DIYers Best/Worst Remodeling Discoveries

That’s what I asked my Twitter followers a couple of weeks ago. It’s natural to expect that your renovation’s happiest surprise will arrive upon the project’s completion; at the moment when your lingering doubts disappear and your tired optimism suddenly transforms into a feeling of proud delight.  However, it’s during the process itself, not after it’s over, that many homeowners discover the biggest renovation surprises of all.

Upon floating my question, “What is the best or worst thing you have ever discovered while renovating?” to the Twitter universe, dozens of fantastic little mid-reno discovery tales came back to me, many with the polish of cocktail-party-perfected anecdotes. Amusing, amazing, or ‘Ack!’—these were some of my favorites:

@RHJenkins: My aunt found live knob and tube wires and the dead squirrel that tried to chew on them.

@PrairieRimBen: Best: oak floors, 1922 sports page detailing Babe Ruth’s performance last night. Worst: live wires exposed to outdoors.

@BodiceGoddess: I discovered, when my housemates installed an egress window in my bedroom, that my entire living space is not insulated. #freeze

@NiallFlanagan: Insulated Pipes. Not fun to have to halt everything and get an abatement crew in for clean up. Expensive, too.

@philringsmuth: Worst: That all walls on main floor were made solely of drywall, no studs. “Studs” were drywall sandwiches, with more drywall.

@DominicHouse: The best was red oak under red and orange 1960’s shag.

@CaroleOldroyd: Yep! We found cedar underneath compressed fiberboard AND tar paper on our 121 y/o home. Who would do that?

@JLo888: no money left!

@PaisleyPosey: Um, my husband’s temper!

@Casper_and_Co: I once found a 1/2 full bottle of whiskey in a ca.1850 home in Mass. We tried it. Awful.

Follow me on Twitter for the latest from, plus select links to the best home improvement stuff elsewhere on the net. Tweet me your own best/worst mid-reno discovery tale or leave it in the comment section below.