You never really know what you’ve gotten yourself into with a remodel until the walls come down. Please note: I am not writing this post to scare you or discourage you from buying a fixer-upper or a rehab house… I am simply sharing my experience with you so you are aware of what can happen and can make educated decisions and budget accordingly.
Let’s start from the beginning:
The first thing that needs to be done if you are planning an extensive remodel is to consult with an architect or structural engineer and have some plans drawn up. This can cost anywhere from $500-several thousand dollars depending on how large your remodeling project is. These plans will become your blueprint…your road map that you will follow and that all future bids will be based on.
Our initial plan when we purchased the house to remodel was to:
1) open up the great room to the kitchen, 2) Remove the bedroom above the great room, 3) build an addition on the back of the house to extend the great room, 4) turn the current garage into a bedroom with a lake view 5) add a new garage to the front of the house, 6) repair the boat ramp, 7) remove all sheetrock, ceilings and insulation (my husband is extremely allergic to mold and could tell there was mold present the first time we viewed the house), 8) replace the original HVAC and, in the process, add HVAC to the upstairs, 9) update the electrical and plumbing if needed, 10) add another bathroom on main level, 11) re-insulate and re-sheetrock (including ceilings), 12) new flooring, 13) new windows, 14) new fireplace, and 15) new kitchen cabinets/island & appliances.
We had an initial budget of $100,000. We knew with our budget, we would be doing a lot of the work ourselves and we were ok with that. This home spoke to my heart, as I have shared from the very beginning and I would never leave the remodel work to others. That being said, there are always parts that need professionals.
Now its time to get your bids so you can figure out what you can afford and what stays on the “wish-list” of your home remodel.
Along with getting bids you have to apply for the necessary permits in your area. This usually consists of: submitting a copy of your blueprints, a survey (if adding a room addition) and a permit fee. Once your project is approved and a permit is issued, it must remain visible from the street until the project is complete.
We knew we were going to need to do the majority of the demo ourselves. Our plan of attack was to start in the kitchen. We removed all of the kitchen cabinets and put them in the unfinished basement until the remodel is finished. I won’t be able to reuse them in the kitchen due to the new kitchen layout but I am planning on using them in the game room or the garage for storage. Believe me, they will be used!
Look at the difference already! Removing the “pass-through” between the dining room and the kitchen really opened up the space.
The laundry room area with the closet, deep freezer, washer/dryer and make-shift cabinets removed. I was excited about this because it really opened up the space.
We moved on to removing the main floor carpet. Look what we found underneath. It is 2 layers of linoleum glued on top of Masonite. I had never heard of Masonite being used as sub-flooring but I guess it was common back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Here is the problem with masonite…it swells when it gets wet. Do you remember me telling you about the 16 leaks in the home??? The masonite had to be removed because it had gotten wet at some point and was blistered and swolen.
Next was drywall and insulation. I started in the great room. Using a sledgehammer, I poked holes between each wall stud and started pulling the sheetrock off. After sheetrock came insulation and then…
I feel like I need a sad face emoji every time I discover something bad. This my friends is…TERMITES!
Well that definitely needed to be addressed so I called an exterminator the previous homeowners had used to come out and look at the damage to see if the tracks were still live and luckily…they were not. The previous owners had treated the home for termites (which by the way was not included in the disclosures) and those boards were the remains of some of the old damage.
Next came the ceilings. Removing 40+ year old drywall, insulation and ceilings is not my favorite job and after finding the unexpected termite damage in the first wall…I didn’t know what to expect.
Big problem! I guess the plumbing was an afterthought when this house was built. It is all running straight through the main header boards. Yes… the boards that are suppose the be the main structure for the house have notch-outs everywhere. How does that happen? It’s called “NO INSPECTIONS”!
Here is another issue…NO JOIST HANGERS. Call me crazy but I am just not comfortable with the main support boards that are supporting the second floor being held up with a couple of nails.
Let’s head upstairs now…shall we?
We began by removing the carpet. The easiest way to do this was from the roof. 3 Teenage boys + 1 husband = a game of “lets throw the carpet off of the roof and see what happens” lol
Next came the paneling, drywall, insulation and ceilings upstairs.
Look what was under the paneling. LOL These are leftover pieces of drywall pieced together like a puzzle on the wall. WTH? That must have taken FOREVER.
Once the drywall and insulation came down upstairs, we found the biggest surprise of all… not only were there 4 roofs (2 roofs literally built with 2 x 12’s of top of the original roofs) but…there was not one top plate holding the roofs on. Our pics are #’s 1,2 and 3. The way it should be done is pic #4.
Once we began removing the poor roof construction, the side walls had nothing to support them and started falling like tinker toys. I will share those stories in my next post. Even a person who has remodeling and making the old beautiful again in their blood can only take so much at a time. I think we could all use a little laugh about now…
Did I tell you about the Fandelier in the first post??? What the heck? The funniest thing about this is the switch for the light was downstairs and the switch for the fan was upstairs. Really?
Needless to say, it’s gone and I have another bird feeder.
I promised to take you all on our journey of this lake house remodel with us so I recorded this short video after finding all of these unforeseen problems…
Some days are hard but the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer and as the sun starts to shine I too am renewed and ready for more challenges. I hope you will continue on this journey with us help us make some design decisions along the way. As you have seen this project is a big one and I need all the help I can get.
Each and everyone of you inspire me and I LOVE to see the work that you’ve created. Feel free to share with me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. And as always, be sure to follow Diva Of DIY on Pinterest and sign up for our FREE Newsletter to receive the latest projects delivered straight to your inbox!
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