Presenting the REAL Extreme Makeover Home in Erie, PA

Like-New, Highly Efficient Home

A complete history of the restoration is documented below - enjoy the story!

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- The finished product!

1639 Westwood Drive,  Erie, PA  16505

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- Flower garden island in back yard

In May of 2008, we purchased a 1950s era, single-story, 912 ft2 house a mile from Lake Erie. It has three bedrooms, one bathroom, a 1½ car garage, a full, unfinished basement, and sits on 0.69 acres in a working class neighborhood. No major upgrades had been done to it before we moved in - original windows, doors and siding, original cabinets and flooring, original electrical fixtures and plumbing. There was no insulation in the walls, and flattened 2" thick fiberglass insulation in the attic. The roof had recently been replaced by the previous owner a year ago, and the overhead garage door and opener were new. The frame and foundation were in solid shape, but just old. Now, 2½ years later, no part of the house or yard has gone unimproved.

Effectively, this is a brand-new, 55-year-old house that is vastly more efficient and of higher quality than the typical spec home in a planned neighborhood.

...which is why I refer to it as Erie's REAL Extreme Makeover

Here are the specifications for the house:

Main Level: 912 sq.ft. Lot Size: 0.69 acres Hot Water: Gas
Basement: Full, unfinished, ~850 sq.ft. LR: 18'x12' Dishwasher: Yes
Bedrooms: 3 DR: 10'10"x7' Range: Gas
Garage Spaces: 1½ BR1: 11'1"x10'6" Gable End Fans: 2
Heat: Gas (95% efficiency Trane) BR2: 11'1"x10'6" Roof: Asphalt shingle
A/C: Outside compressor BR3: 10'6"x9'3" Floors: Carpet, Tile
Humidifier: Built-in, whole-house Kit: 10'10"x9'2" Siding: Vinyl
Driveway: Concrete # Bathrooms: 1 Year Built: 1956
Water: Public Sewer: Public Cable/Internet: Available
Taxes: ~$1,800 Purchase Price: $103,500 Invested: $140,000 + hard work

Five major energy-saving changes were implemented.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- Kermit: "It's Not Easy Being Green"

"It's Not Easy Being Green." That is the title of a song sung by Kermit the Frog of Muppets fame. The word "green" has been hijacked by environmentalists to be applied to every process that relates to their idea of a perfect world where mankind has an utterly benign presence. Unfortunately, as with many good causes, extremists taint the process to the extent that many people who would otherwise get onboard are repulsed to where they do not even want to be associated with the concept. Anyone who knows me is aware that I have long been an advocate of responsible Earth resource management without requiring that insufferable actions be taken to coerce compliance with radicals' demands. In an ideal world, everyone would exercise a reasonable level of personal responsibility by not wantonly wasting or exploiting natural resources, especially to the extent that their actions demonstrably cause harm to others. Contrary to Kermit's claim, however, it really is not so hard to be at least some shade of green.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- Flat EarthFrom a purely technical perspective, you would expect anyone who is not a Flat Earth Society member would eagerly adopt methods and technologies that are less wasteful of natural resources and respectful of the physical appearance of the world around him. Given the choice between a more polluting option and a less polluting option for, say, interior wall paint, why would you choose the former over the latter? Many times the more environmentally preferable option is much more expensive. If that is the case and you simply cannot afford the price difference, then I do not hold the decision to use the more polluting option against anyone. Some people do mind. Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- U.S. Climate ZonesThose are the ones I have a problem abiding because those same unforgiving people are usually hypocrites themselves. You know the kind.

