Renovations, Repairs and All things needing Updates

In buying an older home there are so many factors to take into consideration.  The major one being, How much money can I afford to put into a home?  Or how about, How much work do I want to do at my age?  Or even, How much time to I want to spend in chaos?

In purchasing a 50 year old home we tried to cover all the questions and look at all the contingencies, but there is always something overlooked.  We thought we had chosen a sound house with good bones.  The major issues were cosmetic; things that we could handle ourselves.  We had an inspection done and looked carefully at it and decided it was worth the risk.

dwnstr-bathPlumbing did not become an issue until after all our children and their families came for the long weekend in August.  With two people living in the home there was no problem; add 6 more adults and 5 small children you have a tidal wave.  Ok, slight exaggeration, but there was a sewer back up in the basement by the end of the weekend.  Thank goodness it was the end and not in the middle, right?

When all was cleaned up my handy man decided to snake the toilet to make sure no small toys just happened to have fallen in there.  Nothing.  He also tried the sewer line but could not go far enough.  We had to call in a plumber.  He did the lines with a little camera and showed us the bad news right there on his laptop.

Old clay pipe

Old clay pipe

When this house was built back in 1965 the sewer lines were made of clay.  Ours had slipped apart and was not able to allow enough flow through.  The only solution was to replace the clay pipe with new PVC pipe.   It looks like they were digging to the center of the earth!  Did I mention this was at the front of the house.  See those hedges, they now look like a tooth missing.

Once they got down to the bottom there was a couple of hitches.  First was the fact that the water line ran right over top and along the sewer line.  This made it more difficult for the workers as they had to dig by hand.  Second issue they found was the drainage tile, or weeping tile, was hooked into the sewer line.  This was common back in the day, but now it is a big no-no.  They would have to add a second line and then gravel so the water could seep away.  Who knew?

The old and the new

The old and the new

They did all the work and eventually pushed and packed and scraped all the dirt back into the hole.  It is wonderful feeling to have it all done properly and to know we can have company arrive anytime.

Now we need to reseed the grass and fill in the hedge.  There is always something, isn’t there?


  1. […] you can see, in a previous post, we are in the middle of renovations on our 50 year old home.  Some planned and some […]

  2. […] a surprise or two.  The surprise sewer back up was taken care of immediately, see the post here.  Putting the basement bathroom back in will take more […]

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