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Another California Bungalow!

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Junior Contributor

Another California Bungalow!

Hello, I have just moved into a California Bungalow, although quite possibly the oldest one in the country!!  It is a fibro house built, I think, in the 40's.  I am in my 77th year and have bought this property to renovate as a project and am very enthusiastic but I do realise this is going to be a challenge for me.  Firstly, I am unable to do most things myself, apart from the garden and painting the gloss on the woodwork within.  Everything else,  I will have to pay tradies to do.  I moved from Sydney to this very small country town and am now realising how difficult this project is going to be as there seems to be a huge lack of tradesmen in the area.  Some are willing to travel from further away but not many!  I'm having lots of knock-backs due to distance.  However, after lots of research and talking to people, I've found a carpenter who will do my first two jobs, ie install new Bunnings kitchen and level the floor of a small room which was laughingly called the third bedroom although it only has three walls, not four, so open to the hallway.  I've found out that this little room was, in the past, the back verandah and this is why it slopes downwards. It was used to connect the original house to a new extension.   My new best friend (Tradie Ben) has told me the only thing he can suggest is pulling the old carpet up and grinding down one side of the floor as the other side is flat and level but he thinks the mess it would cause with the sanding/grinding is something to consider so I've opted for the three white storage cupboards I've brought with me for linen storage (there's no linen cupboard) to be screwed into the wall and he's going to grind down the concrete just where the cupboards sit and that will level them up and allow me to use them.  If anyone has any other idea, would love to know.  

The previous owner attached this extension to this tiny back verandah.  It was sealed off when I first moved in.  The extension was meant to be a little flat but without bathroom or kitchen.  However,I can't afford to put in two kitchens and two bathrooms so it will become part of the main house. 

The other thing I should mention that is worrying me a little is that the whole house seems to have some asbestos in it.  I believe most houses of the 40's did, especially in rural areas.  I want to remove the battens on the wall so that I can hang my pictures up (have loads of them and pictures make a home, I think) and don't know what to do about this.  Some locals tell me leave them alone and others say rip the walls out and/or resurface with gyprock.  Bit drastic?   I think doing the whole house is going to be too expensive for me.  Perhaps I could just tap in some picture hooks.  I've been told to spray the little hole I make with water and washing up liquid, is that right?  I've been reading up on all of it but everyone has a different idea.  Some say don't touch the walls, others say they lived all their young lives in a fibro house and nothing happened to them.  Any advice for me at this early stage?

The other thing is I've inherited a decent sized back garden but it is full of what the locals call Bindi Eye, the most ferocious things I've ever come across.  My pets can't walk five steps without hopping back into the house.  My shoes are covered with them whenever I venture out to start the huge job of clearing up.  No grass because of the drought and also because the old lady who owned the house previously had not lived in it for five years so it's been empty ever since so very neglected garden.

Oh well, hoping for a suggestion or two - oh, the bathroom has to come out.  It's tiny, it's all asbestos of the worst kind, I've been told - some kind of surface that looks like old laminex, shiny, but the whole bathroom is covered in it.  Should I rip it all out and have it resurfaced with gyprock or should I cover it up with gyprock or something?  

Thank you, anyone that has bothered to read this.  All suggestions, if any, will be appreciated.  No pictures just yet.  The other thing I've noticed is that at night my house seems to make banging noises.  My sister says it could be Dawn coming back again (Dawn is the lady who passed away!)  Seriously, though, could it be the fibro walls expanding at certain times?

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Valued Contributor

Re: Another California Bungalow!

@Di1Firstly I'd like to welcome you to the Workshop community! I think you'll find that there is a vast amount of knowledge here amongst the members. @Jason should be around shortly and will most probably call in a few experts to give you some tips and helpful advice.
In the interim you may just need to deal with me, I can only offer my 17 years of working @Bunnings.
Congratulations on your move, it's a big step to move that far away from home and I'm sure you feeling a little lost with the lack of tradie's out there. Don't worry, feel free to ask anything you'd like, people are here to help you.
I'd like to say that a picture can tell a thousand words, if you would like you can take a few pics to give us a better understanding of the jobs at hand. If you need help uploading to the site let me know.

