Author Topic: First limited renovation  (Read 13684 times)

kendallf

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First limited renovation
« on: December 30, 2012, 06:41:12 PM »
We're closing on a new house next week, planning to do a limited rehab and move into it.  The new place is in an old neighborhood near a historic district with a lot of bike friendly areas, it's equidistant to work for both of us (12-13 miles each, I'll cycle full time from there), and it is cheap.  I'm using 401(k) money to pay cash for it.

The good: structurally sound, aluminum siding that just needs a wash, roof's OK for a few years, good old wood floors under ugly carpet, good A/C, water heater, electric.  Newer vinyl windows.  Two car separate detached garage for my old car hobby.

The bad: crazy hodgepodge of old plumbing and repairs under the house, leaking cast iron drains, a bathroom that's functional but rough looking. 

I plan on pulling the carpets, sanding and refinishing the wood floors, putting some tile in the kitchen, paint the walls.  The biggest project will be the bathroom and plumbing.  It looks like we'd be smart to hack out all of the old plumbing and start over.  I'm going to tackle this even though I've never done plumbing before other than the odd sink or toilet replacement. 

I think my biggest challenge will be to keep the scope limited, get through in a reasonable time frame, and get moved in by next fall (our youngest daughter starts college then, so that's our move target).  I'll try to put up some pics as we get moving on it, ask for advice, and share our progress (and probably, some pain).  :-)

meadow lark

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2012, 09:57:17 PM »
How fun!  Good luck, I hope it is fast, inexpensive and painless.

plantingourpennies

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 06:33:15 AM »
figuring out how far to go really is tough! We call it the "Cookie Problem" after the book Give a mouse a cookie...one thing just leads to another.

I'll be interested to hear about how replacing the plumbing works out...

Best,
Mr. Pop

starbuck

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 07:03:59 AM »
Yes, definitely replace ALL of the old plumbing! If it's not degraded yet, it's only a matter of time. We recently hired someone to do just that - get rid of all the old cast iron plumbing that was falling apart. Some sections were so bad one of the showers was barely draining. My husband cut a hole in the floor of the bathroom to gain access to the dirt crawlspace, but that's really all we were willing to do to save on labor. The plumber himself said that it was a difficult, dirty job. With plumbing, make sure you get it 100% right, because small problems can turn into big problems!

My husband's totally willing to do minor plumbing/electrical work, but he leaves the major stuff to the pros. Best of luck! Youtube & google are your friends. :) I hope it goes smoothly for you!

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 06:42:27 PM »
figuring out how far to go really is tough! We call it the "Cookie Problem" after the book Give a mouse a cookie...one thing just leads to another.

I'll be interested to hear about how replacing the plumbing works out...

Best,
Mr. Pop

My husband's totally willing to do minor plumbing/electrical work, but he leaves the major stuff to the pros. Best of luck! Youtube & google are your friends. :) I hope it goes smoothly for you!

Mr. Pop, absolutely right, and I'm trying to limit my scope already and define what we're going to mess with, and what we will leave alone.  :-)

Rachel, I hear you.  Luckily, this place has a crawl space that's tall enough to kneel in some places, and I hope that removing the old stuff won't be too bad.  I'll surely be cussing at some point, though. 

We close on the house tomorrow; I've talked to the county plumbing permit inspector, and plan to go down there next week and talk over my plans before pulling the plumbing permit (and before pulling any old piping!)
 

Self-employed-swami

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 07:42:16 PM »
Are you going to run copper, or PEX?  Pex seems easy enough, as long as you are organized, and don't kink the lines.  You can rent a PEX crimper at Home Depot for fairly cheap, compared to buying one.

Jack

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 08:11:52 PM »
Are you going to run copper, or PEX?  Pex seems easy enough, as long as you are organized, and don't kink the lines.  You can rent a PEX crimper at Home Depot for fairly cheap, compared to buying one.

I've repaired copper plumbing, and it also seems easy enough. However, one thing about PEX is that since it's cheaper, it's more cost effective to run "home runs" to a manifold, which seems like an advantage to me.

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 09:36:46 PM »
I'm planning on PEX, and I'll probably buy the crimping tool as they're relatively cheap.  I looked at those manifolds, but haven't decided if I'll use them since I will be doing fairly limited length and complexity runs.

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 05:41:43 PM »
We finally closed on the place Friday.  I pulled all of the locks and had them re-keyed today, and next week we'll start demolishing the bathroom.  Wish me luck!