Along with reading many engineering and science magazines, I also peruse the home improvement magazines like Workbench. They are filled each month with product reviews of some très cool new building materials, tools, machines, production processes, and other worthwhile items that push the environmental responsibility frontier a little farther forward. For instance, a couple months ago, there was an article that did a great job of explaining the difference between high and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints. Henceforth, I will seek out low VOC finishes for my projects. Abandoning the older heavy metals battery chemistries (NiMH, NiCad) in favor of the more eco-friendly Lithium models is an area where the benefits of newer technology (Li-Ion and Li-Polymer) outperforms the old, with only a modest increase in cost.  I have learned a lot of similarly easy to adopt and effective behaviors.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - renovated master bedroom

Renovated Master Bedroom
(10'6"x11'1")

The room is smallish by today's McMansion standards, but it is big enough.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - renovated bedroom #2 / hobby room / exercise room / sewing room

Renovated Bedroom #2
(10'6"x11'1")

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - renovated bedroom #3

Renovated Bedroom #3
(9'3"x10'6")

Not shown is the 30" bi-fold door that separates BR#2 and BR#3. It allows the two rooms to effectively be combined if desired.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - original living room  / dining room

Original Living Room
(12'x18')

It is impossible to tell from the photos, but the oak flooring was not finished very well. Rather than going to the mess and trouble of refinishing it, we installed carpeting throughout the house (everywhere except kitchen and bathroom). It involved removing all the baseboard trim to raise it for carpeting to go under. The trim's old nail holes were filled and the trim was sanded, primed and painted prior to re-installation.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - renovated living (Melanie in her office)

Renovated Living Room

Two overhead light fixtures were added, and front entrance door and storm door were replaced.

Still, as mentioned, not everybody can afford to own the highest efficiency equipment and practice a totally environmentally optimal lifestyle. That is a key contention point in contemporary arguments over whether coercive mandates by all-powerful government bodies are fair. Extremists exist on both sides of the argument. Some say we should all ride bicycles, eat plant roots, and wear human-powered-loom-woven wool clothes, while their antipodes assert that if you can afford to pay for something, you are entitled to as much of it as you want, and can do with it whatever you please. The former are often hypocrites; the later, while maybe contemptible, are at least honest.

My personal motivation for conservation is two-fold. First, there is an innate feeling of wrongdoing and remorse when I do something that is knowingly wasteful, like running a lawnmower engine that is spewing blue smoke into the air, emptying a can of old paint back in the woods where nobody will see it, or throwing a soda can into the garbage when I have a recycle bin for it. Therefore, I try not to do such things. The second motivation is financial. With exceptions, well-functioning machines and systems run at higher efficiencies, and are therefore cheaper to operate. A personal cost-benefit tradeoff calculation is needed when deciding on the acquisition of a higher efficiency system.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - front view original

Original Front of the House The house and yard were in sound shape and served as a good basis for improvements without having to deal nasty old stuff - I've done enough of that over the years while renovating four other houses.

All this leads into my real topic - the whole-house rehabilitation Melanie and I recently completed on our home in Erie, Pennsylvania. Both of our children, Philip and Sally, graduated from college and moved out on their own a couple years ago, so we have the proverbial "empty nest" situation now. We decided that we would buy a small house and make it as efficient as possible using reasonable measures. The result was not cheap, but given the expected enormous increases in energy costs in Erie, recovering the investment should not take too long.

Because both gas and electricity prices have risen over the last year, a comparison of previous cost to current cost is difficult. The utilities will not provide detailed information, but we were able to get actual CCF (hundreds of cubic feet) for a couple months in early 2008. Thus far, usage has been around half of last year's values. We replaced the old electric oven/stove top with a gas model, which means our gas usage is even lower comparatively since the previous owner did not consume gas for cooking. The thermostat is set for 70°F during the day, and 62°F at night for heating, and at 72°F for air conditioning.

New values versus old values of kWh for electricity consumption must be less mainly because of the absence of the electric oven. However, there is a dehumidifier in the basement now which is set for 70% RH; it does not run at all during the heating season. The exhaust motor for the radon evacuation system is now on a timer where it runs at intervals for about 50% of the day (I conducted two radon tests to verify sufficiency). All of the light fixtures have been replaced and the bulbs are all the CFL type (compact fluorescent light). I used to be bothered by CFL light quality, but even in the last year they have gotten noticeably better. After being on for a minute or so, the light is very acceptable. Still, having to have the HazMat suit in the closet in case one ever breaks is a bit troubling.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - basement original

