Problems That Happen When You Are Making Other Plans

Problems That Happen When You Are Making Other Plans

It started innocently enough.

Having mostly finished Bathroom #1, and having had excellent success repairing the water damage in Bathroom #2, I decided tonight after work to get started on the rest of the work in Bathroom #2, by stripping the wallpaper and taking care of any sanding that needed doing, in preparation for painting tomorrow evening.

I certainly knew there was mold in spots, so I was prepared with my tilex, my sandpaper, my bleach and my fungicidal paint.

What I was not prepared for was that when I took off the strip of wallpaper next to the shower, a three inch chunk of wet, moldy sheetrock would come right with it. A little finger and screwdriver poking revealed an entire chunk of wall that was really…not. Unfortunately I broke my screwdriver and so I bought myself a nice new racheting one.

While I was down on my knees performing a wallectomy, I noticed that the subfloor under the tiles was also…not so much. So I ripped up the relevent tiles. (The previous owner was nice enough to make the moldy strip be a separate piece of flooring for easy removal. Wasn’t that nice?)

The next sheet of wallpaper I pulled down showed a touch of mold…

…and when I poked it with my finger, my finger went through.

One hour, a crowbar, a whole lot of rusty screws and a big honkin pile of debris later, I now have this:

This was, to say the least, not the plan. Especially because on Monday our tub is being reglazed, so that bathroom will be out of comission for 48-72 hours.

So now the timer is ticking on this job…

House Renovation Resolutions

House Renovation Resolutions

On a similar theme to my last post where I set down (rather formerly) some thoughts on home renovation. In this one I’m going to make some resolutions.

This time of year doing home renovations thinking about the renovations planned is at the forefront of my mind. Let’s look back on the list of resolutions I compiled last year and see how much of it has been done.


Tear out everything that is there and replace it. This is huge. This is exciting. This is messy beyond all levels of messiness and inconvenient beyond all levels of inconvenience. I will want to complain about it every day, but will try to refrain and look on the bright side of not having to cook. We actually needed quite a few different tools (it’s amazing how fiddly kitchen fitting can be) and we found a site Home Tool Helper ( to be super useful in getting the right ones.

(This was just recently completed. And it is everything I hoped it would be. I love my new kitchen. And, yes, I did complain every single day while the renovation took place.)

Finish painting and trim work in the dining room


Finish painting the odd random bits of trim in the foyer


Well, except for one small piece of trim that I noticed when I was decorating for Xmas. I’ll have to get to it soon. Soon being relative, of course.

Refinish wood floors in foyer and dining room


Landscape the front yard

Uh, no. Not one thing did we do to the front yard. We did get estimates, but in the end decided to spend our money on the kitchen renovation.

Rebuild front porch

Why did we buy a house with such a large wrap around front porch? Oh yes, so we could sit out there on our porch swing and sip our mint julips. Maybe when we are 90 we will be have some free time.

No. Just ran out of time this summer. And money.

Anyway, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The bigger of the projects that we have in mind. There are lots of smaller ones too like replacing doorknobs in the house (DONE!), hanging new light fixtures (DONE!), cleaning out the gutters (Mostly DONE!). But those are the sort of projects we tend to do on the spur of the moment. The ones that make us feel like me are actually accomplishing something on our weekends. The sort of projects we add to our list after we have done them just so we have the pleasure of crossing them off.

So what are other DIYers resolving to do this year?

In February of last year, The Stevens Family posted their home improvement resolutions for 2007. I am eager to see their post at years end to find out how they did.

Eye on Howard Hall Farm posted their short and sweet list which includes restoring an old beehive oven in their home in time for giving hearth cooking classes. Wow. I just want shiny floors.

Casa Caudill
 is looking to replace all of the windows in their house. I am weeping tears of happiness for them while I listen to my old wood windows rattle in the breeze. I also like to tell myself that they are original to the house and feel somehow happy about it, but really that is just how us old house renovators like to feel good about bundling up indoors. She also has resolved to pick a color for her kitchen. As someone who struggles with the choosing of paint colors I realize the enormity of this resolution.

Aimee writes her resolutions to spruce up her outdoor living area with a deck. We don’t have a deck, instead a screened porch, and I love it. It ranks up there as the best thing we have spent money on. I could probably just sip my mint julips out there and let the front porch fall down.

At the ever famous Houseblogs.Net, Jeanne asks everyone what their resolutions are for 2008. Read the comments and become inspired. Or perhaps strengthen your resolve to never buy an old house.

I hope they all post a recap and let us know if they accomplished what was on their renovation list. And how many of the projects will be carried over to this year.

