There’s no arguing that home is always the best place to be. It’s warm, it’s comfortable and it’s filled with the belongings and possessions that often define us as who we are, to ourselves and to whomever visits. That is, until your home leaks, breaks, has a draft or lack of something critical needed to be safe. Then it can become a costly hindrance that most homeowners would agree they’d love to wash their hands of, in the moment.
I had something of a nomadic childhood as my family and I never resided in the same place for more than three or four years. As a child, it never dawned on me to ask why. My father always worked at the same place and we always moved to places within the same area. But by the time I reached my 18th birthday, we had moved seven times, making for an average of two and a half years at each respective address. Some were longer and some were shorter.
As I grew into adulthood, the trend seemed to follow me. I left for college and spent a year and a half in my own apartment, followed by a string of brief stays in different cities as I had different jobs and spent time trying to find myself. When I joined the RCMP, I continued on this trend as Canada’s National Police Force requires the transfer of its members every three to five years. Until I got to Regina. That’s where the travel train finally reached the station.
This summer marks five years of living in Regina at our little bungalow. It’s not only the longest period of time that I’ve lived in one place, thanks to a change in direction within my career, we now find ourselves here permanently (at least for now). As such, we are starting to examine what may be required for the permanence of our home, including repairs, upgrades and basic maintenance that I can sheepishly admit we had been ignoring on the premise we’d be moving away soon.
During last year’s summer, torrential rains caused the shifting soil to seep ground water into our basement, damaging some personal belongings and rendering the entire west side of the basement unusable. I won’t get into that story all over again, you can read about it here. But as you can see from the photo above, my basement had a rather dated look, so the prospect of getting it repaired and upgraded didn’t keep me up at night. Until I saw the cost…
Home renovations obviously aren’t cheap, by any means. And I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic team from Grasshopper Construction doing the work. I’ve dealt with a lot of contractors and professionals over the past couple of years, and these guys are the best, by far. But they were able to come in and demolish the current basement furnishings and brace the foundation, as well as seal up some problems areas to prevent future leakage.
As you can see from the photo above, the steel beams prevent further buckling and shifting of the foundation’s concrete, and the lines of colour are where sealant has been used to, well… seal up the cracks. It was a much-needed repair as I don’t have to remind anyone that the strongest part of any structure MUST be the foundation. This applies in all things life but not least of which is a house.
Despite the completed repair, we found ourselves left with a bit of a conundrum. The foundation was repaired but the space was unliveable. This was mostly due to the lack of insulation with the coming winter months, combined with the fact that the floor still had residue from 60-year old carpeting and would result in gross, yellow footsteps all over the house if we wandered about the basement. As previous posts would have shown, I rectified this issue by laying down black mats, allowing me to use the open space as a workout area once the spring kicked in.
It’s been a rough year with half of our belongings crammed into the upstairs space. I’ve read and heard about a lot of relationships and marriages that have been damaged or ended due to suddenly being confined during the pandemic. Personally, my wife and I can’t understand this concept as we were more than happy for the increased time we got to spend together. But consider that confinement, where you also have to compress your belongings into half the space. Our home has looked like a bad episode of Hoarders for the past while. For that reason, I was extremely pleased last month when we were able to bring the crew from Grasshopper Construction back to start renovations.
We began with getting spray foam insulation for the outer walls. This is far better than traditional insulation as the spray foam seals and provides a leak barrier from the outside humidity and seepage. It’s also more consistent, with no gaps or spaces between sections, ensuring better temperature retention. Once that was done, electricians and plumbers a came in to do all the work behind the walls prior to dry walling. We’re currently at what could be described as the “mid-way point,” with most of the dry walling complete and the bathroom being installed.
We’re looking at potentially several weeks before everything is complete so that my wife and I can paint. But it will be nice to have the house opened up a bit and upgraded. It will go a long way towards ensuring that this house lasts as a home for the years to come. The thing about home ownership is that there’s always a repair, an upgrade or an alteration that needs to be done. Sometimes you have to pick your battles and decide on what you can do and when. But I know one thing for certain: after four decades of constantly moving every few years, the past five have been liberating. It’s nice waking up and knowing that you don’t have to move. I know not everyone has that benefit. And that’s why I certainly don’t take it for granted. Stay tuned for the outcome of renovations…☯️