Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our First Attempt At Tile

It was a little intimidating to do tile for the first time.  We took a class at the local home improvement store and read lots of library books on the topic.  Now we had to put what we learned into practice. 

We decided to start with something easier.  We decided that the laundry/storage room tile would the easiest first tiling project.  It was a smaller room with simple 12x12 inch tiles.  We bought an inexpensive tile saw from the local home improvement store because we knew we would be doing lots of tile in this house.  Buying the tile saw was equivalent to the cost of renting one for only a couple of days.

We measured and divided up the room and started the tile work.  The tile saw worked like a champ.  It turned out pretty well; the hardest part was doing the grout.  We used sanded, tinted grout, and getting it into all of the joints proved to be a challenging job that required lots of muscle.

Laundry/storage room before tile was laid.

Tile drying after it was laid.

Tile drying.

Finished and grouted tile.

Finished and grouted tile.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Landscaping Break

We had so many problems with renovating this house, that it seemed like everything was an uphill battle.  We needed to take a break and do something fun outside that helped us relax.  We decided to go ahead and do the landscaping because if we plant small tress now, then it will take several years for them to grow and become established.

We first had to hire a company to grind out the large stumps from the side yard.  Of course, this was not as simple as it seemed either.  The stump grinding company hit the main water pipe that led to our water meters, as they were grinding out the stumps.  This caused a water leak, and the city had to come out and repair the leak.  At least the plumber didn't have to come out for this one.

Once the stumps were removed, we could plant new trees.  We really need shade on that side because the house has so many windows, and it gets very hot there in the afternoon with direct sunlight shining on the side of the house.

We ran hoses under the house and connected them to multiple sprinkler heads.  We added a three zone timer to automatically water our new trees late at night.  

We planted 5 new trees on the side. Note the brown patches; that is where the stumps where ground out.

We planted 2 Queen Palms out front and one pecan tree.

The grapevine we planted last year is thriving and even has grapes on it.  Hope we can get them before the birds!

The grapefruit tree we planted last year has some small grapefruits on it.

One of our automatic sprinkler heads.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Plumbing Problems

We tried one of the hot water heaters, but we did not try the other one.  When we were to try the other one, we realized the plumber forgot to connect it to the cold water.  There was no water flowing to the hot water heater at all.  Since the drywall was already done, and we hoped that the walls did not need to be opened to connect the hot water heater to water.

The plumber came and fixed it without having to open the wall.  Luckily our plumbing is accessible from under the house.  When the plumber left, we decided to try the hot water heater and we noticed that the hot water heater turned on even when we flushed the toilet or used cold water in the sink.  After some testing and troubleshooting, we realized the plumber connected the water for the entire house to go through the hot water heater.  This means that we had hot water in the toilet as well as the cold water valves leading to the sinks, etc.  Now there was no cold water in the apartment at all!

We called in the plumber and his boss who both came out to investigate the situation.  After a day of work, they finally diagnosed and fixed the problem.  We now had both hot and cold water!

We started using the sink and toilet as normal.  We could now stay in the house while we worked on it, as we had electricity, a sink, a toilet, hot and cold water, and heating and air conditioning.  After a few days in the house, we had another plumbing issue.  The main drain to the house backed up.  We realized this when the drain water started coming out of the unfinished drain in the downstairs bath.  We called the plumber back, and again he fixed the problem. 

So far, we haven't had any other plumbing issues.  We really hope that we don't need to call the plumber for a while.