Thursday, July 12, 2012

Infrastructure is Expensive.....but Necessary. Or Why I Can't Spend More of Our Budget on the Fancy Stuff!

'Congratulations, you win the prize' is what Steve our electrician told me.  Now, you know that can't be good..... and sure enough, it was the prize for the most corroded electrical panel they'd seen in a long, long time.  Water had been running through the thimble, bringing water into the box for years - leaving a rusty mess.  But this week, the power company turned off power and the team from Elldee Associates Electric installed all new service.

Now, would I rather be spending our improvement budget on sexy appliances or exotic plumbing fixtures?  Absolutely, but if we don't get all the stuff that goes behind the walls right, this house won't be safe for its new owners.

So, here's where a big chunk of our budget went:

-  New electrical service and all new wiring for the new kitchen and baths.  And while grounded outlets don't seem exciting, when the new owners go to plug in their 3 prong outlets for their computers and tv, they'll be glad to have them!

-  A french drain in the basement.  We had record breaking rain in June, which quickly resulted in big puddles in the basement - particularly in an odd concrete trench that was in the back of the basement (Which, by the way, we've all stepping in at some point and gotten wet up to our ankles).  The 'crackologists' from Concrete Rx came out and dug a trench around the entire basement. filled it with drainage pipes and crushed stone, installed 'dimple board' on the walls to catch any new water, and put a sump pump in the corner to whisk it all away.  It's a big job and a big budget item.  But it's guaranteed to keep the basement dry for 25 years!

Crackologists at work
Dimple Board is so cool!

-  Plumbing!  Lots and lots of plumbing, because Dominic from Succhinis Plumbing & Heating has replaced virtually every bit of plumbing in the house as he helped create two new bathrooms and moved the laundry from the basement to the 2nd floor.  We're also doing upgrades to the heating system as we try to convert from oil to gas.  That's introducing some logistical challenges that we're trying to work through.
Dominic and Richard Surveying the Heating System

So, all this behind the floors and ceilings work isn't something that a future buyer will notice as they walk in the door, but it will result in a huge improvement to safety and functionality!

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  1. I would notice all the work behind the floors and ceilings. BELIEVE ME. As soon as I stepped on the property I would start noticing. Having suffered through the purchase of the opposite? I WOULD NOTICE. As would, I am sure, many, many, many others. Who cares about sexy appliances or exotic fixtures? :) Too many times those are used a 'distraction' and idiots buy into in not considering what is put together with spit and bubble gum behind the walls. PS - Thanks for considering the gas conversion... I know you won't regret it if it can/does happen. ;)

  2. Thanks for the note Deanne. It gave me a chuckle. I think all of us that have bought a house with issues have learned from it and are much more cautious the next time around!

    We're still waiting on the gas company to get back with us. Evidently we have a smallish main on the street and they need their engineering department to figure out what is possible. So we're trying to be patient - which isn't one of my better skills!


  3. It's great to see you spending the time and money to do the renovations right. Quality renovations will give you a good reputation and will lead to eager buyers. Thanks for showing the "dimple board" and talking about the water proofing in the basement. Lots and lots of old houses here in Atlanta have leaky basements that can be fixed. And thanks for blogging the "unsexy" behind the scenes stuff.

    1. We lived in a house with a wet basement many years ago and after about 4 years we got it fixed. We couldn't believe what a difference it made! The whole house got nicer over night - no more musty old house smell! It's an expensive process, but worth every penny!

      Thanks for commenting! Laurel


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