Saturday, June 10, 2006

And we're off

My house was built in 1890. The most recent refurbishment was 2004.
Ok, it wasn't so much a refurbishment as a "just slap some sheetrock over it and hope it holds until it's sold. This includes termite damage, water damage, and brickwork that desperately needs to be repointed or replaced. The various termite inspectors and handymen who have come through the house since I moved in said that I was right to do my own inspection. The only way to find something was wrong was to rip out the walls.
So about a month ago I did that. I'd been meaning to, but something motivated me to do it RIGHT NOW.
See, the back wall of the house is brick covered in cement. But the cement had pulled away and even broken off in a few places. The refurbishment involved replacing where it had come off, but not where it had come loose. Then they cemented around the hole for the window and put in the window. In that order. So when water got under the loose cement it was channeled straight into the kitchen. Last summer I got out there and broke up that cement channel and caulked around the window. But a month ago I discovered that there were other places the water was getting through, hitting the edge of the window, and then using the angle bracket lining the area above the window to channel the water across the whole window. I had a lovely waterfall with lots of water damage and all kinds of termite damage. The waterfall was what prompted me to rip out the wall.
I talked to the neighbors to get a handyman who they trusted. He said he could repoint the brick and fix the whole thing cheap and easy and give me a 1 year guarantee.
"No." I said. "I could repoint the brick. I want the wall replaced."
"You know what that's gonna cost."
"I have an idea. You'll have to give me the exact numbers."
"You'll have to move out while the wall is gone."
"That's my problem."
See, there's two layers of brick. The outer layer looks good except for the mortar like beach sand. The inner layer is crumbling and has large gaps in it. It stops short of the window by about a foot. Besides it's 115 year old wall that has served well up until now. And he can only guarantee me 1 year if he takes the easy route.
The plan is to move me out, he takes down the wall, builds a wall of 2x6es in it's place and puts up a brick facade. I'll put some good insulation in, run some wires, install a roof antenna, and get a telephone downstairs. He'll leave a hole for crawl space access and put a door up on the second floor so I'll eventually be able to add a deck up there.

I say "we're off" because I've ordered a POD. It'll show up on the 24th and I'll have a week to load it up. Then Gandolf and I skip town and leave them to their work. The problem is that their work will last 2.5-3 weeks my trip back to Kansas will only be a week. So I'll be camping out in the office for the remaining time and my parrot will be camping with me.

No comments: