What Is Old Can Be Made New

Here is an update on our circa 1936 condo in Miami Beach. Some are aware of what Brenda and I have been going through for the past year and a half but for those that aren’t, the best explanation is that our place was literally falling apart from the outside in. It all started roughly two years ago when the association decided to replace the outdated roof.

During one of the city inspections on the new roof, it was discovered that the parapet was crumbling and needed to be repaired immediately. The city deemed the building an unsafe structure with threat of demolition if the problem wasn’t rectified. This would be a long and expensive process. The entire parapet had to be cut off and forms placed so new concrete could be poured. Vertical holes needed to be drilled into the walls for new rebar and filled with additional concrete.

In June of 2018 I had to fly down and check on our place. There had been some concern about water damage to a few of the units during construction. Because of poor planning, we started the roof in the middle of the rainy season. When the city suspended the project, the best that could be done was to tarp off any area that hadn’t been repaired. Needless to say, a tarp on a flat roof during the rainy season in Miami doesn’t accomplish much.

When I arrived I was relieved that there had been minimal damage. Even better news was that they were ready to begin pouring the parapet concrete. Within a week or so the roofers would be back on the job. We would finally be free of water leaking into everyone’s condo. I left Miami Beach confident that on our next visit we would enjoy the benefits of a new roof and a safe building. Unfortunately, things were about to get worse.

Three months later, on our way to Costa Rica, we made a short stop to check on the results. The cover photo is what we were welcomed to. During the process of pouring the concrete, it blew through one of the walls and onto the ceiling. Click on the photo and you’ll get an expanded view of what we saw. There must have been a few hundred pounds of dried concrete that broke through the ceiling, spilling onto our patio, as well as leaking into our dining room.

This was just a stop-over on our way to Costa Rica so there really wasn’t anything we could do. Our only solution was to contact a contractor that had done work for us in the past and ask him to assess the situation while we were gone.

When we got back to the States we had several conversations with him about all the work that needed to be done. Since he was already going to be on the property we decided to take care of a few other issues that we thought were just cosmetic.

Once our contractor started to peel back the layers of the rotten onion, we realized years of water leakage had caused catastrophic damage. The concrete behind the sheetrock had deteriorated and the rebar was exposed and rusting away. Like the roof project, we needed to halt repairs and bring in an engineer to create a proper plan. All the sheet rock in the kitchen, dining room, and guest bedroom had to be removed. The rebar would need to be cut out and replaced, along with the crumbling concrete.

Guest Bedroom
Above the window in guest bedroom
Dining Room
Living in a construction zone.

The small area in the kitchen that we thought was a minor repair also turned out to be a bigger issue. The sub flooring in both the kitchen and dining room was rotting. All the flooring had to be replaced.

The final bit of bad news was our electrical. The jackass who “updated” the building never completely updated the electrical. Our unit was full of cloth wiring. He had cut a two foot section off of the old cloth and spliced it to new wire so it appeared as though it had been updated. We ended up rewiring the entire condo.

The whole process took ten months to finish but we finally have our condo back. As much as Brenda and I love these old Art Deco buildings I’m not sure we will buy another one. If and when we end up back in the Miami area I’m pretty sure we will look for something that’s a bit newer than a 1936 building. For now we are going to enjoy our time here, knowing it’s limited. It was a long painful process but our love for Miami Beach kept us moving forward. For us, it is still Home Sweet Home!

Living Room
Guest bedroom
Dining Room

Thanks for checking us out!

Scott and Brenda

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