Saturday, February 27, 2016

Greater Montgomery Home & Remodeling Expo. 2-27-2016

Yep! It's February again, and once more B.J. Teal and I are at the Remodeling Expo. We're taking names and making appointments, so come on down and visit with us.
Many people stop at our booth and ask if we do small jobs. Oh, my, yes. In fact, we do more small ones than large ones. Because of these questions, I've listed the jobs that we've done so far this year--since January first. I think you'll see the size of most of our jobs is not very large.

Painted kitchen cabinets (were stained); built a 16' by 22' cover out of cedar, with a steel roof over a patio deck; found and repaired a roof leak in separated valley tin; re-flashed a chimney to stop a leak; replaced rotted fascia boards with Hardiplank; installed an oven vent and ducted it to the outside; install four power roof vents; refinished five rooms of parquet flooring; installed floating wood floors in two different houses; refinished a set of stained kitchen cabinets; installed a tile back splash in kitchen; repaired several drawers at  the Ulta Beauty store that wouldn't stay closed; pressure washed the exteriors of two houses; replaced rotted cedar trim around six windows; replaced an exterior door unit; installed a storm door; replace rotted sill and nosing of a window; installed two oak handrails, stained and sealed; installed a set of pull-down stairs in a garage; rebuilt a water heater platform; replaced scratched plastic laminate tops in the Eastchase Verizon; replaced non-skid footrests at Ann Street Verizon; erased graffiti in Rite Aid bathroom.

So, you see? We've been busy and we've had a huge variety of jobs.

The Expo runs until Sunday, Feb. 28th . Saturday's hours are ten to six, and Sunday's hours are noon to five. Please come visit if you haven't already.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day--Day Eleven

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day
Day Eleven
Thursday, Feb. 19th.

    So-so-so-so-so-so-so-so close! Yet, no banana. We came, we saw, we did not finish. We still must buff the tile, hang the grab bars and the seat, touch up the paint, and install the glass panel. Like I said--close. If we'd have had Friday, as originally proposed, we'd have done it. 
    Looking at the bright side, I'm pretty good at estimating how long a job will take to accomplish. I said two weeks, and that's exactly what it would have been. So, future customers--please don't try and rush the end date. It is what it is. I even brought in some extra help last weekend, and all I got was Kirk and Steve being mad at me.     
    It won't do me any good to criticize our speed--the guys and I all agree that there are "wait times" involved with tile, and they should be followed. Most tile setters I've known don't wait. They apply mastic or thin set, lay the tile, grout them in, and buff them, all on the same day. The problem is--both the thin set and the mastic containers have the directions printed on them, and both say to wait 24 hours before grouting. This is to allow a chemical process to take place, to let certain chemicals evaporate. It will not take place if we grout and seal the tile too soon. So, over the years, I've beat it into the guys to wait. Now, no matter what I say, they wait. Am I a good teacher, or what?
    The customer not only took a day away from us, he changed his mind at the last minute and asked for a different toilet paper holder and towel bar than the ones I had bought. Not a big thing, but it does slow us down to leave the job to purchase two of the items I bought before we started the job. He didn't like the ones with the grab bars built-in--he wanted the plain, old-fashioned type. I don't blame him, but, personally, I kind-of like the grab-bar-idea. I may try them out in my bathroom. Heck--I now own them--why not use 'em. In other words, make lemonade out of lemons.
    So . . . we can't get back in the house for 13 days--March 4th. I'll be back, folks--on March 4th, to tell you we finished and show you the final photos. Thanks for joining us for the ride.
    Here are the last pictures I took--yesterday afternoon. Enjoy. 
Kirk grouting.

The floor is covered with grout--before it's cleaned off. 

A shower to be proud of.

Like I said--"Close, but no banana."

Until we meet again,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day--Day Ten

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day
Day Ten
Weds., Feb. 18th.

    I must admit that the last days are as hectic as the first. Steve and Kirk were up to their elbows in work today. They prayed that the plumber wouldn't come early and run them out of the bathroom, and their prayers were answered. The plumbers arrived at three o'clock. The plumbers were working hard when I checked in on them at four-thirty. Below are some of today's pictures. 