In regards to the sloping room, there are a variety of cement based products these days which self-level. Ardit Self Leveller is one that comes to mind. Simple to use, it is a cement based floor coating that finds level and corrects the slope. Depending on the tradie I would assume he knows of these products and has decided they are not feasible. Might be worth checking with him, as grinding a section flat for the cupboards would be my last option on the list. It's a bandaid not a solution.

 

Asbestos- The likely-hood of it being used somewhere in the property is high. Personally I would always advise testing of the property, at the very least you will know what you are dealing with. I would not consider any demolition without proper safety precautions.

 

Bindi- If there is a lawn under it somewhere we have experts here that can advise a good course of action, if there is no lawn then I would go with this product Bin-Die. Problem will be, if there is no lawn, then you are going to end up with dirt.

 

Banging Noises- Ummm I hope it's not dawn.... I wouldn't expected a bang from expansion/contraction...

 

Hoped that helped a little till the experts get in here. Any other questions ask away.


I am a Bunnings team member. Any opinions or recommendations shared here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Bunnings. Visit the Bunnings website for assistance from the customer service team.


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Junior Contributor

Re: Another California Bungalow!

Hi Mitchell, thanks so much for the welcome and also given me some ideas which may be very helpful to me. I will look into the Ardit Self Leveller and talk to Ben, the tradie, about this. It is quite possible that he hasn't come across this problem much and so hasn't heard of it. I can't imagine someone going to all the expense of adding a large room extension and yet not bothering about a sloping floor! After two weeks, I've found a good fencer who is putting some colourbond around the house for me but he is having to stay overnight to complete the job. He's doing that on Thursday. He's asked for a local to clear the fence line for me as it presently has wood posts and wire and is very overgrown and I've had trouble finding someone to do that!!! Anyway, a neighbour felt sorry for me and has stepped in to offer his help. It will mean removing three small trees and a load of overgrowth. I've given the old posts to a neighbour who says he can use them for firewood, so I felt good about that. People are very friendly here. The fence, I don't need to tell you, has cost me an arm and a leg but I expected it!
I will def post some pics as soon as poss so that you get a better idea of it.
Re the asbestos element, the more I talk to locals, the more I realise that it is not a big deal here - so many houses have it here. If I can get my pictures up, that will make a difference. I want to paint the bedrooms with one feature wall of a different colour and perhaps I just have to look past the imperfections of the battens. It is what it is!
I already have dirt instead of lawn!!! With this terrible drought we are experiencing here, nobody has a turfed lawn anymore!! We had a spot of rain a couple of weeks ago, quite a downpour, and greenery was popping up everywhere but, of course, we've lost it again. The weeds love it. I'll get some of that BinDie - sounds appropriate - and see if it is dangerous to pets - if not, I will go ahead with that. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The banging has not occurred for a few nights now. I reckon it's either the house beginning to collapse around me or I should just put it on the Asbestos list and try and ignore it. Again, time will tell.
Thank you so much already for your help!
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Valued Contributor

Re: Another California Bungalow!

Hello Di1
As far as nailing a hook into your asbestos wall stop! I suggest putting in an mdf panel on the wall that you wish to put your picture on. A 2400 × 1200 x 12 should be perfect. Have it glued on to the wall you wish to use and then screw it into the studs. A couple of coats of paint and presto safe wall for picture hanging. As for the banging I suggest having a plumber look at your hot water cylinder. Sounds like water hammer and it might be comming down the line and into your house. As for the dead lawn. I suggest around 3 cubic meters of sand and Bunnings artificial lawn. Your neighbors will be an awe and shock "how the heck is he keeping his lawn alive?!" Your secrets safe with me mate. All the best and hope this helps.

