We’ve uncovered our first problem

When my phone starts ringing in the middle of the day and my builder’s name flashes up on the screen, it always makes me slightly nervous, as I’m a firm believer that ‘no news is good news’ when it comes to renovating a house. So when the builder’s name came up on my phone the other day, I was already dreading the inevitable ‘there’s a problem’ conversation, swiftly followed by the ‘how much is it going to cost to put it right?’ discussion.

While working in the rear living room, the builders have noticed that a couple of the now exposed floorboards are showing signs of rot, and they have advised calling in a specialist to check the extent of the damage to the joists below in the suspended timber floor. The worst case scenario would be if the floor joists and timbers were beyond repair, meaning we would need to have a new concrete floor – an expense that would eat into our contingency fund. For now, we are hoping that only remedial repairs will be required.

Although this is the first serious obstable we’ve hit during our project, I’m fairly sure it won’t be the last. And therein lies the major issue with renovating an older property: until you start work, you never know what you’re going to uncover and how it will impact on your budget.

Old bathroom fittings and hot water tank have now been removed

Above: The old bathroom fittings and hot water tank have now been removed

Elsewhere, work is progressing well. Our first fix electrics are completed, the wall dividing the bathroom and toilet has been knocked down, and the old fittings and water tank have been removed. The rear of the house is also taking shape as the old patio doors leading out from the utility room have been removed and replaced with a single door and large window. The original floor-to-ceiling doors meant the view from the garden back to the house was rather unsightly, with the washing machine and various bits of pipework on show.

I’m now hoping for a few problem-free days before the update on the extent of the rot – fingers crossed we get some good news!

The rear of the house

The back of the house

Above and below: The original floor-to-ceiling patio doors in the utility area have been removed and replaced with a single door and window.