As first time homeowners, we were kind of waiting for something major (and expensive) to break on our house. Because after all it is an antique circa 1964. It took less than six months for our fears to come to fruition. And it was truly creepy.
We’d had an invasion of pill bugs in March 2010, but we just assumed that was “normal” for our house and our area and the change in seasons (or so we tried to rationalize in our heads). So our Orkin man came to the rescue. But when he came back in June, he asked the question that still makes us squirm: “Do you know that you have mice in your house?” Uh, no. We obviously did not know that because at least one of us would not be sleeping here if she knew that.
So we set out to find how they were getting in, and our friendly Orkin man was able to help us with that too. It turns out that some genius actually attached our gigantic concrete staircase to our house using rebar. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but as we all now know, concrete settles…….A LOT. Especially after sitting through years of weather that can be -20° or 100° .
The end result was layers and layers of concrete and mud jacking material that had been installed by previous owners to address the staircase problem and had left actual holes in the house from the rebar pulling away. YUCK.
The only solution was to remove the whole staircase and patch the holes. Dain started by renting a jackhammer from the hardware store, and that lasted for about 30 minutes before he realized it was way too big of a job for a DIYer without a bobcat. So we had someone come and remove it for a very reasonable price, and we threw in removal of the sidewalk that wrapped around to our front door too because it had a lot of major cracks. After a whole lot of concrete removal, we were left with a door that led to nowhere for awhile and we had to acquaint ourselves with the front door.
We let it ride over the summer since we were busy planning our wedding, but Dain finally pulled out his tools in October and November and built a new deck and patio (one of our biggest DIY projects yet along with our bathroom). So we removed the small trampoline we had as a place holder, and now we can use our side door again.
But we still have a few problems to address. Like the gigantic hole in our stucco that is hard to disguise in our climate. And our dogpatch alley of dirt which needs a lot of tlc this spring.
Our next step is to have someone repair the stucco. We researched this and decided it was too big for us to DIY, but we are going to finish it after it is patched to save a little money there. Then we just need to order a truck (or two) of dirt, plant some grass and landscape away.
Stay tuned for a progress update.