Years Of Nothing Done To My Older Home

Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Sandy Wood, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    I just became the owner of my mother's house. Having never owned a house before I am feeling at bit overwhelmed by the whole concept. As I look over the structure it seems like nothing has been done in the way of improvements since my father died.

    The wall paper is old and shabby looking and the woodwork needs cleaned and painted. The rugs are worn out and the house still has a original claw foot tub. I long for a shower but the bathroom area is too small and oddly shaped to install one. I have found online a shower head combination that turns regular bathroom tub fixtures into a shower. The job requires a plumber to install it and a craftsmen to add the shower curtain rod to encircle the old tub area. The cost for the unit is close to $300. Still cheaper than installing a box type shower.

    A friend of mine loves to put up wall paper but everything I looked at costs almost $40 a roll. And of course this house has big rooms. Some friends said I should use paneling or just paint over the wall paper, but I don't want to make things look worse then they are so this project is on hold until I can figure out the best approach.

    The kitchen arrangement is from the 50's & 60's, all white steel cupboards at floor level, including the sink and wood cupboards on the top. The counters are stained or worn from years of use and the flooring surface is wore and uneven, which requires ripping it out and finding a replacement type of flooring. I hope to be able to solve these problems without spending too much of my savings.

    So far the good news is everything works; the furnace and the electric wiring, the plumbing and kitchen & laundry have working appliances. Starting from scratch I hope to clean up one room at a time, keeping my tight budget yet making a home I can be proud of and something that looks nice.

    Any ideas would be wonderful. Did you do any repairs to improve the looks of the inside of your home and did it cost a lot of money?
     
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  2. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    This reminds me of my husband's ancestral home. When their parents left to migrate in the US in 1992, it was left to the care of my husband's youngest sister. When that house was put up for sale in 2011, it was disgusting to see the defects. The door of the master's bedroom is inutile because the door jamb has been eaten by termites and only the frame is left. Worse, some of the main posts were also infested by termites. It was clear neglect on the part of the sister. It was offered for 12 million but the sale went for 7 million only because of the damages to the house. True to their word, the buyer demolished the house and used the lot to build a new one.
     
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  3. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    @Sandy Wood. When we purchased our house there was wallpaper in every room and on the ceiling except for the kitchen. Whatever you do don't paint over the wallpaper. You will be creating more work for yourself once it begins to bubble up and tear. It was a waste of paint not to mention the mess. Instead of buying expensive wallpaper remover I bought a dollar sponge mop, a 5 gallon bucket filled with warm to hot water and a ladder to removed it. The mop reaches up high and the ladder for pulling the paper not within arm's reach. That's only if paste was not used to hang it. Try a small area first. If it doesn't come off easily then paste was probably used.

    The other option is to cover it up with drywall and then paint.

    Wow! I wish I could be there to help :).

    I would love to see pictures, Sandy.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Our house was a mess when we bought it, but then, we only paid $14,500 for it. There were holes in the walls and the doors, the floors were covered with several layers of nasty carpet, and whatever repairs had been made to it in recent years were piecemeal, obviously intended simply to get a tenant to shut up about it for a while. All of the electrical plugs were two-prong, and there were only one or two power outlets in a room. Because it had been a three-unit apartment building, we had three kitchens and three bathrooms, although one of them consisted of a toilet under the stairs.

    I was a little more ambitious fifteen years ago than I am now, but we ripped up the carpet and refinished the hardwood floors. We replaced the doors and repaired the walls. Actually, removed some walls altogether in order to turn the house into a single-family home again. We built a front porch, and removed a wall between two back bedrooms to form a long library. We removed two of our kitchens and the toiler beneath the stairway. For a while we kept two kitchens, but eventually decided we only needed one. We replaced all 32 of our windows with double-side vinyl windows, and added a floor to the attic. I still haven't finished the attic walls, however.