Thinking of Renovating Our Home

Thinking of Renovating Our Home

We have long wanted to make some significant improvements to our living space. Plus many of the rooms just look a bit tired and need a face lift if not significantly more. Anyway, I’ve been giving the matter some thought and wanted to put down some of the things I have researched, mainly to make sure it is orderly in my mind.

Renovating a house can be a difficult project to undertake because of the various details that you have to consider. However, it can also be very rewarding for both homeowners and investors. For investors, they can find a house that is in bad shape, make some renovations and then potentially sell it for a substantial profit. For homeowners, they may be able to increase the value of their home.

Let us first take a closer look at the various advantages and disadvantages of renovating a house before you start planning for it.

The Advantages of Renovating a House

The most obvious benefit of renovating a house is the gain in equity or value. Improving the kitchen, adding a bathroom or bedroom, or improving the landscaping could greatly increase the price of your home. You can add to this the fact that this capital gain would be tax-free. This tax break is available even if you do not reinvest your gains into another home or trade it with a higher-priced property.

You can even increase your profits further by helping in the actual work. And after the renovation is done, you can enjoy the fruits of your project if you do not plan to sell the home. For example, you would be able enjoy your new kitchen with its advanced appliances and devices after you have renovated this favorite part of the house. This is not possible with other kinds of investments such as stocks or bonds.

The Downsides of Renovating a House

One disadvantage of renovating a house is that you will be taking some risks. However, risks have always accompanied investments and you are able to minimize them with careful planning. Nevertheless, unexpected things may happen that may not even be your fault, such as the rerouting of traffic or the cancellation of a highway project that could cause a substantial drop in the value of your home.

Another disadvantage is that your usual daily activities will disrupted as a result of the construction work and there will be accompanying inconveniences such as a temporary loss of water or power as they work on the plumbing or the electrical wiring.

Another downside to doing a house renovation is that it would be time consuming for you. You will need to determine what needs to be done and to draw up the plan. You will also need to come up with the specifications and choose the contractor. You will also have to monitor the progress of the work being done and ensure that everything is being done properly and the right materials are being used.

Planning the House Renovation

The first step is to plan and prepare. You will need to familiarize yourself with the building regulations in your city or town and the applicable standards. You will need this information when you are preparing your budget and in selecting the proper contractor.

If you are an investor, it would also be advisable to get the services of a professional inspector to make sure that you know everything that will need to be done. If you are not experienced in inspecting a home that you plan to buy, there is a good chance that you might miss something. For example, you may not even notice that termites have infested the wood structure.

After these preparations, you can now draw up the specifications for your renovation project. You will need to ensure that you have listed everything that needs to be done so that the contractor will be able to properly estimate the total cost of the project. This could be a difficult process because you will need to specify exactly what materials would be used because costs could vary by a wide margin with different materials. You may want to consult a home designer or architect about your specifications and the materials that you plan to use. You will then need to apply for the required permits for the required construction activities.

Choosing a Professional Contractor

Before selecting your contractor, make sure that you have thoroughly checked his references. Try to interview his former clients. You may also need to verify the materials that he plans to use. When searching for your contractor, you may consult the local newspaper or you may drive around your neighborhood and look for homes that have been newly renovated. You can ask the owners regarding their contractors and you can also ask for referrals from the home designer or architect.

Possible Activities When Renovating a House

The first activity is to protect various parts to ensure that they are not weakened or collapse during the renovation work. You may need to strengthen carrying beams, joists and weakened walls. You may also need to replace or repair the roof or the foundation. You will also need to check if there are any damaged windows or siding and if there are, you will have to replace them.

After completing the above, you will have to carefully demolish those parts of the house that will be renovated. If you are living in the house, you will need to plan this carefully to minimize the disruption of your daily activities. Make sure to exercise caution when demolishing older homes that have used lead-based paint. Check on the proper procedure for disposing of the waste, particularly the debris containing hazardous materials like lead.

The sequence of activities will then start with structural carpentry work. This will be followed by works on plumbing, electrical wiring, and the ductwork for the air conditioning and heating systems. After this, you will then need to put in the insulation. And before you close the walls, it would be advisable to call in an inspector to check on the plumbing and wiring.

The next step is to put in the drywall and then the flooring, and then the windows. After this, you can focus on fine carpentry work, such as moldings, baseboards, closets and bookcases. After completing this, you are ready for interior painting, installation of wallpapers, and other finishes. You then install the sidings and gutters. Lastly, you can do the exterior painting and any auxiliary building, such as a swimming pool or sun room.