“Dear PoPville,

What’s This Called, Does It Need To Be Repaired, and Who Would Repair It?

I have a feeling that this gutter-type thing (fascia??) at the front of my mansard roof probably needs to be repaired.

Is this in fact a fascia, and if not, what’s it called?

Does it need to be repaired? If so, who would I get to repair it — a roofer? A gutter-repair company?”



“Dear PoPville,

Looking for recommendations for repairing an old, wobbly wooden banister. Ours looks like it has the original railing, which was previously cut and repaired in sections, but it definitely requires some additional attention or else we might take a tumble down to the first floor. It would be great to get a recommendation from someone who had to deal with this issue when renovating their house.”




Ed. Note: If you have any renovation projects you’d be willing to share (bathrooms, kitchens, landscaping, anything at all) please send a few before and after photos with a bit of detail like cost, products used etc. via email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com

Thanks to a reader for sharing his small bathroom renovation completed last week:

“The total cost of the project was about 11k but that included much more than a typical small bathroom renovation…It included replacing all of the galvanized plumbing, adding a skylight, moving a door opening, removing a closet, moving a radiator, rearranging and replacing the vanity, toilet and tub, and tiling. The layout before was terrible, so all the fixtures needed to be moved. One of the bedrooms had a closet that cut into the bathroom space, so that had to be removed and repaired in order to make the bathroom into a more usable rectangular shape (unfortunately someone lost a closet in their bedroom, but it had to be done to have a decent bathroom layout). It took about a month to complete.”

More renovated photos after the jump. (more…)

Photo via Clopay garage doors

“Dear PoPville,

I’m thinking of renovating my house and changing the standard garage door to something more modern, with a full wall of glass (like the photo above).

Problem is that I live on a very busy street – lots of pedestrian traffic and nearby schools – with no separation between the sidewalk and the garage door. This would literally be a big glass window/wall a few steps from the sidewalk with no metal bars on it.

My girlfriend is convinced that this is going to be a target for graffiti artists/vandals, thieves, angry kids with rocks, etc. I’m sorta worried about that but want to give the city the benefit of the doubt.

Is this a huge mistake? Am I asking for trouble (and expensive repairs every few months)? Would love to hear if anyone else has dealt with similar issues.”


Ed. Note: If you have a renovation you’d be willing to share please email princeofpetworth(at)gmail and try to include as many details as possible, including cost, contractors, tips, and of course before and after photos.

Thanks to a reader for sending this small bathroom reno:

“I wanted to share with you a bathroom renovation in Columbia Heights. What seemed like a simple update (re-tiling, new vanity, lights, toilet) ended up taking a month to complete. This was my first renovation, so I made a lot of mistakes along the way. For example, I ordered 3 different trim sets (this is the word for tub filler, shower handle, and shower head. Did not know that!), before I realized I had to order from the same company that makes the rough in valve (the thing in the wall). Dealing with the plumbing was also an ordeal. In the end, I’m very happy with the way it turned out. The after pictures courtesy of Doug.”


A couple more after shots after the jump. (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoPville,

My fiance and I are looking to get the exterior of our house repainted this spring, but are unsure of who to hire. Does anyone on Popville have any recommendations they can share? Also, and this might be a silly question, but does anyone know if we would have to get the city to approve a color change or are we free to do what we’d like? We are located in the Atlas area. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!”


“Dear PoPville,

Do I need a permit to pave my backyard to make it a patio/driveway? I assume that I do, but I’m not sure where to start with this process. I have a row-house in Northeast DC. Thanks in advance for your help!”


From a press release:

“The Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association, Inc. (Phyllis Wheatley YWCA) is excited to announce the renovation of its property located in the Shaw neighborhood (corner of Ninth Street and Rhode Island Avenue Northwest), which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Eager to renew the illustrious legacy and ensure a thoughtful and self-sustaining model for the building, the renovation will include 84 private living quarters and onsite support services for low-income working women and women with special needs. Additional amenities will include updated laundry facilities, green outdoor space, as well as social and professional development programs. (more…)


“Dear PoPville,

We have a single family home that is covered in fieldstone/formstone/permastone (no brick underneath). When the windows were replaced in the 80s, they wrapped the original wooden surrounds with ugly metal sheathing. Is it even feasible to put in new windows without having to accommodate the fieldstone siding in a similar way? Has anyone replaced windows lately in a fieldstone covered house? Any experience with costs on removing and residing completely? And alternatively – does anyone have direct experience with painting fieldstone and the pros and cons of that maintenance-wise? I can’t even imagine what a whole house would look like with painted fieldstone.”


Photo by PoPville flickr user clif_burns

“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I are looking to turn our already renovated basement into a rental unit. Although the basement is renovated, we would need to make a few adjustments like taking out an interior staircase and adding in plumbing/electrical for a kitchen area. Most of the general contractors we have talked to though said they wouldn’t take on a “small” job such as this, and they only work on jobs in the $50-$100K area. I’m wondering if anyone has worked with a good general contractor they can recommend, or know of any that would take on a job of this size.”