Saturday, July 23, 2016


Remember that bathroom? Yeah, well, the sun is out. I just can't waste good weather inside so...

Remember this?

Just so terrible.

Ants and rot and disgustingness
I know that's not a real word.
Insanity is a valuable commodity, especially when it is in such short supply. So I decided to import a little.  His name is Andy and he is actually a fine custom cabinet maker and expert carpenter who makes designer spiral staircases and whatnot.  Somehow, a mutual friend convinced him to go slumming over here with me.  I felt foolish calling him, but I did.

I'm really glad I did.

See, I had this plan.  I went out and bought wood to build supports for my bottle jacks and was going to jack up floor joists in multiple locations and probably would have spent about half of today out there getting everything ready to go to work. 

Instead, Andy showed up and I told him essentially what we would be doing for the day.  I left him back there while I went inside to get my tools and stuff. I came back out to see this.

Well OK then.
While I was grabbing stuff, he just got busy ripping the joist right out.  I was a little stunned. My planning was pretty much for naught. While I was busy reconfiguring my mental map about how the day was going to go, he just kept ripping stuff out.  There was plenty of stuff that needed to come out too.

The hole where the disgusting used to be. Surrounded by more disgusting.

We kept ripping things out while we attempted to find out just how extensive the damage was. We needed to know how bad it was before we formulated a plan on how to fix it.

It was pretty bad.

The sill was rotten, the floor was rotten, the frame was rusty.


The ants were having babies and the babies were rotten.

The rot and ants extended the length of the place.

Rotten birds had built a foot-tall nest in the wall

The ants were listening to Barry White and procreating in record numbers.
See? Terrible.

Luckily, I had Andy.

Andy can do most anything. Including, figure a creative way out of this mess.

We had a problem. The construction technique, and this seems to come up over and over and over again, is they bring in the metal frame and build the floor. Then, they install the interior walls on top of the floor along with appliances and cabinets and everything. Then, they install the outer walls and finish it off by dropping the lid/roof on top of everything. The walls sit on the subflooring, and in many cases, on the floor covering.

And it was rotten.  Comes apart in your hand rotten.  Putting a fresh joist under a rotten subfloor didn't seem smart. Not to mention the rotten wall sill. Oh yeah, and the joist is attached partially by nails that are put in before the walls are up. Yeah, there are walls up there now. It's kind of harder to nail it in place.

Did I mention the rotten wall studs? It turns out ants and rot like wall studs too.  There were many that were partially rotted through and two that were totally rotten.  We pulled the rotten ones and Andy managed to get in there and cut away the rotten parts of the rest. But, how to fasten them in place?

Andy came up with an idea.

He cut away the sill, the subfloor, the studs, anything that was rotted out.  It appeared as though there was enough healthy wood in there to salvage. He ripped lengths of my 3/4 inch plywood flooring and screwed it in under the healthy subfloor and extended it all the way out to the edge. Then, the plan was to rip the joists down to fit the new distance. The studs would be custom cut out and fill the space where the rotten flooring had been. He would use dovetail joints and...OK, so not the last part.  He likes cabinets, but we didn't have all day.

We got it all back together and things were looking up.

Fresh wood, no ROT! Looking good.

You know what that means...

Something had to go wrong.

Note the location of the hole above the bolt.
Yeah, there are holes in the frame where we pulled out rusted-through lag bolts. The frame was bent and pulled out of shape and wasn't lining up with the floor joist. We rifled through a few options and decided to sister up another joist behind the one already in place so it would have a secure attachment point. I would rather over build than under build. I know these manufactured homes are kind of built to be disposable, but I want this one to be different. I don't know why, but I want to make it right.

So we pulled it all out and got busy.

Of course, we ran out of time.  I still had another trip to the hardware store and dinner and everything. So, it still sits out there undone.  Tomorrow.

Back at it tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Back to business.

Life can't be all scenic mountain trips and world famous artists, so where were we? 

Oh yeah, destroying my house.

When last we left I had intentionally knocked a section of a wall out for the purpose of removing a shower enclosure without destroying it. It also helped that much of the wall was moldy and rotten anyway.  I'm trying to look at the bright side here.  Some see mold and rot. I see the opportunity to save a shower enclosure. 


I did manage to disconnect everything and pull out the shower.  What did I find?

Yeah, look at that wallpaper. Remember, this thing was built in 1994

This is the wallpaper that all the hip grannies wanted way back in '94.
As wonderful as the wallpaper was, there were troubling things found too.

There may have been some minor water leaks.
They may have been raw sewage.

Oh well.  Everything must go. We kind of knew that going in. Time to get to it.

Pulling out big chunks is fun.

Our ever growing trash pile. What does that sticker say?

Well, I think we have performed our sub-surface inspection now.
Among our many discoveries was a revelation about fasteners. It seems that they are cheap and easy to apply. So, to make up for what may lack in structural materials and building technique, they added fasteners, lots of staples and finishing nails. In some places, the 1/4 inch wall board was held around its perimeter by no less than on fastener per inch.


Yeah, this isn't even the highest staple density area.
 And speaking of shoddy building materials...

Class D-3? I mean I didn't expect 1-A or anything, but at least C-2 or something.

OK, so I don't really know what D-3 means.

I do know what particle board is and I know it doesn't do well with water.

This is what we are left with.

The decor is much improved.

Of course, I still have to rip out the ceiling.

Good thing we performed a sub-surface inspection!

Believe it or not, this is a toilet flange. Really. It may need replacing.

All of this work will be put aside for a little while.  My mom left for home and my sister is arriving tonight. There will be adventuring. 

Oh yeah, and while the weather is good, and there is still money in the budget for assistance, there is another project to do.

Like the siding.

Or this hot mess.

Fun time is over.  Back to business.