And the Repairs Begin

20 Jan

In a recent post, I told you we had some pipes freeze and break at the WV Place. This past Saturday, Hubby (Mike) and I went to the WV Place to better assess the damage he discovered last weekend. Oh, and get some subcontractor bids.

Those of you new to this blog, or have only gotten to know me recently, may not know that Hubby and I built the WV Place ourselves. From scratch. Mostly during weekends over the course of four years (2005 to 2009). We did hire folks to do major stuff like clearing, grading, installing the septic system, and finishing the concrete slab, but we did most of the work. With some help from friends and family along the way. It’s all documented here.

We’re no strangers to construction-type stuff. But we’ve had our fill. That’s why seeing the damage was disheartening, but not completely overwhelming. And Hubby had a really, REALLY cool tool to make the labor easier. Stay tuned…

The drive up on Saturday was actually pretty…

Dramatic Winter Sky

Dramatic Winter Sky

…but also a bit slick.

WV-29, South of Slanesville

WV-29, South of Slanesville

I’m a sucker for wintry skies.

The ride was uneventful. We arrived safely, unloaded all of our stuff, and started work.

Step one, for me, was taking pictures to share with you. There are a lot of them. It felt like old times when, during the construction process, I pretty much documented the whole adventure.

Here’s what the place looked like when we arrived.

Bedroom Ceiling

Bedroom Ceiling

Some of the sheetrock was already down. What you see missing in these first pics is what fell during the leak and the couple danglers Hubby removed during his previous visit.

Plastic vapor barrier bulging under wet cellulose insulation.

Plastic vapor barrier bulging under wet cellulose insulation.

If there were still a bed in the room and I was laying on Mike’s side, that would be my view.

I can't believe this guy was still on the wall.

I can’t believe this guy was still on the wall.

 

Water damage just outside of bedroom.

Water damage just outside of bedroom.

Our first objective was to find the location of the actual leak(s).

Removing more drywall.

Removing more drywall.

 

Ruined closet doors that Hubby removed during previous visit.

Ruined closet doors that Hubby removed during previous visit.

 

The entire bedroom ceiling had to come down.

The entire bedroom ceiling had to come down.

 

The really messy part is coming soon...

The really messy part is coming soon…

Removing the saturated sheetrock wasn’t very hard. And only a little messy. Cutting the plastic to release the insulation was the REAL mess. It’s blown-in cellulose, which is essentially pulverized newspaper. Messy, but non-toxic. And very dusty.

Hubby: Action Photo

That’s what it looked like coming down.

11_WV_Cleanup

After the first small cut.

Messy, messy, messy. But we were prepared…

That’s me. I am known as The Unskilled Laborer.

Hubby does the hard work, I do the simple stuff. Which usually means clean-up, acting as go-fer, providing moral support, fetching stuff, etc. All very important, of course, just not real glamorous.

Visitor

Visitor

While we were working, the girls were having their fun outside. Meg went and got her friend, Buddy. We hadn’t seen him in a long time and were all happy he came by to visit.

K found a treasure, too, which I promptly took away from her.

Deer Foot

Deer Foot

Treasures like that are usually very stinky (this one was quite frozen), so I hate putting them in the trash. So I usually just hang them out of the girls’ reach.

This picture had been on the bedroom windowsill.

This picture had been on the bedroom windowsill.

 

Wall above closet.

Wall above closet.

We knew about where the leak(s) was/were. It’s pretty clear when seeing the paint on that wall. Sure enough, the break (only one!!!) was right above the closet. Which would explain the ruined closet doors.

Pipes headed toward kitchen.

Pipes headed toward kitchen.

During Hubby’s previous visit, he noted that every hard surface in the place was covered with lots of condensation. We were quite relieved to find that it had all dried out. We thought for sure we’d be drying everything off before we could do anything else. There was still a lot of humidity in the air, just no surface wetness to mop up.

The leak was in the hot water line, which explained the condensation. You know how steamy the bathroom gets after a long, hot shower, right? Imagine an hours-long shower…

Close-up of the cellulose.