Original Furnace + Hot Water Heater

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - new Trane furnace

New Furnace (95% efficiency)
Whole-House Humidifier
Hot Water Heater Insulation Blanket
Hot Water Pipe Insulation

We moved into the house on May 28, 2008, and the next week Erie had one of its hottest weeks in history (the entire rest of the summer was very nice). The house had no air conditioning, so it was not a hard decision to include an AC compressor along with the new gas-fired furnace. A top-of-the-line Trane HVAC system was installed that has a rated efficiency of 95%. The old system might have topped out at 30-40% according to the technicians (Schneider Heating & AC) that installed the new one. A very visible indication of the difference is the exhaust pipes. The old system used a metal flue whereas the new system's exhaust temperature is so low that a PVC pipe is sufficient. That is pretty amazing. Also, an integrated whole-house humidifier was installed, which not only allows a lower temperature to feel warmer, but not once this winter have I gotten a shock when touching a doorknob (triboelectric charging). Installed price: $5,700.

The hot water heater is of 2004 vintage. Newer models are not much more efficient (no electric heating element to get coated with energy-losing crud), so we elected to keep the existing model and wrap it in an insulating blanket, and install pipe insulation on the 20 feet of hot and cold water supply nearest the unit. Price ~$40.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - replacement windows and Styrofoam wrap

Replacement Windows,
Styrofoam House Wrap Under Siding

Completed Siding and Replacement Window

Next came window and siding replacement. The original windows were single pane models with leaky wooden frames. Triple track aluminum storm windows had been installed, but they were ill-fitting, leaky, and just plain ugly. The new windows are about as efficient as can be found, and incorporate the low-e glass with argon gas between the panes. All are double-hung and hinge inward for easy cleaning. Even in high winds, there is absolutely no air infiltration around the perimeters. Weather stripping on these windows is very high quality. Installed price: $3,000.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - Air Krete filling holes

1-¼" holes for injecting the Air Krete
(walls are hollow)

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - Air Krete filling - click to watch video          Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - Air Krete filling of test section - click to watch video

Click to Watch Videos

Siding was the original aluminum, as was the soffit material. House wrapping cloth had not been invented when this place was built in the late 1950s, and there was no Styrofoam sheeting behind the siding. When combined with no insulation in the walls, the overall inside-to-outside R-value might have been a whopping 2 or 3 in good spots. As part of the new vinyl siding installation, large panels of Styrofoam were applied under the siding so that they provided not just a couple additional Rs of insulation benefit, but also created an air infiltration barrier. From a recycling perspective, the only scrap was the aluminum, which the installers graciously offered to cart off for me (they made a couple hundred dollars from selling it to a reclamation center). Installed price: $6,000 (siding, soffit, & wrapping).

I replaced both outside doors myself. Originals were wood with no insulation inside. Of course they were leaky around the perimeter. The new doors are insulated metal construction with thermopane glass, and good seals. The old aluminum storm doors, like the storm windows, were leaky and all the rubber seals had disintegrated. All three storm doors, which includes those on the garage, are high quality with excellent seals all around the perimeter. Price ~$800.

Air Krete Specifications

• Density: 2.07 lbs/cu ft +/- 6%
• R-value: 3.9 per inch of thickness as measured
                 by ASTM C518-76 @ 75F
• Environmentally safe and non-toxic insulation
• High thermal efficiency over time
• Fire-proof and sound-absorbing
• Cementitious foam insulation
• 100% Fireproof
• 100% Mold Proof
• 100% Non-Toxic, Free of CFC's & Formaldehyde
• No loss of R-value over time
• Excellent Soundproofing
• Non-Settling
• Non-Hazardous as waste
• Bug and Rodent Proof

One of the coolest aspects of the renovation was having a high-tech blown-in foam insulation installed in the walls. Tearing off the inside of outside walls to insert fiberglass mat insulation was never even an option as far as I was concerned. I briefly considered a do-it-yourself injectable foam system that is applied from the inside by drilling 1/2" holes between the wall studs and squirting it in through a nozzle that mixes the 2-part chemical cocktail as it injects. The new foam formulations do not have the killer urea formaldehyde like the nefarious stuff used back in the 1970s, but the cost would have been around $4,500 to completely fill all the outside walls. Besides, the expansion properties presented problems with bulging and cracking walls. I also did not fancy the thought of having to patch a hundred holes in the wall. The advertised R-value for that stuff for a 3.5" wall is about R-20, which is extremely good when considering that standard fiberglass is only R-13.

