After ten years of renovating this house and countless years on others, I should know a thing or two about renovations. Thursday evening probably around 11 pm, I sat in my comfy spot in the living room, lulled by the sound of rain. But the rain sounded louder than usual and that’s when I realized it was raining IN my sunroom. I mean RAINING from the ceiling, down the walls, everywhere. The renovation is directly above that room and the contractor failed to “secure” the room before leaving that day. This quickly became in lesson in how not to do a renovation.
I ran upstairs, shouting rain, rain (expletive), rain, rain (another choice expletive), rain! Mr. F&F stumbled out of bed and began mopping the new bath area which was pooling with water and rushing into the old part of the house over the sunroom. It was a sight to behold, but eventually we sopped up what was there and Mr. F&F handily created a “dam” and tarped it, preventing further rain from pouring in. All I could imagine was us in bed (not what you’re thinking), asleep (silly people), and not hearing the rain downstairs. The damage would have been exponentially worse the next morning had Mr. F&F not stopped this. But this is what we get to look at now, thanks to a remediation service that came on Friday.
Anyway, all is well and thankfully no ceilings or walls will have to be removed. They are drying well, according to the “moisture meters” today. Though Mr. F&F suspects these meters to be voodoo machines. Still makes me feel better. Some things to consider when renovating or…
How Not to do a Renovation:
- Make sure contractor tarps/secures/protects your renovation, especially if it impacts your roofline and connects to your house. We don’t care what the weatherman says…we can’t predict mother nature.
- Make sure your contractor has insurance to cover this. Ours did not but, in his defense, we hired him out of retirement to do this for us. He still has contractor’s license but his insurance had lapsed. Our house insurance deductible is insanely high, so we aren’t claiming. And the total remediation cost is $650 (before we repaint and other minor things the contractor will need to repair down the road). It could have been worse…thousands…so CONTRACTOR INSURANCE A MUST.
- Working without formal architectural plans seems fine for a designer, but there are a lot of decisions to make on-the-fly. Even with plans, we’ve run into stuff every time we’ve opened walls in this 1925 house but it ain’t for the faint of heart. My heart is not in this one and Mr. F&F is running with a lot of it…which means I have to relinquish control. Some control. Not that I’m a control freak or anything.
- Ask questions of your contractor…you can’t be obnoxious enough. You are paying for this, so ask.
- Protect the rest of the house, live in that area, forget the renovation in the other part, and try to live normally even while this is going on. I’ve got twenty-five 17-year-olds in the house tonight and fifty 13-year-olds on Thursday. Life goes on, right?
- Finally, remember that, despite small disasters (hopefully not big), you are getting a wonderful new space in the end
Go forth and renovate!