Patching things up

I live in a house that is almost 20 years old. Everything is starting to show its age, but few things need major repair. The carpets, flooring, and counter tops are showing signs of wear. I understand the feeling.

We live in an air tight house which does have some advantages. We never have high heating bills in the winter. However, we have had some major problems with condensation on our windows. On freezing cold days, it rains inside our house. Water pools on our wooden sills.

After a decade and years of condensation issues, our windows frames and sills are rotten. Black mold is growing on the woodwork. Years ago we had an air exchanger installed to pull in the dry air and expel some of the moisture from our house. But the years of condensation have taken its toll. There are a few windows in our house that I am afraid to open because I fear they will fall out.

We have known for awhile that our windows need replacing. But it is a very expensive project. Something that we do not have the expertise to do ourselves. We could’ve hired our next door neighbor to do the project, but decided to go with someone else.

This is one lesson we learned the easy way because someone else learned it the hard way.

Lesson learned: Never hire a friend or neighbor to do a big remodeling project for you.

My parents live in a brick house with a mansard roof. Basically, their roof slopes down to cover the second story of their house. At one point, they needed a new roof for their house. Luke suggested that his friend and his friend’s father (a neighbor) put on a new roof. My parents hired them to do the job. What they didn’t know was that they didn’t have any experience working with a mansard roof and they didn’t know what they were doing.

One stormy evening my parents visited our house. That night after they returned home, at about 11 PM, I received a phone call from my mom who was crying. Who died was my first thought. My mom called to tell me that it was raining in her house. Her things were getting wrecked and there was nothing she could do about it. She felt sick to her stomach.

They found out with the first torrential downpour that their new roof leaked. They had out every bucket they owned, but it wasn’t enough to contain all of the water coming through their roof. The next day they had to rent a dumpster. I helped them haul out all of the items that were ruined from the flooding.

Their new roof leaked! It also looked like crap. Shingles littered the lawn every time the wind blew. It took them months to come back and patch things up. My parents spent a lot of money on the roof. They were thinking of suing the people that did a shoddy job. But they were neighbors. Not to mention that Luke was a good friend of the guy who did the work. They stood up in each others weddings. This caused some bad blood between the neighbors. This also caused problems with the friendship that could not be easily patched up.

Every time my thoughts stray to hiring our neighbor, Paul reminds me of what happened to my parents. Sometimes being a good neighbor is asking someone else.

Thankfully, my parents ended up getting a new roof a couple of years back from someone who has a lot of experience with mansard roofs. It looks absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, the friendship did not patch up as good as the roof.

Now we are just waiting on a price quote for the new windows. Yikes!

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