Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day--Day Two

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day
Day Two
Tuesday, Feb. 10th

    Good morning, world! 
    Yesterday we began a new job--a bathroom remodel--and I started the day with a weather check and a list or two. Today will begin in the same manner. It's 3:50 a.m., and I walk out back to check my thermometer. It's cooler today--47 degrees, and the sky is cloudy--I can't see any stars. I prefer the early morning sky to be clear, but at least it's not raining. Forty-seven is not bad for this time of year, so it looks like it'll be a good day to work.
    My first list will be what I hope for Kirk and Steve to accomplish this morning on the bathroom job. I love lists, by the way. Here's the first one.
    Bathroom job: 
    1. Plumber: Mike Smith. He said he'd be on the job by 8:45. I'll let you know what time he does arrive. Today Mike must start and finish his rough-in (have all the valves and new pipes run behind the walls.). He must run the new supply lines--we're converting from a tub and shower to only a shower; install two valves--one for the shower and a second one that operates the hand-held sprayer; re-work the drain, moving it from the end of the shower to the center, so water will flow down and out the drain; replace the commode flange--we took up the dressing area tile and now the old commode flange is too high; replace the commode water supply--the shutoff leaks.
     I like for my men to work with the plumber and the electrician when they arrive. This accomplishes several goals. By having Kirk and Steve at his beck and call, Mike can accomplish his work faster. This means he knows before he arrives that the job will move quickly, and he can finish in a timely manner and move on to his next job. For me, this means my men will make certain Mike does everything we need him to do, we can correct any problems he runs into at once (and there are always problems in remodeling--always!), and the homeowner isn't left by himself or herself with a subcontractor he or she doesn't know.
     Also, if the homeowner has a problem--of any kind--he knows he can go to Kirk or Steve and one of them will address the problem. A few examples of actual problems we've had in the past are: The subcontractor parks on the customers' front lawn; he smokes in the house; he brings in dirt and mud; he drops a wrench and damages a brand new tub; and the one we have to take care of, regardless who the subcontractor is--he leaves all his trash on the floor where he drops it. Most subcontractors work as if every job is in a new house, where the general contractor has a clean-up crew. Our clean up crew is Kirk and Steve. If they aren't on the job to clean up, when Mike leaves there will probably be a mess. It's in his blood.
Here are photos of what the plumber did. It may not seem like much to anyone else, yet it took him almost five hours.

    2. After the plumber leaves, Kirk and Steve have their work cut out for them. They must build the curb and pour a concrete bed that slopes from all four corners to the central drain. If they don't do this step correctly, the entire shower floor is messed up because water will stand on it. This is the one problem that drives customers berserk. Knowing this, it's my job to make certain the floor has good slope. Kirk and Steve probably tire of me always checking after them, but they aren't the ones who pay to get a floor redone if the water stands on it. And it doesn't need to stand ankle deep--just one or two square-inches of tile with water that won't drain will cause a customer to get upset. Hey--I don't blame them--it's just as easy to do the floor right as it is to do it wrong. And if I don't have the time to double check the floor--I deserve what I get, too. I'm sure you all agree.

More photos of plumbing. As you can see, there are two valves--the main one that controls the shower, and the one above, which allows the customer to switch from shower head to hand-held, or he can choose to open both at the same time. Fancy, huh? The red line on the upper-left is for the hand-held.

    Those are the only items that have to be done today. I want more, though. I found out yesterday that our "finish day" of Friday, February the 20th, was wrong. That's the day my customers leave town. The finish day is Thursday, the nineteenth. Yikes! We've gotta get a move-on. Today I'd like to see the guys finish installing the backing for the seat and the grab bars, insulate the shower walls (for sound control), put up all the sheetrock needed and apply a first coat of mud, prime the vanity and the cabinet, and install the foam niche forms. We use forms on the niches because when you install tile niches, they become the weak point--the place you'll most likely have a water leak, and the foam forms help guarantee you'll have no leaks,. They're expensive--about $75.00 each--but in the end well worth the cost. Without one, making a tile niche waterproofed is nearly impossible. 
    And that's probably about all we can do on this job today. But my lists go on. I cannot rest.

   Earl's list:
    1. Check with customer on upcoming job about refinishing her front door and sidelights. Confirm start date and down payment. Does she also want us to fill in under the threshold with cement where the house has separated from the foundation? 

    2. Gather items for the Expo that I didn't get to yesterday. Purchase 12 two-foot by three-foot poster frames for the photos I had enlarged. Pick up large display boards from storage house. Gather aluminum deck samples from storage (We installed our first large aluminum deck last summer--we loved it! My next blog--in three to four weeks--will be about aluminum decks.). 

    3. Finish touch-ups on a chest-of-drawers, a dining table, and two end tables, then take them to my booth--Earl's Pearls--at Memories Flea An-Tique Mall.

    4. Write five new pages in my children's book, There Once Was a Boy Named Bobby (Who Slayed Dragons for His Hobby.).

    5. See that Wesley and T.G. finish the job they're on--at my house. Yes--we contractors actually do try to keep up our own houses. They've installed three new PVC windows and are now painting four inside doors. The doors are going from white to red, and after two coats, need two more. They're bright, but my wife loves them. Wes and T.G. still have to finish the inside trim, paint the outside trim, hang the blinds, paint the doors, clean up, and move the furniture back. They have a full day because they also need to go to bathroom job and haul the trash to the dump, since they couldn't move it yesterday. 

    The photos above are of the windows Wes and T.G. are doing. When finished, they'll not only cut my heating and cooling bills drastically, they'll look 100 times better than the old windows did. I'll hunt up a photo of them. I'm sure I have one somewhere. 
On the right is the color my wife chose for our doors. I love it! Wild! Sorry for the mess, but we're housing six additional family members for a year--it's a long story.
    I'll be back this evening and let you know how much on these lists I was able to accomplish.

    7:oo p.m. Well--some days we get a lot done, and others we don't. Today the plumbers had problems. They arrived on time--before we did, as a matter of fact. But the original plumbers had not installed their drain pipes low in the concrete, so when the plumber went to drop the commode flange and the new drain line to the center of the shower, he had to jackhammer a deeper hole and replace more pipe than we'd figured. They weren't done until 1:30, and all Kirk and Steve had time to do was fill in and smooth the concrete after them. Oh, well. Steve and Kirk promised me we'd be back on schedule tomorrow. I sure hope so.
    My personal list didn't go much better. T.G. and Wes almost finished at my house--they have one more coat of paint to put on the red doors. I didn't contact my customer about her door. I didn't gather any materials for the Expo. I only wrote one page on my book. But--Mechelle, my indispensable office manager, helped me finish working on the dining table and we took it to the flea-market booth. I also looked at two new jobs, both of which I need to price out tomorrow, so tomorrow will run at an even fiercer pace. I need a few 34-hour days to catch up.
   Until tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Red doors? Won't people mistake your house for an Episcopal church?