oooo that smell….

It’s been SO long since I’ve posted about the house.  Things have been moving forward, with the help of friends and family we have been able to get the yard cleaned finally!  One major tree has come down that was super out of control.  3 more will be going soon in the front. Saving majorly for the Bathroom downstairs – that’s what Ghostfaceknitter is for ;).

Oh and in the next few days – BRAND NEW WINDOWS. 🙂

But probably the most time/attention has gone towards a smell.  It started in September, it wasn’t chronic.  But it reeked of rotten something. In October, I realized that it was the ejector pump (sniff sniff sniff -COMING FROM HERE).  The wonderful little gadget that literally purees then shoots any waste from the basement up and out into the sewer.  So so amazing – technology is wonderful.

Let’s revisit what this room looks like:

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notice the white marks on the black pipe to the right of the white shut off valve.

The first plumbing company to come was Lakewood Plumbing.  They came in spent about 5 mins in the room and told me it was due to all the cracks and openings in the ejector pump.  If I caulked those all, the smell would go away.  It seemed to right off, so I was super happy. And best part, they didn’t charge me….

Then, the bathroom sink clogged due to calcium/mineral build up. So I called Lakewood again due to their amazing diagnostic skills, the smell was coming back a little this time they told me to put a sealant over it. ‘That wouldn’t hurt anything’ So I got the sealant, similar to roofing sealant and covered the top like a crazy person.

While I’m on the topic of crazy, this smell literally drove me insane. I could walk in and smell it, I could smell it in my craft room – making it impossible to work/sew and do the things I love to do, that bring me comfort and joy.  So imagine me, crazed painting sealant on an ejector pump sniffing everything inch of the basement to make sure the smell was gone.

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okay i get it this was overboard but they told me this would be totally fine!

It ‘worked’ for about a week.  You see the sealant smell cancelled out the poop smell a bit and things seemed okay.  Then the smell came back. I was hysterical. It smelled like sulfur at this point (again I was driven mad). So having the well that sulfates in it – ‘welp that’s sulfur!’ So I cleaned out my entire water softener.  If you have ever done that.  1) you have to use cups, shovels, cat litter scoops (it was clean 😉 ) to pretty much get all the salt out.  So I did that, cleaned it with bleach (we don’t drink unfiltered water from the sink we have a reverse osmosis system that is 1 million times cleaner than other water sources).  Anyways, the smell went away for a few hours then came back.  I lost my mind and covered the entire softener in garbage bags.

So at this point it was a water issue. The well company wouldn’t help me…. So I called a water softener company, because it was totally my sulfur water. They were awesome. They came out immediately looked at the way the water softener was drained into the ejector pump and said – the smell is coming from there and into the softener it’s not your water.

But alas, he tested my water and guess what?  Extremely hard water is a 10 my water was a 35. That’s right, the water softener I have was only cutting it to the high teens.  That still meant that all of my new appliances and pipes were getting corroded. So I went ahead and bought the water softener that could handle the job. $3k later that was solved.

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our hard waster on the right, the newly treated filtered on the left. JESUS. 

BUT STILL THE SMELL WAS THERE.

I was a broken person when I googled ‘ejector pump specialist’.   Nate from Time plumbing came out and in a matter of minutes (he also popped the ejector pump top no one else did) and saw the smell was not coming from ejector, but noticed some drip build up on a pipe nearby.  He also could not believe that someone would tell me to put that on an ejector pump. He then realized that our main sewer did not have a vent and thus the smell was all coming from that tiny crack!

My tangent about Home Inspectors – they suck.  Hire a trusted, bonded professional in the area you want inspected. If I had had a real plumber out (not just general inspector and sewer dude), they might have caught it and I wouldn’t have been plagued with 3 months of this smell. Same goes for electrical. I think I could have a career in Home Inspection based on my experiences here.

Anyways Nate came and fixed it today.  We have a vent on our main sewer and now the smell is gone. SNIFFS IN WITH MY BRAND NEW NOSE HOLES.

Anyways Denver Metro plumbing recommendation Time Plumbing – ask for Nate. He is great.

