When we moved in, we knew our front porch was lacking. The railing was wobbly. The spindles were set too far apart. The supporting post – while stable – had a crack down the middle of it. The tiles were slippery, and the floor was leveled incorrectly, sending all the rain water pooling against our front door.
We did a few emergency repairs. We poured self-leveling concrete in the hopes of solving the water issues (we did, kinda, but mostly not) and ripped off the rotting steps and made fresh, new – but temporary – ones. We ripped out the ugly boarded up windows in preparation for new basement windows, Typar’ed the porch foundation and… ran into more problems than we really knew what to do with. For two years, our porch has sat in this state.
I’ll admit; it’s a little bit embarrassing. Sometimes, I worry that our house might be the worst house on the block, the one bringing down all the other property values. (It’s not. Still.) We’ve been stuck for so long at this point with the porch, I’m sure our neighbours assume we’ve run out of money, or got shut down for permit violation and can’t negotiate with the city to get our projects moving again.
In some ways, the latter is not untrue. Construction on our porch did get shut down by the city – 11 years ago. During the permit inspections for our previous renovation projects, our inspector informed us that, in 2004, a stop-work order had been issued to the owners of our house. Instead of dealing with the problem, they had slap together some final, shoddy details and quietly ignored the notice. Approximately 7 years later, they sold the house to us without disclosing the outstanding permit violation. In fact, they probably thought it was no longer an issue – they had stopped the work on it, after all!
But, the city doesn’t forget and now, here we are, 4 years into home ownership, and it’s up to us to fix their mistake. Fortunately, our lawyers hooked us up with title insurance. Title insurance ensures that if anything like this comes up after a real estate transaction, you’re not stuck with a huge, unexpected bill. They cover it, 100%.
Did you get that?
Our insurance is covering the cost of bringing our porch up to code, 100%. Since our porch was so poorly constructed, their assessment means we get a brand new porch for free. This thing that seemed like such bad news when we first heard about it suddenly seems like great news.
Now, we’re just waiting for our contractors to start. Because we’re choosing to rely on the professionals for this one, I’m hoping it doesn’t take forever, and that they stick pretty closely to the 2 week timeline they’ve promised us. But… contractors are notorious, right? We thought this project would start in June, but here we are, beginning of September, and the first waterproofing trench has yet to be dug. I trust it will get done and I cannot wait for a beautiful new porch, a space that’s safe for Isabel to play while we sit and drink coffee.
Two weeks. Two weeks. Two weeks.