We have a Victorian house rental property that ticks along quite nicely, and we had the loveliest tenant for a few years who really looked after the house. However he moved on recently, buying his own home, so we had a 2 week turnaround to sort out the house ready for new tenants. I usually re-paint walls, varnish the floors and generally have a good tidy up ready for the new occupants.
But this time the bathroom was looking dated, and water seemed to be leaking where the previous house owner had installed wooden bead board around the end of the bath area. This area frequently got soaked, so it seemed better to replace it all with tiles. The window also needed replacing, so this seemed a good time to get it all done whilst the panelling came down. I plan to move to this house in a few years, so decided to use my favourite tiles ahead of schedule, and was expecting to upgrade the sink, taps and flooring when I arrived in the future. All I needed now was good quality fittings and watertight application!
So I got in some builders to re-tile the shower and bath area, replace the sink and window and re-lay practical vinyl flooring. A few days to get it sparkly and new… or so I thought. At that point the horrors started…..
It turned out that the previous homeowner had added the panelling and current tiles on top of a layer of older tiles. Water had been slowly leaking for years under the bath onto chipboard flooring that had swelled like old cereal, plus up into the original plaster walls under the layers of tiles and wood. Even the floor joists were soaked. As my builder took off the old layers, the walls pretty much fell off, taking them right back to the original lathe and plaster structures. We also found a chimney breast and fireplace opening with a piece of wood holding up the entire structure!
I nearly had a heart attack! I had to call in a surveyor to check the fireplace was safe, and it had to be blocked up fully. The costs were escalating as we were now going to have to lay new joists, floors, plasterboard, plaster and so on, and then on top of all of that the builder boy that I now call ‘The Wrecker’ stepped back a bit too fast and……
His foot went through the joists and ceiling below, leaving me with a rather large hole in my dining room. I seriously was not very kind to him when he did this, and should have asked if his leg was OK, but instead some rather choice phrases came out! He took it well I thought…..
So now the house was filled with dust while I was supposed to be redecorating each room and re-varnishing the floors ready for my new tenants. So that was put on hold while they got on with the bathroom. It has been tiled with white metro bevel edged tiles using a dark grey grout, modern taps and shower, a new window with privacy glass, a clear glass shower screen and grey slate-effect lino on the floor. If this is not watertight I will cry! I was going to use a dark grey paint on the walls, but frankly after having to wait for plaster to dry and do mist coats I have lost all creativity and will to live! The walls for now are brilliant white, and it is a bit stark, but I think I need a rest!
Here is the final result after what stretched into 8 long day of chaos, sorry I could not get a wider shot.
I have 2 days left to clean/paint/varnish the rest of the house before the tenants move in now that the dust has settled. I also have to paint the new ceiling that was installed downstairs where ‘The Wrecker’s’ foot came through, yuck….my least favourite job in the world.
My lesson has been learnt yet again that old houses tend to be held up by either wallpaper or tiles. It is now Easter weekend, so on Sunday once the tenants are in I shall eat a lot of chocolate to recover from the shock both from my hours of labour and costs to my wallet.