Sunday, May 10, 2015

Open for business

It's the beginning of another season here on the North Shore—not that it gets very busy before about mid-June, but it's a good way to ease into the madness of July—September. Of course, we've been busy for almost a month now, getting the cabins ready.

This year there was a whole lot less to do than the previous two years. The first year saw us painting the inside of all the cabins, replacing the walls in two bathrooms and one kitchen, laying new tile/vinyl flooring in two cabins, and doing other general fix-ups. That year, we started work in March and although we opened the second weekend in May, we weren't really ready for another two weeks.

Last year, we replaced (and I mean subfloor and all) the floors in two bathrooms and one motel room. The moisture from the crawlspace had rotted out the motel floor over the years. To prevent that from happening again I put a layer of 8 mil plastic down. It definitely helps. This year, when I went into the crawlspace to check the status of the subfloor, it was much drier. The two bathrooms had rotted out from tub overflows over the course of 60 years.

This year was a cake walk in comparison. I expected to replace two bathroom floors which I had noticed were getting soft last fall. So, a little over three weeks ago, I got out the tools of destruction and went to work.

The first floor was those small ceramic tiles laid over 1/4 inch plywood. It came up easily, if not neatly. (I always wear a mask when doing this stuff!) It revealed a hardwood floor that was about 1/3 rotted. Because this cabin has a poured cement floor in the crawlspace, I didn't expect to have to replace the subfloor, but the rotted hardwood would have to come out. It was a messy and slow process—dust and grime everywhere. But it did come out and revealed a subfloor that was sound except right around the toilet flange. I laid down 3/4 inch plywood, and then a sheet of 1/4 inch over that to lay the tile on. The 1/4 inch sheet took a bit of doing, as the bathroom is small and didn't allow much manipulation of the sheet, but it went in with only a bit of paint touchup required on the walls. Once the tiles were laid, it looked great.

The other bathroom was the one I was worried about. It was the other half of the motel unit and I was afraid the whole subfloor was rotted out. I pulled up the 1/4 inch plywood that the tiles were on with a good bit of fear and trepidation. It revealed a subfloor that had been replaced in the not too distant past. The problem had been that no floor leveler had been applied and the 1/4 inch plywood on top of it hadn't been screwed/nailed to the subfloor adequately. There were places where the floor dipped over 1/2 inch, which is why it felt soggy. No need to replace it, just put lots of floor leveler on it, let it dry, and then put down new 1/4 inch and tiles. Needless to say, I was relieved. As long as I was replacing the tile in the bathroom, I also replaced it in the adjoining alcove and closet. It looks much cleaner and cheerier now.

My final project was to replace a deep cast iron kitchen sink with a new stainless steel sink. I was a bit nervous about this, as I wasn't sure how the sink was being held to the counter. One never knows what might be holding a sink in! I estimated it would take a few hours, but in the end, whoever had put the sink in had counted mostly on the weight of the sink to hold it in place. There was only a (thick) layer of caulk on the counter with the sink laid on top. No bolts, construction cement, or other creative things. I was able to cut through the caulk relatively easily, but the weight of the sink did pose a problem getting it out. It must have weighed 50 pounds. I ended up lying on the floor and pushing with my feet to break it free.

I figured getting the new sink in would be a cinch. Wrong! I hadn't reckoned with the bracing that they had put under the countertop to hold up the sink. Of course, the new sink was bigger than the old one, so I had to make the hole larger—by cutting part of the bracing. Not a fun job. And did I mention the sawdust? And the back of the sink had to be closer to the wall than my saw could get. I ended up cutting the back by angle cuts 1/4 inch apart and a bit of creative sawing that they don't recommend, but at least I didn't break the blade : )

So, we're open for business. Feel free to come and stay at the prettiest little town on the North Shore of Lake Superior! You can see the cabins (and make reservations) here.

No comments: