Friday, March 18, 2016

Hidden Secrets

One of the problems with "demo" is that you often find hidden secrets - things the original builder did which you don't know about.  You see it all the time on renovation shows like Property Brothers and Fixer Upper.  Those hidden "gems" usually mean more work and more bucks.

And so it is with the front porch.  The burning question we had was "What is under there?"  We couldn't let it go.  So we stuck a camera in the little hole we created and we got an answer.

Now even with my limited knowledge of construction techniques, I knew this wasn't good news.  This HUGE slab of concrete was sitting on cinder blocks (they are not really supposed to be vertical!) and brick and wood.  NO WAY was this going to pass inspection and the guys at the city confirmed it.

So the simple "pour a new slab" became take it down, pour proper footings, and build a new front porch.  Cha-ching!

We had to get rid of the whole thing!  And that one little hole took HOURS with a jackhammer.  So we did what we rarely do - hired a contractor to do the demo.  (So much for "demo is free"!)

So on a Saturday morning the guy shows up with a bob-cat and a dump truck and goes to work.  This slab is VERY stubborn and very heavy and after some initial success with the planter and the sidewalk, disaster strikes.  The bob-cat breaks and none of the places that sell a replacement part is open.  Okay - well he can take what was removed to the dump and come back Monday and finish.  BUT - the ground is wet and the dump truck is stuck in our front yard!  Even dumping the load doesn't help.  And it has been there all week!

And of course the porch is still there too.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Well it is time for another project at the old homestead. Hard to believe I've been living here almost 4 years.  Just last week, Facebook kindly reminded me that three years ago we were doing our bedroom renovation.

Last spring, we replaced all the windows.  Had a professional installation.  I love our new windows.

We added the new shutters too.

So this year we decided to tackle the front porch.  It is in need of a makeover because

  1. it slopes towards the house instead of away
  2. it is UGLY!!! 
I've always hated the railing and the steps to nowhere never made any sense.

So the plan is to close that side of and square off the planter.  I kind of like planter.  We are going to tear up the terracotta-ish tile top on the porch.  It too is ugly.  We really aren't sure what is under that tile monstrosity.  I guess we will find out.   

We are going to pour a simple slab.  New railings, new front door, and maybe some Adirondack chairs.  

The railing?  That is still under debate.  Might come down to budget.

Option one - The budget friendly choice

Troy's choice - but I think it is a bit to fancy for our house and all those little inserts are pricey.

My choice - wider pickets and clean lines.