And thus the smell saga is over.

 

 

 

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Redoing the Hardwoods Pt 3.

Well we’re in the home stretch!

Finished the living/dining room and hallway.  The bedrooms will get their first coat of oil tonight and then their white maintenance paste tomorrow night.

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Re-doing the Hardwoods Part 1.

So obviously, if you didn’t know – we are in the midst of what has morphed into a full blown renovation.  During the whole month we’ve owned this house, we have replaced major systems, redone the bathroom, demo-ed two gross bathrooms, painted and generally prepared the house for us. All during this time there has been a little birdie on both the dude’s and I’s shoulder saying ‘you should just redo the floors’.  And by little bird I mean multiple influential people we know.

So, we got super stupid and decided to dive in on the floors. At first, I was totally against it. I was like ‘no that’s insane we can’t afford it’.  We did end up getting a price quote that rang in at $5,000 NOT including fixing the major work that needed to be done in the bedroom where the bathroom was.  So that was depressing. Then the dude started watching too much This Old House and YouTube videos about it. Pretty much we decided if these yokels could do it, we probably could too.

Me, the dude, and my pops all did a bunch of research about what we should do.  It seemed like polyeurathane was really difficult – had the most chance for a eff up.  We stumbled upon ‘oil treating’ hardwoods and the results are really cool looking – without having to do a complex stain and clear coat. Plus, oil for the floors is no-VOC (aka no harmful toxic chemicals).

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notice the subtle sheen – no clear coat 

So once we decided we were going to try to polish our turd floors into some pretty ones – it was game on.   It was REALLY hard to find the oil for the floors. One, in part due to the fact that most stain is oil-based – finding oil vs. oil-based stain is hard and stain can creep into your shopping cart really easily.  I finally found a hardwood company’s website that had a short list of oil manufacturers (mostly European).

I called the hardwood company’s contact and the owner of the business didn’t even know he had that listed on his site…. it also would take him 3 weeks to order/get the oils for us.  I actually called 3 different local flooring stores and none of them sold materials to redo existing floors they all were primarily in the business of new floors.  I found that interesting. Also, didn’t this random owner guy know that we are on a really tight deadline? Oh sorry, my narcissist ‘my house is the center of everyone’s world’ thing flared up again 😉   Anyways, I started looking for how to buy this euro-oil and found a great website www.1877floorguy.com.  It totally sounds like a fake website where I just got $500 of my money stolen from, but it was Google Verified and we just got the supplies so I can attest this site is legit and has great customer service.

I did end up going with WOCA because they had really easy to find/understand/buy items.  I bought the floor prep, the oil, some buffing paste, and the everyday care cleaner.  1877floorguy.com had $30 3-day shipping so it was good!

We did choose to do the grey-oil and then I got some white buffing paste to make it a little ‘lighter.’

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Okay now the fun part – the sanding! So I can probably speak for both of us (since the dude got MAJOR cold feed about doing this the day before we sanded) that it’s terrifying to start sanding your floors. The tools are insane, the idea of ruining your floors can be kind of scary, and honestly it was like ‘what the f*ck are we getting ourselves into?’

We rented a Drum Sander, Square Buff Sander, and an edger from the Home Depot. The sanding paper was somewhat pricey $5-$8 per paper and each one of those would do ~100 sqft.  Our project is ~1,000 sqft so we did end up spending $180 in sandpaper for all the tools. The rentals themselves were between $50-$80 per day. So $420 in total.

The dude was brave enough to start the drum sander first.  I managed the cord and helped to make sure nothing was going wrong while we got used to the giant drum sander. Eventually, we didn’t need to manage the cord anymore so I got to do the 2 other bedrooms while the dude figured out how to perfectly sand with the edger.

 

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before, major wear patterns, and lots of tlc needed.
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after sanding before vacuuming 

The fearless leader starts in the bedroom

Here’s a time lapse of me in the ‘blue bedroom’

Removing the ‘lay-z-boy’ marks from ma and pa hillbilly

Pic of the difference:

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Now we will clean the floors and let them dry – THEN OILING!

