Dishwasher project from hell

The old POS dishwasherSeveral years ago we bought a new-to-us dishwasher that happened to come with a postage stamp of property and a roof that mostly didn’t leak. As you can imagine, we had sentimental attachments to this dishwasher, blindly overlooking its progressively worsening issues; never mind that you couldn’t hear yourself think while it was running. Nearly 3 years later we relented and decide that the dishwasher was in fact, not, the smartest purchase we’d ever made and I set out measuring up the space to find a replacement. With said replacement in possession, it seemed a simple enough task to reach dishwasher nirvana:

  1. Slide the old POS out (contractor Steve, the former owner of the house, never bothered to actually attach the dishwasher to any part of the cabinetry, thus, saving me a step)
  2. Disconnect power and plumbing
  3. Connect new dishwasher’s plumbing and power
  4. Slide new one in
  5. Adjust height/level
  6. Screw it into place

Sounds like a half hour of work. After applying the household project management rule of thumb, thereby quadrupling the estimate to account for beer drinking and unexpected snafus; 2 hours should do the installer nicely.

Raised floor Those familiar with simple household projects need not guess at which step the first snafu happened: — wait for it — step #1! Oh yes, contractor Steve strikes again! Upon removal of the kick-plate, it is revealed that the old POS is actually sitting on the sub-flooring and the main kitchen floor is ~1.5″ higher than the sub-floor.

This alone wouldn’t be so bad except that the old POS has less than 1/4″ of clearance between it and the bottom of the counter and the adjustable feet are as short as can be. Some how, it needs to shink 1.25″ in order to fit out of the hole it’s been built into. So I grab a beer and ponder my options:

  • Disassemble the cabinets to try and lift the granite counter tops, breaking the seam between the 2 slabs and possibly breaking much more.
  • Rip out the main floor around the dishwasher to bring it down to the same level as the sub-floor and then replace the flooring throughout the kitchen.
  • Forget about the entire project, wash dishes by hand, and explain to the wife and the future buyers of the house that the ugly thing under the counter resembling a dishwasher is, in fact, a “built in drying rack system”.
  • Utilize arsenal of power tools to destroy the old POS and extract it from the hole piece by piece.

Gee Alex, I think I’ll take “Power Tools and Destruction” for a six pack of beer!

Door removal

First, let’s get rid of that pesky door. The saws-all made quick work of that…

Skill saw actionNext, the circular saw with a carbide tipped blade easily sliced through the plastic shell, and I found out later, the external metal frame too!

Which left only the two back corners that it wasn’t able to reach into. No problem — the saws-all gets right in there.

Almost cut in half

Progress towards completing step #1! Here’s the top half, and much happiness on my part!



And finally, step #1 was completed and the washer was “slid” out. But wait, what is all this trapped under the old POS?


The small stuffed pig on a string was a cat toy that disappeared several years ago. But, the wadded up piece of paper is a bit more interesting. Click on it for a high-res version.

Collection Notice

Apparently, contractor Steve liked to read the Mercury News, but, didn’t much care to pay for that privilege. One can just imagine him coming home from a hard day at work, grabbing the mail on the way into the house, and opening a letter that enrages him enough to crumple it into a ball and throw it across the kitchen without paying any mind that it lit under the dishwasher. And there it stayed for the last 8 years, much to my delight.

You see, contractor Steve hasn’t always been a contractor. When we moved in, my new neighbors filled us in with the details about the former owner: his oddities, illegalities, and the general nuisance he was to the area. He also spent a significant amount of his apprentice years working on this very house. And I’ve learned something about the type of work a contractor does to his domicile, especially the type that isn’t yet a contractor.

Indeed, I’ve lost count of his signature “surprises” of shoddy workmanship and corner-cutting left for me to discovered and fix over the last 3 years. Having only dealt with his realtor, I never actually met the guy and, needless to say, that hasn’t stopped me from forming an opinion. Thus, finding actual evidence showing that he really was a dead beat far beyond his handy work just iced my cake like nothing else could.

As you may have guessed, my 2 hour estimate was a tad optimistic…

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