Experience the pain and hurdles of renovating during COVID-19, in Part 2 of this short Australian series.
You may like to read some background on how the great renovating plan was hatched late last year, in Part 1 of this renovating series, before continuing with this chapter.
A little background
Initially, we set the deadline of 6 weeks to complete all renovations in time for our flight to the UK, for a wedding in early April.
Landing in Sydney to spend a week with relatives catching up after 4 years away from Australia – actually, 6 years of traveling all up – we then fly to Brisbane. The plan is to start some serious renovating in mid-February after my tenants of 14 years vacate.
The Exit Inspection reveals much more cleaning, repairs, and maintenance work ever imagined. And, this needs completing everything before even starting the renovation project. To make up for lost time with all this prep work, we work long hours every day, for 6 weeks.
Re-kindling my love affair with the sander
I first learnt how to use several types of electrical sanders and also a Torture Board, in my early 20s.
After decades of hours, months, and years of sanding, the love-affair (hate) is cemented.
Throughout the years, my sander reared its ugly handle. Luring me to grasp it and go hell for leather. This, I do each time. As I mentioned, it’s a love/hate relationship.
This sander brings me pain. Although, the end result is sensational and the reason persevering with this brute!
The time is here again to re-kindle this decades’ old love-affair with the same sander. Yes. I can’t believe that this sander is still alive. Especially, for a cheapie brand from the 1980s!
Even though the house was painted before my tenants moved in, 14-years’ later and compliments of the tenants, the internal paint is an absolute mess. Enter the trusty sander.
The original plan is to renovate one room at a time. Although, when you have so many rooms in such bad shape that all need painting, the plan changes dramatically. So, painting the ceilings throughout the house in one go before moving to the walls, is the new plan.
A few holes in the walls. Many dents, dings, and cracks of which all need repairing/filling, sanding, undercoating, and a couple of final coats of paint.
The timber work is next, which takes a long time. Not only is the timber in poor condition as it’s been knocked around, but it also hasn’t seen new paint in a couple of decades, possibly more. And, the oil-based paint is yellowed.
The timber doors (21 internal and 2 external), frames, window sills – all timber work really – need repairing, filling, sanding, undercoating, and painting.
I lose count of the plethora of holes that I fill. To be fair, not all of the holes are from the tenants. Some are a legacy of replacing the Roman Blinds throughout the house a couple of years’ ago, with lovely white slatted blinds.
Luckily, my handyman fixed the ceilings throughout the house 18-months’ ago.
The roof leaked again after the 2015 repair. Sadly, I didn’t know how bad the ceiling leaked. Not until my tenant had to move his bed to a different position, because the ceiling dripped on him! Returning to Australia in 2016 to fix the roof again, I also check the ceiling – a tragic state.
Why am I explaining this? Because, if the handyman didn’t repair the ceilings, this would add a couple of more weeks, to the already mammoth job of renovating.
The internal painting takes over 3 weeks to repair and paint almost every inch of the house – not the floors.
The renovating consumes us solidly for 12 to 13 hours each day, 7 days of each long week that passes – it’s exhausting. During all of this, I pick up nasty plague-like blisters on my hand, from an unknown spider’s bite. This infliction hangs around for a month before clearing properly. Although, this doesn’t stop me from renovating on the 6-week deadline.
The external paint colour is dirty, mouldy, tired, dated, and screaming for a complete facelift.
I never liked this colour combination anyway. And, don’t think that warm and cool colours together compliment, for house paint. Any thoughts?
Before starting the huge external painting part of the renovating project, the house needs washing down thoroughly. Especially as many spiders, cockroaches, and all forms of insects have free-loaded on the house. Eggs and nests are everywhere.
Sections of the render are missing and also needs repairing – not one of my greatest skills. It’s too expensive to hire a tradesman to do this job. Also, with COVID-19 restrictions, it’s almost impossible to get someone to the house.
The timber shutters are removed and repaired before the usual drill of filling, sanding, undercoating, and final topcoats. An endless and tedious job, which takes time.
This feels as though it’s a never-ending spiral of painting – a revolving door.
Each morning, we wake up with very stiff achy claw-like hands and named this affliction “painter’s claw”. Know if there’s such a condition? Guess after painting for over 12-hours each day, 7 days every week, something has to give…
As the last roofer did a good job in 2016 repointing and repairing the roof, which hasn’t leaked for years – touch wood – I decide not to restore the tiles.
Roof restoration is expensive and the current renovations are already costing a small fortune. Also, it’s difficult for tradies to provide a quote for any job, because of COVID-19.
Personally, I love the slightly tinted white and bright blue colour scheme.
The colours are bold, fresh, and so different from the current colour craze of 50 shades of grey, in this Brisbane inner-city suburb.
The colour scheme also reminds me of the Greek Islands – thoughts?
What’s next to renovate?
A lot! The painting part of the renovation project is intertwined with a plethora of repair jobs. This gives our hands a break from painting – a little recovery time. But, also because everything is broken and needs fixing, or ruined and needs replacing.
Replacing the patio roof and enclosure is the major part of the renovations, both cost-wise and stress-wise. This work starts concurrently, while we still finish the internal and external painting.
My chicken scrawl project schedule on a foolscap page covers around 20 dates, company names, and phone numbers, but does work. Surprisingly, everything is coming together smoothly, regardless of COVID-19. This is even after difficulties with builders coming to the house to quote.
Check back next week, for the next renovating instalment – replacing the 25-square-metre patio roof and enclosure. In this perpetually-lasting renovating project during COVID-19, it feels as though we’re finally getting somewhere…