Dwelling on #DesignersBuilding – A DIY Blog Series

This blog series is an account of what happens when an architect, me, pushes past design and single handedly tackles some renovation; from design through demolition and to construction. I look forward to sharing with you my discoveries, the challenges, and the solutions. Please share your stories of renovation and remodeling in the comments, DIY or not.


It has been a while since the last Homework post, back before Thanksgiving. I left that post with a rundown of substantial completion and finishing touches.

Finishing Touches

Next week is Thanksgiving so it is going to be great to get this project done, or at least substantially complete, by then. All the screen will be installed, The soffit will be finished and sealed, the tools will be moved back to their home in the garage, and the porch and patio furniture will be set up and ready for our guests to relax in while the feast in being prepared. Once the holiday passes, I will go back to working solo, on my one ladder. I have some spot touch up to do on the stain. I also want to install some straps between the rail posts, columns and columns under the screened in porch and stain those as well. Another finishing touch will be installing an overhang around the porch to protect the sides from getting too wet in the rain.


At Substantial

The term substantial completion is a building industry schedule standard used for when a facility is to a point of project completion when occupants can move in and use for its intended purpose. At this point in the project, the contractor is due a reduction in retainage, a small percentage of payments held by the owner until final completion. Also, most building and equipment warranty periods begin. Well, we are currently using the porch for its intended purpose, when the weather is not too cold. There’s no retainage on this DIY project, for obvious reasons. And, all of my DIY projects come with a non-transferable lifetime warranty. There we have it – substantial completion.


New French Doors offer a ton more insulation that the old ones and let in a lot of light.

New French Doors offer a ton more insulation that the old ones and let in a lot of light.

Pending Final

Looking ahead toward final completion is a bit cloudy. It is cold, rainy, windy and snowy, and cloudy to be more specific. At this point though, the porch screen is complete, the corrugated soffit is installed, and new French doors to the porch are installed.

I am looking forward to a weekend soon when I can roll out the tools one last time, drive that last screw, lay that last bead of sealant, and touch up that last bit of cedar stain. Until that day and that MODwelling post, I will have to leave you with these photos of our substantially complete screened in porch. Click the images for a larger view.

A cold and rainy pano shot of the porch.

A cold and rainy pano shot of the porch.


A cold and snowy pano shot of the porch. The need for wider overhangs is evident.

A cold and snowy pano shot of the porch. The need for wider overhangs is evident.

Until next time, live nicely.

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  • Matthew Stanfield

    Substantially complete is a great feeling on DIY home projects. It is also a dangerous stage (at least at my house).

    It becomes tempting to move on to the next project and never reach final completion. I am turning over a new leaf in that regard though. Starting with my son’s bedroom, i will reach final completion before moving on to the next unfinished project. I actually started the process of bringing all my substantially complete projects to final completion last spring with the DogHou[SC]e that i started several years ago and got to the point the dog could use it, then moved on to another more pressing project. It is now complete, barring some maintenance items. My son’s bedroom has been substantially complete for a few weeks now, but i am still plugging away on finishing some trim and putting up some shelves. None of which prevent him from using it, but i am not going to allow that fact to sidetrack me onto the next project.

    • It is true, Matthew. We are already talking about new projects here, but I am going to be practicing your same discipline before moving on to the next. Thanks for your comment and good luck with your works!