SunshineGirl

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 01:02:23 PM »
Please keep updating us - I find do-it-yourself posts inspiring! And good luck.

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2013, 09:34:35 AM »
I'm hacking away in the bathroom..here are a few pics:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26276815@N07/sets/72157632504633648/

The bathroom actually didn't look too bad from a quick glance, but the cast iron drains are leaking under the floor, and the walls, water supply lines, and drains had all been patched in a variety of creative but not very good ways.

That plaster is fun to cut; I used a diamond blade in an angle grinder to get into it this far. 

The floor tile was laid over at least three layers of linoleum.  :-)

meadow lark

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2013, 10:03:14 AM »
I kind of enjoy seeing the old finishes (like the 3 layers of linoleum.)  The house that I live in now was painted neutral when we bought it, but I love finding little bits of vibrant yellow and orange paint in the kitchen with coordinating wallpaper, brilliant turquoise in the living room under the wood panelling.  It makes me feel a connection with the family who lived in the house before me.

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2013, 08:23:22 PM »
A front quarter view of the house, mid-lawn-cleanup:



Edging, trimming, pressure washing the fascia, painting the awnings perhaps a light grey?  I think it'll look nice. 

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2013, 08:19:07 PM »
No new pics, but I have the bathroom stripped and all of the old plumbing in the wall torn out.  The tub lasted 5 minutes in front of the house before somebody came by who wanted it for scrap metal.  :-) 

Tomorrow we crawl underneath and start cutting out the old piping there and cleaning up the mess.

BTW, thanks to a MMM tip; that cast iron piping does shatter nicely with a few hammer blows!  Cutting through it with a Sawzall takes FOREVER.  I'm saving the vent pipe in the wall and joining it to the new PVC drain piping so I had to cut it once.  I still have at least one more neat cut to make on the main drain line so I can connect the new PVC, also.

Anybody have a suggestion for cheap coverall sources?  Struck out at Walmart and Harbor Freight, so far.

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2013, 07:08:45 PM »
The house is now completely stripped of the old plumbing.  I got underneath it (Tyvek coveralls, $10 at Lowe's), broke out the sawzall and the sledge, and went to town!  It really wasn't too bad; the cast iron drain piping broke apart easily, the old galvanized, copper and PVC supply piping (yes, it had bits of all three..) cut into sections and pulled out fairly easily.

I found out that they make carbide grit coated sawzall blades now and they are the TICKET for cutting that cast iron pipe.   I needed to make two neat cuts; one in the main soil stack as I'm keeping the vent section in the wall, and one out in the yard near the cleanout where it makes the run down to the street sewer line.

Tomorrow my brother's coming up to help me and I hope to re-frame and cover the bathroom floor and part of the wall where the leaking plumbing caused some rot.  That will feel like progress!

SunshineGirl

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2013, 08:20:31 AM »
Must feel good!

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2013, 08:36:12 PM »
Absolutely!

Got tons done today.  We cut out the old rotten floor, found the worst joist repair I've ever seen, tore that out, cut out the lower half of the rotten wall, and started over. 

We cut and put in two new joists, properly notched and tied to the rim joist and extended over the cross beam in the middle of the house, just like the originals.  We put blocking in under where the old wall was sitting on thin air.  Then we put down two layers of 3/4" plywood for a new floor.

Lastly, we cut out the rotten wood around the window, reframed it and managed to save the exterior aluminum siding sills and trim.  I need to flash around the window tomorrow; I'm using aluminum flashing that will fold out over the concrete board to save the framing from any water seeping through the eventual grout and calking.



And a couple of in process new pics:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26276815@N07/sets/72157632504633648/



meadow lark

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2013, 10:43:01 PM »
Ahh, progress!  Looks like you are getting it done right!

Nate R

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2013, 11:25:03 PM »

We cut and put in two new joists, properly notched and tied to the rim joist and extended over the cross beam in the middle of the house, just like the originals.  We put blocking in under where the old wall was sitting on thin air.  Then we put down two layers of 3/4" plywood for a new floor.

I'm curious, why 2 layers of 3/4"?

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2013, 05:30:40 PM »

I'm curious, why 2 layers of 3/4"?

Originally, they put in diagonal 1x6s across the joists for the sub floor.  On top of that was ~1" thick tongue and groove flooring.  You can see some of the sub floor in the pictures with the giant hole.  :-)  We saved some of this, and covered the hole and new framing with 3/4" plywood.  Then another layer of 3/4" plywood glued and nailed with stainless steel nails gives it similar thickness and strength to the original.