Kirk looks a little tired as he finishes up the border tiles.

Steve (on right) looks a bit tired, too.

    But the guys keep on keeping on. Today the customer asked us to be finished by noon, tomorrow, which came as a surprise. I told him we thought we'd have until five or six. Nope. Noon. Maybe, one p.m. Oh, well--we'll do as much as we can. 

One of the plumbers working on the vanity sink.

    The shots above give you an idea of what's been done and what's yet to be
done--the decorative 4" band of tiles is woven through both niches and around the shower; the edge tiles are finished; the only things lacking in the shower are the valve trim, shower head, grout, grab bars, and the seat. Outside the shower we lack painting the walls. Can Kirk and Steve do it? They've asked for help--they want Mechelle to be there early, to help tote materials and clean up. Will this be enough to get the job done by noon? By one?
    I won't know until it's too late. I have to go to the Multiplex behind the Cramton Bowl tomorrow morning and set up for our booth at the 2015 General Montgomery Home Builders Association's Home Building & Remodeling Expo. I'll send you some pictures of the Expo with tomorrow's story line.
    Until then--here's hoping we can do it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day--Day Nine

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day
Day Nine
Tuesday, Feb. 17th.

    Whew! She's taking shape. Kirk and Steve are going full-speed.  The only problem is--it's a very tight space.    

The tile is almost done. Looking good!

The niches will be tiled with the same tile used in the band. We feel this gives the tile a continuity.
    Kirk and Steve assure me we'll be done by Thursday--in two more work days. Then they tell me the only thing that will slow them down is if the plumber and electrician get in their way. I tell them, "Do you think I told the home owner the deal was that we'd finish everything except the electrical and the plumbing by Thursday?" They have no answer for this. 

Here's a view of the shower and the vanity. We're close--oh, so close!
    Yes--it will be crowded in the bathroom for the next two days, but I believe the job will be complete. Kirk and Steve need to be optimistic, and they also need to push themselves a little harder than normal. 
    The homeowner asked me today about the toothbrush holder and the soap dish--two items not installed much anymore. I'm not sure I can find them locally in brushed nickel, but I'll try. There's always something, isn't there? Especially, in remodeling. 
    More good news--Best Glass called to tell me the glass partition wall was in. Yes! We'll make it!

    And with these last two pictures, I'll bid you adieu. I had to leave early (about 1:30), so didn't get the photos of the final tiles going up, but I'll take more tomorrow. So far--right on schedule.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day--Day Eight.

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day
Day Eight
Monday, Feb. 16th.

    The bathroom job is rolling, now. Kirk and Steve set the shower floor tile, put a coat of mud on the walls, and laid the dressing area floor. When everything goes as it should, and I'm not all tensed up waiting for materials to come in, I don't have a lot to report. The guys came to work, they showed up at the job, and did what they're supposed to do.

Steve cuts a tile.

Kirk admires the dressing area floor.

Here you can see the shower floor behind Kirk as he sets a tile in the dressing area. Notice the level in the shower? Good move, Kirk!

    Now--if every day and every job went like this--I could relax.
    Until tomorrow,

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day--Day 6

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day
Day Six
Saturday, Feb. 14th
Valentine's Day