Close-up of the cellulose.

Hubby had a stroke of pure genius when he decided to take our electric leaf vac along. Sucking that stuff up into a bag was SOOOO much easier than having to use a shovel.

Failed section of pipe removed.

Failed section of pipe removed.

See that hole in the foam stuff (extruded foam rafter vent)? That’s from where the very hot water was shooting upward (about two feet/two-thirds of a meter) and hitting the roof.

Now here’s where the really cool tool comes into play. Replacing broken sections of copper piping is never easy. Soldering is typically required. And if not done EXACTLY right, the joints will leak. Hubby is pretty good at soldering, but says it’s a huge PIA. I have never actually done any soldering of pipes, but I have witnessed a lot. (Remember, we plumbed the entire house.)

Why is it such a pain? Used pipes still hold water, which makes soldering much more difficult. It’s harder to work overhead. The temperature in that space was about 20 degrees F (roughly -7 C). Four separate solders would have been needed. It’s dangerous to use a propane torch around insulation. Etc., etc.

Repair

Effecting the Repair

 

The damaged pipe.

The damaged pipe.

After removing the damaged section of pipe, which was right above the closet, Hubby had to install new pipe.

Are you ready to see the cool tool Hubby borrowed?

Ridgid Pro Press

Ridgid Pro Press

Enter the Ridgid Pro Press, a fast, reliable way to join copper piping. This is not something your average home-owner would buy, since it costs about $1,600. You may be able to rent one, but Hubby was able to borrow this one from his employer.

Using special fittings…

Special Fitting

Special Fitting

…each join literally takes five seconds.

The Patch

The Ready-to-Be-Installed Patch

 

Patch Installed

The Patch Installed

 

Pro Press in Action

Pro Press in Action

Easy-peasy. Really. It made the job so much more bearable.

Once it was in, the scary part was turning the water back on. We were both ecstatic to find NO MORE LEAKS. Woo hoo!

After the leak was isolated and repaired, we could get back to ripping out the damaged sheetrock.

This coat closet, which open in the hallway, backs to the bedroom wall and closet. It needs to be replaced. Hubby barely leaned on the closet wall from inside the bedroom, causing this hole, which really weirded the younguns out.

Damaged Closet

Damaged Closet

 

View into the attic.

View into the attic.

 

Newly insulated pipes.

Newly insulated pipes.

 

Another attic view.

Another attic view.

Those pipes lead into the kitchen. Some of the water followed those pipes, which is what damaged the kitchen ceiling. But damage is mostly isolated to the area below those pipes as the overflow drained out through the rangehood.

Wet Exterior Wall

Wet Exterior Wall

One of the reasons we had to remove so much sheetrock and insulation is so stuff can dry out. It can’t be replaced until the wood has dried. Another big reason was so we could reinstall some vapor barrier to seal the house off from the attic.

Vapor barrier going up.

Vapor barrier going up.

 

Vapor barrier in place.

Vapor barrier in place.

The plastic was necessary to prevent the heat from escaping into the attic. Once it was in place, the house warmed-up considerably.

Backyard Mess

Backyard Mess

There’s some of the construction debris. The contractor will remove that along with whatever trash they have to take.

These pics were taken during my morning walk with the girls.

Only the Shadow Knows

Only the Shadow Knows

 

The girls were thrilled to go on our regular morning stroll.

K, Hunting

K, Hunting

 

Meg, Smiling

Meg, Smiling

 

Debris from another angle.

Debris from another angle.

We also had to get the place ready for the repair crew, which just meant moving and covering stuff. Lots of drywall dust to come…

Covered Up

Covered Up

 

Damaged ceiling.

Damaged ceiling.

 

Current view from our bedroom.

Current view from our bedroom.

See that pile of insulation? Over time, it’ll be dispersed by the wind.

I asked Belle, nicely, to sit by the pile to give y’all a sense of scale. Apparently, she misinterpreted my request to mean…

Go DIG in the pile.

Go DIG in the pile.

…which made for a very dusty dog.

