Another home improvement project.

Many of our home improvement projects have lead to tears. They always take four times as long as we expect, and cost twice as much.

We’re doing a re-fi on our house. Everything was moving ahead as expected, then the inspector came by. He was a nice man. He wished us luck, and went his way.
Well, yesterday the loan officer called to say we had until tomorrow to fix the problem the inspector found. :confused: She read from his report that we needed a handrail/barrier around the outside stairs to the basement.

This is our second re-fi, and the problem hasn’t been mentioned before.

The stairwell is 75 year old concrete, the patio slab next to it is probably 40 years old.
Not an easy task to attach anything sturdy.

We thought and thought.

We found a wrought iron style railing and rented a concrete borer. For the first time, the project cost only 1 1/2 times as much and took less than half the time we expected.

The only problem we ran into were the two beer bottles :eek: (Olympic, I think) sunk neck first into the slab. One at each end of the stairwell.
The problem was that the concrete drill doesn’t like cutting glass. It did it but, it whined a lot.

Now we’re pouring new concrete into the holes.

The inspector comes back tomorrow, so we should be back on track.

After I wrote the OP, I went out to see how the finish was going.
Hubby had cemented all the uprights in place, but didn’t check the spacing, so the fence didn’t fit. :smack: We spent the next couple hours digging up the half set concrete, and resetting the posts with the fencing in place.

At least it didn’t cost any more. :rolleyes:

Wait - the inspector didn’t say anything to you about the rail? What a schumck! A pox upon him!

I know what you mean about projects that go over schedule and over budget. On the other hand, being able to do it yourself gives you the smug satisfaction of knowing that you’re not at the mercy of contractors and their schedules and such.

On the other other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to call your contractor and say “Take care of this, this, and this, and I’ll settle up when we get back from our Bahamas vacation home next month.” Oh yeah, that works…

Two bottles in the slab, that you just happened to hit? I wonder if they put lots more beer bottles in to save on the amount of concrete needed… :eek:

When we took the borer back to the rental place, they told us that back in the '50s it was common to use stubby beer bottles to measure 4". They weren’t the least bit surprised that we hit one at each end of the stairwell.

FairyChatMom, that would be sooo nice. My dream has always been, to move house by saying, “We’ll be gone for a month, have everything in place when we get back.” :smiley: Ahh, to be able to say those three little words…“I’m independently wealthy”

The inspector was just here to take new pictures. He said that it was his supervisor that noticed the hazzard. He apologized for the delay. :dubious: I’m not sure I believe him…

Actually the beer bottles were probably set there for the express purpose of adding handrails later. Breakout the concrete over the top, set the post in the bottle and add concrete. Although I would have used (and have seen used) a beer can as it is of a larger diameter.

You’re so smart! I bet you’re right. But the slab has been there possibly since 1942. Did beer come in cans that long ago?

It would have been nice if we’d known they were there… :rolleyes:

Beats me about the cans, I think so but they would have been steel cans using a church key, not a pull tab aluminum job.