Working on the Old House #22 The Finish

So we’re getting to the end of this renovation. The major elements of a safe and ready to move in home are in place.

First we start with a new roof. The old roof was still serviceable for a few more years, but I’ve worked with these roofers on several projects and they are really good contractors.

The weather looked ominous all day, with rain clouds right overhead. But it never rained, not even a sprinkle.

They worked into the evening, but the next morning we had a nice brand new roof.

As with all old plaster lath houses, there are cracks that develop over the years from settling and temperature changes. All were surface cracks that have no structural damage, but still I could see them. So out comes the spun fiber tape and we get busy. My arms were sore from the overhead work, but to me it was worth it.

There was one room that still had old windows with some lead based paint that would need to be removed or covered before the new owners could move in. My original intent was to scrape and repaint the windows. But of course, that would never be acceptable to my OCD.

So with a lot of luck, I was able to find two new windows that were the exactly the right size needed to fit the window openings.

No more lead paint, energy efficient and low maintenance. That solves all the problems.

The carpeting was now in a pretty sad state, so time for that to go as well.

I decided to remove the carpet, but leave the padding, as it was better quality than the flooring company offered, and I had surplus padding to fill in the damaged or missing areas. I wanted to take out the carpet, not only to save the removal costs, but to really clean the padding and floor before new carpet went in – something the carpet layers wouldn’t likely do.

Of course, that left disposal of 1000 square feet of carpet up to me. Cutting it into 4′ sections made it easier to lug around and dispose of properly.

So the carpet is in and now that we won’t have any more workers traipsing through the house we can finish the back entrance.

We’ll add some waterproof LVT at the back door landing and work our way up into the kitchen.

Once the flooring is installed, new baseboards go in and we’re ready to work on the stair treads.

The treads were previously cut and fitted, so now it’s time to put a finish on the oak treads. A color wash and several coats of Varathane clear floor finish. I have used this product for over 30 years and really like it’s durability and ease of application.

While the stair treads are being finished, we finish up the risers and skirting trim.

Using pocket screws and PL glue, the stair treads are fastened from underneath to keep from having to fasten them through the front.

It’s still cold, but the new fence is going in and I cleaned up the patio the best I could in the freezing weather.

A good vacuuming and clean and the house is ready for a new family.

One final project was an iron pipe handrail for the back entrance stairs to match the kitchen shelves.

The retro stove works perfectly, and I hope the new family will enjoy this home for many years to come.

It’s kind of bitter-sweet. My brother bought this house in 1980 and I purchased it from him in 1992. He and his wife welcomed and raised two beautiful girls in this house. It was my first home I purchased, so yes it has a lot of history for our family. I will say it took 42 years for it to get as pretty as it is now, but that’s how life works, I suppose.

I plan on a final farewell party. A little table and folding chairs set up for my brother and our wives with a carryout dinner to enjoy and remember the life we lived between these walls.

May the next family be so lucky.


15 thoughts on “Working on the Old House #22 The Finish

    • Hey Dan! Thanks for hanging in there through these sometimes tedious posts. But you know exactly who this renovation game is played. So much that is done is never seen.

      • I love this house, and your love of the work really shows. I hope to one day own such a lovely home like this. Something my girls would be proud to call this home.

  1. Congratulations on this. I’ve enjoyed the entire process. Renovations, though finicky, are almost always worth it in the end. I hope the lucky new owners know how much of you is in this house.

    • Thanks Faith! Well, that’s the thing about doing a renovation – it has a part of you within. And you stated it well – they are finicky with lots of surprises. But to me – that’s the fun part.

  2. What a charming little bungalow! I can understand how you’d be torn about letting it go. It looks great now! You did a beautiful job, as always. Looks like it’s part of a cute neighborhood, too.

  3. Congratulations, Curt! You did a phenomenal job! I so enjoyed following along and learned quite a bit about renovations. The new owners will be very lucky to have a house so lovingly restored.

  4. Lovely to see this old girl get a thorough sprucing before sale! I love seeing the time, dedication and attention to detail you put into your renovations. It’s a lovely, gentle reno. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

    • Thank you so much Jessica! Yes I think she’s looking and feeling better than ever. I’m hoping she gets a happy family to adopt her.

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