Monday, March 20, 2017

Beginning repairs to the Old House

We took possession of the old house in October and got to spend our first two nights there over that weekend. Sprite went with us -- we found a care giver for the Diva and the Scout had to work.  A couple of weeks before the closing, DH and Sprite attended their moving sale and bought several needed pieces of furniture, so we had enough to be comfortable while starting the renovation work.

The first order of business was to remove the carpeting throughout the house. DH has asthma and the carpets had been in the house a long time, so they were very dusty. When we pulled them up, we found white oak hardwood floors. They are very pretty, but in need of repair and refinishing.

The floors have been sanded and refinished in the past, so I am researching how to repair and shine up the floors without sanding them.

Most of the carpeting came right up but in the east bedroom, the rubber backed pad stuck to the floor. It seems like it fused to the finish. I spent most of a day scraping and still only got up about a quarter of what you see here. This space is about 4 feet wide and 6 feet deep. I am still researching the most effective way to remove the rubber without completely ruining the finish.

We also have some broken pieces in the living room, but we have a plan for replacing those now using flooring from another part of the house. The floors will probably be one of the last things to get fixed.

Due to family obligations, we were not able to come back up to the house for another three weeks.  Before we left, however, we made arrangements with the sellers' son, who is a carpenter, to build an ADA compliant ramp to the front of the house so that we can bring the Diva inside. He did a great job and we are thrilled. This is the easiest of all the ramps we've had and he made it wide enough that I can make that turn without hitting the foot rests on the railing. We will stain it this summer to match the porch (which he also built.)

To make the house more comfortable and to give the Diva a place to rest while we work, we bartered for a used hospital bed. We bought a new mattress and side rails for it and brought up an extra side pad. For the time being, her "room" is a corner of the dining room until we sell our current home and can build her room.

Adding her own blankets, toys and supplies made it more homelike for her and she is quite content to play either in her wheelchair or in bed. She loves going up and down the ramp and bouncing down the gravel road to grandma's house.

For most of the winter, we didn't do much. We had the water pipes winterized in November and shut off the water and while we did come up a few times in December and January, there wasn't a lot we could do other than general cleaning.

The one thing we did do was begin contracting for repairs and talking to contractors to replace wiring and plumbing. A good friend of ours who came up to help with taking up carpeting expressed grave concern over the cracks in the foundation. We knew about the foundation was going to be an issue and decided it would be best to have it inspected.

You can really see how the wall is bowed in this picture.

We called two companies to come look at it and they were both pretty consistent on what was wrong with the foundation. Not only were there cracks, but the east wall was significantly bowed inward and the north and west walls were bowed in slightly. Both companies recommended stabilizing the foundation as well as installing a sump pump system that would pull the water away from the house. One company also recommended adding a steel beam under the house to further stabilize the sagging floors (made completely obvious by the kids' newfound game of riding a desk chair from one end of the house to the other). We opted to hire that company as their reputation was pretty solid and their warranty backed by a national company. They completed the work in February and we are happy with the work they did. I will write about that in another post.

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