The Fixer-Upper

This year, I purchased my first home. Being on a tight budget in a pricey (and wet) area made it a challenge. After a lot of looking, I found a house that met my oh-so-demanding requirements:

  • No rotting structural elements (or sinking foundations)
  • No flooding basement
  • No 100-year-old wiring
  • A roof that isn’t falling in
  • Having insulation
  • Insulated windows (Can you tell I’ve been living in an uninsulated 100 year old house?)
  • Not already eaten apart by termites

The quest finally ended with a sound little house that was a somewhat abused foreclosure. This is the way to get a low monthly payment. Also, the moment I crawled under the floor to see joists that were still like new, and foundations that had not moved in 27 years, I started to fall in love!

Old Carpet.

Old Carpet.

 

So began the saga, with ripping out disgustingly soiled stinking carpets and old abused baseboard heaters, and repairing plumbing leaks.

  1. There are no adequate word to describe how truly awful this old brown, filthy, urine-soaked carpet smelled and looked in real life. The previous tenants’ very large dog had watered it well. Then the empty house sat through the spring and summer heat, closed up.
  2. Febreze was applied to the entire house (to make it possible to work there without masks).
  3. This was followed up by generous application of white vinegar, scrubbed into the sub-floors with a broom. If you decide to take on such a task, it is important to determine what the sub-floors are made of in advance. In this case, I have plywood, which is much more clean-able and deodorize-able than chip-board or OSB. If you have those, you may need to replace the sub-floor. As the white vinegar evaporates, it takes odors with it. Truly amazing stuff. Note that heavily soiled areas may require multiple applications.

Myself and several able assistants (family and friends) have determined that removing this was enough to turn a person off of carpet forever. Trust me. The ongoing project is to install hardwood bamboo flooring throughout the entire house. Stay tuned for further updates!

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