Besides almost constant rain for first 4 days, which may have been a blessing to find other issues before diving into the renovation, we have encountered other issues NOT in the renovation budget. All of these issues were in the first week or two and all were addressed almost at the same time. While waiting for one process or rains to stop, I worked on another thing. Made for a very very exhausting 2 weeks. The boys got the 2 acres of grass cut for me during this time too. It was 1-2 feet high when we got possession. One would have thought the previous owner would have at least cut the grass ONCE this spring… but noooo. didn’t happen. This and had to still clean out all their
trash, ummm stuff, from the house too. Anyone want 3 huge Xerox machines? LOL
I also walked the entire property on day 1 and took photos of everything. Had a couple issues. They took the heating/AC units that served the basement and also had a broken window on the back that wasn’t broken previously. We priced out to replace and settled on $ to replace. I also discovered about 6 piles of tires on the back few acres that was hidden previously. We had asked about the huge pile when we made the offer and were told they were not on this property. They SHOULD have asked us which pile we were referring to. Tires are a big expense to dispose of. Ugggg This and a lot of misc junk left behind. Will take us lots of scrap bins to rid the property of. Will be contacting scrap dealers in the area to come and get it. Maybe we can make a few $ from it all. One can hope at least.
So onto the current issues we had to address immediately.
CAT AND DOG URINE IN SUBFLOORS
HUGE issue. We knew about the animals here, but we never imagined how extreme the issue really was. The smell was so bad we walked out as soon as we walked in. I have come to the conclusion the animals were locked in the house the last week with no one here. One obvious sign was the front door frame chewed out as if one was trying to escape. The rest will become obvious as you read on.
I had to unload and store all of our belongings in the barn. No way in H E L L was I bringing anything into this house. That musty dirty barn was better. Hind-sight, wish I had rented a storage unit instead. The stove pipe in the barn leaked and we had a panic moment of getting everything off the floor in it’s path. Many boxes had to be re-packed in the process. Uggg. ok, had an emotional mental break-down during this process. I had thoughts of “What have we done?” as I looked everything we own sitting in a dirty barn and/or sitting in water. My son took the bull by the horns and made make-shift tables out of anything we could find and got everything up off the floor. He then resolved the missing pipe cap by putting a temporary tarp over the pipe on the roof.
What came next was 4 more days of rain, having a commercial turbo heater running in the house and removing all curtains to allow the sun and air in. We opened all windows and allowed Mother Nature to do her stuff. This of course was after the first 4 days of rains. But when the sun finally graced us with her presence, we let it shine in… AFTER cleaning years of filth off the windows too. Remind me again someone was living here! All I can say is “WOW!”
The boys tore out all the carpeting for me 2nd day. They wore professional respirators. NOT just masks. VERY important with cat urine as it crystalizes as it dries and forms a powder that can really mess you up and even be deadly from what I was told. What was revealed was only what could be YEARS of piss. The dang sub-floors were still damp in some spots even! The floors had damp black areas in front of almost all doorways and I had horrid visions of all the sub-floors needing replacing. NOT in the budget. I stood in utter disbelief that someone was actually living here a week ago. I am sure they had to have respiratory issues and with a ‘no smoking’ sign on the front door, I’m pretty damn sure of it.
First job and trip to store, spray everything with bleach! Kill the bacteria! We did this 3 times drying between applications. When it finally dried out completely in the house the smell returned. No where near as bad, but still there. Did a little research on the web and decided to use BOXES and boxes of baking soda to cover the entire floor area. We also removed all trim work before doing as I have learned cats like to urinate along walls and corners. Yep, black streaks under all the trim. Scraped up all the deteriorated padding and vacuumed out every nook and cranny. Let the baking soda sit for a day, cleaned up and did again. Still slight smell, and decided to do a third time. And for extra measure I also sprayed vinegar as a last application.
Then after allowing to air out and dry again for a few more days, we encapsulated the floors with a heavy coat of Kilz oil based primer. We will have to do again once the walls are removed, but in the mean time all floors and lower parts of walls are done and we sprayed into the crevices where a roller and brush couldn’t get to. No more smell! End result, we may still have to replace a few areas of the sub-floor but at least 90% of it appears to be ok. We will only know for sure how much after we remove the interior walls.
OH and while tearing out the flooring, we also discovered what was in a lot of the heating registers. Not sure why they stuffed pieces of insulation in them other than to keep all the cat and dog hair from filling. Didn’t help much. Cleaned all these out and treated also. At a later date, we will clean out all duct work we will be using.
SEPTIC PIPE THRU WALL ACCESS LEAK
You can’t always see this during a home inspection and although the interior wall had some water staining, it was dry. We knew we would have to keep an eye on it, and with the constant rain since we took possession of the home, it was very apparent. We purchased the home in the winter. What we could not see was the large hole above the pipe at the foundation wall under the ground, nor the sunken area above ground created from constant draining into the area. Not only was it covered in snow, but it was also camouflaged by many vines and wild trees and brush.
