Thursday, January 7, 2010

Some progress

Since we were only going to be on the Island for two weeks, we had to rush to line up quotes and trades to get some of the more pressing things done. Ideally, we wanted the roof to be finished before we left. The insurance company was also insisting on the immediate removal of the old exterior oil tank, which was precariously propped up on a wood platform. Couldn't blame them for that. They also insisted on the removal of the old wood stove in the back room, and that was fine with me. While it was kind of cool in its own way, it wasn't in great shape and it wasn't particularly attractive up close. It also took up a decent chunk of floor space.

We started calling people the next day. One challenge was the PEI phone book, which covers the whole island. So you're not always sure if you're calling someone in Charlottetown, Souris or O'Leary, unless you know the local exchanges (which I generally don't). I called quite a few roofers with ads in the Yellow Pages, only to find out they were quite far away and weren't interested in a job in our somewhat remote location. I left a lot of messages and was getting rather discouraged after several days passed and I had nobody to even give me a quote.

Finding someone to remove the oil tank was simple, since this is such a common practice on PEI. Since there is no natural gas line to the Island, oil is still a very popular heating option, and the province is getting really strict about replacing older tanks to avoid ground contamination. If there is a leak or spill, it costs big bucks (for the insurance company) to clean it up. So we found someone to do that immediately. Not an exciting step for sure, but a necessary one. I don't have a good shot of the tank in place (here's the best one - it's on the side of the house next to the big bush):

And here is a shot of that side wall with the oil tank gone:

And a closeup:

Hardly the most thrilling before-and-after story, but it was a relief to get that thing out of there. We'll likely leave the wood platform in place until the time comes to paint the exterior. Well, it's clearly time to paint the exterior now, but that likely won't happen for a while.

The wood stove removal was also fairly straightforward. It took a few calls to find someone to do it, but we found a place in Summerside that agreed to do it for a reasonable price and within the week. We met them there at an agreed-upon time and when they looked at the stove there was a lot of head-scratching and grumbling. They decided it would be best to pull up to the front door, which because of the lack of porch, was level with the back gate of the truck. Much easier than trying to manoeuver it down the back steps and risk parking their truck on the septic field. They ended up using some kind of huge metal cutter to take the stove apart into two sections since it was so incredibly heavy. There were dramatic sparks and extremely loud griding noises and a lot of cuss words. Here are some in-action shots:

There was a lot of soot and blackened metal left on the floor when they got it out, but they cleaned up nicely and also took the big green water tank with them (apparently the old stove would also have been used to heat water back in the day). For some reason I didn't take a proper "after" shot once the thing was gone, but the room isn't exactly pretty yet anyway. The floor underneath the stove was in reasonably good shape too, which was a nice surprise.

Several more days passed before we got someone to go to the house and give us a roof quote, and the estimate came in just under $5,000, which was what we hoped the maximum would be. The guy was local, the quote seemed reasonable, so we told him to start as soon as possible. He said he hoped to start the following week, which would be just before we were due to leave. Oh well, he was our only real hope. We hoped for dry weather and continued on our family vacation - beach days, amusement parks, sightseeing and...demolition???


  1. Coming soon! There was lots of activity there over the recent Easter weekend! - Jen H.

  2. Yay! I love stumbling across a good home improvement blog!