Saturday, August 3, 2013

More Home Maintenance...Taking Charge

Yesterday morning - Friday morning - I was not a happy camper!!  And you'll soon read why here.

A home repair guy advertises in our little HOA newsletter, so I thought I'd give him a call, have him come out and replace some baseboards that were water-damaged.  One was damaged during Tropical Storm Allison a number of years ago, the other was damaged a few years ago when the drain gasket in the shower pan came loose and water seeped under the shower pan and ran along the baseboard.  The Allison damage was next to the sliding glass door, where water seeped in around the outside electrical outlet. 

The outlet has since been silicone-caulked, but I never could get the baseboards replaced.  Let me tell you! It's hard to get a handyman out to do such a small job.  They have plenty larger fish to fry.   Sick of looking at those damaged baseboards for so many years, I finally called that guy two weeks ago Monday.  He said he could come out and take a look and give me an estimate and that he'd be there sometime in the afternoon on Thursday.  So I stayed home and waited for him but he never showed up and never called.  This has been the story of my life for years, trying to get this damage repaired.

The next day he called and wanted to come by that afternoon.  I was pissed at him for standing me up the day before, but he was unrepentant.  As I said, these guys keep themselves plenty busy.  But he did show up Friday afternoon and estimated $200 to replace the baseboards and to replace the light fixture on the front porch.  I would buy the light fixture...he would install.  He told me he was busy the first part of the next week but might be able to do the work at the end of the week, on Friday, and would call the night before if he could make it.  I could tell he was balking at doing such a small job, and he did voice some displeasure at having to drive clear across Houston to a builder supply house to buy the baseboard material.

So Thursday night came and went and no call.  Friday call.  So I figured he wasn't going to make it this week. 

But then I got to thinking...I'm pretty sure I can do this myself and save $200, minus the cost of materials.  Fortunately for me, when he came by to give the estimate the previous week, he pulled out some sort of catalog to find the part number for the baseboard.  I remembered that name on the catalog.  It was BMC - Building Materials & Construction Services.  I knew from previous research that the baseboard in my house was not sold at a place like Home Depot, but had no idea where to source it.  He inadvertently gave me the piece of information I needed in order to do this myself.

By noon on Friday I figured this guy was going to be a no-show, so I found the BMC website and found the style baseboard I needed and the stock number.  I called BMC and talked to Sales.  Yes, they sell to walk-ins.  Yes, they have it in stock.  It comes in 16 foot lengths and costs $22.  Yes, they'll cut it into two 8 foot sections for me.  I jumped in the car and headed to the north side of Houston and picked up the baseboard.  Easy!

I dashed back home, changed into old shorts and a t-shirt and got to work.  Okay...just take this one step at a time.  Break it down into smaller tasks and it won't seem so daunting. 

First, I lifted the carpet that butts up against that baseboard section, and folded it back.  Then I got to work with a hammer and a pry bar and pulled the rotted baseboard away.

Carpet pulled away and old baseboard removed.  Old
caulking cleaned up and wall prepped.

Old baseboard...water damage on side nearest sliding glass door.

Baseboard removed in master bath.  Water damaged when
drain gasket in shower tub worked loose.  Old
caulking removed and wall prepped.

Rotted baseboard from master bathroom.

I called a neighbor who I knew would be able to help me with getting the new baseboard measured and cut and he came right over.  With measurements and the board in hand, we drove over to another neighbor's house to make the actual cuts.  This neighbor is a retired high school woodworking shop instructor and he does much of the set construction for our Players Club stage sets.  He knew exactly what to do and within minutes it was done.  One inch ripped from the 8 foot length. Length sized to 67 5/8 inch.  Inside mitre on one end, outside mitre on the other end. 
A 1 7/8 inch section with straight cut on one end, outside mitre on the other.   Thank you Len and Bud!

New pieces of sized and mitred baseboard in place to check fit.

I measured the short section that needs replacing in the bathroom and got to work with a saw making quick work of cutting a section of baseboard to fit.  No mitres required for this section.

Spray primer drying

Gloss enamel top coat drying on patio
A quick late lunch and then I got to work spraying a coat of Kilz primer on the boards.  I'd already purchased the Kilz earlier in the week when I thought the repair guy would be coming.  While I waited for the primer to dry, I made a quick trip to Sherman Williams to pick up a quart of high-gloss enamel to match the woodwork in the rest of the house.  I looked for trim caulk but all they had were the big tubes that are applied with a gun, but I didn't want to buy such a big quantity so I passed on it.  I can pick a small squeeze tube up at HD tomorrow. 

I cleaned up the old caulking from the wall and tile, applied Kilz to the section of wall stained from the previously damp wood studs, and then spackled and smoothed the rough sections.  Once the spackle was dry, I painted it and the sections of wall just above and just below where the top of the new baseboard will be, just to be sure.

By 7:00 PM the primer was dry so I moved the project off the grass onto the patio and painted the baseboard sections with the high-gloss paint and then dragged the drop cloth and baseboard sections into the house to finish drying overnight.

Saturday morning!  I couldn't wait to put the sections of baseboard into place and see how they look!  Fantastic!  I jumped in the car and ran over to Home Depot to buy a smaller tube of caulking - that can be squeezed directly from the tube.  And I already have the finishing nails.  I'm dreading the nailing part.  I'm terrible with a hammer! 

New baseboard ready to be nailed in place
Deep breath!  Nothing to lose here.  Just go for it!  I positioned the first nail, swung the hammer, and...bent the nail!  I knew I'd do that!  Another deep breath!  Keep the hammer level, swing with confidence.  Bam!  The first nail driven almost home.  I spaced the nails out about the same as they were on the original baseboard and got the living room section mounted then moved to the bathroom to do that one.  I used a punch to finish driving the nails home, recessing them into the wood a little bit. OMG!  I'm so glad that part is done!

I caulked the mitre joints, caulked along the top of the baseboards, caulked along the sides of the baseboard in the bathroom, and then grouted the gaps between tile and baseboard next to the sliding glass door and in the bathroom. 

It's unbelievable!  I actually did this!  And it came out great!  I was nervous going into it, but I took it one step at a time.  At every step I reminded myself that if I got stuck, I had plenty of handy neighbors and a son who could rescue me.  I'm so proud of myself for doing this!

The finished results!!

The bathroom finished results!!

Cost of materials:
22.99  Baseboard
  4.65  Kilz primer, spray can
17.71  High Gloss Enamel Paint, quart
  4.39  Caulking
  0.00  Grout (from last week's tile repair project)
  0.00  Finishing nails (had a box of them from some long-ago project)
49.74  Total DIY cost

I saved $150 by doing this myself!  And what's more, here it is 3:55 PM on Saturday and that home repair guy STILL hasn't called!  His loss and very much my gain....gain in self-pride and confidence!

1 comment:

  1. Hooray and great job on doing it yourself. Boo on the handyman flaking out on you.

    If he didn't want to do the repair he should have said no, but at least he gave you the info you need.

    Nicely done!!