Dusty Belle

Dusty Belle

Sigh.

It actually brushed off pretty easily.

Dehumidifier

Dehumidifier

We left the dehumidifier running. It’s draining into a big trash can. We are both curious to see how much water it pulls out of the air.

And that was our WV adventure for the weekend. Poor Hubby was pooped.

If you’re interested in that Pro Press tool, I found a YouTube video showing it in action.

So, whattya think? How amazing is that Hubby? Pretty handy, that’s for sure. 🙂

15 Replies to “And the Repairs Begin

  1. WOW – I am impressed – you both knew exactly what needed to be done and had at it!!! I am super impressed with the ProPress Tool – that baby is awesome!!! I know the “pain” of having to solder pipes

    Looking forward to seeing pics when the place is back together again!!!

  2. I’m so sorry.
    You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.
    You sure deserved those big drinks lastnight.
    Love & Hugs

    Ps some beautiful photos too

  3. Donna, Mike is the one who knew what needed to be done. He thinks he is normal, but I think he’s amazing. It was a huge job that we knocked out in less than a day. I just do what I’m told. Mostly. 🙂

    Trace, the drink was much anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed!

  4. I know the first pic was probably taken from a moving car, but I just love it. I especially love how in the upper left corner it looks like we’re about to be visited by extraterrestrials haha.

    Seeing all that damage just made my heart sink. 🙁 I can’t even imagine how you guys must’ve felt being right there in it.

    I agree with Donna that that tool is bad ass! And I agree with Trace that a ginormous sangria margarita was definitely in order!

    • Thanks, Shan. I really liked that shot, too. And the lens flare, but I wasn’t thinking extraterrestrials. The discovery of the mess last week was the most disheartening time. We were super relieved when we got there to see stuff had dried out, which I think lightened the entire mood for the day. And REALLY relieved that there was just one leak. The sangria margarita afterward DID hit the spot.

  5. Wow, what a lot of work. I guess technically it could have been worse, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

    Great job getting in there with the repairs. You and I sound like we have the same job – clean up, go-fer, fetcher, etc. Every hubby needs a lovely assistant right?

    That was a sneaky tool he borrowed, I’d never seen that type of repair. I figured you’d be using Shark Bite copper fittings (popular around here and code approved). We used the push fit ones in our bathroom when we renovated. http://www.sharkbite.com/

    • Brandy, our hubbies would be lost without our assistance. Or stuff would take a lot longer, anyway. LOL. Mike says that the Pro Press is a contractor-grade tool, but said he thinks the same people make the Shark Bite fittings. Those are more consumer-grade. He’s used them before, and would have used them here if the Pro Press weren’t available.

  6. Kathy:

    What a mess ! I like the Go-Fer and I also like your new header. You must be a PS wizzard.

    Looks like that Pro Press is a mechanical joiner, sort of like the Pex to Copper adapters which are also pressed. Sure makes life easier. Out here in the West our pipes come up from the floor/ground, not overhead unless you are in the basement. We generally have flooded floors when pipes burst. How about installing pipe insulation, electric with timers or temp sensors to turn them on when you are away.

    anyway nice job getting it cleaned up so fast. I keep looking at that mess, I wouldn’t know where to start

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

    • Bob, not a PS wizard by any stretch, but I appreciate your kind words. You got the gist of the Pro Press. If this house had a basement or crawlspace, the pipes would be underneath. But it sits on a concrete slab, and the slab radiant heat pipes. You can see that here: http://toadmama.com/slab_prep.html. We added some insulation to those pipes. The problem was that the cellulose had settled below the pipes, insulating them from the interior heat. Now that they are also insulated from above, it should be fine. Also, we usually keep the heat at about 50 when we are away, which was too low. All should be good now. We hope. 🙂

  7. That Mike is a handy guy. Looks like most of the damage is to sheetrock, paint and insulation. Nothing too pricey.

    • Andrew, you are correct. Nothing too pricey, for which we are grateful. Mike really is a jack-of-all-trades. He constantly amazes me, but doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

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