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swgjim26 05-28-2007 09:49 PM

OLD House in Need of Remodeling
I just recently inherited my grandmother's house when she passed away. It was built, if I had to guess, somewhere in the 1930's-40's. It's a 3 BR 1 Bath concrete remodeling nightmare. All of the interior walls look to be made of cinder block with expanded metal mesh, covered with cement. there are cracks in a few of the rooms that you can see daylight through, and the ceilings are wood plank painted with what I would guess to be lead based paint.

The kitchen sink hasn't worked in say, 20 years. The bathtub is plastered against the wall and has numerous holes rusted in it. The windows are wood frame with 12 panes of glass in each, all of which are rotting apart.

I don't make much money, and I don't have much extra time for remodeling. This house is pretty much my only option to live in with my wife and 2 kids.

Is there anyone out there who can give me some ideas of an easy way to deal with this Concrete Nightmare?

Rustedbird 05-31-2007 04:25 AM

Look at it this way, it's a house, it's there, it's yours. It's shelter. No easy way but time. Start with what you know, and as you learn and get more proficient, do the harder stuff.

I'd start with paint and caulk myself, one to take care of the lead issue and the daylight in cracks issue. The plumbing, depends on your proficiency and the needs of your family. My druthers, bite the bullet and get a plumber and just get that out of the way soonest. Also electrical system and other safety issues need to be addressed.

Hey, could someone jump in here?

glennjanie 05-31-2007 10:32 AM

Welcome SWGJim:
I agree with Rustedbird on the caulking and painting.
In my experience I have dealt with a few concrete block houses and had good results. One had a flat roof, steel windows, painted concrete block on the outside and inside. It had been built for the lowest possible dollar.
We replaced the windows with aluminum, insulating glass double hung windows. We put rafters over the existing roof and made a 4/12 pitched roof with fiberglass shingles. We put vinyl siding on the outside by drilling a hole every 16", installing a plastic anchor and screwing the vinyl to the house. Put in new doors and storm doors.
I pass the house occasionally and it still looks good from the road; no missing vinyl or anything.
On another one I concentrated on the inside; putting up paneling on wood strips. It was a bad experience which I wasn't too proud of. I think the house has been torn down now; good ridance.
Now, back to your house; there are several creative ways to upgrade the house. You could use almost any finish on the outside; stucco, vinyl, hardy board or even a cedar siding. Just remember, masonry attracts moisture so it will need to be something that will stand up to that. Some replacement windows, even if you only do one at a time you'll be that far ahead.
On the inside you could use paneling, drywall, plaster, or block filler and paint. The block filler smooths out the little holes in the wall and makes a somoother painted finish. I would use a semigloss latex enamel to finish the inside because it looks fresh and new for years longer. Even the wood ceilings, if they are in good condition could be painted again for a low cost finish. Then, when you get ahead a little more you could cover the wood ceilings with drywall.
On the plumbing side, many older homes used a combination of cast iron and galvanized pipe for drains. If that is your case, the cast iron is probably still good but some of the galvanized pipe may have given way to draino and rust. You can usually unscrew the galvanized pipe and replace it (even with plastic pipe) to renew your drains. Then you could replace the fixtures one at a time to update them.
Here's the thing about it; there are plenty of professionals on here and many who have learned by doing their own to walk you through each project. Have no fear, just start saving the pennies and keep in touch; we want to help.

inspectorD 06-02-2007 12:24 PM

Great job fellas...
Just because you are not a pro does not mean you have to give up so soon...
Rome was not built in a day...or fall apart in a day...
Like the guy's said just take it slow and ask questions, all you can do is improve the place over time.

Remember first riding that huge its no problem because of the help you where's the brakes!!!:eek:

Good luck...there's a whole bunch of folks ready for questions.:D

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