Nickel & Diming It Up

Nickel & Diming It Up

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Trex LogoYesterday, the contractor’s salesman team came by the house to measure the attic windows… though as I suspected, that was just an excuse to come over and collect the second $8000 check.

Being a bit of a talker, to put it mildly, Art (the main salesman) went on and on about nothing while repeating things we’ve heard over and over and over again.

I can’t tell you how many times, regarding the new doors we selected, Art’s mentioned that “the doors are a thousand dollars a piece”… Problem is, we looked at the exact same doors at our local Lowes and they’re both under $500 each — and that’s after the retail mark-up.

Same deal with the attic windows. “Oh, the circle top windows are $900 a piece…” C’mon… All hot air. I just nod my head. My wife on the other hand will probably call his bluff on the next round.

Later on in the evening, the owner of the business stopped over. There was likely some communication issue as he was also probably stopping by for the next check, but whatever.

It was nice to finally meet him — and he left a good impression. You can tell he’s not an aggressive salesman like Art, but he works it too.

Last night, he basically sold us on a new front porch. The pitch was, “you’re updating the whole look of the house, you may as well have the porch done to complete it.”

He’s right. But when he tries to sell us on a new back porch, well, we’ll stop him there.

What was cool was that he gave an estimate right there, on the spot. It wasn’t this needlessly long drawn out process, like it was the first night with Art and his son.

Another difference from the first night was that the number wasn’t staggering. Around $3000 for Trex and around $1500 for wood. I’d have to sleep on it.

Having never heard of “Trex“, I was leaning more towards wood, if not only because I’ve heard of wood, but because the current porch is made of wood and I’d guesstimate that it’s over 80 years old and it still holds up just fine — except for the one plank at the end.

After looking it up, and with a some valuable input from my wife, the idea of what Trex really is, set in. Yep, the synthetic stuff. Probably the wiser choice.

Compass Rose We checked out their website and, yeah, it looks really nice. That is, if your going to build a huge circular deck and have a compass rose built right in. Our house can’t quite pull that off.

We’re building a rectangle. Maybe 14 feet long and 5 feet wide. Where would the compass rose go? Anyway, they don’t really have a colour option that matches the house, and I think a great deal of the cost involved is due to the “finish” they put on the fake wood. We’d end up painting over it.

So, that puts us back to wood. While $1500 more really hurts, it’s not nearly as painful as another $3000 would be. And I have a feeling his estimates were for bare minimum style porches. I’d like to jazz it up some with some nice posts and railings. Going the Trex route, I’ve little doubt that I could put together a porch that would cost us in excess of $5k. That’s not an option.

Today, he’s dropping off a catalog of posts and railings. I think I know exactly the look I’m looking for and hopefully it’s in the catalog. Our original back porch, which was torn off in December and was likely original to the house, had the type of post I’d like in the front. There are few old houses in town that have the style too — basically a fancy square post. No round columns for me or anything that looks like an extra large interior banister.

Right now, though, I guess anything would be an improvement over the cheap piece-it-together wrought iron posts and railings we have now.

For the floor, and actual porch structure, my only hesitation on using wood is that “they don’t make ’em like they used to”. Our porch has a neat sound when you walk across it. I’ll miss that. The floor is like a hardwood floor — not in the looks department, but it’s put together in a tongue and groove fashion. It’s tight. No gaps between the boards. I like that. And you *never* see that on new construction.

For a back porch, where I’d call it a deck (are the words interchangeable?), that type of construction seems right, but for the front, I don’t know, I kind of want to keep the “authentic” look…even though the house is now covered in vinyl…

Decisions, decisions…