    Just recently, we were approved for an energy saving project that will cost us nothing. The same program gave us a heat pump last year which has reduced our oil heating costs considerably, and this year they are going to re-insulate the house. They tested the exterior walls to determine where insulation is lacking. As the house was built in 1910, some of the walls were insulated with newspaper and magazine paper from the paper mill nearby, while other walls had real insulation, some of of which had dropped down to the bottoms of the walls. So they are going to re-insulate all of our exterior walls, and add a platform above the floor that I had put in our attic in order to add more insulation to the attic. They are also going to buy us a new, heavier door for the back of the house to replace what was intended to be an interior door. This is a privately funded program that is focused on reducing energy costs, and is not primarily income based, although they probably wouldn't offer it to very wealthy people. In return, we allow them to bundle our carbon credits for some sort of reimbursement that they receive, which is probably where government funding enters into it.
     
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  5. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    Sandy, if there is a claw foot tub, your house is pretty old. Do you know when it was built? You'll either have a stunning and valuable home when renovated, or a money pit. I see these renovating shows on HGTV, why not take some pictures and send them in....who knows, yours might be chosen for a home makeover.

    At the least, make sure the electrical work is up to code.
     
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  6. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
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    Claw Foot Tub???? You have one?? Your plumber may not know it (or probably does) but that tub, if it's even in decent condition could be worth more than the shower you want to put in. The last I heard the things were going for 500-1000 clams a throw!!
    Noteably, if the house were mine, I would lean toward the aesthetic side but perchance you are not into that sort of thing and just want to spruce it up disregarding the aforementioned values, you could swap the tub and have cash left over.
    I'm pretty much a "restore it" kind of person and really like the older looks. But, if you are not, there's all kinds of valuable stuff in an old house that can either be traded up or swapped out. Older Door knobs, hinges, doors, windows, skeleton key locks all have a lot of value that collectors are looking for.
    Uh, except for the wallpaper! I know that sounds like I'm being finiky but to tell the truth @Von Jones probably gave the best advice for that one.
     
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  7. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    I love all your responses. As for the tub most of the older homes in our town have these kind of tubs so we all could be sitting on a goldmine. lol I do like the older look and my brother mentioned trying to wash the wallpaper as he said better paper was able to be wiped gently. So I guess I will try that. In the living room. The rug was so worn out mom had piled more rugs on top instead of throwing the rug underneath out. In the spring (warmer weather) I will throw out these rugs that are bad and clean the wooden floor and paint it all one color. I was going to do this last fall but discovered the floor was three different colors. White and brown, and gray. that is all in one room. I will try to share some pictures as the work gets started, but mom was also a hoarder so I am cleaning out all the extra stuff now. Most of what she saved has no value so some has gone to local churches and friends, and the goodwill store. Other stuff is being saved for a yard sale this summer. But one thing nice I have lots of brand new stuff that was never opened so I don't have to buy sheets, towels, curtains, dishes, etc... Think of all the money I am saving. :)
     
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  8. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    @Sandy Wood , I'm so interested in house restorations! Now I am enjoying hearing about yours.

    Would it be possible to restore your floors to the natural wood rather than paint them? It would cost a lot to have them done professionally, though.
     
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  9. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    It sounds like you have just about everything you need to make yourself a wonderful Home Sweet Home Sandy! I know we all will enjoy seeing your pictures as you make the transformation. There are lots of YouTube videos on just about anything you may need to do and they may be of some help to you. Congratulations on your new home...and enjoy making it just that. :)
     
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  10. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    It sounds like a nice project. I rent the place I'm in, and the landlady does the type of work @Ken Anderson described, piecemeal, and only enough to shut people up so they will continue to pay rent. If I were to buy this place one day, as I'd originally intended, there would be a lot of work needed.

    I love the idea of having a claw foot tub, or really anything deeper than I have, but I grew up in a home built around 1905, so appreciate the older construction and touches. I'm with Von, definitely do not paint over the wallpaper. Here's a link from HGTV about ways to remove wallpaper, although her way sounds good, too. I'd try to have the floors restored, they would probably be beautiful afterwards, and add to the charm of the home.
     
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  11. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    So Diane, you agree about the floors? We encourage Sandy Wood to sand wood floors! (Sometimes I can't help myself)
     
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  12. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Oh yes, I would never paint wood floors. That's just my preference, and I wouldn't paint wood furniture either, although many people do. I'd love to have wood floors instead of the carpet here. I'd even take linoleum over this yucky stuff. The wood might not be in good shape though, so that will have to be determined, but in that case, painting probably wouldn't do much good either. I've heard the newer laminates are much thicker and durable than the older ones that would peel. I would still prefer actual wood, but I might settle for a newer laminate if they needed to be replaced and I didn't want to or couldn't afford to buy real wood.
     