 

 

How to Restore a Metal Medicine Cabinet – Before and After

It’s Friday! Woot! (Well technically I’m writing this on a Thursday, but still the excitement is there!)

Today, I figured I would share another little piece of the bathroom before it’s huge debut.  One of the the things I loved about the bathroom was that it had an original steel medicine cabinet.  However, like EVERYTHING else at my house it had been severely neglected and thus was in pretty poor/gross looking shape.  It was rusted out and just looked like you would not want to put your toiletries anywhere near this thing.

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GROSS

So most things can be saved if they are rusted, unless it’s rusted through – then you’re S.O.L. and have to think about replacing.

Step One – Deciding if your rusted metal can be saved:

One good way to see how extensive your rust damage is, is to get a coarse grit sand paper and gently (at first) start to sand out the rust.  If you see the metal starting to shin through, no clumps of rust deteriorating and no holes, then you should be able to turn a rust situation around.

NOW PUT ON YOUR SAFETY VENTILATION MASK AND GLOVES!

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Step Two – Sanding

Depending on the current finish and extent of the rust damage, you will need to determine how the best way to sand your metal will be. For the cabinet, I hand sanded the entire thing (yes, your arms will be exhausted).  Since the cabinet was pretty delicate I did not want to use power sanders and dremel tools on it. I started with a coarse 60 grit sanding block (easier to grip and get in weird spaces) and sanded the entire cabinet – rusted or not.  I did focus heavily on the rusted areas, buffing out any rust that remained.  Then I used a 100 grit paper to smooth out any transitions from the original paint.

 

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Step Three – Prep Cleaning

This is the MOST important step. You will want to ensure the entire surface of your project is 100% clean.  The best way to do this is to use a dry rag or vacuum to get the larger dust/paint particles out. Once you have done that, get a clean rag very very wet with Denatured Alcohol and wipe the cabinet down until it is so clean you could virtually perform some sort of surgery on there – NO PARTICLES, NO DIRT, NO UNEVEN/WEIRD SURFACES.  If you get to this step and find there is a significant uneven lip or not a smooth transition from paint to metal then you need to go back to Step Two.  Believe me, I know you will be tired and I know you will want to just keep moving forward, but if you don’t ensure your base is smooth and clean you will end up with something you HATE and regret not doing it right.

 

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go ahead and buy the gallon you’re gonna love this shit for all your cleaning needs. 

Step Four – Painting

Now the moment of truth!  You’ll want to tape and cover any surface you don’t want paint on.  That takes the most time.  Then you’ll want to make sure you have a spray paint that is meant to protect and will last.  I would HIGHLY recommend Kilz as a primer (if necessary) and then Rust-oleum for the actual color followed by a clear coat. This process will ensure that with proper cleaning and care, your metal will not start rusting again.  Now thankfully the dude has taught me how to spray paint like a professional in the past- this part can be hard.  The only two things to keep in mind are stay at least 12 inches away and keep moving with long smooth sprays.  Also remember, it doesn’t need to be full coverage the first time – in fact the slower you go and more coats you do the better the end result will be. Just remember to let each coat dry fully.

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first coat – notice it’s not fully covered. 
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getting there! still some uneven color but one/two more coats should do it!

Paint process in general:

  1. apply Kilz or other high quality primer
  2. apply desired Rusto color
  3. apply Rusto clear coat

Are you ready for the official before and after?!

Before!

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After!

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Seriously, can you believe that is the same cabinet?! I’m so excited to start using it.  Also keep in mind you NEED to keep your protective mask on the whole time otherwise you will get high on paint fumes – which is not safe or cute. I bought my ventilation mask from Harbor Freight – it cost $17 and I use it for everything paint related at my house since there IS lead paint in my home. Seriously HUGE DISCLAIMER!! If you have a home older that 1980 you should err on the side of caution and assume there will be lead paint in your house.  People saved/loved that nasty scary shit and it WILL HURT YOU. So don’t be dumb – buy some protective gear and wear it.