Worst day of your reno?

dcward89March 26, 2014

So today (and it's only 10am) has been the worst day of this kitchen reno so far. Until last night I still had a working sink and dishwasher but as I was loading the dishwasher it tipped forward onto the floor and the hot water line broke and started leaking everywhere. DH ran downstairs to turn off the water and, not until this day, after living here for 13 years, did we realize that we do not have water shut off valves for the dishwasher. He had to use a shut off valve farther down the line which means no hot water to the dishwasher, kitchen sink, washing machine or the laundry room sink. It was late last night and we couldn't ask DH's brother, who is helping us on this reno and is a licensed plumber, to come over and fix it at that time of night. He is coming over today but I just spent the last hour and 15 minutes washing all the dirty dishes in the bathtub. I am not a happy camper right now. I had to first scrub the tub to within an inch of it's life before I could wash the dishes and then scrub it again after I washed the dishes. And of course it was a whole dishwasher full.

I need to laugh right now and I know there are worse "worst day of your reno" stories out there. So share and help me get past this yucky, yucky stage of our remodel.

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You are a better person than I. Pretty sure I would have tossed the whole mess into a big Rubbermaid tub until the hot water was back!

But things have to get better from here, right? Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 10:38AM
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I was removing the first tile to go in the kitchen and instead of the tile popping up, the pry bar sank through the subfloor into the void below. Our project grew in scope right away. Long story short, here's what humidity problems do to joists after 50 years and what brown rot looks like.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 10:48AM
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However expensive that was, shicksal, better to find it then than to remodel you kitchen and have the floor collapse on you later.

dcward89, sorry you're dealing with this. I hear you about the lack of shut off valves. My dad, bless his soul, while generally a handy guy, disliked and was not particularly good at plumbing. The house I grew up in had NO shut off valves, a fact I did not realize until my then-husband took on replacing mom's kitchen faucet. Water had to be shut off to the whole house. Fortunately, my ex was a slightly better plumber and added shut-off valves along with the faucet.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:07AM
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Which to choose? The worst so far is when the remodelers pulled the baseboard from the dark recesses of our pantry and found *termites*.

Luckily, we enlarged the pantry door so to be able to better access the unreachable parts or we still would not have caught those suckers. We caught them early but it still freaks me out....

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:34AM
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cawaps - no joke. I have no idea how the previous owners got their big, heavy furniture out of the place. It wasn't that expensive to deal with... in the neighborhood of $30/joist between lumber and hangers (I put in doubles). I got it down to about 30 minutes to assemble and install each new one.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Anyone notice it is ALWAYS water problems?

We built on to the back of our house for our new kitchen. The day had finally come to knock out the opening from the house to the new addition.

A friend had come over to help and he went down in the basement to change into work clothes. He immediately came thundering back up the stairs, screaming my name.

He tells me there's a problem in the basement, there's water everywhere.

Now, you have to understand the scope of my basement. 10 ft tall ceilings, it has a full sized bath, an office, a closet and one large great room. It is about 850 sq ft total.

As soon as I make it down the stairs, I rush to the bathroom, over to the toilet and shut off the water.

I wish that meant I could take the time to check the damage but no. You see, the basement was being used as storage while we remodeled, we had about 30-40 uhaul boxes full of books, pictures, linens, decor, etc. All of which is now sitting in a little over an inch of water.

We don't go in our basement a lot so we think the water supply line busted 2 or 3 days earlier.

We had to get all the boxes out of there and use the shop vac to clean up the water.

Needless to say the kitchen got put on hold for a few weeks while we cleaned, ripped up all the laminate flooring which was obviously destroyed and sorted through the thousands of dollars of books, pictures, antique baseball cards, etc. that were all destroyed.

Oh, and I broke my foot 2 days later. :(

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:32PM
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We've only had one really bad day so far (we're 3-1/2 months in, about 2-1/2 to go) and it was early on during demolition, when the plaster ceiling in our old kitchen was taken down. We're redoing the garden/ground level of a three-story rowhouse and living in the upper two floors while the work is going on. We thought we had excellent protection - our GC sealed and insulated the stairwell connecting the work site from our living area - and we expected some dust, but we hadn't thought about a major dust invasion. Hah. One morning I came downstairs, and it looked like an avalanche was coming at me. Huge, thick clouds of white plaster dust, seeping up through the baseboards, the floorboards, the electrical outlets, everywhere. Everything on our second floor - all our furniture, the rugs, art, library full of books - got covered in plaster dust. COVERED. I stifled my tears, waited for the guys to finish for the day, and started vacuuming. When Spouse got home, we spent two hours covering everything we could with tarps, during which time Spouse aggravated the herniated disc in his back, leaving him in severe pain for two days. Awful day.