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2013, 06:15:55 PM »
Put some new pics up tonight:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26276815@N07/sets/72157632504633648/

Another productive day today; the last for a week or two, I'm afraid (I have to fly to MI in a few days).  We removed the back door, fixed some hinges that weren't attached well, which fixed the rubbing/sticking door. 

Then we cut out the rotten side door to the garage, along with its framing, and put in a proper exterior door.  The opening was slightly too short to fit a standard 80" prehung door with the sill, so we removed the sill and cut the jambs down slightly to fit.  We'll have to add an external sill later.

Last thing for the day was to flash around the bathroom window and start hanging the cement board around it.  We had to add furring strips to the studs to compensate for the 1/2" thickness of the cement board where it joined the nearly 1" thick plaster. 

The carpentry is now at a stopping point until I get back to it in a week and get to work on the re-plumbing.  Time to make up an order for pexsupply.com..

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2013, 07:06:35 PM »
Finally got to spend a couple of evenings/days on the house in the last week.  I know it doesn't look like much, but here's today's progress shot:



All of the drain plumbing including the main soil stack (shown here in the bathroom wall) is done.  I hauled all of the cast iron pipe out from under the house; it lasted about 15 minutes before being picked up by somebody for scrap.  I put in new 4" schedule 40 PVC for the main drain, put a cleanout where it makes the turn up into the soil stack, 4 tees for the various drains (toilet, shower, two sinks). 

It's like a 3D jigsaw puzzle getting all of that straight and getting the horizontal portions to slope properly.  It helps that the elbows are slightly less than 90 degrees to accomodate this.

I clamped the remaining cast iron vent pipe to the rafters up in the attic for support, and you can see the only rubber coupling tieing it to the PVC at the top.  It's just a vent at that point; all of the actual drains are new PVC.

Stupid trick of the day: just as I was tightening that rubber coupling after glueing the last two Ts, I realized I'd glued in the top tee upside down.  :-(  I had to cut it out, go get another and re-do it.  No big deal..but annoying!

Tomorrow I start on the pressure (feed) plumbing.  Main feed under the house 1" CPVC, then PEX everywhere else.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2013, 06:07:59 AM »
Lookin' good!

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2013, 10:02:09 PM »
I haven't updated this in a while, but I have been working on the house a bit at a time, amidst other tasks like traveling with my daughters and going to Finland for half of June (20 hours of daylight, awesome!).  I will take some updated bathroom pictures tomorrow as I hope to have the last item, the sink, installed. 

I completely replumbed all of the supply plumbing with CPVC and it came out great!  I got pissed at the PEX as if you buy a coil, it wants to stay in a coil.. it wouldn't route neatly under the house and looked like crap IMO.  Anybody want to buy about $300 worth of PEX tubing and fittings?  :-) 

We decided to put in a bathtub and do tile around it and halfway up the adjoining wall.  I had to change the drain plumbing for the tub, but it wasn't a huge deal.  The tile came from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and was a screaming deal at $57.  I still have a box and a half left over!  I paid a friend of mine who's a tile guy to help me do the tile; he came over on three afternoons and did most of the walls.  I finished the walls, floors, and did the grout. 

The past couple of days I've been painting and installing the fixtures -- valves, shower head, toilet, sink valves, hoses, and drain traps.  I have to mount the bathroom pedestal sink tomorrow (a pain in the ass, BTW), a couple of pieces of baseboard, and the bathroom will be done. 

Finances to date:

Our total renovation cost so far is at $4176, according to my records in Mint.  This cost includes everything from paying for an initial inspection, paying an electrician so the city would turn the power on, $350 in labor paid to the friend who helped me do the tile, etc.  There were a few tool purchases, fixtures, some framing supplies for areas other than the bathroom (garage side door, floor joists). 

Since I've been working on a rather leisurely schedule on weekends when we're not traveling, I've been able to absorb most of the cost in our monthly budget.  I initially had $8k reserved for this job and a new roof on my current house, and was worried that the new house would suck all of that $8k away before I got to the necessary renovations on the current place (to turn it into a rental).  Status as of today: $7k left!  I'm very happy.  :-D

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2013, 09:01:38 PM »

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2013, 09:58:14 PM »
I thought I'd put another update on this thread.  I've experienced some "task creep" which I'm told is very typical for such renovations.  :-)  I decided to pull the kitchen cabinets; the kitchen counter was just too bad to leave, with a very badly done tile backsplash complete with missing tile and expanding foam sprayed in the holes.  The wall behind the cabinets was 1/4" hardboard (sort of a glorified cardboard) with a 2'x3' piece of styrofoam glued in the middle with the ubiquitous spray foam.  I guess somebody's beer cooler must've been sacrificed during the last remodel.  I have some great pics of all of this junk but they're not uploaded yet.

I reframed the wall, hung drywall, and started patching the plaster upper walls and ceiling.  That's when we had a series of storms here in N FL, and I got a couple of roof leaks from the valleys through the ceiling and the corner of the wall.  To make a long story short, I decided to put a metal roof on it and completed that job today.  Here's a pic:



I'm very happy with how the roof turned out.  Of course, the kitchen is still gutted.. now on to reinstalling the cabinets, a tile countertop, and laminate flooring in the kitchen.  Final bits (I hope!) will be refinishing wood floors in the rest of the house, and a bit of paint.  The outside shutters and driveway look worse by comparison now but my priority is getting finished inside so we can move in.

Oh yes: budget update.  After correcting some Mint oddities (pending charges counted twice, that sort of thing) I am at ~$6200 total so far, including roof materials.

SunshineGirl

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2013, 08:51:39 AM »
Love the bathroom tile, love the roof, love all your updates!

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2013, 03:03:07 PM »
Thanks!  I added a bunch of random photos to the Flickr set.  A few highlights:



Hard at work on the tile..



The "wall" behind the kitchen cabinets



New wall framed and drywall on



Danger Will Robinson!  Who needs a chimney anyway..



Roof metal on, almost done

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2013, 09:21:51 PM »
I added a few more pictures.

I've pressure washed the exterior and about half of the awnings have been repainted. 

The kitchen is going back together; I finished the drywall repairs on the ceiling and wall behind the cabinets, and re-hung the cabinets Sunday.  I'm starting the tile countertop now.  Yes, the kitchen wall is going to be bright.  No, I didn't pick the color.  :-)

Finally, we've pulled up all of the carpets and Labor Day weekend I'll be helping a friend of mine refinish the wood floors.  More updates after that's done!


IMG_0818 by fredericksk, on Flickr

Self-employed-swami

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2013, 10:24:59 PM »
It looks so nice now!  Good work on the amazing tile deal; Our Restore hardly ever has good materials, beyond smoking deals on demo appliances, and lighting fixtures.  (I bought my husband a new kitchen light, and put it up for his birthday last year, at a cost of $7).

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2013, 08:53:03 PM »
Still movin' along.  :-)  Shooting for move-in ready by the end of the month.  It'll be close.  I added a bunch of pictures to the Flickr album.

The floor refinishing is done, and came out beautifully (the finish coat went on this morning, and I am looking forward to taking pictures tomorrow!)  All of the awnings are painted, the ugly green paint on the driveway and steps has been covered with gray, and I'm working on a tile counter top for the kitchen cabinets.  Total expenditure so far: ~$7900.

Still to do: finish cabinet top, install laminate floor in kitchen, paint interior walls, install quarter round and paint baseboards.





Mark B

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2013, 12:37:21 AM »
kendallf, that is frigging awesome, I'm very impressed by you've been able to to.  Excuse me if you've answered this 10 times already, but did you have experience rehabbing prior to this?

SunshineGirl

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2013, 08:57:01 AM »
I love it! I want it!

Was the floor refinishing hard? Any lessons learned?

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2013, 09:04:51 AM »
kendallf, that is frigging awesome, I'm very impressed by you've been able to to.  Excuse me if you've answered this 10 times already, but did you have experience rehabbing prior to this?

I have some background in construction work when I was young (teens), and as an engineer and a car guy I aspire to be a jack of all trades.  Otherwise, no; I hadn't done plumbing work before ripping out every pipe in this house, for example. 

I have gotten tons of good ideas from online sites, and had a few days of skilled help here and there.  A friend who's a tile guy helped on the bathroom, another friend who refinishes floors did a beautiful job there, and my brother (who's a roofing contractor) came up and helped me do the roof.

I think we have established a culture that feeds fear of DIY projects, scaring people into thinking everything requires a professional.  Nonsense I say!  I will often fall short of perfection, but every job builds my skills and I love the feeling of tangible accomplishment.   :-)

I love it! I want it!

Was the floor refinishing hard? Any lessons learned?

My friend Andy did the bulk of the floor work.  To do the job reasonably, you need several types of sanders (big drum sander, smaller rotary hand held sanders, orbital buffer with sanding screens).  There's still some hand work required in the corners and edges, but the big sanders made it quick and relatively painless.

