80. How do you remodel a house?

  1. Obtain a house.
  2. Assess your house and try to figure out what needs to be changed and what you would like to be changed.
  3. Try to find professionals to help you.
  4. No one returns your messages/calls/requests for help.
  5. You realize that you’re going to have to do it yourself.
  6. Study building codes and download Sweet Home 3D and spend months studying and figuring out how to do your own building permits.
  7. Clean out your home from everything that previous owners left/start demoing things that need to go.
  8. Fix the water system in the house (or whatever pressing project needs to get done even before you get a permit).
  9. Submit building permits.
  10. Be incredibly surprised when you are actually issued a building permit.
  11. Work on sealing out the home from the outside elements by building any necessary exterior walls. (This may require months of digging out footings with a jackhammer and shovel)
  12. Move into the house full-time right before you need to take the roof off (or do something else that seems incredibly odd in hindsight).
  13. After finishing exterior walls, put a new roof on the house if required.
  14. Make sure your land is graded properly.
  15. Finish out exterior such as windows and doors and siding and all of that.
  16. While you are working on the exterior, also start working on the interior as well. Start with demoing anything necessary (including things like a squirrel nest) and then framing in any new walls.
  17. Update electrical and plumbing as needed.
  18. While doing the plumbing, halfway renovate your bathroom.
  19. Update HVAC systems.
  20. Get a 4-way inspection.

Well, I don’t know if I can go any further, because we haven’t even finished that much. And it’s taken over two years. It will take more time and money than you think (my budget has actually been quite accurate, but I was trying to estimate high).

When we finish all of that, we’ll go on to kitchen, flooring, insulation, sheetrock, and painting/finishing, not necessarily in that order, because we’re making it up as we go. We haven’t gone in the right order for a lot of things, because we are living in the house, and we’ve had to make it livable along the way. This takes up a lot more time, but it is a lot cheaper.

We’ve only hired people do our garage doors and some of our doors/windows. We also need to hire an electrician for a bit of the electrical. The rest we have worked on ourselves.

Sometimes I get really discouraged. But sometimes I don’t think renovation is that bad at all, if you take it slow and steady, though sometimes we’ve just been slow and not very steady.

There are mistakes we’ve made that I have to live with. We’d do things different if we did it again–this is our first renovation, and no matter how much we study and try to do it right, we overlook important details and make mistakes. Sometimes we just figure things out by ourselves–while there are lots of YouTube videos, there are certain things about our house that are incredibly unique. Like the spring water coming up in our laundry room that we pump out and use for our house.

But I’ve always wanted to renovate a house. And for the most part, I’ve loved it.

How it looked before we got started
What it looks like after almost two years of work. We still need to work on the deck and the crumbling hillside.

2 comments

  1. You are doing an amazing job. Even more amazing when you leave your project and go help someone else with theirs. That is true love and service.

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