Extreme home makeover, Part IV: Progress at last, but roadblocks remain

This is the fourth part of a five-part series about how the writer and her husband, Charlie, tackled a major overhaul of their home and the pitfalls they faced along the way. To read the first installment click here.

We continue to eat dust and stumble through piles of stuff. In spite of the inconveniences, I was starting to feel positive about the progress -- that is, until a large semi-truck pulled up to deliver the dome that goes over the tub.

Rick, our contractor, and my husband soon discovered the dome weighed close to 400 pounds. With daggers in their eyes, they asked, "And just how are we suppose to get this thing out?" Fortunately. I remembered reading on the website that the dome was actually quite light -- it was the packing that was so heavy. Grumbling and swearing under their breath, they emerged about 15 minutes later with a fiberglass dome to be temporarily stored in the living room.

Tom's Take: It always makes sense to add the cost of a few visits with your chiropractor to every home improvement budget.

Nevertheless, progress is definitely being made now. The workmen rented a hoist, lifted the dome into place and installed the rope lighting into the surrounding light tray. It looks great. The plumbing is done and installation of the cabinets, sink, and toilet is beginning. The tile is also being put in the shower and the bathroom floor. Absolute Granite arrived and installed the granite counter top in the kitchen, bathroom vanity, tub face and shower ledge.

We were feeling good until we hit a massive roadblock: The electrical inspector. A short and gruff fellow, he was not happy with the dome lighting or the electric towel rack. Stating that the dome lighting does not meet code because the cord passes through the ceiling, he wants it removed before he will bless the project.

Tom's Take: I hate to tell you how many times I've seen parts of a home improvement project taken apart, just to get past an inspection, and after which are quickly re-assembeled. I'm not sure what part of the passing through the ceiling he did not like, but there is a safe way to do just about anything. You should explore options before giving up.

The towel rack appears to be an even bigger issue. While the company lists the product as "UL listed," the electrical inspector believes the sticker is fraudulent. After several calls to Underwriters Laboratory and Wesaunard who makes the product, it appears he's right. Apparently, Wesaunard restructured the company and did not renew their stickers with Underwriters Laboratory. When they returned to business and attempted to reinstate the UL sticker they were told that they had to go through a lengthy and expensive process to get re-listed. Reportedly, the dispute had not been settled when I bought the towel rack. Why is this my problem?

Tom's Take: Is there any wonder why I call home improvement "an adventure"? Kudos to your grumpy electrical inspector for picking this up, although it sound's like calling it a fraud was a bit of a stretch. More likely the sticker was just expired. Nonetheless, you probably shouldn't install this fixture. Seeing that the company restructured, I'd want to make sure that safety didn't slip in the mass confusion of a reorganization.

The floors are almost finished and we are excited about setting up our bed. Sleeping on mattresses on the floor was a little too reminiscent of college for us.

Tom's Take: Yes, but it was so easy to roll out of bed in the morning!

We see the light at the end of the tunnel. Read our final installment here.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.

Tom Kraeutler is the Home Improvement Editor for AOL and co-author of My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. He delivers home improvement tips each week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program.

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