Sunday, September 15, 2013
Soothing taps and a whole lot of trouble - Reno day 115
This was not a great week where the reno was concerned. Finding out that there are problems with all the flooring inside and outside your newly renovated house is not conducive to a good week. Let me start with the solitary highlight of the week which involved the installation of our kitchen tap. Complete with light up hot and cold sensor, one of the gimmicks agreed on to keep Legoman happy. He has subsequently been using this as a calming tool and watching it change from red to purple to blue does appear to be rather soothing.
The remainder of this post is a whole lot of trouble. Look away now if you are not interested a ranting commentary about problems renovating. Keep reading if you plan to install a deck during rainy season or have your floors sanded and polished. You will either sigh with relief that you escaped these processes unscathed or reading this may prevent you from getting into a pickle.
Now, for snag number one. When our spotted gum decking was laid four months ago it had been raining significantly around that time. As it was being laid I started to notice lots of small black spots that looked like mould appearing on the timber. I queried the builder about them and he reassured me it was no problem, that they would wash out when they cleaned the deck at the end. Fast forward four months and as the reno winds up, he goes to clean the deck ready for sealing. And then discovers that despite using six different products that the deck now appears to look like this.
From one end to the other, covered in mould staining that cannot be removed. The builder has never seen anything like it before. The timber yard claims the rest of that batch of timber is fine and no other builders have reported issues. Apparently it is thought to be related to some sort of fungal spores that have penetrated the timber and caused the staining, probably from one of the trees in our yard. There are no easy solutions.
The deck has been installed correctly with a dome headed galvanized nail designed to sit above the timber to encourage water drainage. This means that the deck cannot be sanded back or the nails will be damaged and no longer galvanized. No one feels responsible as apparently this is just a freak environmental event. The BSA to whom we have paid insurance to cover the builders work, tell us that as this is only an aesthetic defect and not structural, there is no fault and they will not cover the repairs. The builder offers to bring out a scientific expert who for $1000 will tell us exactly which species of fungal spore is involved. Of course this will not provide any solution to the actual issue.
We attempt to find a surface product to conceal the staining of our (brand new, permanently damaged but no one is at fault) deck. We contemplate the costs and time to replace the entire deck. Finally the builder decides that he can sand back the deck if all the nails are individually punched in by hand. He covers the cost of doing this and the deck is sanded back to remove the staining. The downsides are that we now have lots of tiny nail holes that are a risk for pooling water and a rough deck as the sanding process has removed the normal smoothness only provided by milled timber. We accept this and get on with it.
A few days later we hit floor snag number two. This is also an unlucky event however this time not due to random environmental factors and more to the messy activities of air conditioner technicians. You may remember me mentioning that we were talked out of getting the high gloss floors that we wanted and getting semi gloss instead. Then when we were unimpressed with the semigloss we told the builder the next day that we would cover the cost of changing it to gloss.
He suggested that we wait until all the other work was complete in order to protect the final high gloss coat. This seemed sensible and we agreed. What he did not tell us was that if any silicone based product came in contact with the floors in their current state, it would not come out with cleaning and it would then repel the top coat when it was applied weeks later. And guess what plumbers and air conditioner technicians tend to spend their days squirting around? Yep, we were in big trouble.
Both our living areas have large puddles where some sort of silicone based product has been left on the floor and has repelled the top coat. They are of course not in any inconspicuous areas that will be covered with furniture. And the icing on the cake is that someone has then stepped into the puddle and walked the product into several other rooms in the house. The floors are, essentially, a dog's breakfast.
To say we were cranky about this completely preventable situation that will no doubt cost us extra money and time to fix is an absolute understatement. The builder and floor sealer are just shaking their heads and no doubt wanting this renovation to end so they can move on to other (non cursed) jobs.
Legoman meanwhile has just been playing with his new tap and rocking himself quietly in the corner. So, we are now waiting for the worst sections to be re sanded back and completely done again. There is talk of us sharing the cost of this three ways with the builder and the floor sander. I just want to have my house back so we can go home. We are now waiting another week for the floor sander to get back for this job and it has delayed moving home. Luckily we have been able to extend our lease.
It appears that we have now been out of the house so long that the wild ducks are moving in.
See, how they are using a hole in our big tree as a nest. That's the head of the mama peeking out. The dada appeared to be standing guard on the roof.
There was a whole lot of quacking going on, no doubt a running commentary on the state of our floors.
So, that is the whole lot of trouble. Feel free to commiserate with your own renovation mishaps or any other cheering thoughts.