Thursday, January 31, 2013

First work at the new house

I am still catching up on what has happened since we bought our house. We've only been in it for about 6 weeks so it shouldn't take too long.

We closed on time in 45 days-a first for us! It was a long day. We had he final walk through in the morning and the closing in the afternoon. We had our baby daughter with us. That seemed like a good idea, until it wasn't. The closing meeting dragged and Em got restless. She ate all of her snacks and drank all of the milk we'd brought. I had to ask the lawyer if she had any whole milk in her mini fridge. Thankfully, she did. Finally, we got out of there and headed straight for the house. Em fell asleep on the way there and we let her sleep in her car seat inside.

Our first job was to pull up a lot of old, vinyl tile in the hall and master bedroom. It was that fake brick-looking stuff that one normally sees in a kitchen. Why was it in the bedroom? Who knows. It was very loose, too.  At least in the bedroom. We knew from our inspection that there was or had been some kind of leak from the master bathroom that was affecting a piece of baseboard trim and the floor tiles in the bedroom. As a result, we do not use the shower in the master bath at all. It is circa 1950 terrazzo and in bad shape. It's also super small. Thankfully, there is another full bathroom down the hall. Anyhow, that is what we suspect to be the reason for the loose tiles. We literally just picked them off the floor without any prying. We did the whole, quite large bedroom in about an hour and called it a day.

What we were left with was a painted concrete floor. Our house sits on a concrete slab, no basement. There are radiant heat pipes embedded in the concrete. The floor was painted green and red in what I would guess was lead paint. We considered polishing it down to the raw concrete but were nervous about releasing lead and other toxins into the air. We were moving in in a week and had little time. We ended up carpeting it and the other bedrooms.

The hallway posed another problem. First of all, it took a lot more sweat to get the tiles off because they were put down properly with mastic. The mastic was still gummy slightly probably because of the heated floors. (By the way, it is nice to have heated floors!). The previous owners had left us boxes of the "luxury vinyl" tiles that they used in the living and dining rooms. It was neutral and looked so much like ceramic that it fooled me on first viewing. I figured it was an easy job, I'd laid tile before. Dear lord, that was hard work! I had to work at night for two nights to get the majority of it tiled. I had started it and had worked for an hour when I noticed the seams meandering. I had to rip it up and start over. Have I mentioned how long this hallway is? 38 ft. For real. Two grueling nights of crawling around on the floor and the hallway was tiled. Well, I still have to finish some fussy edges but it looks done. The tile is good for high traffic and transfers the heat well. Not every floor material is suitable for radiant floor heat.

We have two skylights in the house. One in a half bath and the other in the hallway. They really let a lot of light in during the day. There is no need to turn on lights in these rooms during daylight hours. Most of the rooms in the house have ample windows to illuminate them without using electricity.  Hallways and small bathrooms, though, usually do not have windows.  I love that I can see the sky and trees through the skylights, and the stars at night.

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