I was surprised by how quickly the refinishing went.  Andy got down there with a bunch of rags and a gallon can of stain, and just swiped it everywhere.  He had the entire house stained in perhaps an hour.  Same with the polyurethane; a 5 gallon pail, paint roller, and a brush.  He scuffed it with a 120 grit sanding screen on the buffer between finish coats. 

olivia

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2013, 09:39:56 AM »
Awesome transformation!  The floors are gorgeous and so is the new bathroom! 

My dad is a jack of all trades and I am decidedly not, but I want him to teach me more, possibly on a house I buy to renovate.  (The only issue with that plan is that on projects he tends to be of the "Here just let me do it!" mindset and takes over everything.  :P )

I can't wait to see the kitchen done!

Mark B

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2013, 01:28:21 PM »

I think we have established a culture that feeds fear of DIY projects, scaring people into thinking everything requires a professional.  Nonsense I say!  I will often fall short of perfection, but every job builds my skills and I love the feeling of tangible accomplishment.   :-)

I couldn't agree more about the anti-DIY culture.  It still takes some courage and of course a lot of time and effort to do this stuff yourself, though, so you definitely deserve props. 

GuitarStv

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2013, 02:13:40 PM »
Wow, the floors are looking great as is the metal roof!

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2013, 09:20:28 PM »
Thanks for the kind words, people.  :-)

  I will often fall short of perfection

My blathering above turned out to be timely.. I'm not totally happy with the tile countertop so far.  Oh, it'll work fine and look decent, but it's sure not perfect.  I had trouble getting all of the tile perfectly level with minimal grout line spacing, and my oak trim for the edges isn't perfectly cut or installed either.  On the plus side, I have $40 in materials invested, and I am guessing that a year from now I'll have forgotten all about it.  :-)


kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2013, 08:30:42 PM »
Well, we are living in the new house now, and I just cooked my first meal in the newly redone kitchen.  Feels like a milestone.  :-)

I don't have new pictures, partly because I don't have Internet access here yet.  I'll put up some kitchen shots soon, I'm very happy with how it turned out.

I still have a few more short term things to do this weekend (quarter round, caulk, paint, thresholds)  and some longer term projects like a laundry room conversion for the front room, but it's livable. 

Now I get to go and start working on the old house to prep it for rental.  :-)

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2013, 06:10:22 PM »
Thanks so much for posting this.  I really enjoy seeing good fix-up stories.  I love seeing these chronicles because I think this is something I will want to do some day!

Spork

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #40 on: October 19, 2013, 09:33:59 AM »

I'm not sure how I missed this thread, but... wow.  Totally badass work on a totally badass budget.  Hat off to you.

What materials did you use for the metal roofing to stay in that budget?  It looks really nice.  The estimate for roofing our house in metal was more than you spent on your entire damn house.  Our roofline is way too complicated... and I suspect the estimate was for a guy to come on site with a sheet metal brake and bend each piece by hand... but even then, I'm really curious as to what materials you used to get such a nice looking roof for such a ridiculously lower cost.

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #41 on: October 20, 2013, 02:08:49 PM »
Spork, thanks!  The roof is standard 5v profile, in a "mill finish" (galvanized, clear coated).  It was $85/sq., and powdercoat colors are about $20 more.  The biggest chunk of any roof quote is the labor.

My total roof material costs were just over $2k.  No labor costs, obviously.  :-)

Complicated profiles just mean more labor costs; the material cost per square doesn't go up much-- maybe a bit more flashing or valley metal.

Norrie

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2013, 07:36:48 PM »
I LOVE this house! It's fabulous. Nicely done! I'd love to be more proficient in working on our house. (And I've always wanted a metal roof.)

onFIRE

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2013, 01:01:26 PM »
I'd love to see pics of the finished kitchen!

kendallf

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Re: First limited renovation
« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2013, 07:46:43 PM »
I just realized I hadn't gone back and put up pics of the kitchen.. had to remedy that!

I still haven't painted the outer part of the wall, and these pictures aren't particularly well staged, but that doesn't bother me.  :-)  The fridge was $125 from the Restore (Habitat for Humanity) and works beautifully. 

The stove, sink, and all cabinets were in the house when we bought it; they've just been cleaned/reset/rehung etc.  I'm happy with how the granite countertops and the backsplash turned out, in the end.

The floor is laminate, in a tile look; I didn't want yet another wood grain with the oak floors and contrasting cabinets.