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  13. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    When we pulled the carpet up we discovered that there were two different stains on our hardwood floors too. Boy was I disappointed. It would be too much work to do it ourselves and inconvenient to have professionals do them. I still think about painting them. I've searched YouTube with hopes of finding another option but have been unsuccessful in finding one that I could live with.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
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  14. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    I like the claw foot tub too, but remember as we get older it is harder to crawl out of one. the sides are steep and lucky for me it has a rolled under edge so I can grab that, but I still might get the newer combination plumbing and add a shower head to it. So far I have not found one of the attachable handles for grabbing ahold of. They only make them for new tubs. But if I add the shower head attachment I can put a shower bench in the tub. that will make it easier to get in and out.

    The floors are not pretty wood and sanding them to get all the paint off would be hard work. I was thinking of painting them a brown color and then getting a oriental rug for the room. Then I thought of a futon sofa and add a few old rocking chairs, along with my recliners. This house is going to be a work in progress trying to fix it up on a limited budget. Thank you for your suggestions. I need all the help I can get.

    By the way the dining room has hardwood floor on the edges but the middle is plywood. So I covered the middle with 2 5 X 8 rugs. The stairway carpet is shot, but then it should be it came from my grandparents house over 50 years ago. I am working now on the upstairs bedroom that I plan to use. Taking out the old carpet to see what is underneath. The bed is one of the old kind that has a curved footboard, that I am constantly running into. My bed at least has a flat end board on it. But the first step is to move out the old furniture and strip out the old carpet which is full of cat hair and then work on rearranging the furniture.

    This is going to take years. lol
     
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  15. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    @Sandy Wood. With an old house sometimes you have to think out of the box especially when home improvement stores don't stock what you are looking for. I would find a wrought iron porch railing and attach it on the floor beside the tub. You can probably save money by looking into Habitat for Humanity stores, if there's one in your area. It's decorative and just as sturdy as one of those handles. Also you can have a few wrought iron accents like sconces or a clock. For the present it could just be temporary until you find exactly what you're looking for.
     
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  16. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    @Von Jones , sounds like an interesting idea. We don't have Habitat for Humanity, in our area. But we do have medal workers and collectors so maybe I can have something made that will work. It would be nice to have a handle to hold on to while stepping in and out of the tub. Hum....I will think on that idea. I told my older brother about the change of plumbing for the tub to add a shower and he liked the idea as he has the same type of tub in his house.

    Spent yesterday at the insurance office redoing the policy. Had to tell them of the few improvements and some of the plans I have for the house. My brother's said if I bought some rolled insulation that they would finish the attic for me so as to save on heating bills. And I have some air flow problems to fix. One is my mom had a stained glass window installed on the side of house. But it is ill fitting and cold air comes in around it and the wall underneath was never finished. I am thinking about putting the old window back in if the air can not be stopped. I put plastic over the window and a foam backed currant but can still feel the cold air which is cold on my back and feet as I type on my computer.

    O' well at least I won't run out of things to do this summer.
     
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  17. Krissttina Isobe

    Krissttina Isobe Very Well-Known Member
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    Well, congratulations is first at hand! If you can wait for sales it can help with the finances for your fixer upper new home. Now it's spring so you can safely check the roof soon for any repairs before the weather gets rough. A house owner acquaintance of mine says to check your roof and structure for fixing before the weather gets too rough, so you'll be safe all winter long. Ask relatives for trusted friends for list of trusted workers for your big projects or ask Home Depot or Lowes for references of good companies. Be sure to check your BBB.org for your companies too that you may hire. Good luck in your home renovation.
     
