Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home Improvements

OK, I give. I can’t wait to be done with the home improvements. When we bought the house in May, we had a list of repairs and renovations that needed to get done. The two biggest jobs were the roof and the deck. If you read my blog over the summer (and into the fall) you hear all about the roof saga. Now we are in the midst of the deck repair. We planned to save money by doing it ourselves, but Ron is not as young as he used to be (surprise), I don’t have the biceps I had as a stage carpenter, and Sudi is in school (has limited time) and has no carpentry experience. Replacing a 1300 square foot deck is quite a project. So we hired a wonderful contracting firm to do some of the work and provide consultation. You would think that you wouldn’t need a permit to replace an existing structure with a structure of the same size, but bureaucracy rules. Ron had to submit the drawings and apply for a permit from the county (which we got).

Our contractor sent a couple of young men with good backs and knees to take out the old deck, which they accomplished in less than a day and a half. Ron, Sudi, and I put the bad wood into a dumpster (with the help of our friend Calvin) and then Sudi and I removed the nails and screws from the old Redwood decking. Then we hired the contractor to have his young men treat the Redwood with an icky smelling chemical to prevent fungus and they reused that good wood in the framing for the new deck. We paid them to frame it in, including the stairs. Next Ron, Sudi, and I will lay the new decking on the frame and then Ron will build the railings.

After we had the house inspected and before we bought it, we got estimates on having a contractor do all the work to replace the deck. (Not the contractor we wound up hiring, but a couple of other ones.) Based on the estimates we saw at that time, we will probably manage to replace the deck for half the price of having a contractor do the whole thing. The contractor we did hire to help us out is wonderful (we have made a new friend). He and his crew did a great job. I am not looking forward to having them leave and finishing up on our own, but can’t afford to pay them to do much more than they have already done.

Last week afforded me a moment of amusement in the midst of the sawdust and chaos. Ron came home from work on Tuesday and sat down in front of the TV to relax. Meanwhile, the contractor’s crew was out in back working on the framing. I came in from the grocery store to find a full crew of four guys out back building our deck while my darling husband watched reruns of Tim Allen’s Home Improvements on the TV. Isn’t there something wrong with that picture?

Stay tuned, new deck soon to come. Watch this space.

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