After a little more research on the Internet, I hit upon a relatively new material called Air Krete. Unlike the other compounds, Air Krete does not expand while curing and it emits no volatile gases. Its R-value is not quite as good as the polyurethane type insulation, but it beats R-0.

An advantage that all of the cavity filling, injectable systems is that they create a solid volume which does not support convection currents. Convection in the wall is responsible for the majority of heat loss, in the same manner that blowing air over a hot surface cools it more effectively. Air convection still occurs with fiberglass batting both because it is not close-celled, and because sloppy installation usually means coverage is not complete.

Fortunately, there is a contractor that handles the Air Krete material right here in Erie, so I gave him a call. About three weeks later the crew showed up to get the job done. With our house being so small, the entire process took only about 6 hours. I built a test wall cavity with an electrical box in it to examine how well the system worked. The guy operating the injection nozzle filled it for me, and also did not mind that I made a short video of the filling process in the house wall (see photos and videos, above). Installed price was $2,200.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - R19+R30 insulation in attic

Insulation: R-19 Under R-30 (~$425),
w/Gable End Fan (~$200)

The fourth main energy saving improvement was adding fiberglass insulation in the attic. We laid R-19 paper-faced insulation in-between the 2x6 ceiling joists (front to back of house), and then laid un-faced R-30 insulation perpendicularly over the R-19. Care was taken to allow "breathing" space at the soffit overhangs. Additionally, sections of R-19 insulation was installed in the basement against the outside walls in-between the floor joists. A thermostatically controlled vent fan was installed in the gable end of the house, and in the garage gable end. They are set to turn on somewhere around 110°F. Price ~$650.

All of the replacement appliances are Energy Star rated (refrigerator, dish washer, range). As usual, we seem to always miss the tax rebates. All of those energy efficiency improvement programs had ended by 2007, and then were reinstated again in 2009. However, if I sell the house and make a profit, the reprobates in Government will see to it that they benefit from my labor by charging me capital gains tax.

Although not necessarily contributing to improvements in energy efficiency, you might be interested in seeing some photos of other aspects of the renovation. Many of you have suffered through similar projects. We figure the total investment in the renovation of the house and yard is - not including a lot of sweat equity - about about $38k. That is pretty good for a home which is as energy efficient as it can reasonably be. The cost of living in this house is now very low compared to just about anything else in Erie - even newly built homes in planned developments.

Once the 50% increase in electricity rates take effect in 2011, and the oppressive cost of the Cap & Trade fuel taxes kick in eventually, this house will have some of the lowest energy costs in all of Erie.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - kitchen original

Original Kitchen

Everything original was replaced, and even the door was shifted to the left to make room for the cabinets. The garage is on the other side of the door.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - renovated kitchen

Renovated Kitchen

These cabinets are hickory wood units. The refrigerator/freezer is 18.4 ft3 - plenty for a house this size. The range is gas fueled. Many new receptacles and overhead lights/switches were added throughout the house - all to NEC standards.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - renovated kitchen

Renovated Kitchen

A total of four sections of countertop are used. The original kitchen had no dishwasher. The sink is a nice Kohler with a good grade faucet set. New floor underlayment and heavy tile installed. New fluorescent light fixture.

Total kitchen material cost ~$5,500

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - laser level for kitchen cabinets

Laser Level for Aligning Cabinets

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - cabinet assembly

Joining Cabinets the Right Way

If you buy a standard cookie cutter house in a development, it is unlikely that the cabinet installers will bother to properly join the units to each other. Here you can see the cabinet units clamped in near perfect alignment, and then I drill pilot holes with countersinks for screws. This assures that the cabinet fronts remain in alignment regardless of how the frames might shift over time.