    Like good husbands everywhere, I started the day by giving a valentine to my Valentine. It was the high point of the day, and the day could not get any better, so no matter what else happens, I'm a happy man.
    I had a job to look at at ten, and Kirk said he'd go to the bathroom job and seal the floor at 9:30, so when I arrived at eleven, he was done and gone. He had, as promised, sealed the shower floor. I can't say I was happy, however. He and Steve had left the bathroom job to go to another job, and it was obvious they had left the bathroom job in a hurry. I realize they didn't wish to work late on a Friday--but the bathroom should have come first--especially, this bathroom, which needs to be completed by Thursday night--and I doubt the owners want us there until midnight, Thursday, trying to finish.
    Part of the reason I'm more concerned than Kirk or Steve is because I'm the one who made the promise to the customer that we'd be done on schedule. I didn't add any "unlesses," either--"unless" the faucet doesn't come in, "unless" we mess up along the way, etc. I promised "done." Period. 
    Here are the things I wasn't pleased with: two bags of trash left beside the house; two bright orange five-gallon buckets left in front of the house; the mud needed another coat; they hadn't primed the cabinets, as I'd asked them to do; and, worst of all, they hadn't removed the carpet runners, the 30"-wide plastic we put down to protect the customers' flooring. By experience, we've found out that leaving the product down for more than two weeks causes it to exude a sticky glue, which is very difficult to remove. Therefore, I prefer it to be changed out weekly. When we take it up, we also vacuum underneath, and this is something that cannot be done too often when we're working inside someone's house.
    What should I do? If I called Kirk, he probably wouldn't answer the phone, knowing it was bad news on a Saturday if the boss was calling. 
   I had another crew working today, consisting of Wesley and Ray, who were mudding sheetrock in Millbrook. I decided to give them a try. They said they'd be glad to come to the bathroom job when they left the sheetrock job. Both were eager to get in some extra hours, plus I believe they were looking forward to "fixing" Kirk's screw-ups. It was ammo for them in the constant war men have of "I'm better than you are." 
    Wes and Ray took on the job and knocked it out in three hours.
Here's a photo of our carpet runner, going down the customer's hall to the bathroom. The clear carpet runner is on the carpet, the blue runner is for vinyl floors. This section has both. 

Wesley (on left) and Ray look over the job.

    Oh, yes--one more thing. I took my torpedo level today and tried it out on the shower floor. It's perfect. Everything slopes toward the drain.

Wes and Ray dig in. 

Ray removes the vacuum cleaner so he has enough space to work.

    So, all-in-all, it's been a pretty good Saturday. And it's not over yet. I get to change clothes and take my Valentine out to eat. She gets to choose where we go. I sure hope it's Chinese!

    I'll be taking Sunday off, unless there's a major problem that arises, and be back on Day Eight--Monday--we have lots to accomplish on Monday. Until then, have a wonderful Valentine's Day--give your Valentine a big kiss and tell him or her I said to do it.

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day--Day 5.

A Bathroom Remodel--Day-by-Day
Day 5

    Today started out cold--27 degrees--but by two o'clock, it was wonderful. The sun was shining, and if you could find a place out of the breeze, it was a warm 64. Nice!
    The job went quite nicely today, too. Kirk and Steve installed the sloped mud bed. I tried to put my level on it, but they wouldn't let me. They were afraid I'd gouge their beautiful work, and they promised me it was sloped from all four corners to the drain. Kirk is supposed to come back tomorrow, Saturday, and apply the RedGard to seal the floor area in the shower, and I'll come by afterwards and put my level on it.
Here's Kirk mixing the cement.

Kirk works on the cement shower bed. The red walls indicate where Kirk and Steve applied the RedGard sealer.

    While they were waiting for the concrete to set up, Kirk and Steve applied RedGard to the walls, to seal them. 
    The sealer is supposed to sit and cure, so it'll be Monday before we can start putting down tile, and if everything else goes well, we should be back on schedule by Monday afternoon. Steve and Kirk aren't worried about it, insisting we'll be done Thursday. They seem to forget that at the last minute time seems to speed up, and there are always more things to do than you have time to do them. We'll see.

Is Steve working hard? Or, what?

    As far as other work goes--we're officially up to our ears in jobs. It's as if the flood gates have opened up. I finished my part of the drawing and the estimate for the hair salon, and now we're waiting on a price for the electrical portion. We're still working on the emergency sheetrock job, and also have two bathrooms to start next week, a plywood floor to replace, a front door to install, a different front door to refinish, and a glass door to install. I drove around all day looking at more jobs, and have one to look at tomorrow and three on Monday. It looks like a busy spring and summer are upon us. Good news!

    The photo above and to the right shows the finished shower bed, awaiting sealer (tomorrow) and tile (Monday).
    Day five had come and gone, and everything so far is looking good. It doesn't seem as if much has been accomplished, but as in any construction, the foundation is the most important part. Next week, from day-to-day, you'll see the shower actually start to come together. The first week is drudgery. Next week is the fun part. We hope you pay us a visit.