Washington Acres

Renovation Disappointments

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You know those renovation shows where they start out all happy and looking forward to getting a bunch of stuff done? And by the end of it, they have to scrap like half of everything they wanted because there’s always some unexpected surprise that was uncovered during the reno? I always thought that it was added-by-tv drama. And after our misadventure with our current reno, I know it’s not.

Our contractor is great. I couldn’t have found a better guy. He was going to put up all the siding, fix the foundation, replace the roof, and install a new subfloor on the main level. And it was going to be done by the end of June, early July at the worst.

That is, unless there were “surprises.” We completely expected some of these, like replacing some sheathing here and there for the siding, and even maybe the entire roof needed new sheathing. No biggie.

And then the bedroom bump-out addition was ripped off. It was completely dry-rotted and it had zero foundation under it. So we decided to go ahead and rebuild it right, and the subfloor plan was scratched off the list because of time constraints.

The roof was also scratched a few weeks before that because our contractor’s insurance terms changed since he took on our “project.” He could no longer replace existing roofs. But no biggie, my husband could do it. I just hired some guys to replace the sheathing so he could go up and get it done quick before it starts to rain again.

And then more dry rot. Lots of dry rot. Half of the front of the house and most of the back will need all new sheathing.

And then the roof. Oh boy, that roof! A whole big mess was discovered when old rotten sheathing was coming off. Whoever built this thing actually NOTCHED a structural ridge beam to make it fit where he wanted it to fit. And the roof joists were made of scrap that was nailed and sistered together to make them “work” so now they’re broken and not doing what they are supposed to do (THAT’S why the house swayed on windy days!). And all the 2×4 exterior walls really need to be 2×6 walls. So there’s a structural nightmare going on.

Before finishing drywall, putting in the rest of the kitchen, or getting the toilet off 2x4s, we literally have to replace EVERY exterior wall and the entire roof, joists, beams and all, before the house is sound.

We already sunk over $50,000 into the house, but we may not have even scratched the surface. We had a serious sit down with our contractor, who said if it was his house, he’s tear it down at this point and start again. It’s rotten. We are living in a rotten house.

And that is our dilemma right now. Do we fix or do we raze? We think it’s a cool little house worth the effort to save, but we’re waiting on a number from our contractor. Or he might just run away screaming from it. I don’t even know if he would be interested in fixing everything that is wrong.

So right now there is no roof other than half rotten and half new sheathing on broken joists, a huge 10’x10′ hole in the front that is covered with house wrap, no heat, and we have to figure out how the hell we can stay here over the winter. Hey HGTV, do you need a new show? 🙂



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