It all started with the attic, and went downhill from there…..literally.
You see, we've been renovating the attic into living space for quite a few months now, and it's still going on. Every time we did one project, we revealed 5 more that needed attention. Then, Joseph decided to go and break his wrist, so that set us back even more.
Now that the sewer has decided to rear it's stinky head, we must put the attic on hold yet again and tackle another problem.
Such is the life of a homeowner, right?
It's the flood's fault! Kind of…
We think our sewer broke in the September 2011 flood that hit our area. Because we were flooded for so many days, the pressure of the water may have caused the line to sink and give way.
That, and the info from our neighbors that it's been corroding for quite some time.
We didn't notice anything until January, when the components of said sewer backed up into our rental apartment while the residents were gone.
We called a plumber to temporarily fix it, but we knew we needed to give it a total overhaul come this summer. Not to mention the fact that it started to noticeably clog up again.
Here's how to keep your cool when projects become inevitably delayed in lieu of a larger issue: (At least, it's what we've tried to do!)
1. Revamp your schedule.
Accept that you aren't going to meet the “deadline” you had hoped, and make arrangements to extend it. If you work full-time during the week, block the next few weekends off so you can give your project full attention until it's complete.
2. Read through your homeowner's insurance policy.
You don't want to end up paying for things you could've had done for you. It truly doesn't hurt to check out your insurance policy and see if they cover any sort of backup or sewer issue. Ours didn't, but in reading through it, I found out they covered a lot of other repairs I had never even thought of.
3. Know city ordinances.
If we had lived in the country, we could've had this thing done and over with in one day. Because we live within city limits, there are “guidelines” we have to follow, and you don't want to get caught violating them, or be shut down, like….ahem….we were.
We thought there were creative ways to get around these issues, and you can get around some, but it's uber important to know exactly what your dealing with. Go to your city's website, visit city hall, and get advice from trusted individuals. It's something that would have saved us time and money!
4. Hire a contractor who knows what they're doing.
We know nothing about sewer lines, nor do we want to try. So we hired a guy who came very highly recommended, and he has actually become a friend. He took over a lot of the city-type roadblocks and helped us find the root of the problem.
But he wasn't a city contractor and therefore, didn't know all the hoops we would have to go through to complete the project. Make sure your contractor also knows the ins and outs of city ordiances and rules.
5. Look for ways to cut costs yourself.
If you don't want to spend money in permits, excavation equipment, or labor, you can always see if there's anything you can do yourself.
Originally, we thought Joseph was saving us about $1,000 by digging around the sewer pipe himself, which would be more money in our pocket for the actual repair. On the contrary, once we got to a certain point, we still needed a permit, and by that time, the back-breaking labor was all for naught.
Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of doing it yourself, versus time and money.
6. Generate more income.
Unexpected problems also mean unexpected financial strains. You may have to hit up your Emergency Fund or pick up a few more hours at work.
I am thankful to have a job that will let me work late if I have to or come in on a day off. Joseph is also lucky to also have a few overtime opportunities come his way every so often.
If that's not possible, even a part-time evening job for a month or two may be an option. Sell items on Craigslist. Have a garage sale. More expenses = a need for more income and you'll have to find a creative way to supplement.
7. Keep things organized.
Just because your reno is falling apart doesn't mean your whole life has to.
Make sure you save receipts and keep important phone numbers on hand. I have a Rolodex full of repairmen we've used in the past and liked. Even a simple once a week “catch-up” meeting with your spouse is all you need to help you stay on task and be less overwhelmed.
8. Plow through it.
No matter what, you have to keep going! Worrying and fretting about how you're going to do it won't get the job done.
Don your work boots, painting clothes, or whatever you need and go finish that project.
When it's all said and done, you can sit back, look and what you accomplished, and start saving up for the next (possibly unforeseen), um….shall we say, experience.
How do you keep your sanity during a reno gone wrong?