My first task was to clear away all the vegetation to even get to the area in-between rains. Made for an entire day of cutting and burning and ultimately found poison oak and ivy, which is everywhere around this property by the way. Third trip to store. Buy poison ivy killer. Thank goodness I was smart enough to be wearing long pants, sleeves and gloves or I’m sure I’d be covered in it. Sprayed the area and waited a day… two days… three days. Got tired of waiting and just cleared it all. Round Up will be receiving a letter of disappointment. The poison ivy was cut at the ground if I couldn’t pull it up and set in a separate pile to dry out and bag. Can NOT burn this stuff or you will risk getting it into your lungs and can’t compost either as it will most likely reroot. NOT FUN!
After clearing all the vegetation the septic pipe was exposed by digging down, wasn’t that far to dig as it seems many years of neglect and rain had already done half the job, there it was, a huge gapping hole right at the top of the pipe. About 1″ in height and 2″ in width. I don’t think this was done right from the beginning. Back to the store and bought expanding insulation foam to fill the void and flex seal to seal up after on both outside and inside. Waited for the next rain, which wasn’t long as we had MORE downpours that night and the next day. No water in the basement. At least from this. FIXED! I am going to leave it open for about a week just to be sure and debating on replacing a rubber boot with a 45 degree angle on the pipe coming out of the home and connecting to the yard pipe. I know that rubber boot is not a great idea and am wanting to replace with a PVC pipe. If we don’t, most likely we will have a fail at some point just from deterioration.
MOLD IN WALLS, FLOOR, INSULATION, CEILINGS
After opening up the house to dry out the sub-floors we saw it all…. This is a MUCH larger issue than we anticipated. We knew of previous roof leaks and had seen water staining on ceilings, what we did not anticipate was how much was in walls, behind trim and in the walls. Now, we did plan on demolition of all these walls, but we needed to be living in the home in the mean time. Some of this appears to be black mold also and we couldn’t live here until I resolved this. I made a 50-50 bleach solution and immediately sprayed anything I could see. The next step is to dry the house out. I swear the windows NOR the black curtains had not been opened in 10 years. This just promoted the perfect breeding ground for molds. You could smell the musty moldy smell even over the cat urine smell. Two weeks later the house is finally dry and no more cat or urine smell.
Any wood that has had contact with this mold issue will be sprayed with a product called Concrobium Mold Control. I did a lot of research on this subject and found that studies show that bleach will only kill about 90% of the mold and none of the mold spores. This product should do it all including any Black Mold.
While house was drying out over the week, we noted everything we could find that was an issue with water. Was easy with all the rains. ALL gutters filled with debris. Two downspouts not even connected. Water dripping from rafters over porches. Grading not done properly to drain away from the home.
Leaking stove pipes – no caps nor flashing – All will be resolved when the new roof goes on, but we had to find a quick band-aid fix in the mean time. Tarp over the pipes with missing caps.
All exterior faucets leak – One was obvious as I turned on the water at the front – the pipe spewed water in the basement. The other has baffled us. Only leaks when faucet is turned on. Solution, use faucet in basement utility sink until we can resolve.
It’s been an adventure needless to say. I’m exhausted and become sick. I can only hope it’s a common cold and not something contacted with during this whole process. I will go and see a Doctor if it doesn’t clear up in a few days just to be safe.
Have removed the MILES of cable wire around the entire exterior of the house. Have been taking note of any rotted wood and have a good picture of the foundation we need to address to create our master bath over the front porch area. Taking notes on everything while I wait for Craig to arrive so we can make a final plan. Got final measurements too of the house as I was just working from county records for exterior walls before and had to guess on a lot on interior walls, door and window sizes and placements. Happy to say I was pretty darn close and no major issues with the ultimate plan.
In the mean time, Craig is making his way across the US to join me! Woot Woot! He’s about half way here as I write but got caught in storms and had to pull over for the night. Delayed him about 10 hours. Better safe than sorry.
Next on my To Do list is to figure out a permanent home for the pond to hold our Turtles. Poor babies are in an 8 foot kiddie pool for now. I made an island in the center to they have somewhere to get out and bask. I have a plan on where I want it, but am looking at the standing water in the yard and think I need to change it up a little bit. More on this later too. I ordered the pond liner and pump so want to have a good tentative plan before they arrive this week.
Good news is my future son-in-law has gotten me about 2 dozen good pallets for FREE, that as soon as I can find some energy again, I plan on making into raised beds and compost bins. All I will be using for this have the HT marking on them meaning they are heat treated and not chemically treated. Any marked with any other mark will be used for fencing. Plan on making a post about how I am going to construct them so stay tuned. Going to start those after I get the pond laid out.
So stay tuned for more adventures from Fraggle Rock Creek. And yes, feeling a bit frazzled, or fraggled as I like to put it, but all is good!