“For Those About to Rot,” We Will Fix You

This post is somewhat depressing, to be honest. This post is about house projects that you have to spend a ton of money on and you don’t see the results every day. You know how sometimes people say, “This house has good bones”? Well our house has a few bad bones.

We noticed about a year ago that a corner of our house had started to rot. It was up on the second story and part of a decorative trim above our bedroom windows. At first we didn’t think it was a pressing issue, but then we started hearing birds. Every night. All night. So it became pretty apparent that animals were getting into our walls through this rotting corner of our house.

What’s worse, upon closer inspection, it looked like some roof shingles were missing right at this corner. That meant that every time it rained, water was just pouring into our house. And what we learned was, water leads to rot. And rot sucks.

So we had a friend of the family, who is a contractor, come take a look at it and we told him, “Just fix it.” Things like this are so non-glamorous, it’s really frustrating. It’s not like our upcoming kitchen and bathroom remodels, where we’re spending money, but we’ll be able to spend time in the kitchen (and bathroom) and say, “Look where all this money went!” Or when we sell the house eventually, we can say, “We spent money upgrading this kitchen, isn’t it obvious?” We can’t say, “See that corner of the house? Yeah, we paid a guy to fix some rot up there. That’s why we’re asking X amount.”

So it’s annoying, but it also had to be done. We love our house. We bought this house because of the history, and if we let that history literally rot away, we are going to hate ourselves.

Here is a before and after of the corner of the house. This is pre-roof shingle.

rotHere is the whole front of the house. Of course there was more damage than we were able to see, so what started as “the corner” became a multi-board replacement. You can see on the right side that there is more wood missing up on the second level.

frontAnd that isn’t even the end of our rot problems. While our contractor was up there, he discovered even more problems, in a decorative part of the house. We have these fishscale shingles that really add a lot to the character of our home. So it breaks our hearts when we see them falling apart, and there is no way we’re going to just leave it alone.

fishscaleSo next week (hopefully) we’re getting these replaced as well.

The dilemmas of owning a home. We always knew there’d be little things like this. Specially with a house that’s 133 years old. We signed up for it when we bought the house. And doing little projects like this is probably more important than remodeling the kitchen or bathroom. Those things, while we are adding “value,” are more cosmetic and more based off personal taste. Fixing the structure of our home, and making sure that this Cleveland Landmark stays around for years to come, is really important to us.

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