Monday, April 12, 2010

Enjoying getting back into practice

For the past week I have been doing my own rehab work on a real estate investment property. It just had too many cosmetic and minor electrical issues for most buyers. The obvious electrical issues were switch and receptacle boxes recessed behind newer drywall so that it was impossible to attach cover plates and a few lights that were slow to come on when the switch was thrown. Cosmetic issues were ugly drywall taping, no or poorly installed trim, poorly installed carpeting and a really ugly drop ceiling in the kitchen.

It has been almost ten years since I have done any real construction work but I wanted to tackle as much of this project as possible myself to keep expenses down and try to salvage a small profit. I started with the best bedroom which needed mostly drywall touch-up: replacing/repairing poorly taped seems, filling nail holes, fixing receptacle/switch boxes and building a proper cover for the main breaker box. That room is nearly ready for paint.

Every remodel I have ever done has revealed many more problems as the job progressed. I had planned to simply frame and drywall a new kitchen ceiling below what was there and drop the existing fixtures down. The wiring was a mess and the ceiling was not level, so the drop ceiling had to be removed and new wiring and fixtures installed. A problem was found in the wall of one corner and the paneling cannot be matched so a built-in cabinet is now going to cover that area. The wall behind the range and sink were not finished, with exposed wiring and plumbing. Those need to be pulled out, the area finished properly and the fixtures reinstalled.

One of the bedrooms was going to need drywall seams re-taped. Then it was discovered that the joints were cracked because the walls were water-damaged plywood over an aluminum screen-room frame. Those walls are currently being removed and will be properly re-framed, insulated and drywalled. A closet will also be added, which will hide an original exterior window in the wall between the bedroom and the living room.

Yes this was an odd house. A lot of so-so work was done by the original owners over the course of nearly 30 years. But it will soon be a nice, freshly painted home for less than $3,000 of materials and a few weeks of work. And I have really been enjoying getting back into practice with a hammer, screwdriver, multi-meter and drywall knife. It is hot and dusty but also very satisfying work where you can see your progress at the end of every day.

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