Heavy Condo Rehab - Project #4

Here is our latest condo rehab project, that we started on the afternoon of January 19th, 2005. It's a 2br, 1ba unit that had been neglected by the current residents for over 10 years - quite typical for the properties that we buy. You see, once you move into a condo, it's hard to make major repairs or improvements. It's not like a house, where you probably have more than one bathroom or can set up a temporary kitchen in a spare room. In this case, there were 4 people (2 adults, 2 children) and a dog living in the unit, which made it closer to impossible to work on while living there.

This project is presented in a week-by-week format, so that you can watch the progress. It's a lot to read! In case you want to jump ahead to a certain page, links are provided on the right side of the page.

To give you an idea of what the layout of the place is like, here's a floorplan:

The goal is to get the repairs done no later than Feb 15th, and have a tenant move in prior to March 1st. I had both Inaugaration Day (Thursday, Jan 20th) and the following Friday off from the day job, so that gave a long weekend to knock out some work.

Here's a few "before" pictures of what I was working with:

The Living Room
The living room is in decent shape, but it needs new carpet and a fresh coat of paint. Both bedrooms are in pretty much the same condition. One nice thing about this condo is that the cathedral ceilings really open up the floorplan!

The Bathroom
I determined that the tub and toilet were salvageable, but that almost everything else needed to go.

The Kitchen
The kitchen will need all new appliances, countertops and a new floor surface. The cabinets are in useable condition and will be saved.

I got to the property on Wed afternoon, took stock of the situation and removed the old carpeting from all the rooms. I left the carpet padding in place for the time being, which will minimize the noise transfer to the unit below and help protect the hardwood floors.

January 20th - Gutting the bathroom
Since the tub was to be saved, I cut a piece of wood to place over it to prevent damage to the porcelain. Nothing worse than a dropped hammer to ruin it! Oh, and check out the custom tile job done when some plumbing work was completed. This is another reason the bathroom just had to go.

A trim router set to cut at just under 1/2" deep was used to trace around the tile surround. By having the bit set at just less than the thickness of the drywall, it is unlikely that any wires or plumbing will be hit.

Next, a wrecking bar was used to "follow a stud" to form a starting point for the tile removal. The goal is to remove the surround in large sections that can be carried down the two flights of stairs to the truck.

After a few hours or tugging, hammering and prying, the bathroom was down to studs.

January 21st - Drywalling the bathroom

With the bathroom stripped, new "greenboard" (water resistant drywall) is installed. To help join sections new drywall to the old when the cut did not fall on a stud, strips of plywood are added to the old sections as backer boards. This secures the two sections and prevents flexing or cracking at the seam.

After a few hours, all the new sections are installed and ready to be mudded up.

Most of the time, I work alone on my rehabs. Today, I had some help come over for hauling the appliances out of the unit and down the stairs, and lifting the countertops off the base cabinets.

January 22nd - Mudding the bathroom, starting in the master bedroom

With the greenboard all hung, it's time to start the mudding!

Between coats of drywall compound, I started working in the master bedroom. One of the walls were wallpapered, and it looked pretty bad. I ran a scoring tool over the paper, then wet it down several times with hot water. After about 30 minutes of soaking, the paper came down. Behind the paper was a coat of paste.

After a few minutes of scraping to see how easily the paste would come off without damaging the surface, I decided it would be simpler to go over the wall with a layer of 3/8" drywall since there was only a single electrical outlet and no windows or doors to contend with.

January 23rd - Fresh drywall in the master bedroom
After removing the base and ceiling trim for re-use, just over 4 sheets of fresh drywall were hung with screws and construction adhesive.

Well, that's it for the 1st (long) weekend of work on the condo. I may get a chance to stop by a night or 2 after work this week, although the next real chance I have to play isn't until next weekend. Come back next week to see updates on the progress!

If you would like to contact Antler Properties, please feel free to call, e-mail or write to us at:

Antler Properties, LLC
10400 Eastwood Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20901
(301) 651-3157

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