Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What a weekend.....

Both Lawdog and El Capitan have had interesting weekends, but I suspect mine has em beat.

I bought my current house in 2000, and the previous owners, in an attempt to spiff the place up a bit prior to the sale installed laminate wood flooring throughout most of the house, including the kitchen. Now laminate flooring and water do not mix well, so when I saw that the flooring in the kitchen near the sink was starting to bubble up and warp a while back, I just figured that that was par for the course from water from the kitchen sink and the fridge with the in door water and ice dispenser and having a six year old that drinks ice water like a fish. Most people who install and sell the stuff don't recommend it for bathrooms or kitchens for that reason, but I'm sure the previous owners wanted it to go in fast and cheap and look nice for the sale. Oh Contrare! Wednesday evening my daughter went to get a glass out of the dishwasher which is smack in the middle between the sink and the fridge. The floor "squished" when she stepped on it. This is not good. This is SO not good. I got down on my hands and knees and looked under the dishwasher. Drip Drip Drip.... Oh (*&%(*&_)(^*! I look over at the toe board of the cabinet and see rotten wood peeking betwixt the cracks in the paint and splotches of black mold. Ok. Take a deep breath (figuratively speaking, I'm allergic to mold). Consider the options.

Option 1:
Buy some new flooring from Wilsonart to match the old flooring (along with the full box that the previous owner left with the house) and put it back down after dealing with the water and mold. Buy a new dishwasher.

Option 2:
Rip the floor up and go back in with something a bit more appropriate to the location like ceramic tile.

That evening I get on the web and lo and behold, Wilsonart still lists the pattern of flooring as a current product. I get a list of authorized distributors printed out. Ok, Option 1 looks like it might just be viable, heh, if only.... Next morning I get on the horn and start calling. Sure they got it. it is $2.50 a square foot. Then I explain that i need to match some stuff I already have and they said "Uh, there might be a problem with that". It would seem that Wilsonart, in their infinite wisdom revised the design of the planks back in 2003, The old tongue and groove planks don't quite fit the new "tap-lock" design. I'd have to saw off the new profile, put in a spline (a thin strip that is essentially a female to female adapter) and glue it together they tell me. I tell them that I'd like to put eyeballs on this plan of action and I duck out of work a touch early and break land speed records to get there before they close to see what they had. I get there half an hour before closing time bringing along a plank from my leftovers only to find that the guy was busy locking the doors just as I get there. He's leaving early! I guess I should not have told him I was leaving work early and driving like a bat outta hell to get there before they close. He grudgingly reopens the place and shows me how it is to go together. After all that come to find out, there is a couple problems with that plan. Problem one, the female end of the new stuff has a step milled across the top of the female profile for an overhanging ledge that is on the male side. It is a DOUBLE female profile. The other problem is that the planks are a different thickness and would leave a .005" or so step in the surface. It doesn't seem like a lot when you look at the numbers, but in real life, that is enough for dirt to collect and for the top surface to wear at the edge leaving the underlying ugly pale yellow plastic bit exposed. Not attractive. I call the factory in Temple Texas to see if there might be a cache of old stock floating around somewhere in the bowels of the inventory control system that they might be able to blow the dust off of, heh, no chance! They apparently purged the old stock numbers from their inventory control system so they can't even look for it in the computer.

Option 1 is dead as a doornail.

Option 2 is full steam ahead. We visit the local home improvement establishment looking for ceramic tile. We find a pattern we all can agree on and I plop down the old debit card, wincing as I do so. Twenty years ago, I put down ceramic tile in my mother's house. I was so sore from that misadventure that I swore I would never, ever, do that again. In my life experience I have learned this: Never say never.
I proceed to remove the old flooring to discover that apparently the dishwasher has been leaking for some time. The flooring was laid over top of a thin sheet of polyethylene closed cell foam, and a 4 mil thick sheet of polyethylene plastic sheeting. The water, trapped between the plastic and the concrete had nowhere to go, so it just sat there and festered. The stench was awful! After I got everything ripped up back to the doorway, which was dry, I commenced to spray the exposed (and reeking) concrete down with a strong mix of bleach water from my pump-up sprayer. After a couple applications, the stench was gone, but now I had all the rotten and moldy wood to attend to. Apparently the installers of the flooring had plastered thinset mortar all over the floor to "level" it. (Which makes me wonder if I have a foundation problem that I was unaware of previously). This left it piled up in front of the toe boards which means the board is now bigger than the opening it must pass through. Although subatomic physics teaches us that 99.9% of all matter is empty space, unfortunately it is still rather difficult for two objects to occupy the same space at the same time. Luckily (if you want to call it that) the boards were rotten enough that it only took a couple hours of yanking with the hook of a pry bar to rip it out in pieces. Break out the pump up sprayer again to fumigate the area under the cabinets with bleach. I was starting to feel like the poor Iraqi bastard that had to clean up the bio-weapons labs before the weapons inspectors got there right after GW-I. (You know, so it would look like a simple pharmaceutical manufacturing plant when they arrived, complete with a fermenter tank farm and a Bio-hazard level 4 lab next door....). As of this writing, I have about half the tile down, another third or so dry-fitted and cut but not laid, and I can barely move. And I STILL haven't bought a replacement dishwasher.

Somebody shoot me! Put me out of my misery....


Blogger El Capitan said...

Well, just feel lucky that you didn't have to pay for people in Hazmat suits to come in and deal with the Evil Black Mold. 'Cause you know, we've just been dying in droves all along the Gulf Coast for the last century without knowing why until the "experts" told us we had a black mold problem...

August 14, 2007 3:31 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

Apparently there was no such thing as "toxic" mold before TS Allison. There was only the nice, edible variety.

Anyway, condolences on your "adventure" Ror. Boring is so underrated.

August 15, 2007 6:47 AM  
Anonymous EricPWJohnson said...

Sell the Kid, buy something nice for yourself, keep the wood floor or are you one of those insipid "I love my family types thats all over Cypresswood?" :)

August 21, 2007 3:44 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Well, I've finally got the tile laid, and I'm probably going to wait until this weekend to grout so I can do it in one fell swoop instead of a little at a time. then I can worry about the baseboards and repainting the cabinets which are pretty beat up and need repainting.

August 21, 2007 3:52 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Eric? You feeling Ok?

August 21, 2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

How awful! A # of years back I laid down cheap tile over linoleum and now it's beginning to peal up in places. Nothing like your project, tho. I feel for ya! However, think how nice it will look when all is said and done.

August 22, 2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Eric Johnson said...


Just funning with ya its really hot over here it must be the heat

Go Fred, finally a man worth voting for

September 01, 2007 8:46 AM  

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