Getting closer to the end of our construction and renovations


In March Miss D. and I were finally paid a long-outstanding debt, which helped clear our credit cards and put some money in the bank.  Rather than leave it there in our present high-inflation environment, we decided to use it to upgrade various aspects of our home that we’ve been wanting to do for some time, but couldn’t afford.

Over the past six weeks we’ve:

  • Installed a patio outside the back door;
  • Installed a new electrical circuit board and fixed two long-standing problems that were overdue for attention;
  • Ordered an insulated garage door, which will hopefully lead to a cooler garage in our 100-degree Texas summer temperatures;
  • Installed a new and more powerful HVAC system, including a single vent in the garage – not enough to properly cool or heat it, but enough to take the edge off whatever Mother Nature is doing;
  • Doubled the width of the gate in our rear fence, and moved it to the western side;
  • Cast a slab for a new and much larger utility building in the back yard.
Tomorrow, Thursday, a team is supposed to arrive early in the morning to put up our new building.  The company reckons it’ll only take about a day, thanks to their having prefabricated everything, needing only to put anchors down in the concrete slab and rivet and bolt and weld the bits and pieces together.

Once the building’s up, I have to hire contractors to:

  • Fit a regular entry door and a single garage door;
  • Lead electricity from the house to the utility building (by way of the patio, which gets its own light circuit and an external power plug), and install a secondary circuit board there, along with lights, plugs, etc.;
  • Install a 12,000-BTU mini-split HVAC system (already here and waiting);
  • Put down a 1″ layer of spray-in closed-cell foam insulation;
  • Erect new metal shelving in part of the building, so I can begin to transfer stuff over to it from other rooms.
When all that’s done, I can breathe a sigh of relief and get on with other work at last!  I hope I’ll have everything done by late May or early June.

It’s been a very expensive process – much more so than when I priced it in January, and again in March.  Inflation is wreaking havoc with building supply costs, and I reckon we’ll be over budget by at least a third.  That’s largely due to finding unanticipated electrical faults that had to be fixed, but also to increases in the cost of components.  For example, this morning I bought a standard-size metal door (in a metal frame) for the utility building.  Prices quoted were in the $300-$500 range in January-February this year.  Today, I paid $550 plus tax;  and another supplier quoted me $750 for an equivalent unit.  I had no choice but to grit my teeth and pay up.  Having begun the project, one can’t very well abandon it halfway through!  I guess one credit card is going to have to carry a balance for a few months until I can pay it off in full.

Still, I have no regrets.  All our improvements will be very useful.  The new HVAC system in particular is already proving a major blessing.  Our old, too-small system could never keep pace with our 100-degree-plus Texas summers, but the new one is more than capable of holding its own, to our great physical relief.  The patio is proving its worth, too;  sitting out there in the evening twilight, even in the heat, is very pleasant.  The new utility building will allow us to move most of our stored bits and pieces out there, as well as a certain amount of administrative work with books, etc.  That’ll free up house space for more domestic needs.  Last but not least, we’ve dealt with two previously undetected electrical defects that might have had very nasty consequences, so our home is a lot safer!

So far, so good.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings.



  1. Sounds like some nice livability work. Spend it now, it'll be worth less next week-but there's no inflation.

    That 1" of spray insulation-what R factor does that give you?

  2. You might consider increasing that foam to 2", if space allows. That seems to be what is generally done for best heat value.

  3. Converting fiat currency into durable goods is one of the few defense strategies we have for rampant inflation. Sometime next year, check out prices again for your various components.

  4. Garage HVAC vent = code violation

    -so? "'Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!. ' –Marcus Garvey"

    I'm in Houston, store a lot of my preps in my garage, and it gets too hot. I know that and just accept that I'll have more wastage than if my situation was different.

    The insulation on the garage door made a HUGE difference. I used foil covered pink foam board, and screwed it to the back of the door, leaving the 2 inch dead air space created by the shape of the metal panels. That adds a small bit of R value.

    A couple years later, I added a power attic vent to the garage roof. That has been a huge improvement too. It rarely stays hotter in the garage than outdoors now, when that used to be common at night.

    And at the beginning of the lockdowns I added a (too small) window A/C unit, which helps even more. I regret not putting insulation behind the plywood I covered the walls with when I had the chance. It would have been a small expense with large rewards.

    We too are converting cash to stuff. And we're seeing our construction and repair costs increasing rapidly. I'm buying a whole new septic system with an unknown install date, and just stacking it in a laydown yard, so I know it will be available when I do get a date.

    Cash is king right now, and so is acting swiftly and decisively.


  5. That's wonderful! I'm so glad you were blessed to be able to finish all those projects!

    My very genuine happiness aside, I have to say…an HVAC vent in the garage? I'd be seriously nervous about carbon monoxide, personally. Nasty, nasty stuff, and impossible to detect without a sensor. It bonds to hemoglobin more efficiently than oxygen, which is why it's so deadly. And garages often have other chemicals you wouldn't want in your vents…idk. Just felt I had to say something, no offense intended!

  6. You're actually having contractors show up and get the work done? Your area must not have the labor shortage we're seeing here.
    We did just get a home-repair project completed. Got it quoted in mid-February, sent in the down payment right away, and the work finally happened in May. There's much more work to be done around here, including two things we've been trying to get onto contractors' schedules since last July….

    Oh, and we too are looking to run HVAC to the garage, which we don't use as a garage (it's my interim workspace; there's no room for cars in it, what with all the Stuff, and most of the nasty chemicals are kept in the barn – once we finally get the barn converted to a proper workshop, fuel storage will have to move to some lesser outbuilding free of ignition sources).

  7. We are considering adding foam to the outside of our house when we have the siding replaced. If it is done right it will tighten the house up alot, reduce air leaves, and help with costs beyond the R value

  8. Nice, congrats. I'm at the beginning of similar. Bought a foreclosure this last winter and it needs some work. New furnace going in right now, will need all new appliances, hoping the normal 4th of July sales will still be enough to counteract the increase in prices between now and then. The new greenhouse is ready to be delivered as soon as all the snow is gone (ya, I'm that far north) and I'll have 50% more yard for gardening.

  9. I agree with Will. If your building is made with the 2" square tube, I'd have then do the full depth. With the temps you get there, it'll pay for itself in no time.

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