After a bad start on Monday (heavy rain, so no work on the roof), the workers did their best to put tiles on the roof, both in front and back. As expected, it looks very nice as seen from the street, not so nice from the backyard. In the meanwhile I did some work on the inside as well, mainly sanding and putting primer on doors.
I want to note that after almost 2½ weeks the progress is a bit disappointing. If I had to guess, they’re at the half-way point, instead of finishing up in days, as was promised in advance. Where the cantilever window has to be installed the roof is covered with (dirty and old) roof tiles. I suppose those will be removed once the cantilever windows arrive from the supplier. My guess is that it will take longer to deliver them than initially planned. In houses in my neighborhood that were already done, they installed the cantilever windows before laying the roof tiles. Now it’s the other way around for some reason.
I’m dealing with some ugly holes in my ceilings, and making use of the opportunity to paint the slats that are normally covered by a fireproof plate. It will look nicer if I do it like that than when the celing plate is installed. I’m in no hurry, though, since they’ll be waiting until the scaffolding outside is removed, a couple of weeks from now.
I have also smoothed, sanded and put primer (twice) on the doors and frames of my bathroom and kitchen. Those should be ready to be painted with a final coat of paint lacquer.
The annoying thing is that while in the first week of, and in the week leading up to the renovation work, I got lots of explanation from the company overseeing the renovation. Now there are no more visits from a friendly employee, and work indoors happens at the drop of a hat, so to speak, without prior notification. I asked the overseer, but even he doesn’t know what is going to happen when. It seems rather uncoordinated. Things get done when they get done, and after everything’s done, any damage done will be repaired, work that was done shoddily will have to be redone.
Well, I guess I’ll manage somehow. My house will look so nice both on the inside and outside, and it will feel comfortable to live in. Until then I’ll have to put up with some discomfort.
This morning someone rang my doorbell while I was still in my pajamas. They needed access to my roof from the inside. I sent them away to dress myself and lock away my cats in my living room (one of them had fled upstairs). It was totally unexpected, because it was never announced. A time schedule was shared a few weeks ago, which I can safely ignore, because of all the delays going on.
Like the general says, the best plans die after the first shot in battle. Here those plans were likely meant to defuse the residents’ worries, so they’d sign an agreement for the renovation and all the trouble it would cause. Obviously, currently neighbors are not too happy about how things (too) slowly progress. I can only accept reality as-is, however uncomfortable it might be. Once they’ve finished renovation I can look forward to enjoying living in this neighborhood for years to come.
Anyway, one person needed to go through the ceiling, and crawl in the tiny space underneath the wooden base of the roof. It was, judging from the swearing, very uncomfortable to work in. His co-worker was on the roof and together they replaced the ventilation shafts of my high-efficiency heating system, fueled by natural gas. Of course, they didn’t close the hole afterwards, because more work has to be done after the roof tiles have been installed. After that, the solar panels will be installed and connected to the electrical grid (and my energy meters), which will require renewed access to the crawl space. Closing it now would be a waste of time, labor and money. It still looks ugly, though.
So I will be living with this ugly hole for some weeks to come, as am I with another ugly hole where the mechanical aeration system for the downstairs will be replaced, but couldn’t because of the scaffolding for the roof workers. It all seems quite badly though through, and uncoordinated. Well, I suppose it’s either that, or demolition of the entire neighborhood, destroying an unique and coherent community of friendly neighbors, many of whom have lived here their whole lives and are invested in keeping it safe and livable.
Knowing that, I can live with any temporary discomfort and having strangers invade my privacy.
I noticed my lovely bengal cats being stressed out by all the work going on (also, an open front door). So to give them a feeling of safety, I locked them in their cage, covered by a fleece blanket. They calmed down, being used to the cage for three weeks now. They don’t like it, clearly, but now are accepting being confined in a tiny space for a little while (like a few hours).
My neighbor told me roof workers had cut into their dormer window on the front. Cleaning the area, I noticed the same had been done to mine as well. I reported the damage to the supervisor, and he told me that, after the roof work is finished, the gypsum board (acting as a “suitable insulation”, suitable in the 1990s that is, against the cold of winter) will be replaced and repainted, as will be any damage done during the renovation. The roof workers needed to cut away some slats, and put in proper insulation material before covering it up with a weatherproof board. Apparently, they just can’t always avoid cutting into the gypsum board with a hand tool on a roof. I suppose I couldn’t have, either. Having an understanding supervisor explain it to you makes the damage more acceptable. It’s a tiny cut, but it shouldn’t be there.
While summer rain has wet the roof last night, the tiles still aren’t installed, neither has the cantilever window been replaced. Since it’s Friday, I expect they’ll do it next week. Fingers crossed they will, because it feels like it takes forever!
On the front of the roof new tiles have been placed to be installed next week. They look lovely. On the back, the old tiles will be reinstalled, after being “cleaned.” It sounds “eco-friendly”, but I think that’s just spin for saving costs. Those 50 year old tiles are full of cracks and will fill with moss in a few months, leading to clogged up downpipes very soon. It means cleaning the gutter more often than with new roof tiles. But then, cleaning the gutter at the back was apparently left to the person or family renting the house, because I heard from neighbors it has never been done in the last 25 years. Some even own a ladder to get access to the gutter to do the cleaning themselves, with all risks involved of falling down a ladder. I would never do that, and rather call the owner to have a professional do it for me. That’s what I’m paying rent for, anyway.
