Everyone has a home improvement story. We were sitting around talking the other day and we recounted a story from about 30 years ago. It made me laugh, so I thought I would share it here. It is about do it yourself home improvement.
Have you ever tried to make something better? Of course, you have. Everyone has things that need improvement. In this case the thing I was trying to make better was my new house.
Shortly after my wife and I were married we bought our first house. It was a cute raised ranch with three bedrooms and an unfinished basement that I planned to finish. The house was a standard tract home, so except for the exterior color it looked identical to every other home in the development. I wanted my house to be both better and more distinctive. So, I decided to make some improvements.
One of the first things I did was to replace the front picture window with a really nice five pane bay window. The new window would add a distinctive look and add to the energy efficiency of the home.
I laid out the plan. It was a simple matter of building a temporary wall to hold up the ceiling, removing the old window, installing the new window, trimming, and repainting, and removing the temporary wall.
Five simple steps. Well, maybe a few more than five and some not so simple.
When I ordered the new window, I had my choice of a custom made unit that would fit neatly within the existing rough opening. Or for a lot less money I could get a standard size unit and adjust the rough opening. Money was tight, so I decided to go with a standard unit that was slightly larger than the window that it was replacing. Little did I know that it would present some additional challenges.
With the larger window, I had to recreate the header that supported the wall. I started with constructing a temporary wall that would hold the weight of the ceiling and roof once the old header was out.
Once in place, the old window could come out. Once the old window was out, I could begin work on reframing the wall. The new opening required moving two wall studs, which in turn required moving an electrical outlet, something I hadn’t counted on. It took a few hours to tear out the old and rebuild the wall to the new specifications. As the day wore on, it was becoming apparent that we would not be able to finish the project in one day.
We decided to call it a day and finish the project the next day. The weather was good so I didn’t think that we would have any problem leaving the wall open for about 12 hours. Just to be sure I grabbed a couple of plastic tarps and sealed up the hole. It would keep any birds and bugs etc. from coming inside.
I suppose I should have checked the weather report before finishing up for the day. Because that night a major storm blew in. The storm brought high winds and a torrential downpour. I remember standing in the living room watching as the tarps were battered to and fro. If they didn’t hold, the wind and rain would destroy the living room of our new house.
I was in near tears, doing whatever I could to button down the tarps. Trying desperately to keep them from being blown away. Even today, my wife reminds me how I exclaimed: “I am so stupid, why did I attempt this…”
But luckily the tarps held. The storm abated and the next day a group of friends and I were able to install the new window and weatherproof the exterior. When the job was completed, and the last splash of paint was applied the window looked great. It was a huge improvement in my new home. It made my house distinguished from all the other tract homes.
I wiped away my tears, put away my grief, and proudly displayed my new windows to the whole neighborhood.
Joe Domino is a Realtor® serving the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Need more information? Or to Search for your next home, visit www.Scottsdale-AZHomes.com