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A few of you may remember my post about our cabin titled “Not All Things Are As They Seem” . It was a post about discovering some water damage at our cabin. Long story short, we had set out to replace a bouncy floor board, discovered a saturated and disintegrating subfloor, and chalked it up to a wonky hot water tank incident 4 years ago.
So in the meantime we had talked with insurance and had an adjuster out. The adjuster suggested we go back and take a second look as water still being present 4 years after the fact made no sense.
Well, he was right. So right. Upon arrival at the cabin this is what we found………
Soaking wet in a localized spot. This time it was so easy to spot as the rest of the wood had dried out as we had removed the vapour barrier.
So the plot thickens. We have a wall between the tub and the hot water tank, finished on both sides with pipes going in, and a puddle of water under it. We have NO idea what is inside that wall, we don’t know how the pipes run and we don’t know if there is any electrical.
The floor is shot. The laminate is buckled. The sheeting is soaked. The supporting beams are completely gone in some places. This is only in the places we have opened up. There is a soft spot in the kitchen now, and one in our bedroom. I think we are realizing that there is a chance every piece of flooring, subfloor and support may have to be stripped out plus some structural work. This is big…..and not in a good way.
The short term solution….drain off the water supply and then figure it out.
The last two months have not been fun. Here’s the tally:
– car accident – 5 month old vehicle, one oil change, never even through the car wash, written off while driving 10 km/h (tells you how fast the other driver was going!) . Impact was far greater than the time we hit a deer traveling highway speeds. Luckily all the kids were fine but my goodness have I been walking a lot for the last 3 weeks. Did you know a 20 minute driving errand is an hour and a half walking errand? Well now I know that first hand.
– dead laptop – my husband’s had an early demise due to a cup of coffee incident
– dead camera lens – 12 month warranty, died in month 13. The very same model of lens died at month 16 the previous year. I am unimpressed. One person implied maybe I “use it too much”…..in 13 months!
– dead printer – my husband’s, to be fair it probably WAS used too much as work has been insanely busy for him this year
– mouse infestation – so far 12 caught. Dead mice are my husband’s deal….I don’t do mice, snakes or bats, however both mice and snakes have been caught between my feet and a bat once flew into my head (true story….so much for sonar!)
– squirrel relocation issues – 3 relocated so far, yet more still in our garage. Obviously they know they have another winter living in luxury as transforming the garage to a workshop/studio will be waiting until next year in light of the cabin situation.
My goodness we need a break. We just need to sort out the vehicle so we can head west and walk on a beach for a few days.
This cabin season we had noticed a few shifts in the floor. They were a little squeakier with the odd wobble . It had been a bad winter and chalked it up to frost heaves. One spot in the bathroom seemed to get worse each week. At first it was a squeak, then a wobble , then a bounce until this weekend we decided time to fix the wonky area. We wiggled out one piece of laminate and it was a bit spongy underneath. At further examination my husband decided we would replace the wood from the area where it seemed a little soft and put a concrete pier under it for good measure. Off we went to Home Depot expecting an hour fix when we got back to the cabin.
Back at the cabin we decide to feel around a bit more. We lift back vapour barrier and pull out a few more pieces of the laminate flooring, the sheeting is soaking wet, so wet it starts to crumble as you touch it. Our hands are down the hole and it is wet in every direction. My husband keeps exploring trying to form a game plan and comments that the damp goes under the vanity . I comment that maybe we should look on the other side of the wall just in case. We slide the air hockey table out of the way, step near the wall and the floor gives way. Not good.
We slice out a couple pieces of laminate, carefully, because I have this crazy notion that it will go back in place. My husband reassures me it isn’t going back in, but I still draw a perfectly straight line to cut along. If two holes in the floor isn’t bad enough, finding rotten joists just adds to the drama. If rotting joists aren’t drama enough, the ones are the ones supposedly supporting a wall.
We start walking around the one part of the cabin and start to notice more bouncy parts. More in the bathroom, one in the kitchen, all in a straight line.
All in a straight line that leads to our hot water tank (and the floor right in front of it is spongy too!)
We start to figure out what had happened. The beams on the bottom still seem dry and fine, but the ones closest to the floor are soaking wet. All we can think is it is hot water tank related when we look at where it is wettest . We think back to a few years ago. My husband was up at the cabin one February checking on the cabin. He called me from the cabin and said the hot water tank looked funny, but as it was winter and we had drained it off we thought “frost heaves” and never thought anything of it. Right after Thanksgiving every year we empty our hot water tank, empty our 1250 gallon water tank, unhook our pump and take it home, so a water issue doesn’t happen. Once spring had come and we again could use water at the cabin ( we use water May-Oct only because of freezing ) we decided the tank didn’t look right and planned to replace it.
Replacing a water tank at a cabin is no easy task. After multiple phone calls over a couple of years, this June we eventually got a plumber who would come to our area and replace it. We were thrilled as we had been washing dishes with boiled water. We mentioned the bouncing laminate to him as we chatted , and he said it was solid under the tank. So all was good and fixed.
Looking at the floor, and the direction of damage, all we can conclude is that somehow there must have still been water in the hot water tank that one winter . We drained it until it was dry, but that is our only guess as to what has happened. Out of the habit of having hot water, there haven’t even been any showers or baths this year, so the water isn’t from that. But here is the peculiar thing, the winter when my husband came across the wonky tank there was no water on the floor. It was -30C, it should have been a skating rink in the bathroom, but there was nothing. All we can guess is that the water, if there was some left trapped in the tank, must have flowed under the bath tub and then soaked into the wood like water does with a sponge . It is the only place it could have gone and not been seen.
It is so weird to have never seen any water. You could not imagine the surprise we had today finding the rot and soaking wet wood.
Now we have the task of seeing how far the damage has spread. Now that a few pieces of laminate have been removed we are finding more and more soft spots . It was as if the laminate floor was holding the whole structure together. All this damage happening under our feet and we had no idea. We had noticed something was off since May. We thought the cabin had shifted in the winter and had been watching the joins by the ceiling for signs of shifting ……… and there were none. Were we ever looking in the wrong spot, we were looking up when we should have been looking down.
Who would have thought there would be such a disaster lurking under a floor board .
Life has been interesting and busy which probably explains why I haven’t been putting out a flurry of blog posts. I have been busy with a bit of photography, continuing to work on the naturally dyed bracelets, updating the website, and an unexpected illustrating project.
On Monday I walked into the upstairs bathroom and I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was time for an update. Spontaneous paint jobs and renos are nothing new in our house, sometimes it is something minor like painting an accent wall, while others are more major like a late night decision to take out a wall (true story……..we decided if we put a sledge hammer through the wall we had to commit to the project!).
The bathroom was looking very uninspired. Five children create a lot of wear and tear. The plain white looked…well….just plain. The bathroom needed a change.
Now the bathroom is a pretty unremarkable space. It is 67 years old and it measures 5.5 feet by 6 feet. The remarkable thing about the bathroom is we managed to get a 5 foot long tub installed in it a few years ago, and even better the tub is 20 inches deep. This tub had to be squeezed through a doorway that is 22.5 inches wide. If you ever want to see a plumber sweat this was the perfect scenario, with only 2.5 inches to spare getting through the doorway and six inches to spare once inside the bathroom. To make things even better, once they managed to get the tub in (and they swore it wouldn’t go) they realized the floor was no where near level; let’s just say this wasn’t the plumber’s best day ever at work.
Anyways, back to my $53 update.
I decided that maybe we should try a grown up color, but painting all the walls would be just too dark. I decided on painting two of the walls with a shower curtain in a similar, but not matching, tone. The darker color really defines the space and makes it a much nicer space to be in. The bathroom will never be huge, but it is definitely a lot more pleasant.