I spent a little time out in the side porch this weekend for the first time since Mr. Scout and I did insulation work. It was just too disheartening to be out there, really. I’ve wanted to get out there and clean up the mess we left behind for a couple of weeks now, and I took advantage of a little time while Finn was down for a late nap to organize my thoughts.

After I’d swept up the piles of leftover insulation, stacked the blankets we swapped out, and moved tools around, things looked a little better in the light. I made the decision to push ahead with the renovation this year, and now that Finn is considering potty training, it would be great to have a bathroom on the first floor again. What’s been holding us up is the complicated jigsaw-puzzle nature of renovations in our house, where one thing is usually precluded by five other things that need to happen first. In this case, we’ve been waiting for the money to have expensive plumbing work done. It goes something like this:

  1. Buy a 4-door car.
  2. Insulate the front porch ceiling.
  3. Figure out why the porch isn’t retaining heat before closing it in.
  4. Come up with a finalized plan for the second-floor master bathroom.
  5. Gut the atrium on the second floor.
  6. Pull up the floors in the atrium to expose the joists.
  7. Route plumbing supply and drains to the atrium (second floor) in prep for a new bathroom.
  8. Realign the toilet and sink waste and supply lines on the first floor (turn the toilet 90°, possibly move the sink back).
  9. Run a new vent pipe through the wall and out the roof (remove the old cast-iron on the side of the house).
  10. Sister new joists on the second floor to level and reinforce the floor.
  11. Install new windows in the first floor bathroom and den.
  12. Install a newer, wider porch door off the den.
  13. Run electric into the den and bathroom (plugs, can lights)
  14. Level the den floor?
  15. Sheetrock the den and bathroom.
  16. Put up kneewalls and insulate under the den in the coal cellar.
  17. Insulate the atrium in preparation for winter.

Admittedly, some of this stuff can happen out of order. The windows for the bathroom and den can be installed at pretty much any time up until sheetrock. I’ve waited on some things, like gutting the atrium, because I didn’t want to get things started, stall out, and let critical things like heating pipes freeze over the winter (and after this winter, I’m glad I showed some restraint). All of this will cost money, but the big-ticket item holding us back right now is the plumbing work. The ballpark I was given was in the $3500 range, which is cash we don’t have right now. And that doesn’t include the cost of a dumpster to gut the atrium, which is what has to happen before the plumbers can come in.

Some places I can save a little money and/or time are:

  • Buy a set of windows at Second Chance, where there are overruns, returns, and other donated windows available at discount pricing
  • Buy an exterior door from the same place
  • Avoid gutting the entire atrium for now, and just doing the floor and section of the exterior wall in order to concentrate on the lower half
  • Reuse some of the blanket insulation left over from the porch
  • Obviously, do as much as I can by myself.

So I’m looking at an all-in scenario here, where a lot of things have to happen by the end of fall to avoid catastrophe (frozen pipes, higher energy bills, etc.) but I have to wait on any major demolition until after we have our taxes done to see if we’ve got to pay out or if we’re going to be keeping anything. And, of course, we have to wait for the snow to melt off before we can get a Dumpster in the driveway.

Date posted: February 22, 2010 | Filed under house, porch | Leave a Comment »

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