Friday, August 20, 2010

The Utility Room Begins…

As we wrote in a recent blog (Dryer Dilemma, August 11, 2010), Priority #1 of our renovation is a new dryer, and hence, our utility room. This order of operations was solidified when we learned our bathroom washstand is backordered until January 2011.

So the utility room is now our pilot project for the renovation. Last weekend we sold the washer on Craigslist—$60 cash money—and banished the ancient dryer to the garbage area at the back of our house to await recycling. With the room cleared, we headed down to The Home Depot hell-bent on purchasing new appliances. We had visited The Home Depot to check out appliances before, and had our eyes on a beautiful stackable front-loading LG washer and dryer in powder-coat white.

They were there. They were on sale. We got a rebate. So we bought them. Cost: $1,490.89, including installation, stacking kit, and removal of the old dryer, but not including the mail-in rebate.

We set up delivery for Saturday, August 21 in hope that we could complete the utility room renovation before delivery.

Chartreuse. It looks better in real life.
Trust me.
The next order of business was flooring. We headed to Floorcraft, our local Marmoleum supplier. Andi and I agreed that since the utility room is a small space, we could get a little crazy with the floor color. Our original choice for the flooring was Scarlet, but that color was not available in tiles—only sheets. Our salesperson, Dennis, convinced us that Marmoleum is very difficult to install: sheet installation is for experts-only. He conceded that DIY bloggers should be able to handle tile installation, with some difficulty of course. (We think he was angling for an installation fee.) Heeding his warning, we picked this fantastic Chartreuse tile, which is the color Kermit the Frog would turn if he ate too many lemons.  Total cost: $487.22, including underlayment, adhesive, and installation tools.

With the flooring came our first delay. The Marmoleum has to ship from Pennsylvania and there was no way it would arrive by August 21 when the washer and dryer were slated for delivery. So we phoned The Home Depot and the delivery was rescheduled for September 2. Sadly, it became clear that we would have to launder our duds at Get the Funk Out, our neighborhood laundry mat, for the time being.

Flooring ordered. On to paint. There is a Kelly Moore paint shop about 6 blocks from our new apartment. We matched the chartreuse tile to two very subtle gray paint colors: Drizzle and Heirloom Silver. The lighter Drizzle is for the door, trim, and ceiling, and darker Heirloom Silver is for the walls and all of the pipes in front of the walls. “Darker” is a relative term—both are pretty light. Andi and I lugged 2.5 gallons of paint, primer, and paint supplies up Divisidero to our house, past the wig shop for trannies, five bars, two rib joints, and the Independent concert venue. Cost: $95.43.

Drizzle (left) and Heirloom Gray (right).
We started to rip out the floor. Andi had a minor meltdown when, as I was ripping out the Jimmy Carter-era linoleum covered in mouse droppings, a piece of the flooring hit her in the mouth. She was mad. It took some serious sweet talk, but I eventually smoothed that “killer rabbit” incident over.

Here we are, tearing out the linoleum underlayment.
The damaged linoleum came off much like an orange peel—in long and curling strips. Below it we found some decaying and discolored fiber board underlayment. We took our new crow bar and tore that out in a matter of about an hour.

The redwood planks under all of that crap.
Then the weirdness started. Below the fiberboard was an uneven material, black in some places and tan in others. At first we thought it was tar paper, used in the olden days as water-proofing, but as we tore it out we spotted a familiar pattern: elementary school flooring! We realized that it was another layer of vinyl flooring—probably from the time of the Kennedy administration—completely hardened and cracked from years of neglect. It had the same spotted pattern as everyone’s 1st grade classroom floor.

We decided to tear that layer out as well in lieu of using a self-leveling compound to level the floor. We wanted to do this right. But in order to properly remove the last layer of flooring, we needed to remove the staples that used to attach the underlayment of the linoleum to the sub-floor. There were hundreds of them. I spent a couple of back-wrenching hours yanking them out so Andi could tear out the vinyl.

I use “tear” in the present tense for this job. Andi continues to tear at the vinyl flooring, about 5 work-hours later. It is a tough job involving a ripping chisel (from Andi’s upholstery tool box), a hammer, and a lot of patience. Andi has been working on it diligently, and we have about 80% of it out.

There was a nice surprise as a result of all of this effort: removing both layers of old flooring revealed the original redwood plank floors in the utility room, exactly like the beautiful old flooring throughout our apartment. We considered leaving the redwood floors exposed in the laundry room, but decided we need something more heavy-duty, and water resistant, so we are sticking with the Marmoleum.

Total cost so far: $2,073.54 (not including our celebratory start-of-the-renovation drink).
Part 2: The New Floor coming soon.


1 comment:

  1. There are molds formed under the linoleum especially when the floor moist. This mold has foul odor, and also can irritate skin.