The House Strikes Back

Our Homeownership Saga

Category: Repairs

Finishing the Porch

The floor before painting

More of the floor before

So you may remember that last summer I had started the project of refinishing the porch floor. That didn’t get much further then removing some paint last summer. So we worked hard to get it ready for this summer’s enjoyment beginning in the spring. End of April or beginning of May (somewhere around there) we finished removing the paint from the floor and filled in some holes that had formed near the door. Then we painted the whole floor with a good porch floor paint. Just that made a world of difference to the feel of the space. But we had many more plans. (more…)

Yard Waste

Since the house we bought was one that had gone into foreclosure, the yard had sat for months without any real work being done to it. A company seemed to mow the lawn, but they did as little as possible to get the job done. We went through and trimmed back lots of the bushes to make the yard seem larger. At the same time we wanted to clean out all of the weeds and small trees that had taken over the area by the side of the house. It took a few days shoveling and raking everything out of there, but it ended up looking fairly good.


Backyard Garden

When we first moved in, there were two “gardens” set up in the yard.  The garden in the front yard is surrounded by stones and we plan on keeping it the way it is for now.  While the garden toward the backyard was surrounded by planks of wood with some cheap wire fencing stapled around it.  We had decided right away that it had to go since it made the yard seem a lot smaller by being in the way.

Backyard Garden Fence

Backyard Garden Fence Removed

As you can see, it had been overrun with weeds for awhile.  It took a bit to tear the stakes out of the ground, but it all came out in one piece.  The wood was torn apart and we took a weed-whacker to all of the overgrowth.  The area still has a lot of weeds that we will do more with next year along with the rest of the “grass” in the yard.

The Porch

The porch floor has obviously been painted a few times and has started to show it’s age. The areas nearest the windows are peeling and many areas are down to bare wood. It really needs to be taken back down to bare wood throughout and re-painted. This was one of the projects around the house that I really wanted to work on at the beginning of the summer so we could enjoy it. However, many other projects came up and this one got pushed aside. I have worked on it off and on over the summer, slowly chiseling paint off. I think there are at least 2 colors and a layer of varnish on there currently. After probably a good 6 hours of working on it, I’m about half done taking the paint off. I’m thinking at this point I will try to sand the edges to smooth them out and paint over what I can’t remove. It seems to really want to stay on there in some spots.

So at some point when we have good weather and a fresh can of porch floor paint, we will finally have a beautiful floor in there. Maybe I’ll paint the walls in there too. I’m not a liking the dirty blue color much. Any color suggestions?

(the pictures are from before I removed a lot of it, so I’ll try to get an updated picture on here soon)

shows how much has come off on its own

close up of the area near the windows

Water Heater Discharge Pipe

One of the simplest repairs we had to complete for the city inspection, was the lack of a discharge pipe connected to the pressure relief valve on the water heater.  We went around to a few hardware stores and there were a few different styles and prices.  We only needed the cheapest one for a few dollars.  It consisted of cutting the pipe to the right length and then screwing it into the relief valve.  Pretty simple.  Here is a before and after.

Water Heater Before Pipe

Water Heater After Pipe

The pipe is really only there so if the relief valve opens, the scalding hot water will spray towards the ground instead of everywhere around chest height.

Water Heater

It all started when I was in the basement and I decided to get a better look at the water heater, so in the future if anything went wrong I would have a better idea of what to do.  I started by reading through all of the warning and procedures and then took off the cover for the burner.  I looked inside to see no pilot light.  This seemed odd since I thought we had hot water, I figured it must have just gone out.  I follow all of the steps for lighting the pilot light and it went right away and worked.  I figured it must have been some sort of fluke and thought nothing of it.


Porch Window Install

Our porch has a combination of fixed windows and panels of screen. There are 2 large windows on each of the short sides and screen on all the rest. When we bought the place, one of the panes of glass was completely missing from a lower window. This wasn’t much of an immediate concern as we hadn’t had much occasion to use the porch thus far. But with the middle of summer approaching, we thought it would be nice to be able to leave the front door open without fear of an adventurous cat leaping out the window.


Helping The Stairs – Part 1

Just let me sleep, it is too hot to move.

Apparently, today is too hot out to do any work, says the cat.

We decided something needed to be done with the stairs.  They were still in fairly good condition, but they were quite wobbly at times.  Upon further inspection, the piece of plywood that held the stairs to the house was falling apart in many places and after the heavy rains we just had, most of it was just mush that pealed off of the house.


A Much Overdue Welcome!

Before we even bought this house, we had planned to have a blog that would let everyone see what we were up to. We had the name picked out well before closing day. We had the website purchased within a few days of closing. We have over 5 GB of pictures from everything we have done so far. And, I’m saddened to say, we are very behind on sharing it with all of you.

My plan is add a few new entries every week. I have enough material to keep that going for a long time. I had hoped to be adding all of it as the projects were being completed but life got crazy and that didn’t happen. But its all news to you guys, so it’s not really a big deal.

For those of you who haven’t see our house yet, I will be adding plenty of pictures of the interior and exterior, along with, for you design junkies, what my color schemes are.

There are many posts on the main page here for your reading pleasure. But also check out the projects page for some of our current and future projects (link up top or on the side).

I hope you enjoy what you read and continue checking back! Please feel free to comment, we’d love the feedback!

A small teaser of what is still to come on this blog:

  • How we got our arcade machine and washer/dryer in the house (they were a challenge)
  • The gross state of the kitchen floor before I cleaned it
  • New and improved kitchen sink strainers
  • The story of why adding gutters to the north side of the house is so important
  • Some updates on the re-finishing of the porch floor
  • Our many new IKEA purchases and what we did with them
  • Some of our landscaping projects

Closing Day Celebration & Discovery

The night of May 7, both Marc’s and my immediate family got together for a BBQ. It was pretty fun but I feel could have been better had it not been 45 degrees outside. Cold weather does not make for a good BBQ and as such we ended up spending a lot of time indoors. Obviously if its 45 degrees outside, then inside will be chilly too. So we kicked on our furnace to heat things up, only to discover that it seemed to need to start up quite frequently. Upon further investigation we found a very disgusting and extremely clogged furnace filter. Not only was it well past its replacement time but it was also starting to fall apart. (see pictures for full appreciation). So as you can guess, our first house purchase was new filters for the furnace.

Furnace Filter 1Furnace Filter 2Furnace Filter 3