This concludes week two of the renovation of my house, as initiated by the owner, the non-profit housing corporation Stadlander. I haven’t done much on my own during this week, like filling holes and painting walls and doors, because of the heat. Since I’m my own boss, so to speak, I can do it whenever it suits me, that is, when it’s not so freaking hot.
Things are a bit chaotic at the moment. Luckily, it will be over in a week or two, maybe three. Plans seldom survive first contact in battle, or, in this case, realization by workers. Renovation is often underplanned and under budget, otherwise it wouldn’t get a “go ahead” by the house owner, who rather avoids spending money on old housing stock, rather spending it on new housing, much more profitable I assume.
Saturday I finished the upstairs by painting two doors that should’ve received their second coat of paint lacquer more than a year ago. I had put it off for too long. Now the upstairs is finally done!
Monday morning, there was an unexpected ring on the door bell. It was a firm trying to install aeration for the downstairs part of the house, plus heating for the annex/outside bathroom (in winter, when it freezes, it got cold there, like 12℃ (-8℉), which was why I installed a small IR panel myself. Obviously, that is no longer needed, and I can repurpose it elsewhere in my house, using electricity from my—to be installed—solar panels.
It was a hassle, with an electrical short that had to be solved. It was, and I got a RF controlled panel to control my infrared panel in the winter. It will be so much more cosy, and no longer do I need to make excuses when visitors want to use the bathroom, that it’s so very cold in there.
Anyway, the ceiling will stay removed until the new aeration system is installed. Until then I will keep using the old one, very noisy and energy-inefficient. It would’ve been installed today, but it couldn’t; there’s scaffolding for the roof worker in the way. When that’s removed, the firm will return to finish the aeration system.
Its control panel and CO2 sensor is already installed, communicating over indoor mains. The thing to communicate with has to wait a little longer.
The progress on the roof is slow, because eight houses are done all together with a single crew of roof worker (other crews are working on other blocks of houses). Still, judging from what I’ve seen already, I expect them to be finished by the end of next week, at the latest.
Then there’s the solar panels and mechanical aeration system to be installed, and the renovation is over. By that time I hope to be done with indoor home improvement as well.
The day started with a costly visit to the home improvement store (by foot this time).
As my chore for today, I put primer on both my kitchen and bathroom doors, plus the doorpost of the former. It’s a nasty smell, which tells me it was the “good stuff.” The bathroom door’s side planes were bare wood and need a second coat. The doorpost of the bathroom needs fixing, because it was not flat (holes in it). So there’s still a lot to do.
In the meanwhile, roof workers had problems with my dormer window. As I write this, they already spent a few hours fixing it. I’m sure they’ll get it done.
I decided to do some maintenance on the doors between my kitchen and my backroom (the latter being outside the body of my house, like an appendix).
The bathroom doorpost needed the most attention, since it probably hasn’t been maintained by renters for years. I was hesitant to do anything about it, because it seemed so much work. However, the workers outside motivated me do it. Working on a roof is so much harder than doing light maintance inside, however taxing that is for a 60+ year old man, out of shape.
Luckily, I had some materials from my earlier—unfinished—maintenance, one and a half years ago. I applied those, and will let it dry for at least 24 hours.
The work outside is slow, yet methodical, as it should be. I prefer my roof not to be leaking water after each torrentual rainfall, as happened to houses in my neighborhood that were done too hastily. Therefore, the pace has been slowed down, to allow for more precision and care of the workers, and the foreman keeps a closer eye on the work. The original plan has been modified accordingly. It will take longer to do the maintenance, but still within the periode agreed upon (three work weeks). There was already slack to allow for setbacks like this one.
Tomorrow I’ll continue the maintenance of those inside doors. I hope to put primer on them, and on one of the doorposts. Sanding and—possibly—applying primer on the other doorpost will be done the day after tomorrow, so it’ll be fully dried.
After an early rise at 6 AM, I only had 30 minutes before the roof workers arrived to remove the tiles from the front roof of my house. I went outside to take some pictures. I already shared one earlier today.
While the renovation is going on, paid by the nonprofit housing corporation Stadlander, I will be doing some home improvement I should have done when I came to live here, November 2019, one and a half years ago.
This tiny hallway connects my kitchen with an outside bathroom, and my backyard. Nothing was done to it by me; it even has been flooded during a downpour. Well, no longer!
Although I had materials, it wasn’t enough. So I had to do some shopping at one of the local home improvement stores (the closest-by, Praxis). Being a Dutch person, I went by bike.
The door to my living room only was painted once. With good paint that should be enough, but Flexa Creations is mediocre to poor quality paint. So, since the bathroom door was filled with synthetic wood that needed 3 hours to dry, I decided to paint the living room door first, including the posts.
I was out of ammonia, so I used cleaning vinegar instead as a degreaser after lightly sanding the old paint, so the new paint would stick well enough.
After a few hours (painting always takes much longer than one expects), I was almost finished. The side of the door you can’t see in the picture still needs its final coat of paint. I’ll do that tomorrow.
That’s it for today. I won’t push myself, because I know I’ll burn out, and will avoid doing chores like this even more in the future. I don’t mind the paint runners, caused by an unskilled house painter (read: me). I could always sand it off and paint over it.