The House Repair Saga (part 1, 2, 3)



So last night, it's around 11pm and decide to finally start folding my laundry. As I walk inside my closet to hang my shirts, I smell a funk in the air. Musty. Then I notice the carpet under my feet has a damp feel to it. I get down on my hands and knees to feel around. Suspicion's damp. I run my finger across the base board and it comes back black. Great. You see my closet lies directly on the opposite wall as my utility room, which stores my washer and dryer, and on the backside of my bathroom. I know I have leak somewhere, but leave it for further inspection tomorrow.

I get home from work and directly head for the closet. It still smells musty and the carpet still has moisture. After clearing out my clothes and shoes, I once again crawl on the floor. The baseboard looks rotten. I push on the drywall and my finger goes through it (see picture #1).

I head to the utility room and pull out the dryer, followed by the washer. The drywall has water stains and some swelling, as the does the floor (see picture #2). Awesome, I now know there is a leak.

So now I have to pull off baseboards and some drywall to see how bad the damage is. Hopefully the studs and floor aren't ruined or the carpet inside the carpet. I'm expecting not to be able to salvage any of it. Then I have to find where the leak is coming from and get a plumber to repair it. When the leak is fixed, then I can start repairing the rest.

This is the first repair I've had to make since I bought my house a little over 2 years ago. It shouldn't be too costly, but right now any extra bills are not welcomed.

I only worked a half day today, so I got home and started demolishing. Get half of the wall gutted, both sides - the utility room and my closet. And some areas on the side. The drywall I took out was full of mildew. After that, I started on the floor in the utility room. Yep part of its soaked through. Onto the closet to pull up the carpet. Not as bad as I thought. The carpet is actually dry and shows no mildew. The padding underneath is a different story. The good part of the tale is that my entire floor is cement. After the wet board and drywall went away, the floor immediately started to dry out.

So that part of the repair wont be bad. A 2x4 to replace a rotted one, a couple pieces of dry wall, some mud, paint, and carpet padding. There's a bunch of extra flooring in my garage the previous owners stored away. It should be enough. However, I'm still not sure where the leak come from. My guess is the hot and cold water valves, which I have to replace. Not sure if I want to take a stab at it myself and see if that was indeed the problem or call a plumber to inspect and fix.

I'm gonna sleep on it.


About a week has passed and still no work has been done as I've just been busy. I want to get at least get the outlets changed before Labor Day Weekend. So it's the Thursday before and I dont go into work until late in the afternoon (I have an event to work that night), the perfect time to at least get the water hooked up. No big deal. Right?

About mid-morning the task begins as I shut off the water to the house. I cut into the hot water line and water instantly sprays all over the place. Suddenly I think this isn't such a good idea. I cut the cold water line with the same results. Even though the main water valve is shut off, I'm still getting water coming out from the lines. Too much water, plus the floor is covered. After cleaning up the mess, I finally got the water to stop dripping (ok drip isn't the correct word) from the lines by turning on the outside faucet which is ran from the same line.

I sand down and clean off the old lines, making sure they are dry. The outlet box goes on and gets lined up. Shit. I cut the cold water line about a 1/4" too short. The box will still fit on but now I have to shift it a bit to get the lines in place. Now it's time to solder these lines together and finish up. This aint so bad.

And that's wear this adventure really turns sour. Using a propane torch to heat the lines, the solder wont stick. It keeps breaking off and falling to the floor. I look at the time and frustration sets in. Got to head into work. The water lines aren't fixed. No water is turned on in the house. Good thing I filled the bathtub full just in case of emergency.

Friday is here and I am off work until Wed for some much needed vacation. I have the idea to get a soldering or heat gun to make the connections on the pipe and some instant solder, just in case. So I head to Menards for one first thing in the morning. This is trip #1.

I let the gun warm up and start the soldering. The gun is working better than the torch, but it's still not great. I manage a to get the hot water line crudely soldered. Now it's the cold water line's turn. The solder still doesn't want to stick. Chunks go one, but falls off after it cools. I try sanding again, then warm the line up with the torch before attempting the solder and gun. Still nothing. Well except a huge burn on my thumb from the heat gun. Now I'm getting angry. I try the instant solder and follow the directions. After heating, I let it set for a couple of hours.

I run some errands and make trip #2 to Menards for epoxy putty. Just in case there's a small leak I should be able to patch it with this stuff. I get home and turn on the main water. The seal on the cold water line does not hold and water sprays everywhere. Time to soak up the wet floor and start over. Luckily, the hot water line didn't leak. Just to be safe, I put some putty over the joints. I attempt the soldering again. This time I manage to get so pieces to hold. It looks even worse than the first one I did. Deep down, I know this wont hold but I cant get any more to stick. I cover the joint with lots of epoxy putty and wait for it to harden.

About an hour and half later, the main water gets turned on. The cold water line once again blows off and emits water all over the floor. I soak up the floor again and notice its 3pm. I got to decide something quick. I have other commitments this weekend and I need water turned back on the house. So I decide to cap the line and try again on Monday. This time I cut the line farther down (now I have to replace a section of the line but hopefully that wont be a problem). Trip #3 to Menards happens and come back with a cap. Only to find out that it's the wrong one. I am so pissed off right now. I go back to Menards for the #4 trip of the day and get the correct end cap this time. After returning home, the line in capped in about five minutes. Water is back on the house and no leaks. Still dont have the washer lines fixed, but at least I can shower for the first time in two days.


Day 6
Today will the day. I can feel it. I am confident. This water line is mine!

Or so I thought on this Tuesday. The way the line twists it's almost impossible to get everything lined up. I have to go back the hardware store. I've stopped counting how many trips I've made over the course of this project. Hell, I really dont even want to know. I grab more connectors, instant solder, and tubing. I assemble and heat and let set. Turn on the water and what happens. That's right, leakage. Not very happy.

I tear it apart, reassemble, use lots of solder, reheat, and wait for a couple of hours. Just to be safe. I know it will all be good this time. It's has to be. I've got 5 hours invested today. I turn the water on slowly. Nothing. A smile creeps upon my face as I turn the water pressure up more. Then the smile quickly disappears. Once again, a joints leaks.

I am so sick of this shit! I take it apart and put the cap back on the water line. I cant work on this anymore today. I am super fucking pissed. I'm not much of a carpenter but this is a task I should have been able to accomplish in a fairly short amount of time and in one damn day. Not this long, drawn out saga. Now it's personal. I will not call a plumber. I am still doing it cheaper myself. I will not be bested by this damn water line. I fight another day. Soon. Very soon.

I may need to go to the laundry mat though.


Anonymous said...

are you using flux? Dave P.

kimmel59 said...

Yes I am.