There is risk when you peek behind the curtain. Much like Dorothy and Co. in The Wizard of Oz, you might find yourself surprised at the big reveal. A good facade doesn’t always mean there are good bones, as is true for the opposite.
Thankfully, Brian and I have been lucky so far. The home we bought together hasn’t thrown us for a loop. We knew it was over 50 years old when we bought it. We’ve expected the things we’ve encountered…so far. Fortunately, we caught a sneak peek of its good bones the very first time we toured the basement. It was enough to convince us to submit an offer.
To Our Home
Thanks for keeping us sheltered. I admit that it took me some time to warm up to you, but that is true for many things. I enjoy life with a splash of playful risk and calculated skepticism. My gut has been a good friend to me and it’s not been wrong about you.
While I didn’t expect you to be in the prime of your life, I was indeed a little weary of what we might find beneath your manicured layers. The master bathroom, for instance, was a gnawing area of knowing trouble slowly brewing behind tile and paint.
Peeling back the layers revealed some serious bruising. Your bones, however, remain in great condition. With deliberate TLC and reconstruction, you gave us the opportunity to build something for ourselves, by ourselves.
The master bath rebuild shaped us into capable homeowners. Our curious excitement and desire to create our own spaces have propelled us into determined action. With that being said, Brian and I have tapped into projects both big and small. So, home, we appreciate you gifting us opportunity to explore and develop our skills. Without your cooperation and good bones, we surely wouldn’t be as thrilled to work with you.
Thank you for keeping us guessing and entertained. Thank you for the good vibes.
The View From Above
Over the summer, Brian and I made the decision to overhaul our balcony. Our hope was to enjoy our updated space before the end of October. In fact, I included the balcony update on our Fall 2020 Goals list to help encourage us.
Well…we accomplished our goal!
The balcony update was a novel experience of tedious preparation and engineering. However, with good vibes on our side, we managed to keep our spirits up and heads down as we tackled our project little by little.
In our Fall 2020 Goals post, I shared that we kicked off our project with installing a new exterior door and repainting the iron railings.
Next up on the agenda was the main event: the plywood flooring.
When we stood on our balcony, or peered out of our upstairs windows, we found ourselves gazing down at the plywood floor. Its cracked paint exposed brittle areas of rot and decay. Warped and aged, its condition beckoned to us. It was time to replace.
Before we could remove the flooring, however, we needed to be sure we could replace it with better material. And so began our journey down the rabbit hole.
After many hours of research and discussion, Brian and I opted to replace our floor with new plywood instead of alternative decking material. We wanted to:
- Maintain the integrity of the original 1960s styling
- Keep the overall balcony structure as-is
- Avoid having to address drainage issues and height changes
We chose to replace our flooring with Marine-Grade Plywood for better protection and durability. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that finding and securing Marine-Grade Plywood was going to be a hassle. Because we are not near the coastline, there aren’t plywood sheets readily available to us. Not only that, but we also discovered that they aren’t orderable (without a seriously hefty delivery fee) through home improvement stores.
Brian and I were excited to get started, but figuring out where to source material was proving to be somewhat of a headache.
We finally found a Lowe’s 5 hours away that showed stock. We confirmed availability, borrowed a van, and hit the road.
Despite a 10-hour drive, visiting 2 different stores, and having to sift through nearly an entire stack to pick out what we needed, we successfully acquired our plywood.
Good bones greeted us beneath our indoor adventures, but I was admittedly nervous for what awaited us outside. Water damage and rot were visible on some areas of the balcony flooring. There was no telling what existed beneath without us taking a look. We were pretty anxious about the possibility of having to replace parts of the structure, especially the joists.
With cautious optimism and nervous energy, we cut a small, rectangular hole from a section of the floor, in between the joists. I slipped my phone down and took a snapshot.
Together, Brian and I breathed a sigh of relief. No rot. A little dusty and cobwebby, yes, but no rot. Thank goodness for good bones and good vibes. Granted, this was one small section, but it was near the area of plywood that had the worst visible damage. Brian and I knew we weren’t completely in the clear since we needed to remove the plywood for a thorough inspection. However, this little picture was a very good sign.
Research & Prep Work
Marine-Grade Plywood is not waterproof. It’s strong, durable, and heavily resistant to moisture, but it still requires proper sealing. So, Brian and I learned how and what to use to properly seal and protect our new flooring.
What an adventure that was…
Stay tuned to hear how we played with chemicals, stayed up all-hours, and became excessive in our mission to protect our home and its good bones.