I have hinted for the last few weeks that Lee and I are working on a massive project. No, this is not a new home for our family, but this is a new project. I don’t know if I ever told you this but my husband is a home renovator. This DIY journey, which started with our house, has turned into a career for my hubby. We have renovated a few homes on our own and then he worked with a contracting company to learn the trade and process. I will help, but I do have a full-time job so I don’t get to be there all day like he does. On this particular project, I get to make all the decisions…which is not always the case. Many projects we will do from start to finish and others we will contract out. This is one of those projects that we will contract out some of the larger projects. Here is the house from the front before we did anything to it.
have had so many ideas to change up the exterior of this home. I would love to completely change the siding to grey but I knew that the bulk of out exterior budget would go to making a concrete driveway and new garage door. We have a strict budget and the driveway was a necessity, not the siding. We did budget a little for the updates to the exterior besides the walkway and doors. Lee asked me what I thought we should do to brighten this puppy up. The first thing that came out of my mouth is the railings on the deck have to go. The enclosed deck was making the front of the house look dark. The solution was to build a few steps across the entire deck. We first had to check with the city to see what was code. We didn’t want to put a railing, and since we were only adding three steps we didn’t need a railing. If you have a project with steps, always check with the city before you begin to see what is code. You don’t want to demo and then be told you can’t. We got a big, fat “yes” to our plans, so we got rid of the rails. Lee snapped a chalk line and cut off part of the deck with a circular saw.
It would have been cheaper to build the steps and then lay the concrete walkway. In building the steps first, you wouldn’t have to lay a large concrete walkway. Sometimes cheaper isn’t always better. You have to remind yourself this, if you are like me, a person who always like to do thing on “the cheap”. It is better to lay the concrete walkway to go under the steps as well. Why? When you lay concrete you have to slope it slightly away from the house to keep rain and moisture from going into your basement/crawlspace. Water will go through your deck and going under the steps eliminates
mud and moisture trapped under your steps eroding into your crawlspace or basement. The cost was only a couple hundred dollars more. A couple hundred dollars is a lot to me, but when you compare it to the thousands you will spend fixing water damage to a basement or crawl space then it doesn’t seem so bad. If we were paving the walkway, we would have paved it under the deck as well. Here is the house right before the concrete was laid.
Here is the concrete company laying the concrete.
We also contracted someone to build the deck. When you renovate a home to see you are on a time frame. The more you hold onto something the more money you spend. If this were our home and had time we would’ve done this ourselves. There will be many projects in this house that we will do, but in a home flip saving time is just as important as saving money. In some projects, when its all said and viagra 100mg done, saving time will save you more than the money you saved with DIY. Lee always is learning and even helped the contracted deck builder. The goal is to always learn, and we will be more confident if we try this project on our own someday.
You can see that we just added to the existing deck. When you do these things you can see the history of the home. The existing deck was built right over a concrete porch. I am guessing there once was a steps on top of that concrete porch in front of the front door.
Here is the finished deck, without stain. Can’t you just imagine a few rocking chairs or a cute bench on the front porch? It makes me want a glass of lemonade right now. Except that it would freeze to my hands if I drank it on the porch this time of year.
I know the sidewalk ends weirdly. There is a definite story about that I will share, but remember we have just begun…we have plans. You are seeing step 10 out of 100. For a fun game you can scroll up or down to see the before picture. What else is different besides the concrete walkway?
I love a good before and after. Here is the house before any changes.
I think it really opened the front of the house and made it brighter.
We will stain the deck. Actually, that is my job in the next couple of weekends.
My hope is that during this entire process you can not only see what we do, but see our mentality as we renovate a home. If you are not a DIYer but are renovating your home, you will see how we work with subcontractors and make decisions. If you are an avid home DIYer…don’t worry, there are LOTS of DIY projects instore for you to see and hopefully inspire you. We are not experts, but we want to share our experiences with you. We have learned many lessons through this process. Some of you DIYers might be contemplating renovating a home to sell. One lesson we have learned so far is that you can’t approach a “flip” like you approach projects in your own home. When I throw out an idea Lee sometimes says kindly,”Save it for our next home.” Its his way of saying “we can’t afford to do that but I like your idea.” I will share more of other lessons we have learned..or are learning as we go along this process.