I am a Bunnings team member. Any opinions or recommendations shared here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Bunnings.
Please visit the Bunnings website
if you need assistance from the Bunnings customer service team.


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Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Another California Bungalow!

A very warm welcome to Workshop @Di1. It's wonderful to have you join us at such an exciting time. All the very best with all the projects you are tackling. 

 

Like @MitchellM, I would recommend you take some photos, plus also start a separate discussion for each problem you want to tackle with a descriptive title for the post so that it is clear and more visible to other community members. We have loads of clever, knowledgeable and experienced people in the community who will be only too happy to help. 

 

Looking forward to seeing how your project progresses. 

 

Jason

 

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Junior Contributor

Re: Another California Bungalow!

Thanks, Mitchell.  I will follow  your advice and talk about each topic - gosh, I'll be at it forever!  There are so many things to be done.

Cheers

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Junior Contributor

Re: Another California Bungalow!

My first big job being done today by the tradies!! They've travelled quite a long way to do the job and will stay overnight at the local pub in order to finish it tomorrow. So pleased! They're putting up my colourbond fence, back, side and front, complete with car gates and a fancy gate at front !! All in cream to go with the house when it's painted. Yeeay!!
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Valued Contributor

Re: Another California Bungalow!

@Di1 Fantastic!! Be sure to get that camera out and take some progression pictures for us, we'd love to come along for the ride!


I am a Bunnings team member. Any opinions or recommendations shared here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Bunnings. Visit the Bunnings website for assistance from the customer service team.


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Junior Contributor

Re: Another California Bungalow!

Will do!

Di1

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Budding Contributor

Re: Another California Bungalow!

Hi @Di1,
Just out of curiosity, the bungalow isn't in Coolamon, is it? I saw one advertised there last year and was very tempted to try and buy it. It does sound like your description!
Bindii - depending on where you live, the locals will name certain weeds a particular common name. So Bindii in one area may be an entirely different plant than in another area. However, let's assume your lawn weed is Bindii. Once you start having the prickles in your feet, it's too late to spray. You need to treat the lawn once you see the plants start to grow, but before the actual prickles start to form. So you'd be looking at starting your spraying/watering on weedicide in early Spring. There are some good products you just water over your lawn and they will only affect weeds. The staff at Bunnings, or a nursery will help you find the right thing. Just remember though, when spraying any product on plants, (be it fertiliser or herbicide), it's always best to give the area a good water the day before, so the plant will be actively growing, and then it'll 'absorb' the poison more effectively.
Asbestos - My understanding is that as long as the asbestos is in good condition, painted well, then it's fine to leave it there. It's when it's exposed, or damaged that the asbestos fibres can free from the cement and then can be inhaled. Removal and disposal of asbestos is phenomenally expensive, must be done by specialised people, so just try and maintain it well. As for hanging art on the walls, you don't need to actually hammer/screw anything into the walls these days. There's a range of adhesive hooks available now, which can be removed when necessary, without damaging your walls. They come in many sizes, and carry varying weights. They are really very reliable.

Unlevel floor - yes Ardit would be the way to go. It's self-levelling, but, again, can be costly if you need a lot of it. I suppose you need to ask yourself is the floor drastically out of level, does it affect anything structurally, and can you live with it? If you don't wish to use Ardit, then having someone lay a level floor over the top of the floor may be an option.

Noises at night - this is very typical of an older home with a timber frame, especially in an area where the day temperatures vary a lot from the night temp's. It's usually just the sound of the timber creaking as it expands and contracts, and nothing to worry about. If it is actual bangng, though, could it be a branch of a tree, or a possum running on the roof? We used to have a possum who'd lift and drop our bin lid to indicate he wanted feeding!

I'm really curious @Di1, as to why you moved to your new house. It seems an adventurous thing to take on!
I hope this has helped, even though it's a bit late. Oh, and if your house is in Coolamon, can I come and help???
Cheers, Liz.

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