Not a single wall, ceiling, or piece of trim molding has escaped repair and painting (about $400 total for high quality Behr paint). The only wallpaper used was for the top half of the kitchen. Every light fixture, wall switch, and receptacle (along with their cover plates) has been replaced, both inside and outside. Several new overhead light fixtures were installed where none existed, including new switches. A few receptacles were added as well to the kitchen and hallway, with new circuits added in the breaker panel rather than overloading existing circuits. The garage and basement originally had only one receptacle each, and sported simple porcelain light fixtures pull chain switches. That has been rectified. Drywall was hung on the garage walls to give it that new house look and to reduce air infiltration. All closet doors were replaced with paneled bifold doors that do not take up as much room when fully opened as hinged doors. Every hinge and doorknob has been replaced. The warped solid pine closet shelves were replaced with the plastic-coated open wire type. Melanie and I did all that work ourselves.

All of the original kitchen cabinetry was removed and replaced with really nice naturally finished hickory wood and new countertops. The door to the garage was relocated to permit more cabinets and counters to be installed than what was in the original kitchen. The old electric range was replaced with a high quality Frigidaire gas model, and the 1970s vintage refrigerator/freezer was replaced with an Energy Star rated Frigidaire model, and a new Energy Star rated Frigidaire dishwasher was installed (the house did not originally have a dishwasher). A very nice quality Kohler ceramic sink was installed along with a matching faucet set. New underlayment was put down under a high quality tile floor.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - original bathroom

Original Bathroom

The bathroom had been renovated in the early 1990s.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - renovated bathroom

Renovated Bathroom

We removed the wallpaper, painted the top 2/3, and installed wainscot with a ledge on the bottom 1/3. A new vanity top and nice faucet set were added with the rehabilitated vanity base and medicine cabinet. All new matching bath/shower fixtures were installed. The warped pine linen closet shelves were replaced with the plastic covered wire metal type, and the closet door replaced with a bi-fold that did not take up as much room to open. New heavy floor tile was installed.

Total bathroom material cost ~$600

The house has a single bathroom, which served most 3-bedroom houses of the era sufficiently. The fiberglass tub and shower surround had been replaced about 10 years earlier and since it was in very good shape, so I did not replace it (although I did clean and polish it). The sink base and medicine cabinet were also in good shape, so I cleaned and polished them as well (no sense needlessly adding material to the landfill). The sink top, however, was cracked and worn, so it and the faucet set was replaced with a high quality new version.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - dining room original

Original Dining Room

 The dining room is technically separate, but it is small. Ugly Linoleum was on the floor. The sliding glass patio door is only a couple years old.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - renovated dining room

Renovated Dining Room

Carpet installed with oak trim separating the kitchen from the dining room. New light fixture and vertical blinds.

Total dining room material cost ~$200

All three bedrooms received new plastic-coated wire shelving (2 tiers), and the sliding old doors were replaced with 6-panel bifold doors. As with the rest of the house, every bit of wood trim was repaired, sanded, primed, and painted with high quality Behr paint. New, 3-bulb ceiling fixtures illuminate the rooms brilliantly with CFL bulbs. Light fixtures with wall switches are in all the closets. Again as with the rest of the house, all receptacles, switches (and cover plates), and duct vents were replaced. All door hinges and knobs sets are new. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed in the hallway near the bedrooms.

After all the other work was completed, we had a contractor install new high quality carpet and padding (about $3,200) everywhere except the kitchen and bathroom (heavy grade tile was used there).

