It occurred to me today that I’ve been posting photos on social media of Dave, myself, and some family/friends demoing our front porch, and I haven’t actually explained what we are doing. We are starting in on our Creating Curb Appeal project. Also known as taking down the front deck/awning/walkway that was Franken-attached to the front of our house.
This gets really fun, because our house’s previous owners didn’t know the importance of gutters. Let’s just say that gutters are an absolute vital part of your house. Keep them cleaned out, keep them upright. Keep them on your house!
And here’s why…
Our House is a Beast
Note the above “before” picture. This is actually one of the listing photos for the house. Let me tell you, the photos didn’t get better as we scrolled through them while looking for our next home.
Our house was on the market (in a hot market) for a year when we came to look at it. The previous owners had dropped the price by $50k over the course of that year.
County records have her as a four bedroom, two and a half bath, 3,200+ square foot home. Nothing was updated, codes were not met, and there was a freaking hole in an exterior wall where a window was improperly cut in.
This house was in such rough shape that the inspector spent around four hours looking her over. After talking with Dave for a while and finding out he used to be a contractor, the inspector finished up the conversation by saying “This is a great house, for you.”
And She is a Great House
The Blue Beast definitely grows on you. But there are things that just need a ton of help. Like the front awning/walkway (and the entire curb appeal in general). Spoiler alert: neither the roof or awning had gutters when we bought the house. Just wait for it.
This thing was so rotted out that I playfully kicked one of the panels a few weeks ago and it busted the side out.
It was very obvious that wasps had created an entire colony equivalent to a wasp-sized New York City in the awning. Spiders had been laying eggs in the walkway panels since the dawn of time. And our resident 3 foot garter snake, Harold, was living underneath in the holes of the rotted wood.
(Along with a bunch of brown widows…did you know there are brown widows? Me neither.)
It actually wasn’t too hard to convince Dave that this thing had to go. Especially when we figured out that the sun hits the front of our house perfectly on warm winter days. It’s a great place for a deck. Add a little path from the driveway to the front door, a bit of landscaping and we almost have a decent looking house!
Finishing up trimming the windows and a new paint job are also on the To-Do List. But at some point, we hope the front deck will look something like this…
Demo Day Number One
Luckily for us, we have some very demo-happy friends and family. I say this tongue-in-cheek as much of the demo, both days, happened against Dave’s will.
On the first demo day, our brother-in-law decided to convince Dave to let us take down the panel that I had very innocently loosened up. So we grabbed a hammer, crowbar, some gloves, and a beer. (Hold my beer, watch this!)
And we took out all the panels.
I’ll never know why Dave was surprised this happened. He knows who he married. And he knows who his sister married. At the end of the day, it looked like this…
Demo Day Number Two
A few weeks went by of us displaying our very rotted out front porch to the neighborhood. Then our neighbor offered to help tear down the awning and walkway. (This neighbor and his wife are absolutely awesome. They make our living so far away from friends and family so much easier as they are now like family.)
After a bit of arm twisting, Dave eventually agreed.
Taking down the awning was a tad more dangerous than just taking out the panels, so there was no beer during this demo…and it was 1pm.
We ripped down the particle board underside, sprayed the wasp city. We pulled away the post casings and were able to save them for some unknown backyard project. Then we surveyed the amount of rot.
There was a lot. Any time it rained or snowed, water from the roof fell right onto the middle post and then down to the ground. …For years.
We tried to put up a stop-gap gutter when we bought the house, but the damage was already done. This made the entire awning very flimsy and quite dangerous.
The guys braced the top with two 2×4’s and got to work. And that baby came down beautifully.
(I’ll try to get the video to play here, but you can see it on Instagram @notquiteretirement. I tried to put it up on Facebook, but I have a negligible amount of patience when it comes to technology and FB wasn’t cooperating.)
Next was a quick flip up of the walkway, then deconstruction. Deconstruction done completely by the guys. The amount of spiders and spider egg sacs were beyond my ability to handle my phobia. Dave actually gave me the OK to not help – this doesn’t happen often.
Now our house looks like this…
So Here is the Lesson in All of This
When you don’t have gutters (suck it up and go get gutters!), then water falls onto your house and rots any wood, or next to your house and slowly erodes the soil away. Then your concrete path settles and things start to look like this…
As Dave said, after we uncovered the settled concrete and asphalt, we were lucky the awning was there or the water would have fallen closer to the house and our foundation would look like that.
Continuing to build a wooden structure over this problem did not fix the problem. It just caused wood rot and insect/arachnid infestations. Don’t do something like this. Fix the initial problem first. Especially when it can affect your house.
Next Steps for the Blue Beast
Gutters, obviously. But before gutters, we need to fix the fascia of the roof. Apparently the original builders decided to be lazy and installed the fascia at an angle. This puts any gutter at an angle, which allows water to overflow negating any benefit of gutters causing your house to rot. Really, this isn’t rocket science.
Then a power wash, siding touch-up, and a much-needed paint job. Don’t worry, we’re keeping her blue.
Finally, my front deck. Where I will be able to sit on sunny winter days, bundled up with either coffee or wine, with Porter by my side.
So tell me, did I make you want to go clean out your gutters?