The first in a series, I hope, of blogs about the ongoing renovations of my investment property in Canberra.
I have owned the property for over 6 years and in that time it has been rented out and tenanted. I had very good tenants but they called me several months ago and told me that things were falling apart. I flew to Canberra for a look and realised that they were correct. So in the back of my mind was the thought that I should move into it and do some renovations.
Well that opportunity came with my current period of unemployment. I relocated in mid December but I then took two weeks off and did not return until early January. With the benefit of living in the place I have begun to see what the tenants were talking about.
While there is a lot to do my first major project has been the Laundry. Below is the before picture. Vinyl floor, wash tub, some shelving and that was about it.
I decided to tile the floor, put in some cabinet storage and generally brighten it up.
Removing the Vinyl was easy, although there is the concern that it may contain asbestos. I have since learnt from my neighbour that the vinyl probably went down in 1972/3 when the house was built.
Under the vinyl I found some Masonite or similar and that came out easily too. This revealed the original floor boards, which were in good condition except for a large hole around the sink area.
Unfortunately I found that the floor was not quite level, in particular a huge curve upward along the wall by the door and window. That set me back several days while I sorted it out. I ended up shaving off a large chunk of the offending floor board, this took ages as it was difficult to access due to its closeness to the wall.
Once leveled the next task was to lay "Villaboard" over the floor boards. This stuff is fibre cement based and ends up being incredibly heavy. It was difficult handling these on my own until I had cut them to size. Also it comes with a warning about inhaling cement dust when you cut them up.
Most of the above work was done in a heatwave and to be honest by lunchtime on most days I was feeling the heat and could not continue. No air conditioning in this house!
|Villaboard down, ready for tiling|
Tiling was next but that had to be delayed due to the extreme heat. The mortar sets too quickly and becomes soft and does not hold the tiles well if the temperature is too hot.
When I did set to, I went to great lengths to align the first row of tiles, drawing marks on the floor to guide me. In my enthusiasm however I neglected to notice that the mortar hides the pencil marks and I did not check thoroughly. My first row was askew and the whole floor had to end up following that skew. It meant that the tiles were not correctly aligned, but I disguised that with a grout the same colour as the tiles.
By the way those tiles were solid, I spent 4 hours cutting the circle for the waste pipe and had only got half way there when I got careless and broke the tile. That tile is hidden under the wash basin, so it probably does not matter.
I also put a half tile along the wall to make a seal that would not matter if it got wet during accidental flooding and mopping up the floor. I actually caused the first flood when I failed to assemble a tap properly.
|Wall tiles also in place|
Next was cabinets, laundry tub and benchtop. One of those times when I really needed the advice of a person with an eye for esthetics not my inability to match colours and styles. This involved a trip to Ikea in Sydney and a fair bit of design work using their planner. The outcome was great. I was helped onsite by a young girl (well that's what she looked like to me), I was suspicious of her experience, but she certainly knew her products well and I had to give her a mental apology for ever doubting her.
|Cabinets roughed in|
During the build I changed my mind several times on the design of the bench top. The first design was a continuous bench incorporating the wash tub, bridging the gap between the cabinets, with the washing machine underneath. Then I realised that future tenants may need a top loader washing machine, so it became bench tops only over the cabinets. Finally I realised that if I put a removable section in the gap where the washing machine goes then I could cover both a top loader and a front loader and it made it much easier to install a washing machine of both types.
Here is the finished Laundry.
|Finished. Hoses not connected to washing machine.|
All up it looks pretty good, but there are a few edges that don't meet properly, and after flooding the Laundry I discovered a run off and pooling that indicates they are not perfectly flat. However the room survived the flood very well.
To pick holes in the finished product. I made a mistake on the splash back and had a rather large gap in the corner, that I filled with Silicone. The cabinets are not perfectly aligned, but the wall behind them is not straight either. The external door is falling apart and will be replaced as part of the "external security" project. The window is in need of attention.
You will see a line in the benchtop, this is the removable section above the front loader washing machine to allow for a top loader. That is also why I did not relocate the plumbing which looks a bit ugly above the bench.
The Bludger is pleased to see one project behind him.