Home Improvement Nightmares!

Don't you just love it when a fairly simple project turns into a HUGE undertaking?

My husband, Josh and I have always loved watching home improvement shows and you know how the contractor doing the renovations always calls the homeowners in to talk to them about some huge expensive issue that needs to be fixed? We always thought they just did this to add drama to the show. Like they had to have known about these issues before purchasing the house right? Well...now we're taking that back. 

Since our lives have been cancelled due to Covid-19 we've had our weekends open for renovation projects that we've been putting off. The railing on our front porch was wobbly so we decided to replace it. Figured it would be an easy weekend project. When we took the old railing off we found that two of the pilars were rotten on the bottom and we couldn't find replacements that match the others so Josh managed to cut the rotten part off and fit in a new piece of wood. It wasn't the easiest job, but it turned out looking great they just needed a little paint. 

Then we discovered that the post at the bottom of the stairs was also rotten in spots so we had to replace that too. In order to get it out of the ground we needed to pull the deck boards off the stairs and that's when we found that there was dirt piled up under the stairs all the way up to the decking that needed to be dug out. The stringers were also sitting on nothing but dirt. So Josh and the girls dug out the dirt under the stringers enough to put concrete blocks underneath for support. And due to the dirt being piled all the way up to the step the deck boards were rotting so we had to replace those too and that means more paint.

Once we had all the replacement parts for the front porch taken care of, the girls and I got to work painting and with one more coat it will look good as new (because half of it is new). While we were working on that Josh started tearing apart the deck on the back of the house.

We have had lots of problems with our deck since we moved in. It doesn't drain properly, it slopes toward the house, and when you step out onto the deck from the kitchen door it's bouncy. We have been planning to put in a pool since we bought the house and this is the year so it makes sense to redo the deck now and build it to also go up to the pool.

When Josh took the deckboards off he learned that the footings on the outside of the deck had heaved up and there were no footings down the middle of the deck just 4x4s sitting on top of concrete block.

Building recommendations for a deck this size say that there should be at least two more footings plus the outside edge. The joists are also too far apart they are 24" on center. Which means a complete redo of the entire structure. 

But wait, there's more and it get's much worse. There is also no ledger board! The joist hangers are attached directly to the house and it rotted away! Under the door in this picture you can see straight into our basement! 

Now the siding needs to be removed, we need to do a major patch job and get some house wrap on the house across the entire span of the deck before we can move forward with the building process.

This is way more work than we had planned and is going to cost a lot more money than we expected. But if you're gonna do it you gotta do it right. Good thing Josh is handy and does hours of research before doing anything so he knows how to do it right. 

All I can say is this whole thing has been a mess and has been the cause of some sleepless nights. It sure will be something to be proud of when it's all done though and we can enjoy it this summer.

Nikki "Nikilicious" Montgomery

I'm a Central Wisconsin girl born and raised. I grew up in Port Edwards and participated in cheerleading, basketball, volleyball and softball as well as many clubs like National Honor Society, SADD, yearbook and forensics. I was a very busy high school student and still managed to get good enough grades to go to college at UW-Stevens Point where I was just as busy between working 3 jobs including executive staff positions at the campus alternative rock radio station and volunteering at the campus television station.

After graduation I thought I would take my BA in Mass Communications with emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism and Minor in Political Science and become a big time reporter in some major city. But instead my internship with our news station here at Midwest Communications turned into a part-time job and opened the door to the morning show co-host position at WDEZ. After 9 1/4 years of fun in the mornings I was promoted to Assistant Brand Manager and moved to The Workday Getaway.

I couldn't deny my love for rock anymore! It was time dive head first into the genre I spent my formative years listening to day in and day out. When the opportunity arose for me to become the Brand Manager for Rock 94.7 and host the morning show I couldn't pass it up.

I'm so happy that I stayed in Central Wisconsin I couldn't imagine raising my three daughters anywhere else.

Favorite band: STP

First concert: Bryan Adams 1992 at the Target Center in Minneapolis (I was 12)

Favorite color: Yellow

Favorite pasttime: Watching Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Covert Affairs

Vice: Wine