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 Veteran 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 Greeter
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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 Veteran 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 Veteran 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 Veteran 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 Veteran 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 Veteran 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 Veteran 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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