When to Call a professional.
"IF I could turn back time" or even Hindsight is 20/20, either way, My DIY is now a HEADACHE.
I moved back into Winston-Salem around 4 years ago, and I had my heart set on a fixer-upper. I was unfazed by the Red, White and Blue kitchen color scheme, and the water damage that had occurred from 90 years' worth of wear and tear. My home was built during the Great 12 Day Ardmore Scandal of 1925. It didn't bother me in the slightest. In fact, my kitchen still has the large bathtub sized porcelain sink that was installed the year it was built. It's so beautiful, but please, just don't look down. The flooring has seen better days. Actually, the flooring saw better days 50 years ago. I would soon learn that about every 10-15 years, the new owners or renters of the home would just lay down another layer of flooring. They would install new baseboards. They would paint and call it a day.
It all started with an idea and some YouTube videos. They make it look so easy. Well there is a reason they make it look so easy. It's because they have done it over and over, exactly like the professional flooring installer they are.
I was determined for this flooring to go, and YouTube told me I could do it. DIY, hear me roar, I could fix anything. I was prepared and ready, I watched countless videos. I went to Lowes and Home Depot and bought supplies. I was like a kid in a candy store. I rationalized the price of different things and equipment to myself. Of course, I needed that Tile and Vinyl cutter. I most certainly needed that professional heat gun. These items were pricey, but I would use them later, or so I told myself.
Where it all went wrong.
Day 1. Heat guns and my own hair dryer were brought out. I had to peel that first layer of vinyl back. Only to see another layer. No big deal, I was told this was common in older homes. Let's do the next layer. Then the next layer. By the 3rd layer, I was slightly confused but still determined. YouTube was my friend, it wouldn't lie to me. I Googled it again, how many layers of flooring can a house have. That's when some Red Flags appeared. Asbestos! I wasn't painting, I wasn't doing anything crazy like that, why would I have to be concerned about Asbestos. Well, Asbestos was one of the best glue additives for floors until it was outlawed in 1973. Asbestos is one of the leading causes of Mesothelioma and COPD. FULL STOP. No more peeling up flooring. It was a big RED reminder that I was not in fact a professional, and I wasn't prepared for something like that. YouTube didn't warn me at all. I could have exposed myself and my kids to some pretty harmful chemicals, had I just kept going with my 'can do attitude'.
Slightly started, but unfazed, I decided to continue on. The floor was pretty level and it decided we'd just put the new flooring down. We had removed the nasty first thru 4th layer. I figured we were close to the bottom layer anyways. It was time to prep, that's when we started really looking close to the bottom half of all the drywall. Only to realize, oh wait, this isn't normal drywall. I have Plaster Walls. Behind these walls lurked a nasty secret. Each and every time they got wet, the frame behind it would swell, and then the outward plaster would crack. Each layer of flooring has essentially hidden the bottom of the walls, until I brought it out to show the world. I was done. I was defeated. My DIY is now a Disaster. Tail firmly planted between my legs. I have turned around, and decided to find someone professional to take over.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm all about DIY. I will still fix my own sink when it's leaky. I installed new lamps and light fixtures. I am determined to build a new deck out back. There are some things that YouTube, Google, and a Good Book can help you accomplish. I learned an expensive lesson, that sometimes professionals are going to be the first step. The flooring expert would have known my home was old , and expected to find asbestos. Plaster walls are a lost art, and finding a Craftsman to fix them will take me awhile. I can rent machines. I can buy the materials. I can just go for it, and hope for the best. The Wonderful Professionals at SERVPRO of Winston-Salem North, have one thing that I cannot put a price on. It's EXPERIENCE. They could have walked right into my home and with a quick inspection, would have seen my water damage. There's a time for DIY, and there's a time to pick up the phone and call for help.