Now most of our living space, except for leather chairs (easy to wipe off!), the TV and the dining table, is under wraps. There is still a scary amount of dust under the wraps, and a ground-in layer of dust on our beautiful wood floors, which we'll have to deal with when the work is done. Otherwise, we live with a layer of dust everywhere else that begins accumulating each Monday and reaches its maximum depth at the end of the workday on Friday. I try to vacuum on weekends, knowing full well the process will begin again on Monday when I hear the first workman's boots downstairs.

Oh, and the guys haven't even laid our new wood floors, so there's SANDING yet to come.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 1:09PM
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Of all the rooms we remodeled, when DH was sanding the drywall those were always the worst days.

Use disposable plates and utensils. Do you have a basement utility tub? That is where I washed anything that wasn't disposable.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 1:59PM
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I feel everyone's pain! 10 years ago we were replacing the cabinets, countertops, and range. Flooring was a nice vinyl, only a couple of years old.

Everything was going smoothly - done except for the plumbing reconnects. I left on a 2-day business trip. The plumber does his work, and my husband decides to run the dishwasher since our dishes had been sitting out in the dining room for 6 weeks. Gets one load done, puts another in and goes to bed. Wakes up the next morning - no hot water. Goes downstairs and the kitchen is flooded. Turns off the water, tries to clean up and get the kids to school. Calls the plumber, who rushes over. Plumber works for a while, says all is fine and the floor will dry out, all is good.

I learn about it at 6p that night when I'm at the airport to fly home. The next morning at home I call a water damage company, and they rush over and start ripping up the floors and putting fans everywhere. I won't go into all the details, but my new cabinets and Silestone had to be taken out. Luckily the cabinets had been shimmed up 1/2 inch and weren't damaged. Kitchen floor and part of the hardwoods in the dining room were replaced. The plumber admitted to the insurance inspector that he had installed one piece backward, causing it to fail on the second load. Our six week remodel turned into a four month ordeal.

I tell everyone to buy a new house instead of remodelling the kitchen. So now we are buying a new house, which is why I'm back lurking here. :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 2:17PM
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pamkcs- hate to rain on your parade as they say but we thought the same thing and built our house in a development of new houses 15 years ago. we had to fix the furnace, replace the ugly lights, replace the lino that turned yellow, replace the water heater that leaked all over the basement while we were away, replaced a tub spout that was leaking onto the kitchen ceiling, have windows fixed due to broken seals all within the first 3-5 years! buying new was supposed to save us from all these issues and we were among the many with the same sorts of issues. new isn't necessarily better unfortunately.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 2:38PM
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I had two worst days but I didn't know it until I had another 700 or so days that followed.

First was when a contractor (who was suffering from depression) said he just couldn't finish the kitchen project when it was barely more than gutted and he had already worked for several months. The second was when the plaster contractor came in, saw what his apprentice was doing, fired her and abandoned all his equipment leaving me with a historical plaster ceiling in much worse shape than when she started "restoring" it.

I was without a working kitchen for over Four years.

For over a year ( it may have been close to two, Ive repressed a lot) the entire first floor of my house looked like this:

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 3:16PM
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The day our dirtbag GC threatened to sue us 3 days before I was due to give birth, having completely butchered our kitchen renovation.

It's over a year and a half later and I would still struggle greatly to be polite to him if I saw him in the street. I don't feel like that about anyone else. Just him.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 4:35PM
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The day I discovered giant horizontal cracks all along the walls in the second story right above where we had supporting walls removed. Contractor tried to tell us it was normal settling, but in fact it turned out that none of the supporting beams used were strong enough (construction plans not followed) and had to be ripped out and removed. They were, but everything seems to have shifted since then.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 4:50PM
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"Until last night I still had a working sink and dishwasher but as I was loading the dishwasher it tipped forward onto the floor and the hot water line broke and started leaking everywhere."


I'm probably getting a reputation as a site contrarian, but I can't imagine under what circumstances having an improperly installed dishwasher is acceptable.

Even if your countertop was removed, the person removing it should have fastened the dishwasher to the cabinet sides or at least blocked it across the top.

The person who allowed this machine to tip is to blame for your trouble; no one else.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 5:03PM
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Eeks, some of these are really bad!

We renovated our first 100 year old home and had a water line brought to the freezer for the ice maker. Plumber didn't tighten enough and it leaked everywhere cupping the floors and the baseboards. Turned out to be a beautiful house. Okay I can deal with that.

Fast forward five years. Moving to a train wreck house after just having our second child. (Which was a crazy story in itself, son delivered by my husband in our foyer). So, one 17 month old and a new born. My husband stops at the house to show his mother (who just arrived from NY) the new 100 year old home. It's 8 pm and he calls me and asks for the plumbers phone number. I think, that's weird, what's going on. He tells me. Same plumber doesn't tighten a new pipe in the 2nd floor bathroom. Leaking EVERYwHERE into the kitchen and the finished basement. Ceilings ruined in two floors, hardwood floors cupped in bathroom, kitchen. AHHH. I am not normally an over emotional person, but they arrived home to me holding our little (well 9+ lb) son crying and crying. I was SO extremely overwhelmed. Our son was only about five days old, enough said.

So, as we currently renovate our third home, but only 70 years old, we have a new plumber! And I don't think I'll ever be that upset again.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 5:13PM
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The framing around our front door was mostly nonexistent due to termites. The plaster was hanging on its own because they had even eaten through the lath and the door was barely screwed into what was left of the jam.

So our contractor was sistering wood into the adjacent wall framing and asked "how far do you want me to go?" We told him to stop. At some point we will have to take down the entire wall. Oh, and then there is the door frame to the dining room from the livingroom that is sagging. And the exterior diningroom wall that we did repair.

The plaster keeps the house so cool and comfortable in hot weather and I hate the thought of replacing it with drywall, so I will avoid more fixes as long as I can.

The good news is that we tented and trenched where necessary and the damage we saw in the dining room was old. No activity, just destruction. Those little bastards!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Sounds like some of you've got the Monroe Brothers as your contractor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Monroe Brothers

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Water pouring into our bedroom closet via a damaged water pipe.
This was probably the worst day for our contractors: Me, just out of the shower, running through the house, with just a towel around me, screaming "TURN OFF THE WATER!" Boy, did that get their attention.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:02PM
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Oh, my. palimpsest, it sounds like you're living in MY house. I'm going on 8 years. Simply, though, because I'm doing it totally on my own and I know squat.

My nightmare is every time I hire someone. They'll find electrical outlets behind cardboard storage boxes that are scorched up the walls. With nothing, nothing plugged into them.

I'll hire a plumber to put in a bathroom faucet and find 600 gallons a day of water being dumped into the crawl space because my GC -x-DH aka "good enough for now" connected the bathroom plumbing with electrical tape.

How 'bout discovering your 37' long porch joists have no joist hangers, but the [ahem] builder tells me "not to worry, there'll be some settling." The "little lady" part was unsaid. I had to have the 4x4s replaced with 6x6s, too, because although they were "done all the time, don't worry" within 6 months they were bowing.

Oh, geeze. I dream someday I'll actually have a completed project done once, done right. Pray for me!

This post was edited by CEFreeman on Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 12:12

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:06PM
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Compared to some of these replies the worst day of my renovation now seems like a walk in the park. Ours was completely Dh's (and maybe a bit mine) fault. We purchased a home in really bad shape with plans to gut and remodel with DH doing a lot of DIY. Our town has a rule which states that a homeowner is not allowed to pull any permits themselves until you have lived in the house for 6 months. After 6 months the homeowner can pull and do all the work (including electrical and plumbing) but before we were not even allowed to paint the house ourselves . So after learning this rule Dh decides not to pull any permits (against my wishes) and we begin our remodel. To make a long story short, new plumbing and electric is installed, downstairs is framed and drywall is put up ready to be taped. Tapers arrive and that same day the city shows up with a stop work order. Cost us a month of waiting to get a plumber, electrician, and a "gc" on the permit. Not just that but in our town they make all contractors and subcontractors register with the town of course paying a fee to do so.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 12:26AM
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Worst day was soon after demo. Plumbers came to move the drain for the new sink, and discovered a leak in the slab. We had to re-plumb the entire house. Ouch to the pocketbook, schedule, and psyche.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 12:53AM
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Not exactly a reno, but a couple of houses ago, we were having a new one built in a new development. In the to be kitchen, there was a corner sink, with windows on 2 walls, meeting above that sink. We had a breakfast room with a full wall of windows and double doors outside.
One day, DH had decided to drop by to see how the progress was going. Thank goodness! There were doors where the kitchen windows were supposed to be and additional windows in the breakfast room (no door).
You'd think someone may have noticed--the electricians, the drywallers, somebody . Well, definitely not the cabinet guys. Their plans said the cabinets were to go in the kitchen corner, so they installed them there--in front of a door.
After some heated arguments, it was determined that the framers had a set of plans for a reverse elevation. So they framed it that way. You'd think they may have questioned that their plans didn't coincide to sizes. The kitchen was 18x14, the breakfast room 10x12.
Finally, we got that corrected (with huge delays for rebuilds), got construction finished and moved in. First night, after DH took a shower, we had Niagara Falls running down one the FR walls, right below the MB ensuite. The GC came to look 5 days later (good thing we had another bathroom). The plumber had "forgotten" to connect the drain to the pipe. They had to tear up my new shower, rip down the ceiling and wall in the FR. It took them 2 weeks to fix them.
There were other problems, like flicking the switch in the dining room and having the guest bath fan come on and stay on until the DR light was turned off. The garage door would open by remote or the wall unit, but had to be closed manually. One of the bedroom windows was installed without a way to open it. It was just glass like a picture window. The skylight leaked if the rain came from a certain direction.
There was other minor stuff. It took about 8 months, by the time everything was fixed.
As it turned out, we only kept that house for 1 year. DH changed jobs, had to relocate. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:02AM
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