Making It Better

One of the great perils of remodeling is tearing out something that you think is in bad shape; you may very well find something in even worse shape behind, over or under whatever it was that you first tore out. Say, just for the purpose of illustration, you decide to tear out the old ceiling of an old porch converted some years ago to a mudroom. Perhaps you decided that the old ceiling should be torn out because the once-decorative bead-boards show signs of water damage: swelling, warping and dark stains. Possibly, there are even signs on the concrete floor of water damage. Certainly adequate reason for the tear out project. Just for extra measure, there may have even been a puddle of water on the floor there when you first inspected the home.

Suppose, in addition, that after you’d torn out half of the ceiling, you took a flashlight and shone it up into the dark recesses between the old ceiling and the flat roof. You might find a bucketful of old dirt-dauber nests, a mummified mouse carcass or two and eighty years of attic dust. It’s possible, so I hear, that you might even discover that some of the leaking from the old roof had caused some rotting. In fact, you might find the most extensive, most advanced wood deterioration that you had ever seen in forty years of remodeling old houses. It could be that it was so severe that the ends of some of the rafters had completely rotted away from the wall, leaving that section of the roof completely unsupported.

And so, it could be that you discover that instead of needing to spend a couple of hours “patching the leaks in the roof,” you will have to completely tear off the roof. Not just the old rolled roofing: five layers of asphalt-based roofing material, old deck planks, rafters, joists, bracing, everything. You would find yourself on a Saturday night looking up at the stars from inside your house, completely and truly grateful for several days of the most beautiful, clear weather you’d ever seen in November.

Yes, such are the perils of remodeling an old house. You might just find such a thing and decide that you will fix it. You could be one of those truly dangerous people who choose not to cover it up, not Band-Aid it, camouflage it or hide it. You know, tear out every last piece of rotten and replace it with good. You might go about it with the same love and determination that Jesus shows toward those who come to him, seeking the restoration of their souls.

H. Arnett

11/9/10

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About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Blair, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-five years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-one grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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