What’s Behind that Wall?

What’s Behind that Wall?

Category : Blog

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Expect the unexpected!  As with any home renovation, there are bound to be things that don’t go according to plan. These often unpleasant surprises can result in having to change your initial plans and spending more money and time.   This renovation was no different!

Let’s start with the kitchen.  Initially, we wanted to remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room.  After the demo was complete we could actually see what was behind the drywall.  Turns out there were air ducts and electrical in that wall.  It would have added a significant amount of time and money to move everything.

Here is how we redesigned the kitchen:

  1. cut a door between the two rooms
  2. squared off the rounded arches in the doorways
  3. made the dining room doorway wider
  4. extended the wall down the hallway
The effect is amazing!  We were able to really open up that kitchen and add some extra needed space, without adding any significant costs.


 Next was the plumbing.  The pipes were Poly B, which we knew when we bought the home.  We also knew there was leaking as there were water stains on the ceiling in many areas, especially in the main floor family room.


Again, once the demo was done we got a better look and found the Poly B was showing serious signs of deterioration.  We decided to replace all of the plumbing as we didn’t want to take the risk of further damage plus Poly-B plumbing can discourage potential buyers.

Image result for poly b plumbing

Poly B (or Polybutylene) is a flexible grey pipe used in hot water systems and residential plumbing. It was manufactured in between 1978 and 1998.  Poly B was the first plastic plumbing pipe to be used as an alternative to a more expensive copper piping, because of its flexibility, low cost, and ease of installation. It is estimated that in Canada alone there are over 700,000 homes that have had this piping installed prior to it being discontinued.
Issues with Poly B:
  • plastic fittings and elbows were prone to crack or break.
  • deteriorate and fails, when exposed to extreme heat, very hot water and where water has high chlorine levels.
  • when exposed to sunlight for an extended amount of time, Poly-B piping can break down.

In case you really wanted to know about Poly B…

And then there was the ceiling.  The initial plan was to patch, re-texture and paint, but between removing the sunshine ceiling in the kitchen, discoloration due to water damage and removing all of the Poly B, there was significant repair work that needed to be done.  Patching the ceiling to match the existing texturing and color was going to be difficult and time-consuming with potentially less than perfect results.  We decided to scrap off the popcorn texture and go with knockdown ceilings throughout the house.
These all added extra costs to the reno budget but saved time in the long run.  We always add a contingency amount to the rehab budget to cover these “extra” surprises!  Most recommendations put that number between 5-10% of the total cost of the renovations.
We also want the new homeowners to have peace of mind, knowing that everything was done to a high standard of safety, functionality and attention to detail.
Even with a few minor set backs, this project is really coming together quickly – I can’t wait to see the end results!

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