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Word to the Wise

April 9th, 2009 · No Comments

We started a home renovation project in February. The goal was to finish up some projects that Hubby and I had started some time ago and to remodel the kitchen on a budget.

Two years ago we had to replace the roof over the front porch due to a leak and realized that we had to totally rebuild the entire front porch. Hubby and I enlisted the assistance of his brother and the three of us did as much as we could on our own. Soon we noticed things that we did not do correctly, like the spindles we chose for the railings were too small and thin and broke easily. The deck was never stained and the front steps looked incomplete. So with the help of an actual contractor, the porch is looking great. It is stained, the ceiling is all vinyl, there are gutters, downspouts and lattice. Check that project off the list!

(By the way, due to the weak economy and contractors not having much work, ours was hired for a steal and we were quite lucky to have found him when we did.)

The back deck was also started by Hubby and I alone. We had to completely remove all of the decking as it was totally rotted and unsafe to step on. We did the demo on our own and replaced the decking. That is where we stopped. For over a year there were no rails or stain or anything else. The contractor came and put the rails up, we had a son-in-law tile half of the deck and we stained the remaining half in black. Now it is sheer heaven to sit out there and enjoy quiet evenings under the stars. Check that project off the list!

Finally, the contractor helped us with the demo of the kitchen. It was the most awkward layout of any kitchen I had ever seen. There was a hall closet that stuck out into the kitchen and blocked the oven from view. There were odd dead zones and little countertop space. We had been planning an update for some time, so over the years we purchased appliances at great discounts and stored them until now. We found a double oven for less than $400 and the new sink was $6.81. (I am not kidding) We found unfinished oak cabinets for less than $1500 but I had to stain them myself which took way longer than necessary and I do not recommend this project to anyone ever! We also settled for laminate countertops as granite was clearly out of the budget. I picked out a wood laminate flooring that was by far the best deal in town, but waited too long to buy it and it was all sold out by the time I was ready for it.

Then came the real mess.

We went to replace a window and found mold in the wall. A leak from the back roof totally rotted out the studs and everything. The entire wall had to come down and the leak repaired. But good things do come from bad as instead of replacing the window, since the wall was already out, we installed French Doors to the back deck. Beautiful!

When the sink and garbage disposal were installed, there was a leak and the disposal had to be replaced. But the worst mess came when we discovered a terrible dip in the flooring. Upon further inspection, the previous owner of our home had removed necessary supports in the basement to fit her slate pool table. Holy cow! Yes, our master bedroom and closet were sinking right into the copper water pipes! Had those pipes been bent any further, the entire basement  would have been flooded out! Thank goodness the contractor was able to repair this damage and add additional support where needed. This brings me back to the new flooring, which I cannot afford now. I’ll have to wait to save up for it again and hopefully it will go back on sale again.

For now, we are finished with home renovations and are going to sit on our asses and enjoy that back deck for the summer while ordering in Chinese.


Word to the wise, in home renovations things never go as planned.

Tags: Adventures · Biographical

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