some reason the studs were set back about ¾ from the drywall.

Once that was completed, I cut out a piece of drywall to fit in the vacant spot. I also placed a new piece of drywall by the heater. Additionally I replaced the old plug with a new GFI plug.


After completing that, I decided that it was time to get a new light fixture. Recently I found a place in West Springfield that specializes in lights. So I drove over and found a light fixture that would match things nicely. Prior to installing the fixture, I was reminded of a time where I had…..
Yes, before I installed the new light fixture, THE POWER WAS SHUT OFF!!!! I also had to install a new junction box for the wire connections. Here is a picture of the new light fixture. Look at that, it matches the sink…

Now comes the hard part…. MUDDING…
Actually, it's really not that hard, it’s just time consuming and messy. Dust gets into everything and everywhere. But it has to get done, if I want the room to look nice.

For the ceiling repair, I used a small paint brush and just dabbed at it… I’m not a big fan of the popcorn ceiling look but I really don’t want to remove the ceiling. It doesn’t really match the ceiling extremely well. But, the damage ceiling is really not noticeable anymore


Anyway, now I just need to sand things and I should be ready to paint the walls pretty soon. Well, until next time…

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Stepping up to the batters box once again...

Since my last entry, I had a mental goal of taking the entire month of May off. Basically do absolute nothing around the house. Just relax and enjoy the free time with no pressure. Boy did that plan back fire, although it wasn’t as dreadful as you may think… Especially, with my history of things not going according to plan… Well, on May 17, I was about to leave the house to do some errands. When I had happen to look over towards the back of the house and notice this…


Yes a tree leaning on my neighbor’s fence as if it’s just hanging out... The tree had uprooted and was resting there. I was actually amazed but at the same time grateful that the tree did not crash through my neighbor’s fence. It would not have been pretty. So I immediately contact a local tree service company to do an emergency cut. While I was waiting for the lumber jacks, I happened to notice several birds resting on the tree… as if they were taunting me and trying to have the tree crash through the fence…Bastards!!!!

In less then 1 hour the tree was down and out.

The company did an awesome job. But because of the death of the tree, I started to evaluate the other trees on my property. I was able to identify two other trees that need to be removed. So in the next coming weeks (June 18) the two trees below will be removed. One tree is completely dead with carpenter ant's taking up residents. The other tree is completely over grown and is seriously too close to the house. This tree is about 90 feet above my house. Also you probably can't really see it in the pictures but it is lifting the driveway.



To be honest that was really the only true excitement for the month of May. However, I did install new lighting for the basement. I had realized that the basement can be a scary place. So to brighten things up I purchase a couple of shop lights. At the moment I am only able to install lights by the washing machine and dryer. My plan is to install more shop lights throughout the basement, but I need to install new outlets at the potential lighting areas. But that concludes the month of May projects…
Here are some pictures of some exciting things I’ve done within the month of May…

Here I am at my baby sisters wedding... I was in the wedding thus the cream yellow suit...

Here I am taking a picture with my dad, Nestor... I seriously don't know what I'm doing with my lips.
Here is a picture of my dad and baby sister, Evelyn, on her big day... 5/15/09

Here I am at Clearwater Beach in Florida, 5/23/09 enjoying a nice cold adult beverage...

Still in Clearwater Beach, look mom I'm in the deep end.... In the Gulf enjoying the warm water...
Now that the month of May is over, I guess it is time to get back into the swing of things… For several days, I’ve been thinking of what room to start with. So after many internal debates and thoughts, I had finally decided to start with the bathroom. I figured that since the vanity is already installed what more does the bathroom need to be completed.


The entire bathroom has some type of cracks and/or damage to the walls that need to be repaired.


I love the Duct tape work... It certianly has a nice touch...

Here is a picture of the floor. It's time to go!!!!
Who ever put up the drywall tape used the solid tape instead of the fiberglass mesh tape. I prefer to use the mesh tape because of situations like this. Drywall tapes in general are used to create a smooth transition of surfaces when using the joint compound. The problem with the solid tape is that if not used properly, it will bubble up and peal off. Thus you result in a wall looking like above and below... It is extremely easy to mess this process up by not using enough joint compound… So that is why I prefer the fiberglass mesh tape. The joint compound easily flows through the fiberglass mesh and creates a bond between the wall and mesh. Most importantly it’s a lot easier to not make a mistake….

As you can see the bathroom certainly needs an update… Demolition and reconstruction has already begun (on June 6). But because of the amount of information that has already been written, I feel that I maybe overwhelming you… But I will be doing an updated sometime mid-week... I’m certainly excited to share the new plans and results of the bathroom that have been accomplished thus far… Anyway, until next time…

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