The Triumphs of Manhood – Entry 1

I think it’s safe to say, I dislike my house. I mean, it’s a good house, as far as houses go; it’s just that this house is too small. We live in a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, living room, dining room, kitchen, unfinished basement, incomplete mud room, with an attic converted for a 4th bedroom. We have 4 boys and 1 little girl. The house is in need of some major repairs and upgrades such as, a new roof, a new front porch & roof, a new back porch & roof, new stairs to the basement, new entry doors on the front and side, new gutters and downspouts, and water proofing in the basement.

Over the last couple of months, we have been toying with the idea of moving; something bigger, with a little more property, and less repairs. Unfortunately, there’s not much in the area that would give us more space and property, without some major repairs or a HUGE mortgage. So as an alternative, we’ve started looking into making some of the repairs, assuming we’re probably going to be here for a while.

We contacted a number of contractors to bid on what we think are the majors; the roof’s and the front porch (which concerns me structurally). But the when the bids came in, we were shocked. The one bid wanted over $30,000 to replace our front porch! The front porch is only 26′ x 8′! I am amazed at the cost that it would take to make the repairs and updates that we need and want.

Here’s another example. We have a door that opens from the bathroom to the roof over our mud room and back porch. Why there’s I door there I have no idea. When the previous owners “remodeled” the bathroom, they tiled the floor so that the door would no longer swing open, rendering the door even more useless. We wanted to replace the door so it would be both usable and more energy efficient. It’s and old wood door. When the winter winds blow, we feel them. So we went to Lowe’s for a door. A man came out for measurements. We went back to Lowe’s. It turns out that our new door would have to be a special order door. Okay, we kinda’ thought that would be the case. I also wanted the door installed so that I would have the comfort of knowing it was done right.

Guess how much a custom door costs?

$700! That might be okay if it was the front door of a grand entry, but this is a bathroom door that leads to a roof in the back of the house!! Add on taxes, shipping, and of course the install, and we come out over $1000 for a 30″x72″ door. I don’t think so.

I have a new favorite show. 10 Grand in your Hand, on the DIYNetwork, with John DeSilva. This show takes homeowners through the process of remodels and repairs, eliminating the contractor and the contractor costs. People save literally thousands of dollars by doing it themselves, with a little coaching from John DeSilva!

This show has given me hope! Work can get down, updates can be made, and remodels can take place; all without the costs of a contractor and his labor.

So this weekend I tackled the door. We already knew that a custom door was out of the question and finding a 30″x72″ wood door was going to be difficult. But I had an idea. If we could trim the bottom of the door, it would open over the tile floor. BUT, if I trim the door, I will have a significant space between the door and the door sill/threshhold. That would NOT be good for a ton of reasons. So, first things first, get the door off and see what we got.

No Threshold. That would explain the leak into the kitchen…

So off to Lowe’s we go in search of a door sill that is 30″.

I scored! I found a sill/treshhold that can be cut to fit! Back home to get started.

Long story short, the sill fits, the door was trimmed; and we now have a door that opens to the mud room roof! The best part? The sill was less than $15.00! It took me about 2 hours from start to finish, and it was really easy.

So what’s in my hand? Well, not 10 grand, but… I saved $985!!!! It was a triumph of manhood!

This summer, between ministry and family, I hope to tackle a few of these “major” repairs, updates, and remodels. With any luck, I will save a couple thousand dollars by doing things myself. I also hope to find a few reasons to like my house. At least until God provides a larger house for our growing family!

Oh, if you want to check out 10 Grand In Your Hand, here’s a link back to the DIYNetwork website.
10 Grand In Your Hand.

– jay

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