Sunday, March 28, 2021

Where Are We Today
The Ridge

As many of you know, I went back to work last June, working as a general laborer for a friend, Mike. His business is “Mike’s Home Improvements” and no it is not Mike Holmes from the TV show. Now we do just about anything, from decks and fences to house renos. I have never worked in this trade to make a living, but find as we go, I have done quite a few of these jobs as a home owner; fences, decks, flooring, drywall, painting, electrical and plumbing.

So, this post is about one of those jobs, a house reno. The house is located in Neustadt, Ontario, birthplace of Canada’s 13th Prime Minister, John George Diefenbaker. Owned by two gentlemen who flip houses, D&S are father/ son-in-law to each other. The two-story house is over 100 years old with brick exterior with balloon framing. When we started working at the site September 8th, 2020, the inside of the house had already been gutted of its lathe and plaster walls, insulation, carpeting, plumbing and wiring.

We started by removing interior walls of a downstairs bathroom and framing a new two-piece bathroom off a laundry room and building out an interior wall in the kitchen to accommodate plumbing pipes for the second floor, which our crew installed. We also removed and replaced 13 windows and cut in a new back door that led out onto a new deck that we built. At this point of construction, we left, and the electricians, heating mechanics and drywallers came in to do their installations. Although we can do drywall, on a job this size, it is faster to have a drywall installation company come in and do it. Mike also hired a painter to come in and prime and paint all the drywall. It took a month for all of this work to be completed, so we were off doing other small jobs.

Interior Gutted and one new framed wall.

Upon our return, we started by leveling the old floors and installed lament flooring through out the house, except for the laundry/bathroom, front entrance and the upstairs bathroom. The laundry/bathroom was done in vinyl tab stick tile, the upstairs bathroom was done in ceramic tile and the front entrance was done in one piece vinyl flooring. Somewhere in there, I painted all the casing and baseboard, so now it is time to install all of it.

All new insulation and drywall being delivered. Drywall for the second floor was lifted up and passed through a window.

The owners, D&S, purchased all the flooring, lights, kitchen cupboards, bathroom vanities, mirrors, sinks, toilets and door hardware, both exterior and interior. As all of this became available, we installed it. The kitchen cupboards came from Ikea, nice product, but I do not like the way they are installed, but we got them up. Everything else came from The Home Depot.

Flooring being installed

One other inside reno was the stairs. The old railing was removed and a new one installed, the stair treads were removed, the nose of the tread cut off and then they were put back on to be capped with oak treads and also oak risers. We wish that the owners would have had us rip out and build a new set of stairs.

Disaster, water leaking from pot lights, ceiling that was damaged and had to be replaced.

The first week of March 2021, was to be our last week, that’s when we had a setback. Walking into the house Tuesday morning, we could hear water running, oh oh, what did we leave on? Entering the kitchen, we found water dripping from around the pot lights and water all over the kitchen/ dining room lament flooring. Racing upstairs to the bathroom, to find the toilet full of water and water backed up into the bath tub, we quickly ran to turn off the main water valve into the house. For some reason, the drain pipe leading down to the basement was plugged and it is still a mystery as to why the toilet was running. Needless to say, we had a mess to clean up. Quickly getting the shop vac out to suck up all the water off the floor first, then we had to cut the drywall out of the ceiling that was saturated with water, an area 8 ft. x 8 ft. and then unclog the drain. The next morning after letting the ceiling dry out, we replaced the drywall, taped and mudded it. Then we had to rip up and replace 40 pieces of lament flooring.


In the end, after re-painting the ceiling, doing touch ups, it took us another week to finish. This isn’t the first time that Mike has done work for D&S, it was my first time, and they say that they will have us back on their next project.

Front and back exterior.

After being there for that length of time, it felt strange to move onto a new project, although we were ready to.  The house was on the market this week for $399,000.00 and should sell easily. Will keep you updated.

Thanks for following along, your comments are always welcome, read and answered. Until the next time take care and be safe.


  1. Great work you guys did on that reno house. I am sure Mike can count on your workmanship and you have gained so much more experience that all the next jobs will be a breeze to finish. As to the setback with the water leak, Mike can be grateful that it was discovered sooner rather than later. I guess sometimes there are accidents, or damages through vandalism.

    1. Thank you Marlene, it is great to learn new things and get the experience applying them.

  2. Great job on the reno. Glad you were able to find that kind of work.
    Looking forward to more projects.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Thanks guys, I do enjoy the work. It looks like we will be busy, so I will post some more projects.

  3. So cool. I bet you learned a lot about house building. What a mess from the plugged drain. Very nice you got paid to boot!!!

    1. Yes have learned a lot and nice to get paid for it. Definitely a mess to clean up.

  4. The house turned out so beautiful. Love the flooring and countertops in the kitchen. Great job! Too bad about the water and plugged drain, but it was good timing if there is such a thing!

    1. Thanks, the house turned out very nice. Yes the timing of the leak could have been a lot worse.

  5. Nice work Bill! I love renos, and anything to do with home planning and construction!

  6. What a great looking house. It truly sounds like you enjoyed doing the work. Looking forward to reading about the next project. Happy Easter!🐇