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  18. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    UPDATE:
    I have been working hard all week and managed to get all the carpet tore out of the living room and one up stairs bedroom. I used a box cutter to cut the old carpet into smaller sections to remove it. There was so much black dust from the rubber backing on the old living area carpet I could have filled a sand box. lol
    The up stairs carpet was wall-to-wall and with carpet and padding out I now have to remove the wooden nail strips along edges of wall. The floor underneath was a sub floor so I am going to use floor paint (med light brown or tan) on the edges of room, 8 X 14, and then buy a 8 X 10, aqua or tan rug. The walls are papered in a light green and white stripe w/ tiny tan stripe. I am going to make curtains for the two windows.
    Downstairs, the wood floor is stained dark in some areas and bare splintery wood in the middle and painted gray on one side. So I am trying to decide if I want to fix the stained part or just clean it up and paint the edges a medium brown color and then buy a rug to cover the middle. This floor is 12 X 14. A rug is cheaper then re-sanding the whole floor or laying down vinyl or wood strips to cover the floor. I want to get a sand/brown textured rug for living room. The walls are wallpapered a light cream with flecks of green and blue. I am trying to decide what curtain color I want as in a blue or teal color or burgundy. I want a feeling of warmth in winter and comfort in summer. I am going to get a futon to use for extra seating and a bed for company that can't climb stairs. Also thinking of adding pull down shades.
    So this is my excuse for missing several days on site. I was plum wore out.
     
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  19. K E Gordon

    K E Gordon Very Well-Known Member
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    I think you got some really good advice on here. I think you can get loans to fix up old homes. Especially if you plan to flip this I know there are lenders available. Also, you may be able to get a church or civic group to take it on as a project. These might be some ways to get some of the repairs down at low cost. If that all falls through, I would just work piece by piece and do what you can afford to do, to get the home up and meeting standards again.
     
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  20. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    We found the same when we removed the carpet in our living and dining rooms being two stained. Haven't been able to afford to refinish it professionally so area rugs have been used. The problem though is that the stain is so awkward in length it still shows. You would have to either refinish it or have the floors carpeted again. I have never been able to understand why someone would partially stain hardwood floors.
     
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  21. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
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    Hey there. It's been a while.
    If you like the stained glass window you can install a thin sheet of plexiglass over it to weather proof the area but still enjoy the piece of art work.

    For the underneath portion of the wall, it is amazing what some wainscoting will do for a wall. There is some easy to install stuff at Lowes that I have used and it looks marvelous.
     
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  22. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    Thanks for all your super ideas. And Bobby Cole, I will check out your wainscoting idea as well. I think the floors were repaired or painted in a way to get the job done fast. In my mother's case it was her trying to redo the floors and dad just wanting to move into the house, with that old we will do it later which never works after your house is crowded with heavy furniture.
    I am going to take the time to do it right one room at a time. I need to fix the holes and nail dents and then put on a primer coat of paint then the final coat of floor paint doing the entire bedroom floor. The living room might get sanded a bit and then varnished or painted, when I get bedroom done and see how that goes. Might be easier to cover the whole thing in carpet.
    Had to replace kitchen faucet this week as it was leaking.
     
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  23. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I love shades. We had them in our house growing up, so they remind me of home, coziness, and good times. I haven't replaced the blinds in this place, except for in my bedroom. That blind was falling apart, and I got a good deal on a nice roman shade on eBay. Next on my list is replacing the ones here in the office, where I spend much of my indoor time, but I haven't decided quite what I want to do, so it'll be a while before I get around to doing that. I'm enjoying reading about your experience, and I hope you'll post some pictures of your progress, good luck!
     
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  24. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    I plan to add some pictures of the upstairs bedroom and the floor. I think I have decided to put some carpet back down but not wall to wall. My camera is an old one that uses floppy disks. So I take pictures and put the disk in my old computer and transfer the pictures to a new disk, then put the disk in my new computer to add pictures to this site. So I hope to get busy and snap a few tomorrow.
    I got to thinking about painting the floor and with this colder weather I can not open the windows for ventilation, so that is why I thought I would get a piece of carpet and not nail it down so I could paint around edges later this summer. I want to get into my bedroom soon as possible and am tired waiting.
    The living area is my next big project and I know the carpet will cost me more for a nice one. The living room is 14 X 14, so I will get a 12 X 12 rug.
    Has anyone here ever bought a futon? Any brands that are more comfortable for tall people with long legs? A friend had one years ago and it seemed to be so comfortable but I have been reading lots of mixed reviews on the subject.
     
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