Danforth Home Renovations Project
Woodsmith Project Journals:
This Danforth home renovations project tested every bit of our teams skill and know how. Funnily enough it actually started off as a simple third floor renovation. Just some interior alterations, really no big deal. We would did not have to deal with permits, structure or anything major really. This home had been fully renovated back in the 90’s and so everything seemed to be done with modern construction techniques. Well, as we came to find out, looks can be very deceiving and this project turned out to be anything but a walk in the park.
Right from day one, once we started pulling the third floor apart. There were some big red flags with what we began to reveal and it was trouble behind the drywall. As it turns out the entire third floor was framed on an old roof. Which is not uncommon but this roof had never been stripped. The entire 700 sqft structure was sitting on little scraps of wood used to prop up some 2×3’s on the flat. Now after seeing this we were all amazed that this third floor addition was even standing. This was no way to support a structure of any kind let alone one that is three storeys in the air.
Our little Danforth home renovations project had taken a turn for the worst right out of the gates and it would not get better anytime soon. After scrambling to get engineers in to design a new structure in order to support what was there and getting the framing well under way. We then came across our next little surprise. Which was that the third floor flat roof that had been on there for years was just that, flat. It had no slope on it and had caused pooling and leaking behind the insulation pretty much ever since it was built.
We then began a complete removal of the entire roof of the home. Only to then experience the very worst this project had to throw at us. Although educational it was a harsh lesson learned that everyone in Toronto probably is unaware of. The nieghbour from across the lane (a retired engineer), decides that he will try to extort the home owner for a piece of their backyard. That way he can pull out of his garage with greater ease in the mornings. Now the way he went about it was the interesting part. He said he had proof that a part of the existing third was constructed illegally and that he would go to the city with this information if we didn’t comply to his wishes. As you can imagine we less then impressed with his tactics. Figuring that there was no way a neighbour could force an issue with an existing structure, my client never even built. We decided not to engage in such a ridiculous conversation and get back to the work at hand of finishing the third floor
Now that was where we were wrong and he did go to the city and yes even though you might not have built it. If someone, anyone can prove that it was done illegally. You as the home owner can be forced to bring it up to code. We then spent the better part of the next year in various committee hearings and OMB in order to get rid of him and to “legalize” the third floor.
It was an excruciatingly long process that nearly bankrupted my client at a time she could little afford the stress. As her son had been diagnosed with cancer just after the Danforth home renovations project began. We stuck it through and kept pushing to get her what was rightfully hers anyways and in the end we did just that. She was able to fix a lot of problems with her house and after a painfully long process to get there. She can have a bath in her new third floor master suite. Lesson learned though when planning any home renovation project, always make sure what you are planning to work on. No matter how good it looks, has been built with the right permits. It will save you a whole heap of heart ache, take my word for it.