The basement was in excellent condition with absolutely no evidence of water infiltration. In the more than 2½ years that we have been living here there has been no water at all - even during the very heavy rains. In fact, I have never even heard the sump pump turn on. Most of the original cables for telephone and TV/Internet were haphazardly strewn across the ceiling, so I stripped out most of it and tidied up the runs of those that remained. The multitude of nails and hooks that had been installed over the decades for hanging stuff were removed, and spider webs were vacuumed from between the floor joists. Five large fluorescent light fixtures were add, with wall switches and many receptacles (all on new circuits in the breaker panel). Pegboard was hung on the walls in a few places, and a glass panel was added to the basement access door. R-19 insulation was inserted between the floor joists at the outside walls, and expanding foam was squirted into any areas where light could be seen coming through. The vents in the basement, along with the weatherproofing, allows it to remain at around 60° in the dead of winter and around 68° in the summer - very comfortable for working.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- 1.5 Car Garage

1½-Car Garage, Kitchen Entrance

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- 1.5 Car Garage

1½-Car Garage, Back Door

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - original basement

Original Basement

All of the dangling extensions cords, telephone extension cables, and coaxial cable were removed and replaced with permanent installations. The ill-planned wall sections and shelves were removed. The basement has remained 100% free of any traces of water.

The 1½-car garage was in good condition as well. We hung 1/2" drywall on all the walls to give it that new house look, while also preventing drafts. The two wooden doors were sanded, primed, and painted with Kilz, and two new storm doors were hung. The hand rail was sanded, primed and painted, too. A few new receptacles were added, along with a light going down to the basement. The stairs leading into the kitchen were covered with leftover carpet from the house. A set of motion sensing flood lights was installed at the front and back of the garage.

Outside, we removed a very large, overgrown hedge row of yews that lined the front of the property. We thinned out and manicured a patch of trees to the north and another one in the back yard. An old well casing got covered over, and about a hundred wheelbarrows full of dirt was relocated to fix an area of ground that drained toward the house. A complete makeover of the front flower bed was done as well, with all the old trees and bushes being replaced. Tree branches that overhung the house were removed, and the gutters were all cleaned, with guards used to keep large debris out. Around 250 old paving stones were removed from the ground since most had been overgrown with grass over the years. Most of the entire yard has been treated with some combination of seeding, fertilizer, and pest control. For the first time in decades, the yard has ample air circulation and sunshine for healthy growing conditions for plant life. Being one of the larger yards in the area (0.69 acres), there is plenty of room for a small garden if desired.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- - front yard original

Large Yew Hedge Row

Not apparent is how overgrown this hedge row is. The tops are about 6 feet high. The trunks and branches were so thick that trimming would be impossible. So, out came the chain saw. Cutting and disposing of about 35 of them is something I do not care to ever do again.

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- hedge row removed

Hedge Row Removed

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- New plant row along south property line

Stumps have been cut below the surface and seeded since this photo was taken. You would never know they were there. the neighbors are very happy to have that hedge row gone. In the spring of 2010, we hired Bryan Miller's Tree Service to remove all of the huge, menacing trees that were close to the house, as well as many others that just did not look very nice. It was three full days of work, including grinding all the stumps down to below ground level, for a cost of $3,900. Fresh fill dirt and grass seed was then put down (another $450).

Seven new decorative bushes were planted along the property line to the south, and four new trees (apple, pear, and redbud) have been planted out front. In the back, not far from the concrete patio, is a new flower bed island with a new cherry tree, an azalea and some other plants. The flower bed island in the front yard has been totally reworked, and all of the plants across the front of the house are new stock (the old ones were pathetic). There has also been a lot of grass seed and fertilizer put down, and an existing, dilapidated flower garden removed from the side of the garage. Total about $475 (plants are expensive!).

Extreme Makeover:1639 Westwood Drive, Erie, PA --- Painting DryLok onto foundation

The exposed foundation of the house was bare, so two coats of DryLok were brushed on. In preparation, we dug down a couple inches below the surface in order to not have the paint line visible.

The entire driveway and the back patio was pressure-washed and cracks were sealed to help prevent further cracking. It all took a very long time because the driveway is quite wide (easily accommodates two vehicles side-by-side) and about 70' long.

If you go through this page and add up all the expenses, you will find that the total investment is easily $142,000. The result is one of the most energy efficient houses in all of Erie, maybe even all of Pennsylvania. If you qualify to rent our home, you will be able to live extremely cheaply with relatively low electric and gas bills!

Thanks for reading.   {posted May 1, 2011}

Presenting the REAL Extreme Makeover Home in Erie, PA

This is essentially a brand-new, 55-year-old house!