"Deferred Maintenance" Bites Me

Two years ago, the home inspector listed several small, relatively simple repairs. I took care of most of them – things like tightening toilet bolts, replacing a faulty light switch and adjusting ceiling fans.

Others, I’ve neglected. In the ceiling of my screened in porch, there has always been a loose board. For two years, I’ve often thought to pull out the stepladder, climb up there, and nail it back into place once and for all. In the last few weeks, the board appeared to drop down a bit farther and come more detached from the ceiling. Saturday, when my dad was over to help measure for the back door, we talked about other pending projects, he noticed the board and said if I handed him a hammer, he’d take care of it right then. But dinner was going on the table, so I put it off again.

It started pouring Saturday night, and by Sunday morning, there was a nice puddle in the porch, directly below my detached board. It was leaking at a pretty steady rate, though it never filled the bucket I put beneath it. I mopped a bit and found a second spot with a smaller leak.

Once it stopped raining, Don reached up with the rubber mallet and hammered the board back into place for the moment, but it looks like it and the boards on either side should be replaced. It’s bead board – one of many such instances in the house – and I have grand plans for the porch as a whole, so this just shuffles it to the top of the list. I’ll replace the three affected boards, caulk the heck out of the whole thing, and then paint. I have two cracked windows out there to replace, too. But essentially, I want to really make that space livable. It’s screened in, which is perfect for summer, especially since it’s ringed in hanging baskets of dianthus. Late last summer, I picked up a wicker rocker and ottoman on eBay, which are out there with another lounge chair. With some fresh paint (I’m thinking a cheery Mediterranean blue), a real light fixture to replace the naked bulb and a bit more furniture, it’s going to be a great room.

But first, I think I need to climb up on the roof and figure out the source of the leaks. This could be my first roofing project!

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