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.
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….
- 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.
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?