We were planning on removing the old peeling latex paint from the back facade and then coating it with a breathable finish designed for brick.
However, it turns out that that ugly peeling paint was hiding TONS of ugly crumbling mortar. So much of it simply turned to dust and blew away that we had no other option but to repoint the whole back side of the building. It was even looking like we'd have to remove and replace several sections of brick.
Still, this change meant more money, and more time.
The two days that it took to remove the remaining crumbling mortar was some of the dirtiest home repair work I've been around. This of course doesn't top the time I helped vacuum 5 gallons of rat poo out of an attic. But I digress. Just a few days ago, the back of the house was completely covered in a blue tarp turning the inside of the house a hazy glowing blue that quickly filled with a swirling layer of dust. Unfortunately, our windows and back door are useless, and even after taping all the cracks, I was left with 3 hours of cleaning each night trying to get the back two rooms into livable shape again.
But the dust and the work was worth it. The mortar was cut down then replaced. Our wall looks nice and sturdy. Thankfully the contractor is fantastic, as well as our luck. I was just rewarded with news that they didn't need to replace any bricks, they were super sturdy and held tightly in place, all they needed was some serious repointing. Hooray for money saved!
So this is where we were when we moved in, and then here we are today. Cha-cha-cha-cha-changes.
I meet with the contractor on Saturday to measure and pick out the kitchen window, as the lintel needs to be replaced and they do have some rebricking to do around the current opening as it wasn't a great installation the first time around. The window itself is in better shape than the others in the building, but it leaks around the top, and the header was beginning to rot because the window was set out beyond the face of the wall. This did not make for good water shed. Originally the door to the outside was where the double wide window is. You can still see the outline of where there was a door on the second floor, as each unit originally had access to a porch.
I asked that they take the awning over the basement door down. It was hanging on by a thread(ed screw). Yes. I did. Removing it visually opens the small yard up. We may end up replacing it if we find that it was there for a reason, but for now, I like it gone.
There are still some small details to finish up on the back. Not least of all is updating the back steps to real steps. The workers have taken to using a ladder propped up where the steps used to be. I prefer to LEAP down. Sophie the Dog prefers the human elevator method. Like I said, we still have some details to take care of.