Weekend DYI and 2017 Home Maintenance

Weekend DIY

There are days when we like our old home (built ~1901-1910). Nothing is straight, nice high ceilings, beautiful large windows (ok, these were added later, but still). The house also make noise when the wind blows and there is some differential settlement (i.e. the house tilts a bit). Very nostalgic.

Weekend DYI and 2017 Home Maintenance
Weekend DYI and 2017 Home Maintenance

But last weekend there was a bit of reflection on all this emotional “wealth”. Mrs. CF and Miss CF went to grandma to make cakes and I finally had the time to start on some of the issues that need inspection, maintenance or repairs. And boy, do you find a lot of (hidden) stuff when you get going….

DYI Stuff

  • Today I’ve cleaned gutters and removed some rubble. Just to find that our neighbours need to seriously start looking at their roof (fortunately not my problem, but did inform them to have a look). However our own gutters also need some work done in the next couple of years (this was known already);
  • I’ve finally replaced the rain cover on the central heating unit vent. The old one was blown off in a storm a while back and I had installed an improvised temporary cover (made from a tin can with holes to limit rain from entering the exhaust vent), so I would have time to find a replacement part. Guess what, no longer available (went to 4 DIY stores)…even the original supplier did not have any (they did quote me a whole new vent system….yeah, right). So I had to be a bit creative and modified the vent to accommodate a different model rain cover, with success! I was very proud of myself 😉
  • The thermostat-controlled tap in the bathroom was not working properly and appeared to be leaking (streaks of calcium carbonate). The shower head was also loose and needed to be re-fixed to the wall. So took everything down, removed staining from calcium carbonate, to find out that I had to completely disassemble the thermostat-controlled tap including wall connections (which is where the leaks were). Reassembled, to find that it was till leaking…but now at the washers. Drove to the local building supply store to get new washers, disassembled/reassembled the whole thing again, but this time successfully! Finished with a bit of caulking, as this was not done at the water lines coming out of the wall (during the home inspection elevated moisture levels were detected in the wall, so this should be fixed now too);
  • We also had another leaking radiator, but this seems to have stopped leaking after we opened and closed various venting and closing systems a couple of times. Need to keep an eye out.

Cost for today: ~€10 (washers, kit and hemp) and too many hours of labour… but at least I learned a couple of new things.

Weekend DYI and 2017 Home Maintenance
Weekend DYI and 2017 Home Maintenance

2017 Home Maintenance

Other items that need work in the coming year:

  • Replacement of two sets of window frames. (Completely rotten, was known at time of the purchase, the new ones are already painted and we also already have the glass). This will be two days of installations and painting. Will need a contractor to help out with this due to weight and access.
  • Finishing trim around newly installed flat bituminous roof (will be done by a contractor).
  • I’d already repaired the design radiator in the bathroom, or so I thought I did. Turns out it’s still leaking and will need another go at removing rust, adding hemp fibre/kit to seal and spray paint to finish… more work, yeah!
  • Painting of most windows and doors. Was done with environmentally friendly linseed paint, nice mat finish, but some spots need fixing as it was not applied properly the first time around. This stuff should last long (~15 years) and is completely non-toxic. But needs to be rubbed in linseed oil every now and then. So you pretty much have to do all windows and doors….
  • Several km of caulking upstairs and in the bathrooms…lovely
  • Local roof repair to mitigate a small leak somewhere. Think I have it nailed down where the source is, but will need contractor to help me out as it’s inaccessible for me.
  • Upstairs still needs some doorframes painted, moulding placed and wall’s touched up (this may turn into 2018…)

Are we done yet?

Nope, still considering installing noise insulation, as we currently only have newly installed heat insulation. Considering we are living close to a local road, and there are lots of “wild” chickens around (read: about 8 Roosters….sigh). This extra sound insulation is really beneficial for you sleep.

Also need to replace and enlarge the kitchen. This will be a major reno and will likely take about 6 weeks to complete and cost around €25.000-30.000 when done with a contractor. Still trying to figure out how we are going to attack this one…

What’s really ironic here is that I left a comment here (in Dutch) where I noted that we usually get a contractor in to do the works. You know, because we are too busy with work, life, kid, etc. But now I’m starting to try to do most myself, I keep surprising Mrs. CF  🙂 Time is still an issue though.

How about you? How are your DIY skills? Do you balance between doing stuff yourself and hiring a contractor, or are you hardcore?


    1. I started out the same, but over the years I’ve gradually introduced myself to bigger projects. It’s starting to show 🙂 But I still have a lot to learn!

  1. That’s quite a maintenance schedule! I think in principle your approach is as optimal as it can be. Possibly leaning a little heavily towards DIY, given your current work/family situation. I say this from a very similar place. Making time to work through the backlog of tasks is quite a challenge.

    Our strategy is to acquire apartments in (relatively) new buildings yet still located in or adjacent to the old town. The idea is to still get the charm and other benefits of Dutch inner urban living, whilst avoiding maintenance and repair overheads inherent with older buildings.

    Granted though, old Dutch houses are so charming and enticing, I can’t rule out owning one, some day. But not until I have more free time and plenty of budget allocated for contractors.

    1. It’s a lot of work, but we have a whole year to do it all. And some of these works can be done next year too, would just like to get “urgent” ones out of the way this year.
      We are actually looking more into condo’s/apartments for the maintenance/repair reason (cash flow also more stable, but lower…). But this also means more homework as you have to thoroughly check out the VvE (home owner association, for the non-Dutch). Have actually found a few that could be interesting.

  2. Hi Mr CF,
    Well done on all this DIY work. I have a lot of respect for such capabilities. I typically get annoyed assembling IKEA closets and after I am done I have parts over or too few screws or something like that. I think that sums up my DIY skills pretty well actually. Maybe my screen name ‘Builder’ was not chosen very wisely now that I think of it. Anyways, I hope I am better at building dividend income as opposed to building a house 🙂
    In our case, we rent. So, there is not much DIY. When something is broken we call the landlord to fix it.

    1. Thanks DIB! Since we are landlords some DIY skills do help our income, simply because it saves money spend on contractors. But I have to admit, being a renter has some serious perks!
      Got to admit that is some ironie in your name 😉 Good luck building dividends, that’s much simpler.

    1. We normally calculate the same way, but considering the cost of a good contractor is about €35-45/h. It quickly turns into me being much cheaper….

  3. O yes, the joys of home ownership!
    We usually go the contracting route except painting and small repairs. For acquiring new skills I limit myself to stuff I either enjoy, is repeatable (like small car maintenance) or scalable. Learning a new skill for something, I only need to do once in my lifetime (like putting down new floors, or installing a new kitchen) is not worth the effort in my book (but then again, I am a big sloth …).

    1. If you want to do some of your own management on real estate, these skills do come in handy more than once. I see it as free learning, with my buddy youtube.
      But for some stuff, a contractor is just so much easier (because they have the skills and gear…)

  4. Good job! Our diy is limited to painting and small repairs.
    Also, I do not touch electricity… Not a big fan.
    Upcoming this summer: renew all the paint on the wooden windows a d external doors and redirect 2 gutters to align with some new regulations. Planned for the first week of my month of father leave…

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