One month ago the contractor started work in our sunroom. Originally we were quoted $1500 and 2 – 3 weeks to: patch the cracks and repair sheetrock; strip and paint all four doors; scrape the popcorn ceiling and retexture; repair grout; paint the walls, ceiling, baseboards and trim; replace two windows and a few other odds and ends. After two years of owning a house, we’re starting to realize that new home projects often escalate into more than you expect. This room has been no different.
Once the sheetrock repairs began, they found mold on one wall near a side door. Fortunately the mold had not spread but that led them to realize a wall stud had been deteriorated by additional water damage. Those repairs added half a day of work and increased our costs. Then once they started stripping and sanding the doors last week, they realized the doors were more damaged than they originally appeared which added additional days and increased costs. And because this process is determined to be our “hardest home project” to date, when the crew started scraping the cracked grout on Monday to replace it, they realized that the tiles around the cracked grout were loose. Of course, once they pulled up one, others followed suit and more than half the tiles in the room needed to be pulled up.
Underneath the loose tiles they discovered cracks in the slab (no surprise) and moisture which had made its way up from the ground through the cracks. The moisture is what apparently destroyed the adhesive under almost every tile. Unfortunately the contractor didn’t know that once they pulled up all those tiles, they wouldn’t be able to use them again based on the condition they were in. Once we found out on Monday the extent of the floor damage, I started panicking / feeling like I might throw up. There have definitely been multiple times throughout this process, I've wondered if perhaps we should have just bulldozed the room. When I came home to the latest progress on Monday, I felt a little better since even though the floor had to be uprooted, the room does seem to be coming together more. These photos don't exactly make that evident, but believe me, it is better than where we were at a few weeks ago.
Once half the floor tiles were up, the contractor let me know the best bet on the floor was probably to either stain and seal the concrete or replace the tile since finding an exact match was unlikely, especially since he checked multiple local stores to no avail. Keith and I stayed up late on Monday night looking at ceramic, porcelain and laminate floor options at Floor & Décor online. Yesterday morning the contractor grabbed tons of samples of ones we liked and similar designs he found in store. And during my lunch break I ran home to see the sunroom, now without a tiled floor, and pick a few favorites. The contractor and I discussed the installation process and compared costs for laminate verses tile. Then I sent Keith photos of my favorites and we decided on ceramic wood planks. Laminate is not a great choice in areas that can get damp and we think the ceramic wood will make the flow from our laminated living room into the sunroom seamless and feel larger.
This morning we woke up at 6 am to meet the contractor at the tile store and choose grout, sealant, and the layout of the tiles. And today the contractor is finishing prepping the concrete for the new floor, starting to install the ceramic tiles and the painter is working on the doors and trim. Their plan is to work through the weekend and be done by end of day Sunday. All other house projects are obviously currently on standby, and future larger projects are getting pushed back, while we focus on getting this room fixed up and then give ourselves time to recover from the additional costs that seem to keep popping up. For now I’m just trying to not think about the movie The Money Pit, and am hopeful that this room will turn out gorgeous and we'll get all the costs back (and more) when we sell in a few years. If you wouldn't mind knocking on some wood and crossing your fingers for us this week though, I'd really appreciate it.