Fix it or don't?

I just bought a slab home that has a few more issues than I thought. This is my first rehab project and I could use some advice.

  1. The house has a concrete walk in front of it that has settled causing water to pool against the house. The sill plate there is not rotten yet but does have water damage. I got a contractor to bid on re-pouring the walk to slope away from the house but the bid was too high for me to afford at $2400. Are there any solutions out there to work with the existing concrete and fix this problem?

  2. The lot size is great, however has a very unappealling chain link fence around back of house (not completely uncommon in area). We were planning to put a wooden privacy fence in on the lot (94 x 200) but are now thinking that the chain link is not so bad due to our budget problems. Would you spend the $1000 + time for the fence??

  3. One last thing, house does not have AC (in Midwest). Is it worth $1,000 to add Central Air. Already has heat.

  4. Bathroom toilet and tub sit on 3 inch platform made of concrete. Why would this be - plumbing due to slab? Any ideas on how to make bathroom more uniform without creating a step up to bathroom?

All of your advice is greatly appreciated. We hope this is not our last rehab, but are doubting another at this time.

I need another way to solve these problems.

Hi Jgoforit,Im not an expert but Ill give you my 2 cents.I dont know how big your walk is but could you do the work yourself? My husband and I broke up our old walk and poured another in the middle of the summer.It was a real hard job but it turned out great.As far as the chain fence I would leave it and maybe do some landscaping or some climbing flowers.I would save that money but would do the A/C. Don’t stop doing rehabs just look around better next time.We learn from our misstakes.Hope this helps!Michele

The money in fix-up you spend should depend on your exit plan. If you are planning to use as a rental than don’t put “retail” type fixes into it. BTW I found that section 8 pays the same amount of rent on slabs as they do with houses with basements.

  1. if you take on the project of pouring the walk yourself its well worth saving your back to rent a jack-hammer and a cement mixer from Home Depot for a day. You could always break out the walk and lay paving stones, may be a little cheaper and it has a nice look.

  2. Depeding on the condition of the fence, is it torn apart or just rusted? You can spray paint the fence (have to do it on a non-windy day otherwise you get it everywhere :slight_smile: Otherwise you could do sections of privacy fence mixed with landscaping or just put in some medium sized trees in. You can get creative with lanscaping that does wonders.

  3. A/C is well worth your investment

  4. I am guessing that there is an old cast-iron tub or once was in the BR hence the slap. These were usually on the second floor to support the weight. Commonly used in home built in the early 1900’s. You can take the slab out, little bit of work or deal with the step. I have seen this concrete slap actually create the floor to sag as the wood weakens over the years.

Firsts are always the biggest learning lessons, dont be discouraged just use your experience to be better handled for the next rehab.

Keep up posted on how things turn out.


Thank you all for your encouraging feedback. We are learning and have a new sense of optimism about the project. Your expertise is greatly appreciated. Will keep you posted to how everything turns out.